Memphis City Leaders Hope New Year Brings More Civilized Debates

(Memphis) Dozens sang, prayed, and ate together Wednesday at Memphis City Councilman Myron Lowery’s annual prayer breakfast.

It’s a snapshot of unity that city government leaders say they want to keep in 2014.

“I’m through with the whole whose fault it is. We need to make things better and that includes a better working relationship with the council. I’m going to bend over backwards to make sure that happens,” said Memphis Mayor AC Wharton.

Councilman Chair Jim Strickland says how government runs locally shows a lack of civility.

“I don’t mind disagreements. I don’t mind when people disagree with me. I just don’t think it should be on a personal level. Just make it on the substance and ideas,” said Strickland.

Strickland wants the City Council to start periodically meeting with Shelby County Commission Members, the Shelby County School Board, and state legislators.

But this week, council members will be busy in meetings debating if it’s a good fit for the city to buy AutoZone Park.

“It’s been nonstop negotiations,” said Wharton.

“There’s been a lack of trust between the council and administration. We’re going to have to bridge that trust with open communication,” said Lowery.

This week, the Cardinals organization will be in town to speak with city council members one on one.

Strickland hopes the baseball team can stay in Memphis, but he doesn’t want the ball park to be a burden on taxpayers.

“If the stadium can pay for itself, the money generated can help pay for the city’s investment, then I’d be OK with that,” said Strickland.

The stadium debate will continue over the next coming days, but Wednesday, city leaders were enjoying the holiday and hoping the new year brings better working relationships.

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