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.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.