Wharton: 'Memphis has to act on these financial issues now' - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Wharton: 'Memphis has to act on these financial issues now'

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The city's budget deadline is a little more than two weeks away. Memphis City Council has to pass a final version by June 30. The city's budget deadline is a little more than two weeks away. Memphis City Council has to pass a final version by June 30.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said public safety will not be compromised, but that changes must be made in regards to the city's budget mess. Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said public safety will not be compromised, but that changes must be made in regards to the city's budget mess.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton said public safety will not be compromised, but that changes must be made in regards to the city's budget mess.

The Memphis City Council received another letter from the Tennessee State Comptroller Wednesday warning lawmakers that they must lower city debt or face dire consequences. This is the third letter from the comptroller this budget season.

"We're going to have to change the way we're doing some things ... In addition to being as lean and efficient as we possibly can," said Wharton. "We'll have the basic police and fire services and the other services."

The city's budget deadline is a little more than two weeks away. Memphis City Council has to pass a final version by June 30.

"There will be some increase in the tax rate, I don't know how we can avoid that no matter how hard we try," he said. "Memphis cannot indefinitely kick the can down the road. It has to act on these financial issues now... It's not a matter of pointing fingers. Nobody four or five years ago would have said, or could have known, that in 2013 in the reappraisal that you are going to lose $30 million in your property taxes."

Now, it is crunch time. Lawmakers must come up with what to cut, what to change, and what to reform. As the mayor expects heated discussions on pension plans, personnel and city services – he hopes city council does it with a balanced approach.

"Let's keep focusing on where we need to cut, but also let's say now how to we grow this city," said Wharton.

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