Shelby County Still At Odds over Tax Rate

Shelby County Still At Odds over Tax Rate

Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell admits he might need to come up with another budget plan, even though the deadline is only days away.
MEMPHIS, TN (localmemphis.com) - Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell admits he might need to come up with another budget plan, even though the deadline is only days away.

The new fiscal year starts July 1st. The current Luttrell plan calls for a 36 cent tax increase. He needs seven votes, but right now he doesn't have them.

The big question on the minds of Shelby County homeowners is what the tax rate is going to be. Whatever it is, county commissioner Terry Roland says it's too much. He says you can thank the City of Memphis and all the money the city owes to Shelby County for some of the problem.

"If I was a banker and Memphis came to me wanting to borrow money, I would not even let them come in my office. I'm just gonna be honest with you."

Right now it is impossible to tell homeowners how much more their tax rate is going to be. Some houses lost value, others didn't, some not as much as others. All of that obviously comes into play when talking taxes.

Walter Bailey says the responsible thing to do is raise property taxes and get it over with.

"I tend to think it would be irresponsible for us not to move forward and support this tax increase," he said.

It's a big one, 36 cents, which would pay for county government services and help pay for the unified school system.

It's either a tax increase or maybe 800 layoffs, according to Luttrell administration officials.

Commissioner James Harvey realized that his decision wasn't going to be easy.

"I'm in a hell of a position, that's very uncomfortable for me."

Welcome to the club, a club where the mayor now finds himself. He needs seven votes to approve his plan, but he's not sure he's going to get them.

"We've got to establish a tax rate," Luttrell said. "By law we've got to do it, so we'll sit down and see what we can find as a compromise."

The final vote is scheduled for a week from this coming Monday.

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