City council members react to Herenton's safety plan

Herenton tells reporters about "War on Crime" action plan
Herenton tells reporters about "War on Crime" action plan

Memphis City Council members said Thursday they were glad Mayor Willie Herenton finally came to the public with a plan, but they also say they're not sure it's a plan they can support.

"The mayor has gone from one extreme to another, he's flip-flopped," said Councilwoman Carol Chumney who has announced her candidacy for mayor.

" 50 cents is hefty, 25 cents each year is hefty," said Council Chair Tajuan Stout Mitchell.

Mayor Herenton wants a property tax increase to pay for 650 more police officers and city council members say they want more officers too, but...

"I don't think we can tax our way out of this crime problem," said Councilman E.C. Jones.

Some council members  wondered why the call for hundreds more cops didn't come during the Spring budget hearings, when they say they first suggested the idea.

"We wanted to address that by providing more officers, but the Director (Larry Godwin) told us that he did not need that," Stout Mitchell said.

After 128 murders, it's all too evident that they are needed, the question for council members, is a tax hike the way to pay?

"The problem we have in our community right now is crime and taxes, so to keep people here, we have to address both issues," Chumney said.

Jones says he's happy the mayor came up with a plan, though he questions the timing.

Jones continues, "I just think right now the mayor is coming with too little too late...the mayor should have done this 5 years ago."

But the fact is his request is coming now and now just happens to be an election season that will have every member of city council making a tough choice.