Weekly Update


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In partnership with the UofM’s UMRF Research Park and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, we announced yesterday that DEVCON, a woman-owned cybersecurity firm, was moving its headquarters back to Memphis.

This announcement is exciting for a couple reasons. One—over the next five years, DEVCON plans to bring more than 100 good paying jobs to Memphis. Two—it is moving its headquarters here, and this is further proof that what we are doing on the economic development front is working.

I say this all the time, but we’re experiencing momentum in our city like we haven’t felt in decades. Just in the last year, we’ve seen great projects like Mimeo, IndigoAg, FedEx Logistics, J&J Express, Prospero Health, the Tillman Cove demolition, Foote Park at South City grand opening, a renovation of the Memphis Convention Center—and now DEVCON.

To read more about the company and why it chose Memphis, check out this article.

Raymond James move: Let’s do a quick refresher on PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) before we go too far down this road.

In a PILOT, we reduce the property tax we charge for a few years to get projects that would have either gone somewhere else or wouldn't have happened at all. In return, a company commits to create or retain jobs, pay good wages, invest in Memphis, and contract with minority and women-owned firms.

Now, having said that—yes, Raymond James is moving from downtown. And yes, it is receiving a PILOT. What’s not being said, however, is that we are going to receive more property tax revenue from them during the PILOT and even more when it ends.

As it stands right now, their City-only property tax is $296,000 per year. During the PILOT, that grows to $355,000 per year. And, after the PILOT ends, that figure rises to $513,000 per year in property tax paid to the City of Memphis. All that on top of creating 100 net new jobs paying over $64,000 per year to its new employees.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to use PILOTs to lure or keep businesses here. But, the reality of it is that every community uses tax incentives. To remain competitive, we must have them as another tool in the toolbox because if we don’t—everyone else still will.

A standing ovation: Earlier this week, we had our annual Ovation Awards. This is a time when City employees come together for us to recognize them for years of dedicated public service and call special attention to those that go above and beyond the call of duty.

Whether it’s an officer responding to a dangerous call, a 3-1-1 operator helping someone with a difficult issue, a firefighter running into a burning building to save a life, or the person who helps you pay your City taxes—City employees are the backbone of what we do — delivering strong service to you—our citizens.

This year during the event, I took time to honor someone that has worked with me for the last 12 years—eight years on the City Council and the last four years as my chief of staff—Lisa Geater. For 31 years collectively, Lisa has served in City government, and at the end of this year will be retiring. She is a strong leader, a great person, and has been involved in almost every improvement we have implemented in city government.

All that to say—come January, she will be missed.


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