Memphis City Council to discuss 2013 fiscal year budget - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council to discuss 2013 fiscal year budget

(WMC-TV) - As the City of Memphis heads into the next fiscal year with a $47 million budget shortfall, Mayor A C Wharton has promised no more salary cuts for city employees.

Days after releasing the City of Memphis 2013 budget hearing schedule, Wharton met with union leaders over the weekend.

"The meetings we had this weekend were very productive," said Wharton.

Labor talks will be a hot topic, as the mayor and city council decide what must stay, what must go and what needs reform.

The pension board has already cut off line of duty disability for some retirees under review, including former MPD officer and State Representative Curry Todd.

The council plans to revisit employee buyout discussions in the next budget cycle.

Wharton is keeping details of his union pow wow close to the vest.

"Just communicating," he said.  "That's key."

Wharton did reiterate a promise.

"I will not be proposing and will oppose any efforts to cut the employees' salaries anymore," said Wharton.

Last year, the mayor slashed city salaries 4.6 percent, combined divisions, cut jobs and froze hiring.  With the slow housing rebound, gas prices creeping closer to $5 per gallon, and some recent financial emergencies, the city is facing an even tighter budget in 2013.

To make ends meet, the council recently voted to dip into reserves and cut grants to the tune of $13 million.  That means little to no wiggle room in the coming fiscal year to maintain the city's bond rating.

This week, the council will discuss Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs).  The city foregoes tens of millions of dollars each year to offer PILOTs incentives to companies that agree to call Memphis home.  The council wants to study if PILOTs offer good economic and job creation return.

The city's budget hearing schedule indicates which issues need extra attention.  Most discussions are 15 minutes, but they have scheduled two hours each to talk about General Services and Parks, an hour and a half each to talk about Police and Engineering, and one hour and 15 minutes to talk about Human Resources.

"These are rough times," said Wharton.  "This will be another rough budget year."

Budget talks begin April 28 and wrap up May 22.  The 2013 fiscal year begins July 1.

To see the full schedule for budget talks, click here.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly