Weekly Update

weekly update header

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Bookmark and Share



There are two challenges in this job that are a constant source of frustration for me, and I definitely know they are for you—high grass and litter.


But, I wanted to talk about them today to point out that it’s a little more complicated than simply cutting the grass and picking up litter.

As I’ve said publicly many times, our city budget is tight. In the charts below, you will see that, unfortunately, both cutting grass and picking up litter aren’t cheap.

For grass cutting, I outlined cutting the current estimated inventory of private lots (these are lots that have been cited by code enforcement and/or are in the land bank for tax sale) every month from March through October versus twice per season which our current budget allows.


Additionally, the next chart demonstrates what we’re doing now and what it would cost to clean litter from all 2,459 center lane miles once compared to six times per year instead of the limited areas (332 center lane miles are streets with medians, i.e. North and South Parkway) we cover due to budgetary constraints. I also provided a reduced 85 percent cost since it’s possible we might get a lower cost if we offered such a large contract opportunity. Even at the 85 percent, the cost is still prohibitive.

grass 2

(As a side note on litter—in next year’s budget, we will add a dedicated unit of 17 staff members and equipment to our environmental enforcement department. This group will be tasked to focus exclusively on cleaning up illegal dumping sites that plague our city.)

I wanted to share the two charts above with you to make two points:

  1. The magnitude of properties and lane miles involved.
  2. We have limited resources, and if we’re to increase the level of service, that funding will have to come through reductions to other areas of city government and/or some type of a tax increase.

I understand both high grass and litter are frustrating because they frustrate me. But, I want you to know we’re doing everything we can with the resources we have at our disposal.

Thank you for your service: Since 2018, Rosalyn Willis has led the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and will be stepping down at the end of this month.


During her time there, Ms. Willis led the extension of the Uptown TIF (tax increment financing) to parts of North Memphis that desperately needed resources to address ongoing neglect. In 2018, New Chicago, Bickford, and Smokey City were added to the Uptown TIF District and a new Binghampton TIF was launched. Willis initiated an investment of more than $7 million into 50 new homes and major renovations for 70+ owner occupied homes in the district, making affordable housing a reality for old and new neighbors alike.


Ms. Willis’ work has led and supported much of Memphis’ affordable housing including: Uptown Square, the Metropolitan, Legends Park, Cleaborn Pointe, University Place, McKinley Park and most recently South City (a $210 million transformation of former Foote Homes).


As she moves into the next chapter of her life, we sincerely thank her and wish her the best in her future endeavors.


Mr. Strickland goes to Washington: This week I traveled to Washington D.C. for two days of meetings with administration and legislative leaders. While in town, I met with Congressmen Kustoff and Cohen, Senator Wicker’s (MS) staff, Senator Boozman (AR), Julie Rodriguez and Gabe Amo with White House Intergovemental Affairs.


white house


Additionally, I briefly met House Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer (MD) and Congressman James Clyburn (SC); had a lengthy meeting about the bipartisan infrastructure act with Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President and Infrastructure Coordinator; and, Chris Keuleman, vice president, Global Government Relations, International Paper.


As I have written in this space before, Memphis does not receive its fair share of Community Development Block Grant funding. Building bipartisan support to finally fix the CDBG formula was a topic in many of my meetings. You can see the disparity in the chart below.



Another topic of discussion in my meetings was the Andrew J. Young Safeguarding the Mississippi River Together Act (or the SMRT Act for short ). The purpose of this act is to help sustain one of the nation’s most important natural resources—the Mississippi River.


This legislation is designed to set the stage for management of the Mississippi River region from corridor (10 states) to basin (31 states) focusing on ecological integrity, environmental services, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and navigation.


All in all, it was a very productive trip to our nation’s capitol, and I always enjoy getting the chance to share our Memphis story with those who may not be familiar.


Enjoy your weekend!




Mayor's signature