Memphis City Council approves operating budget

(WMC-TV) – A marathon Memphis City Council meeting ends with the approval of an operating budget that includes a tax decrease.

Council members have been at work since early this morning. The budget debate ongoing for five or six hours before a plan was finally approved by a slim 7-6 vote.

Harold Collins presented the winning plan which includes a property tax decrease using money from the city's reserves and trust fund. Approved amendments included defunding a highly publicized speed light camera program, though it would have reportedly made the city some $700,000 a year.

In defending his plan, Collins told his colleagues approving anything with a tax increase would be disastrous.

"Everybody in this room knows appraisals aren't going to be where they need to be next year, so it would be Memphis suicide to pass a budget with a hole bigger than we can't get out of," Collins said.

The council heard from a number of citizens before the budget vote, several of whom urged them to make even deeper cuts.

Earlier Tuesday night, the council also approved a capital improvement budget which included the addition of $800,000 for city parks.

Meanwhile, an effort to cut $2 million in city funding for the rehab of the old Chisca Hotel failed.

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