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Memphis Council, Administration Begin Budget Talks

April 18, 2012

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. presented a $628.3 million budget to the Memphis City Council yesterday for fiscal year 2013.

The proposed budget included $24 million in cuts from day-to-day operating expenses and a 47-cent tax proposal earmarked for education. It also included an increase for the Memphis Police Department to make up for lost federal funding and rising fuel costs.

“The budget I am presenting today does not include layoffs of police officers or firefighters,” the Mayor said. “In this economy, many cities like Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, and Newark have been fiscally squeezed to the point of making substantial layoffs in their police and fire departments. … [This] will ensure we do not start.”

Since 2008, when the City Council cut funding to Memphis City Schools (MCS), the City of Memphis has been funding its maintenance of effort obligation to MCS primarily out of the city’s general fund. That fund also pays for personnel, libraries, parks, and most of the day-to-day operations of city government.

ImageThe city’s property tax revenue also has decreased by $17 million a year since 2009.

Accordingly, city expenditures, save those for public safety, have been cut by 6.5 percent in the last two years.

“While we always look for areas of savings, this Council and this community as a whole have made it clear that is does not wish to see any reduction in our successful crime fighting efforts,” Mayor Wharton said.

For FY 2013, the City projects that $424,495,000 will go toward personnel costs. Of that figure, 80 percent is attributable to police and fire. The city has 5,834 general fund employees; 4,519 of them are employed in police or fire.

Memphis City Council budget hearings will begin Saturday, April 28th. FY 2013 begins July 1st.

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