Shelby County commissioners send wheel tax proposal back to committee

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A proposal to help fund the Memphis Area Transit Authority by raising the wheel tax is going back to committee.

Commissioners voted Monday to send a proposed wheel tax increase  back to committee for more discussion to delay making decisions. The proposal they would have considered would increase taxes by $20 for every vehicle in Shelby County. Commissioners say they want to look at the potential for using tax incentive projects instead.

Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris also told commissioners he might consider combining public safety funding for the Eads and Southwind areas with the funding for public transit, according to Commissioner Van Turner. The Eads area was officially de-annexed by the city on January 1.

The county is now trying to figure out how to fund 50 new deputies to patrol those areas. Some commissioners are not on board with Harris' idea to combine public transit and public safety into one fund.

"It needs a short death today," Commissioner Amber Mills said. "Find another way. There are other ways that have not been explored that does not involve a tax hike for MATA."

The Shelby County Commissioner will revisit this issue at next Wednesday's meeting.

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