Memphis leaders address budget issues

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council started its budgetary meeting Tuesday.

The meeting is focused on how the city will pay its school debt and that could mean cut services or higher taxes.

The proposed budget by Memphis City Schools shows 117 fewer personnel. The schools told the state this week they will have 70 fewer teachers next year.

The new district will also not have the benefit of city dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Kriner Cash says the Transition Planning Commission for the merged school system faces a much bigger challenge when a $68 million maintenance of effort payment is no longer required to city schools.

"The challenge is, this is just the beginning for this new district. The TPC, they're just getting to the point where we knew they would get. You've got great hiding principals, innovative ideas for the new district, but now how are you going to pay for them?" said MCS Supt. Dr. Kriner Cash.

The council committee moved to send MCS's proposed $902 million budget for a final vote at the next meeting.

City workers could face a sharp rise in the cost of health insurance and you could see libraries, community centers, and a golf course shut down.

In the current budget year, the city delayed an increase in premium payments that caused a $3 million shortfall.

Now, some parks and libraries are in jeopardy of closing.

Though health care costs increased, the city gave employees reprieve, after the 4.6 percent pay cut.

We spoke to city leaders about this the first time it came up earlier this month.

"To come back and say we're going to raise premiums to put the plan back in balance at the same time seemed to be a bit much," said George Little, Memphis Chief Administrative Officer.

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