Governor Concerned With Memphis Spending

(Memphis) If the state of Tennessee was a business, Memphis would be its largest branch, so the success of the state depends on Memphis.

Governor Bill Haslam said Tuesday he’s concerned about how Memphis is borrowing money.

A few months ago, the Tennessee state comptroller warned the city it’s borrowing too much money, but Mayor A C Wharton wants the city council to approve even more debt — a $25 million loan to buy AutoZone Park.

“The health of the city of Memphis as well as the health of the economy of the entire Mid-South is vitally important to us,” said Haslam.

City council members say they have their own concerns and brought them to the governor.

One problem is more than 10,000 untested rape kits.

WREG first told you about the ignored evidence three years ago.

At the time, the city did nothing.

Now it’s asking the governor for help.

“I’ve had a couple of city council folks actually here today at the lunch bring that up and ask me to look into it,” said Haslam.

Haslam set up a meeting set with Department of Safety Commissioner Bill Gibbons to look into the city’s handling of rape evidence.

Gibbons is a former District Attorney General for the Memphis area, and was on watch when a lot of those kits went untested.

The governor also heard about the city’s pension problems.

The fund is hundreds of millions of dollars short, and even with council members saying they don’t trust the mayor, Haslam says he trusts them.

“I also have a lot of faith in the local leadership here to address those issues and whether it be the long term issue of the pension and those things…I think the leadership understands we have to address those things,” said Haslam.

Gov. Haslam says the state has its own budget challenges, so there is no way it can come in and help the city out financially.

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