Some Memphis and Shelby County office holders joined Shelby GOP Chair Justin Joy at last night’s monthly Midtown Republican Club meeting.
Shelby County Commissioner Steve Basar and Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir dropped by to talk to us and update us on their activities.
Basar received thanks for his vote against raising property taxes and fielded some questions about the schools merger. He also brought along a 100 page report on efficiency which he said he was going to look through and find ways of cutting expenses and improving government.
Lenoir, who is up for reelection next year, said the first day on the job he told employees “we have to do more with less” and he would “make cuts with a scalpel, not a chainsaw.” He detailed one such effort: combining city and county mailings, saving taxpayers $125,000.
“One of my big initiatives has been the financial illiteracy here. We’re near the top in bankruptcies and poverty. We host a workshop once a month through Regions bank where we teach basic budgeting to delinquent taxpayers. I tell them that 60% of our property taxes goes to education. Sixty percent of $50 million is $30 million. If we recovered more delinquent taxes, I challenge them to say what would our education system be if we had $30 million more in the budget.”
Lenoir also mentioned the HOME program. It stands for Home Ownership Made Easier. “As trustee I am like the banker for the city. My goal is to improve the financial situation we have here.”