Third letter from state comptroller warns lawmakers - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Third letter from state comptroller warns lawmakers

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City leaders said the city is under scrutiny for its "scoop and toss" practices, meaning they are scooping up debt and tossing it into the future. City leaders said the city is under scrutiny for its "scoop and toss" practices, meaning they are scooping up debt and tossing it into the future.

(WMC-TV) - The Memphis City Council has received another letter from the Tennessee State Comptroller warning lawmakers that they must lower city debt or face dire consequences.

The mayor initially received a letter from the comptroller in late May warning the city is in poor financial shape and demanding that the city get several accounts out of the red. The mayor also received a letter from another state agency requesting financials for the city's pension fund.

City leaders said the city is under scrutiny for its "scoop and toss" practices, meaning they are scooping up debt and tossing it into the future.

A council sub-committee held a special called budget meeting Wednesday to address the problems.

"We can probably present some things that will he'll alleviate some of the draconian moves that will probably take place Tuesday," said Memphis councilman Harold Collins.

Lawmakers were hopeful before a council sub-committee met with union leaders to hash out solutions to the city's budget crisis.

"Under the ordinance, under the charter, they sent down their last offer from their decision-makers," said Memphis Fire Fighters Association President Thomas Malone.

But the unions handed out a letter that they have an impasse agreement with the mayor and no intentions of going back.

"As far as we're concerned, it should be a done deal," said Malone.

Budget crisis or no budget crisis, union leaders expect the city to reverse their 4.6 percent pay cut.

"The impasse ordinance was exercised, the employees prevailed. So come July 1, we should have a 4.6 percent increase in our salaries," said Memphis Police Association President Michael Williams.

City of Memphis CAO George Little said if changes are not made then layoffs are possibility.

"[An] increase in the property tax is another alternative," said Little. "With respect to the comptroller's findings, we've done everything they have asked."

Councilman Kemp Conrad said his warnings regarding the city budget have fallen on deaf ears through the years.

"Either we're going to make the decision for ourselves or the state is going to make the decision for us," he said.

Read the full letter here.

Copyright 2013 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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