Memphis City Council delays charter commission vote by three weeks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On Tuesday, Memphis City Council members discussed the possibility of forming a charter commission to explore the proposed metro government consolidation.

A vote on a resolution to create the commission was ultimately delayed by three weeks. Proponents of consolidation say it could help with economic growth. 

There are a lot varying of opinions on this issue, and the council set to revisit it again in three weeks. 

Council member JB Smiley is in favor of exploring the option of consolidation.

“I think what this body should be doing is exploring ideas.”  Smiley continued, “I think we should have conversations and good dialogue going back and forth and I think this is a situation where reasonable minds can disagree.”

Memphis City Council members spent much of Tuesday morning talking about a resolution to create a charter commission. That commission would be made up of city representatives and county representatives.

The group would then have nine months to create a charter submission for the voters.

Councilman Chase Carlisle says creating the commission is driven by state statue. 

“You can’t do anything until you affirmatively take a step that says we’re willing to explore this idea by forming a charter commission that will spend nine months hashing out what is in the best interest,” Council member Carlisle said. “They’ll have experts, they’ll have attorneys involved that are constitutional attorneys, economics advisors, grassroots, neighbors, community charrettes, engaging the people with what they want. I can tell you what they don’t want is the status quo.”

Other members aren’t so sure about the effort.  Council member Martavius Jones is skeptical.

“I have been a past supporter of this consolidation between the city and the county, in the past,” Jones said. “But as I’ve looked at things now and being on this body, my question now is how does this benefit Memphis? It may be more beneficial for those who live outside of Shelby County.”

The Shelby County Commission would need to have their own, separate, similar resolution as well if this process is to move forward.

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