Shelby Commission Raises Property Tax Rate

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(Memphis) After going back and forth for weeks the Shelby County Commission approves a tax rate that raises your property taxes .36 cents.

In a close 7 to 5 vote, commissioners approved setting the tax rate at $4.38.

This is the original plan requested by Mayor Mark Luttrell so the county could give Shelby County Schools $20 million more dollars than last year because of the merger.

For weeks, commissioners have been arguing against the increase, saying it would drive people and small businesses out of Shelby County.

This is $4.38 per $100 of assessed value, so commissioners say this is an increase of about 9 bucks a months for 70 percent of the county.

Commissioners tell News Channel 3 Sidney Chism was the key vote here.

He has been abstaining from recent votes, leading to its defeat at the last two meetings, but today he sided with those for the $4.38 property tax rate.

Mayor Luttrell says commissioners warmed up to his plan because there was really no other choice unless the county made big job cuts.

“The last few weeks have been very contentions. And I regret the damage that’s been done in the eyes of the public to make this budget work,” said Luttrell.

Debate conjured up talk of Detroit’s recent financial troubles and loss of population.

“They went from 150,000 something students and now they have about 63,000 students in the city. They’re busted. Is that what we want?” said Commissioner Terry Roland.

“I don’t see no big exodus of people leaving Memphis to go anywhere,” disagreed Commissioner Chism.

Commissioners say this move could actually help the suburbs that are creating their own districts because next year the county will have to split the extra $20 million they’re giving Shelby County Schools this year between them.

If the commission had settled for less money, the suburbs wouldn’t get as much next year.