MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A pay increase for Memphis police and firefighters is among the highlights of Mayor Jim Strickland’s new budget proposal. 

His plan calls for roughly $750 million of spending in the new fiscal year, which is a 5% increase over the current budget.

The mayor is counting on increased sales taxes to make up the difference as the city continues to recover from the pandemic.

To help staff MPD and better tackle crime, the mayor on Tuesday unveiled what he calls his budget of renewal to the Memphis City Council.

Mayor Strickland plans to increase pay for firefighters by 6% over the next two years. Police officers would see their salaries rise by 10% all other workers across the city would see a two-percent pay hike.

The Strickland budget would also call for a significant boost to the city’s public safety retention program to keep officers on the job longer.

“Simply put for every one year our police officers and firefighters elect to stay with us, they will receive a nine percent annual bonus payment up to five years,” he said.

Mayor Strickland concluded his “Budget of Renewal” speech with the following statement:

While we still face many challenges in our city, as I said at the beginning of my remarks—we are in a time of renewal in Memphis. After two long years of fighting the pandemic, we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Our economy is strong and new public and private investment is happening all around our city. Our employment numbers have all but fully recovered. Our tourism numbers, meaning people visiting and spending money in our city, is better than the national average.

And with this budget, we are keeping our foot on the pedal to keep that momentum going strong—all without a tax increase.

The mayor’s budget also calls for a dedicated source of funding for MATA, additional workers to help clean up blight across the city, and $95 million of capital improvements, including a new police precinct, community center, and renovations at Audubon Park golf course.