MPA: Proposed budget is not 'sufficient'

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is preparing to present his budget to the City Council Tuesday. But, there are already concerns from police and fire unions about pay raises.

Unconfirmed reports of proposed cuts within city departments are already spinning. The mayor's office would not comment on the budget proposal other than to point to the MPD bonuses first announced in February. The firefighters union said they've been told they are not getting a raise.

Memphis Police Association president Mike Williams said the $6.1 million four year grant for police retention bonuses from the Memphis Shelby Crime Commission is outside the scope of the union contract.

He said the mayor's proposal of a two percent raise for officers with 12 or more years of service and one percent raise for those with less than 12 years doesn't cut it.

"We don't think that's sufficient," Williams said. "We are still seeing spikes in crime. A lot of these individuals are still leaving."

President of the Memphis Firefighters Association Thomas Malone said they've been told by the mayor's office that they will not get a raise this year and raises in future years are not guaranteed.

"I can assure you that everybody is upset," Malone said.

Malone said Strickland let him know the upcoming budget would be tight. He said he knows few details about the proposed budget.

"The big issue here is we are going to fight crime. That's the mayor's proposal. Well, how are you going to fight crime without fire and police," Malone said.

City councilman Ed Ford Jr, chairman of the budget committee, said he is hearing a lot of rumors but has not received a firm word on what is in and what is out of Strickland's budget.

"I don't like going to the grapevine and finding things out," Ford Jr. said. "I'll find out just like you and the rest of the people that will be there tomorrow at 3:30."

The mayor can propose what he wants in the budget, but the final approval comes from the City Council.

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