MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - In just two days, the facts and figures about Memphis annexing a chunk of east Shelby County have gone from decent, to fair, to 'what happened?'
Originally, Memphis City Council members were told that there were 50,000 people living in the area. That number dropped to around 25,000, and has since dropped again to just over 17,000.
Earlier this week in Nashville, legislation was introduced specifically aimed at not letting the city annex this area. Now, city council members are saying the whole process is bordering on being out of control.
Be honest. How many of you had ever heard of Fisherville before this week, or even knew it was in Shelby County, or that Memphis officials wanted to make it part of the city? That all changed when State Senator Mark Norris and others introduced a plan to stop the city from taking Fisherville and other areas of Shelby County, even though people thought it was a swell idea back in 1998.
"It may very well be that we reconvene the committee that met in 1998 that established the annexation area," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. "If that is something we need to do then we will certainly consider."
When members of the city council were told that 50,000 people lived in the area, Councilman Jim Strickland said, "Well, when they said 50,000 the other day I thought that was too much because that area was very rural. I didn't think that figure was correct."
He was right; they were wrong. There are around 17,000 people in that area. Strickland said it's not enough to even fool with, when you figure how much the city would have to spend.
"You've got to put in curbs and gutters and street lights. I don't want to spend our resources out in the suburbs when they're needed in the inner city."
There are others who say the council needs to move forward just to protect themselves. There is a feeling among some of council members, as well as Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, that legislators in Nashville need to get the Memphis message: city business is none of their business.
"Of course, this may never happen. But the proposal should never have happened in the first place," stated Councilman Myron Lowery.
State Senator Mark Norris of Collierville has agreed to put his bills on hold for now. He wants to hear what the Attorney General has to say, and so do a lot of people trying to slow down a speeding legislative locomotive.