Talk of tax hikes in city budget battle - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Talk of tax hikes in city budget battle

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

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC-TV) - Memphis City Council budget talks have one council member talking about tax increases.

With a court order requiring the City of Memphis to pay $57 million to city schools, the city council is facing some tough decisions.

"We're about two-thirds of the way through the budget and we've only cut a six million dollars," said city councilman Jim Strickland.

He says the threat of a tax cut is looming because council members can't seem to agree on what cuts to make.

"I think the public needs to get ready and hold onto their wallets because they're going to get a big tax increase," said Strickland. 

Although Strickland is against a tax increase, he says that at this rate, there's no other way to find $57 million to pay for schools.

Councilman Harold Collins says budget talks have led him to believe the city administration is top-heavy.

"We have an enormous amount of what I call upper management positions when there is significant need for workers," he said.

And Collins says a recent move to close pools and golf courses because of a shortage of managers has left him feeling skeptical.

"They have hired other people in other positions in the parks division that I would not consider critical, and that is disappointing to me," he said.  

Strickland says cutting employee pay raises would cut $11 million from the budget, but the majority of the council doesn't agree.

"What I'd want to cut are the three percent raises to the employees because it doesn't effect the services to the public," Strickland said.

Council members say they expect long nights ahead to bring the entire council, the city administration and 13 divisions to an agreement.

The council must complete their budget by the middle of June.


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