County commissioners accuse county of hoarding taxpayer dollars

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shelby County property owners have some of the highest taxes in the state, and some Shelby County commissioners suggested the county may be hoarding surplus that could be used to lower the tax rate.

Wednesday the county commission's budget and finance committee passed a resolution establishing guidelines for how any surplus should be spent.

"What I am noticing is that we are regularly having surpluses in the government. That means that the administration is under-calculating how much money that is coming in, and any surplus money that is collected is quickly moved over into an area we can’t touch it," said Commissioner Heidi Shafer, who sponsored the resolution.

Shafer is asking commissioners to put something into law that would require any surplus collected to be put into a separate fund that would be used to drive down the tax rate or be given back to taxpayers possibly in the form of a rebate.

"If we are collecting money instead of hoarding money we need to turn it back to taxpayers. We need to let them keep it, and they'll turn over the economy, and everybody will do better," said Shafer.

Shelby County chief administrative officer Harvey Kennedy stated that they are going to be wide open with commissioners about the county's various funds and said he did not believe there would be any surplus at the end of the year.