(Memphis) Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell presented his county budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 to the Shelby County Commission Wednesday.
Luttrell said in order to accomplish what he needs done, the budget calls for a .33 cent property tax hike.
“I am for what it takes to move our community progressively forward. And if that takes a tax increase to move our community forward then I would support it,” said Mayor Luttrell.
The tax rate high will take Shelby County property taxes from $4.02 to $4.35 for those in the city.
The rate would be $4.39 for those outside the city.
Luttrell said the hike is needed because of declining property values.
“We’ve known what’s coming down the pike. We know that absorbing the school system and about being 50 million short in property tax. That’s going to sting,” said Shelby County commissioner Heidi Shafer.
Luttrell said with declining property values the average tax payer would still be paying the same amount as they did last year.
In the budget said there would be no salary increase for employees, but also no layoffs.
There is a nearly $4.0 million dollar increase in funding to Juvenile Court and the Public Defender’s Office to comply with the Department of Justice.
And then there is the big budget ticket item, the merged school district. Luttrell did add an additional 5 million in funding to the school systems budget from last year.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say to the tax payer ‘You’re going to pay the same as you did last year but your values are down’,” said Commissioner Terry Roland.
The county commission will need 7 votes to increase the tax rate 9.9 %.
They will need additional votes to increase the tax rate over 10 %.
The commission is waiting on the school system to make its budget proposal next month before they make any decisions.