Weekly Update

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As you may have heard, there was some pretty exciting news tucked away in Governor Lee’s budget this year. For a while now, we’ve been working and gaining real traction on the Liberty Park development at the old fairgrounds location.

Thanks to Governor Lee and the Shelby County Delegation, $10 million was included to go towards construction of the Memphis Sports and Event Center (MSEC) at Liberty Park. This over 230,000 sq. ft. sports and events facility will include indoor basketball and volleyball hardcourts, as well as, be adaptable for other sports like wrestling, gymnastics, cheerleading, and convocation and commencement events. The complex will include a cafe and concessions area, outdoor turf fields and a playground.

MSEC is a part a larger overall plan for Liberty Park. The plan includes a mixed-use development on 18-acres that will bring together locals and tourists to enjoy a public plaza, a park, a family entertainment center, office and retail space, dining, two hotels and apartments.

All that to say, a huge thanks to Governor Lee and his administration for continuing to believe in Memphis.

The American Rescue Plan: You may or may not be aware, but next week I will be presenting the next year’s budget to City Council. I won’t get into the details on that right now. We’ll save that for next week.

However, I do think it’s important to briefly discuss the American Rescue Plan that was signed into law on March 11th of this year because it will directly affect our budget.

To give you some “big picture” highlights:

  • $1.9 trillion in total spending
  • $350 billion to states and local governments
  • $1.25 billion minimum distributed equally among the 50 states and District of Columbia
  • Remaining amount to be distributed according to formula that takes into account each state’s unemployed population
  • State of Tennessee to receive approximately $6.3 billion
  • City of Memphis to receive between $160-$168 million distributed in two equally divided payments of $80-$84 million 60 days after enactment and the second half one year later

How can we use these funds?

  • revenue replacement to the extent of the reduction in revenue was directly caused by COVID-19 in the most recent fiscal year prior to the emergency
  • assistance to small businesses, households, hard-hit industries, and economic recovery
  • premium pay for essential workers
  • investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

We cannot use these funds to:

  • directly or indirectly to offset tax reductions or delay a tax or tax increase
  • fund our pension fund
  • fund recurring expenses

These funds must be spent by the end of calendar year 2024.

As we get more information on the American Rescue Plan, we’ll be sure to keep you informed.

Pinning ceremony for a gentleman: There are people you come across throughout your life that no matter the situation, you want them on your team. One of those people, who we’ve lovingly referred to as “DD” (short for deputy director) for the last five years is now the interim Police Director, Mike Ryall.

Below are pictures from his pinning ceremony yesterday morning.


Director Ryall has given 38 years of his life to MPD, and I was honored that he agreed to step in and serve as interim director until we find a replacement for Director Mike Rallings who retired this week.

Thank you for your service: Director Mike Rallings has spent the better part of his adult years in uniform—31 of which serving the citizens of Memphis through his work at MPD. On April 15th, he started a new chapter.


During his time with MPD, he worked his way up through the department as an undercover narcotics officer, a patrol officer, firearms instructor, FTU Operations Sergeant, FTU Commander, Field Supervisor, Training academy Commander, Precinct Commander, Deputy Chief of Uniform Patrol and Special Operations, Interim Director of Police Services, and finally Director of Police.

Mike, thank you for your service to our city. Thank you for your counsel and your friendship these last five years. Thank you for the long days and nights you spent helping keep us safe. Thank you for the risks you’ve taken. Thank you for the time away from family, and the sacrifices you’ve made.

During my time as mayor, you have helped to lead us through some of the most difficult times in our city’s history-- the bridge protest in 2016, the civil unrest in 2019, to the protests we experienced most of last summer. You’ve handled some of the most heartbreaking crimes imaginable and counseled grieving families during a crisis. All the while, you were reassuring to the public concerned about their safety and supporting the men and women of the Memphis Police Department.

And not the least, helping us to navigate through this global pandemic—you have always been a trusted advisor.

Your experience, your counsel, your sacrifice, and your kindness will be missed in our city and by me personally.

Thank you again for your service to our community, and may God bless you as you move into the next phase of your life.


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