Council members want to audit proposed budget - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Council members want to audit proposed budget

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton wants to raise city property taxes, but city council members want to audit his proposed budget first.

Many pages of his proposed budget spell out why Herenton claims property taxes need to go up by 17 percent.

It is now the job of Memphis City Council members to figure out if that increase is the only way.
"Examining each department and all the money they spend and ask the crucial question why?" council member Myron Lowery said Wednesday.

Here's a look at the options before the city council:

  • Find any fat in the budget
  • cut certain services
  • dip into the city's reserves and/or increase taxes

City Council member Myron Lowery said he does not want to resort to a tax increase.

"Any property tax increase is too much," he said. "Our tax structure right now between Memphis and Shelby County is the highest in the state.  We need to look at reducing that tax burden on all of our citizens, regardless of what it takes...reducing services or taking money from our reserves."

City Council Chairman Scott McCormick believes a tax increase of some amount is inevitable.

"Cost of gas, healthcare - it's difficult to continue to operate under same dollars," McCormick said.

McCormick said he plans to trim the budget by looking at unfilled positions that no longer need to be in the budget.

"For example if you were a department with 10 open positions haven't filled them in 2 years, why are they still in the budget?" McCormick said.
It is just one of the many questions council members hope will chip away at the proposed tax increase.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.

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