Council member proposes nixing employee pay raises - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Council member proposes nixing employee pay raises

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Follow us on Twitter

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Forget that three percent raise for Memphis employees - a Memphis City Council member says there's no way it's going to happen.

Memphis City Councilman Kemp Conrad says city employee pay raises are inappropriate right now.

According to Conrad, businesses are not giving raises and the government should do the same.

"If we lose the cases in court with the schools, it's effectively a $57M tax increase on the citizens of Memphis," Conrad said Tuesday.

That's because earlier this year, the City Council voted to cut the property tax rate by cutting school funding from the city budget.  Then, Memphis City schools sued.

After the Council voted down school funding, Mayor Willie Herenton presented a budget that does not include the $57 million for schools.

But the mayor did include a three percent pay raise for city employees.

"A three percent pay raise right now is out of line with all the taxpayers that are funding the city government," Conrad said Tuesday.

In comes Conrad's proposal, unanimously approved by the Council during Monday's budget hearing.  The proposal calls for the administration to present a budget without the pay raise.

"If you combine the five percent last year and the three percent this year, that's $28 million," he said. "That's half of the shortfall right there."

Conrad said his plan would accomplish two things:

"A. That we're our tax rate is as low as possible and B. That we're investing in our children starting at a very early age, so that we can eventually grow ourselves out of this crisis," he said.

The council is now asking the mayor to come back with a budget that includes full funding for Memphis City Schools.

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