After budget battle, Memphis mayor says future is uncertain - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

After budget battle, Memphis mayor says future is uncertain

(WMC-TV) – It is the calm after the storm at the Memphis city hall. A contentious budget battle is over and the mayor said the aftermath is full of uncertainty.

"Well, first of all, we've got a budget and a tax rate. We can move on," said Mayor A C Wharton.

It was not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement.

"We're running a lot on faith and luck right now, hoping everything will go well. That's a heck of a way to run a city," said the mayor.

In a marathon meeting Tuesday night, the city council passed a budget that veered away from several of Wharton recommendations.

"It's not a matter of whether the council wins or whether I win, the people win," he said.

The mayor says there will be no stand-off with the school district this year because the funding is in the budget. Plus, there is a property tax decrease.

But Wharton said it may cause issues in the future.

"Property values are going to go down with the re-appraisal. There's no question about it. The only question is how much will it go down," said Mayor Wharton.

The budget dips into reserves. Wharton says the city must find ways to re-build those funds.

He is already pushing for a half-cent sales tax increase.

He said the budget cycle was merely a light-hearted affair compared to what lies ahead.

"If you look at things to come down the road, this year was sort of a skirmish before the real battles begin," said Wharton.

He said his budget proposal, which included a tax increase, was made in good faith regarding what he thought was best for the city.

Mayor Wharton said the upcoming fiscal years 2014 through 2018 will be rough.

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