(Memphis) The mayor’s office put out a flier on their Facebook page saying how Memphis is one of the tax-friendliest cities, and property taxes are going down.
Some council members say the mayor’s budget proposal, which was unveiled Tuesday, is another attempt to make good headlines, not good long-term sense.
“This budget kicks the can down the road until the next election,” City Council chairman Jim Strickland said.
The mayor wants to pay money needed for pension payments over five years.
Council members say they’ll owe too much then and taxes will go up…but it will be after the mayor’s had a chance to be re-elected.
“In October of 2015 and everyone will be elected and defeated, and term limits, that’s the perfect storm for a monster tax increase,” said council member Shea Flinn.
“He’s talking about no new taxes, no new taxes for what? You’re going to have to put some pennies in this budget,” said council member Joe Brown.
The mayor says it’s not a campaign stunt by any means.
“We get people all hyped up knowing it’s dead on arrival,” said Mayor A C Wharton.
Wharton says his plan of moving to a 401k style pension and not paying healthcare for those who could be on Medicare is realistic.
He says he’s looking at what council members might actually agree upon, and doubts they will make the needed cuts to pay this off sooner.
“This lowly administration tried to make cuts, but we lost 99 percent of the time,” said Wharton.
Those cuts would likely come from police, something the mayor and city council have tried not to touch.
Director Toney Armstrong isn’t writing cuts off just yet.
“We all have priorities, and have to understand safety for our citizens is first and foremost,” said Armstrong.
He added he will meet with council members to explain how he can’t handle cuts.
The near four-month budget process started Tuesday with Mayor Wharton’s budget presentation to the City Council.
The council must approve a final budget by June 30th.