Council Tackles Budget, As City Tackles Crime

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(Memphis) Police Director Toney Armstrong has made it clear:  current budget proposals that call for cutting officers jeopardize public safety.

The mayor and city council say safety is a top priority and more officers have been hired,  even if you haven't noticed.

"There is no change in the number of patrol officers on the ground since 2006 all the way up. The reason almost half of all those police officers are in positions where they are not patrol officers, they are behind the desk," said Memphis City Councilman Edmund Ford.

He says it's time to put money behind crime solutions.

He will propose a budget that increases funding to community centers and parks, as alternatives to crime. His proposal also includes the already approved reduction of 400 city workers, most through attrition.

It reinstates the 4.6 percent salary cut at a tax rate of $3.35, far less than the $3.51 rate proposed by the Mayor.

"When you look at the overall proposal, we are paying our debt over  time, putting money in reserves over time. We are taking care of community needs that effect every part of the City of Memphis." says Ford.

Communities are looking for safety.

Jessie Robinson remembers the man across the street killed Saturday night in another apparent domestic dispute in Orange Mound.

"I hate that. He was a good man, a hard-working man. Every time you see him he had a smile on his face," says Robinson.

There will be plenty for the city council to tackle Tuesday.

Edmund Ford's budget proposal is not the only one that's expected to be presented.

What that means for cuts to divisions like Police Services remains to be worked out.