Memphis City Council chairman proposes cuts to catering, travel - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis City Council chairman proposes cuts to catering, travel

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This year's budget committee approved a preliminary budget that would eliminate catering and travel expenses for all council members. This year's budget committee approved a preliminary budget that would eliminate catering and travel expenses for all council members.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC) - A major Memphis City Council budget meeting is just two weeks away, but council members are already working to eliminate some of the costs in the city.

A hot button issue is Memphis City Council catering and travel budgets.

This year's budget committee approved a preliminary budget that would eliminate catering and travel expenses for all council members.

"We're going through a very painful time in city government," said Memphis City Council Chairman Jim Strickland. "We're talking about cutting our health care benefits, and reducing the pension benefits of employees."

As chairman, Strickland is in charge of presenting the budget.

"This year, I cut all the food, and I cut all the travel, 100 percent of it," he said. "Presented it to the committee and they approved it."

Strickland says right now it costs about $10 per person to cater the meeting. There are about 30 people to feed over 24 meetings. Over time, it adds to about $7,200 he says that could be eliminated. It would set an example for the rest of the city.

"In my mind, that's a luxury, not a necessity at all," Strickland said.

Add the money spent on catering to that spent on travel and Strickland says they could cut anywhere from $50,000 to $60,000 from their $1 million budget.

"When you can't pay to fully test all the rape kits, we can't fully pay for all our pension, we need to cut some things that aren't necessities, some of which are good things," he said.

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