Property taxes, voluntary buyouts, layoffs to top city council's - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Property taxes, voluntary buyouts, layoffs to top city council's agenda

(WMC-TV) - Higher property taxes, voluntary buyouts, and hundreds of layoffs will all be on the table when the City of Memphis' budget battle reaches a fever pitch at city hall.

The city council committee meetings start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. The regular meeting of the city council will begin at 3:30 p.m.

The city's top decision makers will hash out a plan to bring Memphis back from the brink of financial crisis, or else the state will be forced to swoop in and do it for them. That is why a possible budget vote is so critical.

The city council has to pass a final version of its budget by June 30. That is just 12 days from now. So far, it has been a fight to find a solution.

Here is what Memphis Mayor A C Wharton is proposing in his strategic five year plan:

  • 400 layoffs
  • The elimination of college incentive and longevity pay
  • Fewer paid leave days
  • Higher medical premiums
  • Cuts to insurance for retirees

After sending three warning letters to city leaders, the state's comptroller's office advises that leaders focus on long term issues such as debt and health care.

Also up for debate is a property tax rate hike, exemptions for certain drivers from motor vehicle emissions tests, and the controversial plan to change trash collection schedules.

The latter involves two separate proposals. The first would allow a private company to handle the city's waste services, saving the city $15 million per year. But doing so would cut several waste services and employees. The other proposal would keep collection in the city's hands and save $5.4 million per year, but that would also mean a cut to services and employees.

If services are privatized, the rate for collection would be less than $17 per month. Trash pickups would happen every other week or once per month. Bulk collection could be up to three times per year and the company could open yard waste collection facilities.

If the city maintains responsibility for collections, residents would pay the same rate as they do now, but services would be limited to every other week. Trash collected from outside the garbage bins would happen three times per year and curbside collection of bulk items would be limited to once every four months.

Action News 5 will be in the city council meeting Tuesday afternoon to bring you the latest on what is being discussed, and whether the council will vote.

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