Recap: Council votes on budget amendments, presents new proposal - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Recap: Council votes on budget amendments, presents new proposals

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During the last meeting, Memphis City Council voted to pass an amendment that is part of councilman Jim Strickland's budget proposal which includes eliminating 400 jobs. During the last meeting, Memphis City Council voted to pass an amendment that is part of councilman Jim Strickland's budget proposal which includes eliminating 400 jobs.
The city's administration has proposed an amended budget that includes more than $65 million dollars in cuts or proposed savings. The city's administration has proposed an amended budget that includes more than $65 million dollars in cuts or proposed savings.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Memphis fire, police and MATA representatives along with many other city employees sat in a packed council chamber during a grueling marathon budget hearing last Tuesday. The seven hour session ended without a final decision. Now council members prepare to do it all again exactly a week later, but this time several new proposals are on the table.

Click here for the latest updates of the council's final vote for the 2014 budget.

During the last meeting, Memphis City Council voted to pass an amendment that is part of councilman Jim Strickland's budget proposal which includes eliminating 400 jobs.

In the amendment, 300 jobs were eliminated through attrition and another 100 through layoffs. Strickland said eliminating jobs through attrition will save $15.75 million.

The city's administration has proposed an amended budget that includes more than $65 million dollars in cuts or proposed savings. The proposed budget calls for a property tax increase from the current base rate of $3.11 per hundred of assessed value to $3.51.

The city says last-minute budget decisions strain resources to beat the upcoming deadline for everything to be in place. A recent letter from the Tennessee State Comptroller warned lawmakers that they must lower city debt or face dire consequences.

"It's tough to face these situations," said Memphis Mayor A C Wharton. ""We are still under close scrutiny as far as going forward in the budget, how we take care of those big items ... I'm confident as evidenced by the council's attitude [Tuesday] night we'll have those addressed by next week, too."

Last week, the council voted to:

FAIL -- A 4.6 percent pay increase for city employees ... Members voted six to six.

PASS -- Adding 15 red light cameras to the city.

PASS -- The expanding of 150 speed cameras to school zones/neighborhoods ... Council voted 8-2 to on this proposal. Myron Lowery proposed that 15 red light cameras and 150 speed cameras added to the city would help offset costs.

PASS -- An amendment eliminating 400 city jobs. One hundred through layoffs and 300 through attrition – where positions of resigned and retired workers are not replaced. It was pointed out that the city currently has 460 vacant or unfilled positions.

Meanwhile, Councilman Edmund Ford, Junior amended his original proposal Friday.

He said with input from other council members, the state comptroller, and the Memphis mayor – he wants to make cuts mostly at the executive level, balance the city's accounts, reverse employees' 4.6 percent pay cut, and restore funding to parks and community centers.

"Our certified tax rate is $3.36. In my proposal, we can have everything the comptroller needs, everything the citizens need and everything the employees need at a rate lower than the certified tax rate," he said.

Councilman Harold Collins released his budget proposal Monday.

"It restores the 4.6 percent for all the employees, pays on the debt, puts money in the reserves, and more importantly, it's less than the state comptroller says we have to have," he said.

Before the pay cut is restored, Harris is asking for an end to the court fight over wages between the city and the unions.

He sent a letter to the unions Monday.

"I'd like to see that lawsuit settled and, or dismissed so we can move forward, lock arms and do this together," said Collins.

Members want to pass a budget before fiscal year 2014 which begins July 1.

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