Delays Cause Slow Budget Battle For Memphis

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(Memphis) Deadline day is almost here in Memphis' budget battle.

It's a battle that's going to cost people jobs, money and possibly their safety.

“Our new city budget begins July 1. We must complete this process in our meeting next week. They will not be kicked down the road any longer,” said Lowery.

But there are plenty of skeptics out there, especially since the city spent the past month basically kicking that can, by delaying votes and fighting over any little change.

Council members even stopped one special meeting because they couldn't find anything to agree on.

“Some members of the council wanted the mayor to go lower, to make more cuts and to present us something lower,” said Lowery.

So Mayor A C Wharton returned to the city council Tuesday with a bare-bones budget of a little more than $622 million.

“We get it out to them as fast as we can. And a lot of it is subject to interpretation. They say they didn't get it.  Well, yes they did get it, but it was in a different format,” responded Mayor Wharton to complaints he didn’t get council members information in a timely manner.

Board members tried to digest a new tax rate, job cuts, healthcare premiums and trash service during the meeting.

So much information, they couldn't do it all in a seven-hour meeting packed with frustrated city workers demanding they get their promised 4.6 percent pay back.

Wharton says even though there's no budget deal, he's proud of the progress everyone made last night, and he thinks city council realizes the dire situation.