Often the Memphis Police and Firefighters Associations are at odds with what goes on in City Hall, especially when it comes to benefits and pension plans.
This time they say they’re not fighting with City Hall. They want support from you.
The boxes were stacked on a long table, petitions in all of them.
Petitions with more than 140,000 signatures from people who say they want to vote on a plan that would raise the sales tax by half a cent in order to pay to restore Memphis Police and Fire benefits.
“This is not something that we went into idly and started doing to try and restore pension and insurance for the employees,” says Memphis Firefighter Association President Thomas Malone. “We’ve looked at this for well over a year and a half.”
That’s not all, however.
The money, estimated to be at least $51-million, would also be used to pay for Pre-K education programs.
And it would be used to fix the city’s notorious roads.
“When our emergency vehicles must drive slower than necessary due to the poor conditions of the roads,” Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says, “… that’s why we are asking these funds be used to fix potholes and road repairs.”
The group delivered the petitions to Memphis City Hall this morning.
A special election will be held on this issue, to raise the sales tax.
When it comes to restoring the benefits, Mayor Jim Strickland says the city can’t afford to do it.
“We had to make some benefit changes a few years ago,” Strickland says. “We simply do not have the money to do it. They are proposing a tax increase. We will see how that goes forward. If the public wants to tax themselves, then that’s up to the public.”
The Shelby County Elections Commission will set a date for the special election, after they verify all petition signatures.