Shelby County Mayor delivers State of the County remarks, says financial health of county is, “strong”

MEMPHIS, Tenn.-- Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell delivered his final state of the county address Tuesday afternoon.

Luttrell made his remarks to the Rotary club, surrounded by the historic walls of the Clayborn Temple, that played a significant role in the Civil Rights movement.

Luttrell announced the financial state of the county is strong, saying one of his proudest achievements as mayor was cutting public debt from $1.8 billion to just under $1 billion.

However he also talked about the opioid epidemic, education, crime, poverty and criminal justice reform.

Met with a standing ovation for his final state of the county Luttrell discussed the state of the county, talking jobs.

Saying the county unemployment rate is under 4% but acknowledged struggles like economic diversification, creating high wage jobs.

"Building a more diverse economy with higher wage jobs will require more emphasis on the science, technology and engineering and the mass focused education and creative work force," said Luttrell.

He talked about the crisis we’re seeing not just in Shelby County but across the country with the opioid epidemic, saying over the last few years we’ve lost than 500 citizens to epidemic.

"This is why with the help of so many community partners and stakeholders have devised a multi-faceted plan to address this epidemic by way of: 1) public education and awareness; 2) training and tools for employees so that they in turn can train their employees.”

A third facet is legal recourse.

Luttrell also discussed criminal justice reform and education, telling the crowd our problems with poverty and crime rest within education.

"We all bare responsibility, as parents, as teachers, as elected officials, taxpayers and the faith-based community.”

County Commissioner Willie Brooks said proper funding for education and economic development are big issues the county must focus on as we look ahead but also talked about opioids.

There’s been back and forth between and the mayor and the commission over the last few months over suing big pharmaceutical companies.

"The mayor is coming to the county commission in the near future with a presentation as to which we will look at it and see how well we can collaborate and make sure it is addressing the opioid issues we face in our county," said Brooks.