City Employees Look for Reversal of Pay Cuts

City Employees Look for Reversal of Pay Cuts

A temporary 4.6 percent pay cut has lasted three years for Memphis city employees. Now, as budget discussions are about to begin, part of the pay cut could be reversed.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A temporary 4.6 percent pay cut has lasted three years for Memphis city employees. Now, as budget discussions are about to begin, part of the pay cut could be reversed.

Already the city employee unions will try to get back that pay cut they had to take a few years ago because of tight budget times. This year maybe they'll get some of it back, but that's a big maybe, says Memphis City Council Budget Chairman Jim Strickland.

"It would be great if we could start restoring that pay cut," he said. "I'm not just real sure we'll be able to do it all this year."

Police want it. Firefighters want it. All the city employees who had their salaries cut want it.

Strickland says those unions don't talk about how just a couple of years before the 4.6 percent pay cut, they got an 8 percent pay raise. Don't go complaining about property taxes going up either, he says, since they've dropped ten percent in five years.

"When we took office five years ago, the tax rate was 3.43 cents. Right now, it's 3.11 cents. In large part that's gone down because the school funding has gone away."

People won't notice it this year, because if you live in Memphis, you pay city and county property taxes. And Shelby County's property tax this year is expected to go way up.

Meanwhile, the city will start their budget talks, already $25 million over budget. One reason is interest rates on certain project loans have gone up. That's not all.

"The collective property values for Shelby County and Memphis are going down. With that loss of property values we're going to lose 10-15 million dollars of property tax revenue," Strickland said.

If there is good news for employees, it's concerning layoffs. Probably none this year, says Strickland.

Mayor A C Wharton is scheduled to present his budget to city council on April 16. At that point, let the fights begin.

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