Memphis City Budget Hearings

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong began his City Council budget presentation today with good news.

"Eighty recruits will be trained for 21 weeks to become commissioned officers", Armstrong stated during the presentation at City Hall.

More officers come after a decline of 163 officers over the last year.  Armstrong also announced he cut overtime by $758,000.

Council members asked Armstrong a series of questions, including why the budget for Officers in Memphis City Schools (MCS) dropped to zero.  That budget is usually $1 million per year.

Chief Administrative Officer George Little said the $2 million MCS has not paid is being held up in negotiations.  The city wants a $2 million credit on the $57 million courts say the city must spend on schools next year.

Councilman Lee Harris also asked Little about the excessive $118,000 per month cost to house police at 201 Poplar.  Little said the city has been looking at cheaper and bigger locations.

"I honestly think we have outgrown 201 Poplar.  We have not been able to grow at the investigative level because we simply don't have the space for it", said Armstrong.

Councilman Harold Collins questioned why the city low-balled Claims and Lawsuits in the budget.  He said the $750,000 budgeted would cover about two claims and/or lawsuits.  The city averages ten claims and/or lawsuits per year.

Collins suggested Armstrong present a more reasonable number to the City Council.