Commission at Stalemate on Shelby County Tax Rate

Commission at Stalemate on Shelby County Tax Rate

It's a Shelby County spending plan stalemate. County Commissioners just can't agree on a tax rate which would help fund the current budget.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - It's a Shelby County spending plan stalemate. County Commissioners just can't agree on a tax rate which would help fund the current budget.

Commissioners voted down three plans Wednesday morning: one with no tax increase, one with a 30 cent tax increase, and the third was Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell's plan to raise the property tax by 34 cents.

If commissioners were looking for Mayor Luttrell to come up with budget cuts, they picked the wrong guy. The mayor says his budget, which was funded by a 36 cent property tax increase, was perfect for the county and for schools.

"We still think it's a lean, austere budget," the mayor said. "But if there are opinions to the contrary by various members of the commission, we'd welcome suggestions as to where we should be looking."

One of the biggest critics of any tax increase is Commissioner Wyatt Bunker. But he says he's not going to offer one single suggestion to the mayor.

"It's their job to find the cuts...the administration. They have the finance department. I don't have the support staff. It's not my job. It's their job to come up with the cuts."

Commissioner Terry Roland said it was time to offer the olive branch of peace. Roland said raise taxes by 30 cents and cut the county budget by more than four and a half million dollars.

"It'd be a compromise and everybody would have skin in the game, so to say."

There was no skin from Commissioner Melvin Burgess.

"I'm not supporting this today," he said. "I'm just saying there is no plan. We had no plan commissioners. There is no plan."

Cut just over four and a half million and people will lose their jobs, Mayor Luttrell says. At the end the Roland plan failed and the mayor's plan failed.

They will meet next Monday, when they will more than likely vote down the plan again, then get to work to figure out what they'll do next; right now nobody knows.

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