City reveals where $64 million saved in school merger went - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City reveals where $64 million saved in school merger went

(WMC-TV) - When Memphis City Schools and Shelby County Schools merged, $64 million in extra money became available to the city.

For months now, city leaders have been debating where that money should go. On Tuesday, they revealed what that money was approved for.

A bulk of the money went to public safety and to a property tax decrease.

"A $43 million increase in public safety," said Memphis Chief Financial Officer Brian Collins.

Most of money went to police, including 400 new patrol officers.

The rest paid for a $1.05 decrease in property taxes.

Memphis City Councilman Harold Collins held some fire to the administration's feet and asked why 62 percent of the old school money went to public safety.

Collins asked if they think they got return on their investment.

"We absolutely do," answered Memphis' Chief Administrative Officer George Little, who says the latest stats show the crime rate dropped 26 percent since 2008.

"Even in this current fiscal year, the Memphis Police Department was the only division that received a net year over year increase. This mayor has made a very heavy emphasis on public safety," added Little.

Collins hopes the city can find a way to curb crime without spending so much in one place.

The city says it is looking at every avenue.

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