Budget bombshell leave fallout of questions for city council

Memphis City Council members had big questions for city finance officials after the last budget bombshell.

Today - they were supposed to get answers.

But none of them showed up.

"I'm extremely worried," said City Councilperson Carol Chumney. She has been clear. She wants answers about where budget dollars have gone.

But at this meeting - when finance leaders were supposed to answer her questions - Chumney didn't show up.

"I always feel people should have a right to ask a question and have their questions answered. Unfortunately, the council member is not present but be that as it may," said Tajuan Stout Mitchell.

Be that as it may, Chumney wasn't the only no-show. Budget committee chairman Tajuan Stout Mitchell was the only one to show up.

"I'm not going to go to another dog and pony show. When the mayor comes and he says we can't give you the numbers and we won't for some period of time, i'm not going to show up for just another dog and pony show," said Chumney.

In fairness, there were few - if any - answers here. New Chief Finance Officer Robert Lipscomb said he had just taken over the job two days ago... And is still getting his bearings.

But in the hallway, standing next to councilwoman Mitchell, Lipscomb explained that - in his search for dollars - even the current city budget may need amending.

"Doesn't that translate into another possible tax increase once the budget? Not necessarily, not necessarily. But is it possible? RL - No. TJM - It is possible that we could look at alternative revenue sources."

In fact, with talk that the budget is in even worse shape than previously imagined, others say tax hikes, new fees and layoffs could all be back on the table.

City finance officials said they hope to bring more concrete budget information to the council in two weeks.