Weekly Update: Amazon and the importance of getting counted


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On Monday, we had the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Amazon facility located along New Allen Road in the Raleigh/Frayser area. This development will create more than 1,000 jobs paying a minimum of $15 per hour plus benefits. It’s a roughly $200 million investment from the company, and there are no local tax incentives. 

Not a bad way to start the new year, right?

This project is particularly meaningful for couple reasons. First, the location: Raleigh/Frayser. I’ve been talking about our momentum for a while now and how we’re working hard to make sure that it touches every neighborhood in our city. This project is proof that our work is paying off and will be transformative for this part of town.

Secondly, and I talked about this in my remarks at the event, we’re constantly striving to be a government that works at the speed of business. This project was a prime example of that.

Last October, we learned that Amazon wanted to move quickly on this deal, so we didn’t waste any time. We convened a meeting so that all the City agencies that approve permits would meet face to face with the Amazon engineers, get a chance to ask them any questions, and gather any and all the necessary background information.

From that meeting in October to turning dirt in a matter of weeks is remarkable. And, it’s not just me saying the City did a good job. Seefried Industrial Properties (the company managing the project for Amazon) said “the City of Memphis planning, zoning, and development teams have expertly managed this construction project with efficiency and professionalism. The mayor’s team has been a great partner from the beginning and all departments remain focused on providing the resources to make this project a success.”  

That’s exactly the kind of feedback we want to get from companies we work with and is another great recruiting tool as we work to bring more businesses and jobs to Memphis.

Don’t Count Me Out: The Constitution mandates that a population count happen every 10 years. This April 1 will be the 10-year mark, and this week the local U.S. Census office opened Downtown in preparation for that.

Everyone residing in the U.S. gets counted in the Census — children, seniors, immigrants, tribal communities, homeless, homeowners, renters, students, workers — everyone.

And, the importance of making sure we have an accurate count cannot be overstated. The data is used to redraw district lines to determine representation in Congress, state legislatures, counties, school boards and all electoral bodies that use geographically defined membership. Businesses use Census data to decide where to open new facilities and what types of services and products to offer. Developers use Census data to plan where to build new homes and revitalize neighborhoods. Transportation planners use Census data to decide on roads and public transit routes.

Census data will determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds will be distributed to the states each year of this decade. A portion of our overall budget comes from federal and state-shared revenue based on our population count. Planning for essential City services, including police and fire protection as well as roads and parks, all depends on an accurate Census count.

Right now, the Census Bureau is hiring hundreds of local applicants to fill jobs for the 2020 Census: Census Takers, Census Field Supervisors, Recruiting Assistants, Clerks, Office Operations Supervisors. And, the best part is that the jobs start at $22 per hour.

For more information, visit 901counts.com, and you’ll be seeing this ad over the next several months as a reminder the 901 counts.


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