Shelby Co. Commission committee deadlocks on property tax rate - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Shelby Co. Commission committee deadlocks on property tax rate

(WMC-TV) - The Shelby County Commission is deadlocked on the new property tax rate. But, the debate that yielded no result was, nonetheless, spirited.

The mayor's $4.38 property tax rate failed last week. A commission committee met Wednesday to compromise, but the issue remains in a state of purgatory.

The meeting began with Commissioner Terry Roland's proposal to cut $4.6 million from the county budget to ease the tax hike.

"We could cut $2.3 million from county government and $2.3 million from schools," said Roland.

"The school system is cut to the marrow. It's passed the bone," said Commissioner Melvin Burgess. "$19 million were cut from the central office. We're talking about 300 jobs of people we laid off. How much can the schools take?"

The mayor said the law will not allow more school cuts.

"We really are not empowered to take money back from the schools," said Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

Commissioner Walter Bailey called commissioners against the tax hike "obstructionists".

"Whimsicalness and capriciousness is what it is," he said. "Which just borders on irresponsibility."

"It's probably pretty easy to pontificate from your gated community on the river, telling the rest of the county to suck it up in their homes and suck it up in their businesses and pay more taxes," said Commissioner Wyatt Bunkner.

The commission voted down Roland's $4.32 tax rate proposal.

"This is our fourth committee meeting and three commission meetings," added Commissioner Steve Basar.

Another proposal on a $4.02 tax rate failed. Then, the original $4.38 tax rate failed again. The two-hour debate ended with no resolution.

Commissioners must set the tax rate no later than the third Monday in July. They may ask the state for an extension.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.
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