Wharton addresses County Commission about mounting budget problems - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Wharton addresses County Commission about mounting budget problems

Mayor AC Wharton sounded like he was making a case for city/county consolidation when he addressed the Shelby County Commission Monday about the county's mounting budget problems.

"Needless division...be they racial, political, small town, big town, geographical, must become a thing of the past," he said.

Wharton said Shelby County's property tax purse is taking a hit from the home sales slump.

"The buck is going to have to stop somewhere," Wharton said.

According to Wharton, inflation, health care costs, and sky-rocketing gas prices are all contributing factors in the increasing costs of running the government.

Currently, he said, Shelby County's General Fund is nearly $20.5 million short.  The Education Fund is more than $3 million under.  Without line item veto power, Wharton said, he cannot make necessary cuts.

"We simply cannot sustain delivering services at the same level we're living in now based on the same resources we have at this time," Wharton said.

Wharton has helped consolidate several city and county functions to ease budget woes. But, at the same time, has come under scrutiny for giving his administrators pay raises.

Wharton did have some good news: Overall county debt is down by about a million dollars, but remains at a whopping $1.85 billion.

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