City Budget FY2012 - Money for the Riverfront?

The Daily News reports Memphis is $22.7M in the hole with another $60M in red-ink from 2007. City Council budget wrap-up is underway with no concensus on cuts or tax increases. And the new budget year (2012) starts July 1.

The "Commercial Appeal" reported $75.6 Million was spent on the riverfront during the past 10 years; $71.8M of that was taxpayer money. In the past, Riverfront Development Corporation (RDC) was treated like an official City department when it came to the budget. That's no longer the case, but there is money in the operating budget for RDC, and it's unclear if a complex deal with Great American Steamboat Co. puts more public money into their Beale Street Landing project.

FY 2012 Operating Budget:
The proposed City operating budget includes $2.3M for RDC. It's a 1-year extension to a 10 year management contract signed by Mayor Herenton with the RDC back in 2000. City funding for RDC was supposed to decrease after 5 years and to have reached 0 by this past year, but the contract was amended in 2005 and annual payments to the RDC continued. Under the City/RDC management contract, the RDC receives the City payment plus all income from riverfront parks including Mud Island and lease and rental fees from Memphis in May, Memphis Yacht Club, and Memphis Riverboats.

FY 2012 Capital Improvement Project (CIP) Budget:

There is no direct additional money in the long-range CIP budget for the RDC. Last year's 2011 budget approved additional funding to finish Beale Street Landing, bringing the total for that public project to roughly $33M, but it did not include $6.9M for the project's "pod" landscaping design. It is unclear exactly how a recent deal between a new steamboat company, a $9M loan from Housing and Community Development, and anticipated private investment of $15.5M will affect Beale Street Landing, which under the arrangement is to become the homeport for a refurbished overnight riverboat.

UPDATE: City Council added $9.75M to the CIP budget on May 17th to pay for the "pod" and zigzag concrete walkways at Beale Street Landing. Previously unfunded and estimated to cost $6.9M, $3M was added to make the walkways ADA accessible.

The $9.75M is to be paid by City general obligation bonds and will add roughly $880,000 a year to future City operating budgets.