Memphis City Council to Consider New Budget

(Memphis) Memphis City Council members are battling over the terms of the city budget after waiting until the last minute to approve something.

After failing to approve a budget last week, Chairman Edmund Ford, Jr., came up with his own plan.

“It takes care of the comptroller`s wishes, to the cities wishes, to the employee’s wishes,” said Ford.

His budget includes plans passed last week, like cutting 400 city jobs, and changes to employee insurance.

His plan also raises the property tax rate to $3.35 cents.

That`s just one penny less than Mayor A C Wharton is proposing.

The tax rate is higher but you will basically pay the same amount in property taxes because your home’s reappraisal is lower.

“In my budget I talk about how we’re going to pay the debt. Secondly, I talk about how we will put reserves in the fund balance,” said Wharton.

After voting against restoring 4.6 percent to city workers salaries last week, Ford`s new budget gives that money back in full.

He says he was able to come up with the money by transferring street lights to MLGW and eliminate the weights and measures program, among others.

Councilman Jim Strickland is also presenting a budget and says he can`t support Ford’s because it raises the tax rate, unlike his, to hike city worker pay.

“I think a raise is going to happen. Obviously all the employees, particularly fire and police, deserve raises I just don’t think we can afford it,” said Strickland.

The other two budget proposals are Mayor A C Wharton’s, which only restores half of the 4.6 percent, and Councilman Harold Collins’s, which restores the whole thing.

That measure failed last week because it tied six to six, but Councilman Lee Harris was out.

He’s back today so his vote could make or break the deal.

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