Tax cut, pay raises part of Luttrell's final budget proposal

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - A tax cut and pay raises for Shelby County employees are both are part of Mayor Mark Luttrell's final budget in office.

The mayor presented his $1.25 billion budget to Shelby County County Commissioners on Wednesday.

Luttrell said, if approved, the budget would include making sure hourly employees are paid at least $15 an hour.

The county is expecting between $18 and $25 million in revenue.

"I felt like it was a good budget," Luttrell said.

After eight years in office, Luttrell and his team rolled out their last budget proposal.

The mayor called these the highlights:

  • 6-cent property tax cut--bringing the rate down from $4.11 to $4.05
  • $7.8 million more toward education
  • 3-percent salary increase for all employees, $15 minimum wage, and no increases in health insurance premiums
  • $3 million to community health--which includes an opioid response program
  • $1.5 million more for law enforcement--taking into account additional pay raises for deputies and added staff members in the District Attorney's office
  • $2.4 million for juvenile justice--to either renovate, build, or relocate antiquated detention facilities

"Something will change as far as juvenile detention facilities. How we approach--that remains to be seen," Luttrell said.

The projected $18-25 million surplus in property tax revenue comes from reappraisals and increased collection efforts.

Some commissioners said a 6-cent cut isn't enough.

"I'll be supportive. I may want to come in a little less than the tax rate," Commissioner David Reaves said.

But Luttrell and other commissioners caution, though not in this budget, the county's aging infrastructure will require extensive updates to buildings and potential new construction.

It's anticipated that Regional One will come to the commission with a large ask in coming years.

"We have major infrastructure issues that are coming before this next body. We should be very cautious in what tax cuts we're looking at," Commissioner Reginald Milton said.

For perspective, under this budget, a home valued at $200,000 would see a $30 tax cut on the year.

Budget hearings start Wednesday, May 16.

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