Hold on to your wallet, Daddy-O. The Memphis Mayor won’t say it, but there’s a chance he will want you to cough up a few more clams in property tax money. Local 24’s Mike Matthews is on it.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland can say a lot in six words. Right now, he and others on his staff are putting finishing touches on the budget for the next fiscal year. He says, “It is a really tough budget.”
Every Mayor has said basically the same thing for the last ten years. They say it because its true. This will be Jim Strickland’s second time, as Mayor, to try and figure out how much money it will take to run this city.
A lot of that will depend on the contracts for police and fire and other city workers. “Frankly all the associations have asked for a lot of money, and for raises and so forth,” he says. “They’re probably all deserved. It’s whether we can afford to pay.”
We are talking about your money, your property tax money, and a lot of it is already being spent. One of the largest police recruit classes in decades is now in training. It costs roughly $1-million for a single police recruit class.
Officers are continuing to leave the department, and the police association is asking for a raise in pay for those who stay. “We believe the officers deserve it,” says Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams. “Crime is still bad in this city. You have the issue of trying to get officers to stay in this city, so we definitely think there should be some money dedicated to trying to do that.”
Jim Strickland has never voted in favor of a tax increase, not in his years on Memphis City Council, not in the almost year and a half he’s been Mayor. This year is tough, he says. When asked whether he’s considering asking for a tax increase, the Mayor did a dance that Fred Astaire would have loved. “I don’t know,” he says. “I’m not going to get into that because I want to talk to the council members on these kinds of discussions.”
The Mayor is scheduled to bring his budget to Memphis City Council members on April 25th. It must be approved by the start of the next fiscal year on July 1st.