Mayor Wharton Presents Another Revised Budget to City Council

Mayor Wharton Presents Another Revised Budget to City Council

Memphis city employees could see their benefits slashed, or your taxes could go up, or both. Mayor A C Wharton released new recommended cuts late Friday night to close the nearly $25 million budget shortfall.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Memphis city employees could see their benefits slashed, or your taxes could go up, or both. Mayor A C Wharton released new recommended cuts late Friday night to close the nearly $25 million budget shortfall.

"I think taxes are probably going to go up," said concerned taxpayer Ray Babaoglu.

"A lot of cans have been kicked down the road and now taxpayers are facing a crunch," added taxpayer Herman Strickland.

The latest budget recommendation by Mayor Wharton slashes benefits for employees and retirees.

Nothing is off the table, including pension, medical benefits, employee bonus days, sick leave and incentive pay.

The city would save $6.2 million a year if it stopped paying employees extra money for having a college degree. Eliminating longevity pay would save $1.7 million.

"These are major changes," stated Councilman Jim Strickland. "They add up to about $20 million in savings if every one of them is adopted."

If you think some of this sounds familiar, it does. Council members have talked about this in the past, but Strickland says this is the first time mayor has put the proposal on the table.

"What's different now is the mayor has never made these proposals, and of course that brings it to a whole other level."

Memphis Firefighters Association President Thomas Malone was so upset by the proposed cuts he uploaded a message to members on YouTube.

"We are under attack. It seems like this is an everyday occurrence. But I'm afraid this is getting the most serious we've faced yet," Malone said in the video. "They walk on us like we're their rug, their personal rug, just to get what they want. Take away your benefits. Take away your money. You know, I guess they want the plantation mentality."

Also proposed by Wharton is reducing employees by 400 people through buyouts and layoffs. With so many last minute items to consider, Strickland says delaying Tuesday's vote makes sense.

"We need to have a fully vetted process going through these recommendations."

"I think they look at the script from last year and they say the same thing every year," noted Herman Strickland. "If they fixed it last year why to we have to deal with it this year?"

Memphis taxpayers say if they have to live within their means, the city needs to do the same.

"Tough times, tough economy, it's tough for individuals, tough for the city," said Babaoglu.

Not only did the mayor's administration send out a last minute plan, all Monday afternoon council members started sending out their own last minute budget recommendations - and there are a lot of them.

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