Memphians could pay for suburban high school construction - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphians could pay for suburban high school construction

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Shelby County lawmakers say the two tax rates are unfair. Others say the suburbs are trying to lay their old school debt on the shoulders of Memphis taxpayers. Shelby County lawmakers say the two tax rates are unfair. Others say the suburbs are trying to lay their old school debt on the shoulders of Memphis taxpayers.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - A controversial school bond means property taxes in the suburbs are four cents higher than in Memphis.

Shelby County lawmakers say the two tax rates are unfair. Others say the suburbs are trying to lay their old school debt on the shoulders of Memphis taxpayers.

Years ago, commissioners approved a special $432 million school bond tax for suburban and rural residents. Now the county Mayor's office wants everyone, including Memphians, to help pay off the debt for Arlington High School's 2004 construction.

"To conveniently find a way to help suburban taxpayers at this point is not anything but politics," said Mike Ritz, a Shelby County Commissioner.

Ritz took issue with Mayor Luttrell's proposal to spend $11,600,000 to fast track debt payoff for the Arlington High School construction.

Some commissioners say all bets were off when Memphis City Schools surrendered its charter and forced a merger with county schools.

"It's up to us and our discretion at this time to eliminate that duality of tax rates," said Steve Basar, a Shelby County Commissioner.

Commissioner Terry Roland says this debate could ultimately end up in court.

"It's not fair to take someone from Collierville and make them pay for an Arlington school, when they get no use of it," he said.

A final decision will be made in the coming weeks. WMC Action News 5 will follow all the developments and let you know what happens.

Copyright 2014 WMC Action News 5. All rights reserved.

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