Weekly Update

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Someone is giving these out. It is not Memphis City Government. It is not the Memphis Police Department or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department.

get out

It appears that it is multiple people within the criminal court system at 201 Poplar and the Juvenile Court.  And what’s worse—the bad guys know it, and they are encouraged to keep committing crimes.

Here are a couple of examples.  First, check this week’s news stories highlighting violent offenders quickly released on low bonds.

Second, as I have written multiple times, Memphis police are arresting hundreds of people for car theft and theft from cars, but the court systems are not keeping or punishing the criminals. For instance, in 2022, MPD arrested over 1,600 for these crimes and have already arrested 592 people from January through April of 2023. Many of them are armed with guns and most of them are (1) never accepted by jail or immediately released from jail and (2) never sentenced to prison.

The reason we do not know exactly who is responsible for this “Revolving Door” is that the court systems are not transparent.  Nine weeks ago, I sent the decision makers at 201 Poplar a letter asking them to post every bond form and sentencing form online so the public could see who were making these decisions.

To date, I have not received any response. In the near future, I will begin a process to bring some light to this area. More to come on this.

A matter of patience: A couple weeks back, I presented my final proposed budget as mayor to city council. Just like we have done every budget during my tenure, this budget did not include a property tax increase. We have been fortunate (through sound fiscal management and by making tough financial decisions) to maintain our tax rate for the last 7+ years.

Why did I not present a tax increase in my FY24 budget? The answer is simple—we don’t need one.

For the first time in 50 years our population is growing, and this is the longest stretch in recent history without raising taxes. Memphians don’t want an increase, and from a competitive standpoint, we can’t afford an increase. We already have the highest combined (city and county) property tax rate in Tennessee. See below for a comparison of the 2022 property tax rate for the big four cities across our state.


We don’t need to raise your taxes.

As you may remember, Memphians voted in 2019 for a .5 percent sales tax increase that is dedicated to fund public safety, street maintenance and improvements, and Pre-kindergarten. This increase generates roughly $75 million in tax revenue each year, and we are spending that money as you directed.

Furthermore, and many of you probably are not aware or won’t remember this, but in July of 2026—three years away—City government will experience a dramatic reduction in our annual debt service payments by roughly $50 million a year. You read that correctly--$50 million a year back to the general fund.

Another reason we shouldn’t raise your city taxes—Shelby County Government is strongly considering doubling the county wheel tax from $50 to $100 to help cover the cost of construction for renovations at Regional One.

A story of innovation: Yesterday, I had the opportunity to be a part of something special. I was at the ribbon-cutting for the expansion of Dextrous Robotics in Midtown.

Dextrous Robotics' unique technology allows package logistics, 3PLs, warehousing, and retail customers to autonomously and precisely move packages and objects of nearly any size, shape, or material with superhuman strength and speed. With its first product, DX-1, the company is addressing automation of bulk container unloading ($150B/year market). Dextrous is scheduled for several customer trials in the coming months. Click "See DX-1" on the homepage of Dextrous Robotics to see the robot in action.

Memphis has a strong history of entrepreneurship and innovation, and Dextrous Robotics will only add to our story. We’re so lucky to have them here, and I’m excited about the bright future I know they will have.

Summer in Memphis (SIM): As we get closer to summer, check out this guide to the many free amenities that the City of Memphis offers.  SIM has many activities, programs, and scheduled events available at our libraries, parks, and community centers to keep our young people active and engaged through the summer months.

Be safe and enjoy your weekend!


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