Mayor takes steps to get county budget in check - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Mayor takes steps to get county budget in check

A job freeze is the first big step to get Shelby County's budget in check.
"We're flying along at treetop level and if we dip our wings there's going to be a crash," Mayor AC Wharton said.

Wharton also suspended all out of town travel without approval, as well as vehicle purchases.

Wharton said he has talked with several Shelby County Commissioners about balancing next year's $29.5 million budget shortfall and most of them are leaning toward job cuts instead of a property tax hike.

But he said even if you do not pay for it in taxes, you'll pay for it in county services.

There will be slowdowns across the board. From construction permits to utility assistance and health department services.

"It could mean a slowdown in how quickly we can process people through the jail and the criminal justice system," Wharton said.

He said this is not a scare tactic to force the tax increase, as some have suggested.

"I would hate to not bring this up and then July 1 have people say he didn't tell us this.  He didn't tell us this.  He told us everything was hunky dory and floating right along.  We're not floating right along," Wharton said.

Wharton said it will get worse before it gets better because the senior tax freeze is coming and the MED needs more money.

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