City Council Votes to Cut Jobs, Keep Free Lunch

City Council Votes to Cut Jobs, Keep Free Lunch

After more than 7 hours of deliberating, the Memphis City Council decided it needed more time to set a property tax rate for next year.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - After more than 7 hours of deliberating, the Memphis City Council decided it needed more time to set a property tax rate for next year.

The City Council did make several moves, voting to cut 400 jobs. One hundred city workers will be laid off, and 300 vacant positions will remain unfilled.

"Everybody is worried. Everybody is kind of like on pins and needles," said Gerald Johnson, a public works employee. "It would be a loss of everything I did the past 20-something years."

Johnson sat and watched the meeting from an overflow room, created after the city council chambers, which seats over 400, filled up well ahead of the meeting.

Johnson said this was the second ever council meeting he's attended, but had to come out to see the budget debate.

Councilman Myron Lowery suggested the city add red light cameras as a way to add revenue. Under some estimates, the city could gain up to $29 million by installing new cameras.

But City Attorney Allen Wade told the council it could not budget on the estimate that residents will break the law.

In the end, the council passed the vote to add 150 red light and speed cameras in school zones.

Council member Jim Strickland recommended cuts to travel and saving $8,000 by cutting the free lunches council members get on the days they meet. The council voted against that plan.

After several proposals, council member Harold Collins suggested the council recess to pour over several plans.

The city council will consider the property tax rate when it meets in a special called meeting next Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

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