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Mayor Strickland's Weekly Update: April 18, 2019
Weekly Update: Budget specifics, more jobs, working on 5G
Posted on 04/18/2019

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Friends,

We presented our 2019-20 budget proposal Tuesday afternoon. It’s a budget designed to accelerate our ongoing growth, spread it even further across our city, and continue our work to improve core City services.

If you want a deep dive, check out my remarks from Tuesday. As we head into this holiday weekend, though, I’ll share a handful of quick items included in the proposal:

  • A 3 percent pay increase for public safety employees, which add to other raises for them since we took office, and a 1 percent pay increase for all other employees
  • Our fourth consecutive increase in street paving
  • No tax increase
  • Fully funding our pension for the first time since 2006
  • More summer jobs for youth
  • A comprehensive, collaborative plan to connect opportunity youth to our City’s momentum
  • Creation of the Community Catalyst Fund, the City’s first fund dedicated solely to infrastructure improvements in neighborhood anchors
  • Creation of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, the City’s first fund dedicated to ensuring all Memphians have affordable, safe, clean housing
  • Doubling re-entry work through the expansion of the highly successful Manhood University and creation of a similar program for women
  • A new library in Frayser
  • A new fire station in Whitehaven
  • Another $2.5 million for MATA, bringing the total funding increase for local transit since I took office to $5 million

I look forward to working with the City Council to make these a reality.

More jobs: Two local companies — J.M. Smucker and Cleveland Track — are expanding, bringing 76 new, good-paying jobs with benefits to our community. Thanks to these companies for seeing their growth potential in Memphis, and thanks to EDGE staff and the EDGE board for their often under-the-radar work in growing job opportunities in Memphis.

Just last year, you’ll recall, Bloomberg reported that Memphis was the No. 1 metro area for jobs growth when compared to our 10-year average.

It’s coming: If you’re wondering why you’re seeing a sudden surge of “bucket trucks” and utility crews across the city, as well as all of those tubes and wires coming out of the ground near utility poles, I have some answers. This is the necessary pre-work to implement 5G — the latest high-speed internet technology that delivers something like 100 times faster service to your wireless device — throughout our city. In the coming years, you’ll see more and more of these “small cell” radios on existing infrastructure like street light and traffic signal poles.

We’ve been working with MLGW and telecommunications partners for some two years now to ensure that Memphis is at the forefront of this technology, and not lagging behind. We’ll continue to update you on its progress.

Thank you, St. Jude: When I speak to groups, particularly groups visiting from out of town, I brag about how Memphis has changed the world. I’ll start with blues and rock-and-roll, move on to express package delivery, and might even throw in how Memphians revolutionized the grocery and hotel businesses.

But I always — always — end with how we’re continuing to change the world through the life-saving work at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Just this week, we received another reminder of that: A gene therapy developed and produced here in Memphis has led to the cure of a rare, life-threatening disease.

We can’t say it enough: Thank you, St. Jude, for everything you do. Thank you.

Yours,
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