Mayor Wharton's top priority is reversing city pay cuts - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mayor Wharton's top priority is reversing city pay cuts

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Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Memphis Mayor A C Wharton
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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton says his top priority this budget season will be to reinstate the 4.6 percent employee pay cut. But did he write a check he can't cash?

Property tax collections are the city's main source of revenue.

With property values tanking out in 2013, the mayor has a mountain to climb. But he says he is determined.

"I'd like to get the 4.6 restored to the employees," he said Monday. "The employees have sacrificed to the tune of $16 million."

But it will be a tall order.

The city will collect significantly less property tax money this year, after the latest home reappraisals showed a sharp drop in property values.

"We had a $6 million drop in values based on the old values, even before the reappraisal," said Mayor Wharton.

In August 2011, the mayor cut salaries for himself and all city employees to offset the budget shortfall.

Since then, employees have been very critical of the cuts and the reinstatement has become a rally cry.

Wharton says he is in heavy labor negotiations right now.

"We're sitting with the employees right now and contrary to what you hear, we're not just going in with an ax just chopping everything. It's a give and take," he explained.

Action News 5's Kontji Anthony asked the mayor how he could possibly reinstate the salary cuts with so many cards stacked against him.

He responded, "Keep in mind we're not funding schools this year, and hopefully, our sales taxes will begin to trend upward."

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