Restored City Pay Cuts would Likely Lead to Historic Tax Increase

Restored City Pay Cuts would Likely Lead to Historic Tax Increase

The head of the Memphis City Council Budget Committee is telling you to keep an eye on city hall, and your money. Councilman Jim Strickland says with all these impasse committees agreeing to restore the 4.6 percent pay cut to city employees, there's only one way the city can afford to do it - raise your taxes.
Memphis is known as the city where homeowners plop down some serious dough for property taxes, with the highest taxes in Tennessee. Now, they might get even higher.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The head of the Memphis City Council Budget Committee is telling you to keep an eye on city hall, and your money. Councilman Jim Strickland says with all these impasse committees agreeing to restore the 4.6 percent pay cut to city employees, there's only one way the city can afford to do it - raise your taxes.

Strickland says they'd probably have to go up to the highest rates in this city's history.

City council members say for the last few years they've lowered property taxes in Memphis, but they might not be able to say that after this year.

City employees all know what 4.6 means. It's the infamous slash in salaries Memphis Mayor A C Wharton ordered a few years ago, a "temporary" thing that's lasted two years.

People want that money back, and a negotiating committee recommended sanitation workers get it back.

"We're talking about the people who make the least in the city, who do some of the most dangerous work consistently, every day, the dirtiest work," noted Chad Johnson with AFSCME at Wednesday's meeting.

Another city council group recommended the police officers get their pay cut restored. There's no decision yet on the firefighters.

Strickland is shooting off warning flares. "People ought to be alarmed at what's going on at city hall with this tax rate," he said.

He and several others have been watching these impasse committees recommending city employees get that pay cut restored.

"The men and women at the fire department, the police department and other city offices deserve to get their pay cut restored," Strickland said. "The problem is it will take a tax hike, probably, to do that. And Memphis does not need any tax increases."

Memphis is known as the city where homeowners plop down some serious dough for property taxes, with the highest taxes in Tennessee. Now, they might get even higher.

"I'm concerned about the whole budget. Mayor Wharton has proposed a fairly significant tax hike increase. The council, through their votes, is spending even more money over the objections of a few of us."

Firefighters are scheduled to go before a negotiating committee next week.

The entire council will make the final decisions.

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