That $100 million

The topic was the land bridge, and the room was packed. So many attended the League of Women Voters meeting Monday night, they had to bring in more chairs.

At the end of the program, someone in the audience asked how much of the $100 million earmarked for the RDC in the 2003 budget has been spent on the Public Promenade phase of the Master Plan and on the land bridge.

Mr. Lendermon referred this question to Rick Masson, who had served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer in the Herenton administration and who is now a vice-chairman of the RDC board.

Mr. Masson seemed mystified and said he didn't know anything about $100 million in the CIP budget.

We think we can help solve the puzzle.

The person who posed the question was apparently talking about the following paragraph in Mayor Herenton's Fiscal Year 2003 Budget Address, which can be found at this link (as a PDF file):

Memphians will soon see our riverfront begin to take shape ultimately becoming a beautiful, vibrant public entertainment and activity district worthy of international acclaim. The five year CIP [Capital Improvemants Plan] includes $100 million for Riverfront development, of which $32 million is in City General Obligation Bonds. [emphasis added]

Let's do some quick math: $100 million over five years is $20 million a year. We have seen the RDC's own cash flow projections (dated January, 2003) and those documents talk about the RDC receiving $20 million a year for ten years ($200 million) -- money expected to be derived from "public sources" to help pay for the construction of the land bridge and other components of the Master Plan.


We report, you decide.