Commissioners want EDGE board funding from Memphis - Mid-South News, Weather, Traffic and Sports | FOX13

Commissioners want EDGE board funding from Memphis

Posted: Updated:
  • Commissioners want EDGE board funding from MemphisMore>>

  • Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Get FOX13 Breaking News on your mobile device

    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
    Get breaking news alerts on your mobile device direct from the FOX13 news desk. On average, you could get as many as three to five alerts on a busy day, as the news merits. Just fill out the form below
DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It was supposed to be a joint agreement but a majority of Shelby County commissioners now want to force the city of Memphis to come up with its share of funding for the EDGE Board.

Irate commissioners allege the city reneged on a written agreement to pay a full $7.5 million for the operational needs of the joint agency that promotes economic development.

It's rare these days when nearly all county commissioners can rally together behind one issue. But, anytime a subject arises where commissioners can rail about their "slow paying" colleagues in Memphis city government it presents an opportunity to fire off volleys of unbridled venom.

Sometimes even the most sophisticated of politicians can, on rare occasions, find himself or herself involuntarily drug through the muck and mire of governmental infighting. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell was the wrong man in the wrong place, as peeved commissioners considered a resolution by Mike Ritz to hold up appointments made by the Memphis city administration to the jointly financed economic development growth engine.

In declaring the city had reneged on a written deal to pay  their half, $7.5 million derived from the joint sale of the former  Defense Depot two years ago, Commissioner Ritz denounced Mayor Luttrell after he stated he'd reached a "handshake agreement" with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton to allow the city to make periodic payments due to its cash-strapped situation.
 
"If it's the administration's position, you position, professionally and elected official, that you have authority to do whatever you want to in spite of this agreement, I think we got a big problem. A real big problem!," Commissioner Ritz said.

"We can't put taxpayers money out there and not have some type of oversight," Commissioner Terry Roland said. "What I mean by oversight, make sure both entities, the city and the county, are both playing fair, are, you know what I'm saying, funding the thing equally."

However, Mayor Luttrell didn't recoil from the verbal tongue-lashing delivered by Commissioner Ritz. He rebutted Ritz's attack by questioning the commissioner's motives for bringing up the payment issue now rather than earlier.

"As the chairman of the county commission, you never once approached me about this, never once. Never once," Mayor Luttrell said. "You approached Mr. Kennedy. I am the mayor. You're the chairman of the county commission. You never once brought this to my attention that it was a concern to you."

Later in the afternoon, Mayor Luttrell's economic development "partner," Mayor Wharton showed little regard for the news Commissioner Ritz's resolution sailed through committee despite Luttrell's objection to its passage. He was more concerned with how it would be looked at by potential businesses considering Memphis as a location.

"I do believe that is a joint charter," Mayor Wharton said. "Unless we agreed to that, it's null and void. We should deport ourselves in a manner that projects a good and positive image to the world. Anything that injects uncertainty into that is very damaging."

Click here to leave a comment on our Facebook page
Click here to comment on our Twitter

Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices