Council to discuss pending vacancies, rapid bus route, TBI investigations

By Updated: October 09, 2018 4:00 AM CT

Memphis City Council members could discuss the process of filling three upcoming vacancies on the body when they meet Tuesday, Oct. 9.

District 1 council member Bill Morrison, who was elected Shelby County Probate Court Clerk in the August elections, submitted his letter of resignation last week effective Nov. 1. He was first elected in 2007 and his appointee will serve to the end of 2019.

“There is no greater responsibility than being the voice of the people you serve and working to fulfill their wishes for a brighter tomorrow,” Morrison wrote in the Oct. 1 letter to council chairman Berlin Boyd. “I can only hope that I served with great vision and focus on that goal.”

The other pending vacancies will be the seats of Janis Fullilove, who was elected Juvenile Court Clerk in the August elections, and Edmund Ford Jr., who was elected to the Shelby County Commission. Fullilove and Ford have 90 days from taking office Sept. 1 before they must give up their city posts.

The council, at some point, will set a deadline for those who want to be considered for the District 1 council. The process for such appointments includes a petition signed by at least 25 voters in the district and proof of residency in the district by the applicant.

The council vacancies could have gone on the November ballot had Morrison, Fullilove or Ford resigned by Aug. 22, the deadline set by the Shelby County Election Commission for getting the special elections on the ballot.

Fullilove and Ford have not indicated when they might give up their council seats.

Ford has said he wants to pursue his proposal for a transportation utility fee while he serving on both the council and commission. He has not made a formal proposal for the fee that would create a revenue stream specifically for city road projects and the Memphis Area Transit Authority. A council committee discusses the idea Tuesday at an 8:45 a.m. committee session.

Ford has said he is open to a compromise on the fee.

Council members also discuss $300,000 in capital funding to improve traffic signals at the Central Avenue and North Cooper Street intersection. More discussion also is expected on a call for state legislation that would automatically turn over all police shootings to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The TBI currently investigates fatal police shooting under a memorandum of understanding with Memphis police, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and the Shelby County District Attorney General’s office.

The council meets at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St. Follow the meeting @bdriesdm for live coverage and updates from committee sessions earlier in the day.

On the council agenda is a resolution that would create dedicated bus lanes on Second Street and B.B. King Boulevard between Union Avenue and A.W. Willis Boulevard, as part of a bus rapid transit route between Downtown and the University of Memphis. Poplar Avenue and Union Avenue would be the east-west corridors for the route, but neither would feature lanes of traffic specifically limited to buses. The bus rapid transit concept emphasizes fewer stops and more frequency on the route.

In committee discussions last month, council members had a lot of questions about how the bus lanes would work and the impact they would have specifically on curbside parking on Second and B.B. King.

The council also votes Tuesday on $25 million in funding for the expansion of the South Plant of the city Public Works Division.

And the council also votes on $500,000 in capital funding for the Memphis Heritage Trail project, an interactive set of historical monuments and markers highlighting the history of the South City redevelopment area south of FedExForum and into South Memphis.

The Heritage Trail effort was launched in April with the formal opening of the restored Universal Life Insurance Building on the northeast corner of Danny Thomas Boulevard and Martin Luther King Avenue.

In planning and development items, the council votes Tuesday on a 17-lot single family residential development and church by New Bellevue Baptist Church and Apple Partners on 4.6 acres at 627 N. Trezevant St. The Land Use Control Board has recommended the council reject the planned development.

The council also considers plans for a U-Haul moving and storage facility at 3201 Austin Peay Highway, southwest of Coleman Road at what had been a Super K-Mart store. The U-Haul facility includes indoor and outdoor self-storage as well as truck rental and display.

The council is also expected to set an Oct. 23 date for a public hearing and vote on an appeal of the Land Use Control Board’s decision to approve a request by Covenant Brothers LLC to expand a two-lot residential development into three lots on less an acre on the northeast corner of Meadowcrest Cove and White Station Road.



Memphis City Council Bill Morrison Memphis Area Transit Authority New Bellevue Baptist Church
Bill Dries

Bill Dries

Bill Dries covers city government and politics. He is a native Memphian and has been a reporter for more than 40 years.

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