Even though it gives me a tormenting itch to think of numbers or balance budgets or try to figure out what is in my escrow account or what an escrow account actually is (and don't ask my mortgage company because they seem to understand it less than I do), I think I have some serious ideas to get the city of Memphis out of this budget dilemma before those Neanderthals up in Middle and East Tennessee try to come down here and take over. With all due respect to Mayor A C Wharton, probably the best mayor of a city this size in the country, I want to just toss these out there.
1. Toll Gates. I even paid at a toll gate one time to get into the state of Oklahoma, where they should have paid me to visit, so I think we need to start charging people coming into Memphis from Arkansas, Mississippi, Tipton County, and Fayette County unless, of course, they are hot. Hot people are always welcome.
But not the people who work in Memphis and make all their money here but choose to live outside the city so their kids don't have to go to school with black kids and they don't have to pay Memphis city and Shelby County property taxes. I have to pay those, and quite a bit I might add, on my palatial Midtown home with one bathroom and no dishwasher, so they should have to pay to come into Memphis, even if it's only $1 each time they cross the border. If you live in, say, Southaven, and you want to come to Beale Street or a Grizzlies game for a night on the town, shell out. It's worth it.
Think about 20,000 people a day paying $1 to come into the city every day. That's $7,300,000 a year. I think. Someone check that for me. That would cut the grass at a lot of parks.
2. All churches that don't offer significant social welfare services to those less fortunate should pay property taxes. If there are churches that exist in Memphis that don't help the homeless, the hungry, the infirm, or others in need, tax the crap out of them like any other business.
3. Put cop cars every half-mile along Southern Avenue between Highland and where it turns into McLemore Avenue near Bellevue. The speed limit along Southern is 35 miles per hour. I drive that way to work and back every day, going the speed limit, and every single day my life is jeopardized by people who whiz by me going 80 miles per hour. It happened again this morning. Someone with a Superior Bonding company sticker on the car whizzed past me going at least 60. I got stuck behind it at a train track and managed to read the sticker, which gave the address as 199 "Fouth" Street and listed the zip code as 38013 instead of the correct 38103 zip. When I did a Google search to verify the address, it took me to the company's Facebook page, where there were all sorts of posts inviting people to come to that address to become bounty hunters and members of their street team. I think I'd get my stickers straight before I started trying to stick it to someone skipping court. But I digress.
Let's say the average cost of a speeding ticket is $150 and, at a minimum, 5,000 people drive down Southern speeding, which is EVERY person who drives down it, except me. That's $750,000 a day or $273,750,000 a year (I think). DAMN. I don't know how short the city till is but that's not chump change just to fine people for breaking the law by which they are supposed to biding anyway. Go for this idea!
4. In light of her recent deposition in a racial discrimination lawsuit and her admission that she used the "N word," let's bring TV chef Paula Deen to town and allow people to dunk her country ass in a giant tank of hot melted butter at $10 a pop. Nah, make it $20. It would be worth it. If 50,000 people lined up to dunk her, that would generate $1,000,000 (I think) that could go toward anti-obesity programs in the schools. And guarantee probably that we would never see her again. AND it could be done in one of the newly renamed parks to piss off all the people who agree that she said nothing wrong.
5. Finally, and I'm stopping here so I can call this my "Five-Point Budget Reconciliation Plan," the city should fine people who post comments on this paper's and other papers' websites using incorrect grammar. Yes, this is a pet peeve of mine, and it is so rampant that if the city charged people for every time they posted something full of obvious grammatical mistakes, we'd be the richest city in the United States and could finally secede as a sovereign metropolis and go about our merry way without thought to the rest of the state, which by and large doesn't like Memphis, ignores Memphis, or is afraid to come to Memphis.
Now, where is my consulting fee?