City Council votes to lower Beale Street Bucks price to $5, task force to study program

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A fiery discussion has come to a close, with City Council voting to drop the Beale Street Bucks program's price to $5.

That money is just to cover the security, and City Council will then create a task force to study the concerns this summer.

The program previously charged visitors $10 on summer Saturdays after 10 p.m. In return, patrons received an $8 voucher to be used in the local businesses.

Since Beale Street Bucks started last summer, it's created controversy, and Tuesday's discussion didn't come easily.

Mayor Jim Strickland, who asked City Council to vote against ending the program, said the decision to cut the price "risks public safety and will cost taxpayers money."

Before the full council meeting, a committee discussed it.

Some councilmembers like Joe Brown were concerned about the legality. He said it is illegal for a city to charge a fee to get on a public street.

"We are going to have a full scale investigation. It's illegal," said Brown. "I'm not going to be a part of this. What I'm going to do is take no hit. Not hit from nobody."

The city attorney told the mayor it's legal though.

"Our lawyers told us we have the authority to do it. Memphis in May has been charging for entrance to Riverside Drive for almost 40 years," said Strickland.

The council wants the task force to give a report by September.

No word who will be on that task force.