MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It’s a night and day difference between the city and county mayor's proposals for their budgets. Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell presented his Wednesday afternoon, with no proposed tax increase, no layoffs, and even a 1% raise for county employees.
Mayor Luttrell is one of those soft talkers. If he's happy he speaks softly; if he's angry he speaks softly. In this case he was so full of good news, he almost didn’t speak softly.
"Going in we are presenting a budget that calls for no tax increase, no cuts or layoffs, and we continue to have a very high bond rating," he said.
A high bond rating is like a good credit rating. It looks like things couldn't be better for Shelby County. There's even a plan to get extra money to county workers "that will deal with the cost of inflation and health insurance plans," Luttrell said.
The proposed 1% pay raise for county employees is small, but it’s a raise.
"We will continue to look at ways of reducing the size of government but in the meantime I do not anticipate any layoffs," Luttrell stated.
With no plans, no cuts, and no huge problems, there's no question life in pretty sweet on the county side of Main Street.
Commissioner Terry Roland, who says he'll never note for a tax increase, never, no matter what happens, said this budget proposal makes him happy
"It looks to me that we're running the county a lot more efficiently than the city is," Roland said.
The Luttrell budget boys did a lot of bragging. They are making dents in paying off the county debt. They’ve chopped 400 jobs in the last few years. That's far different than what's happening in Memphis cit government.
But eat, drink and be merry now because the city and county schools merge next year and next year's budget could be a rough one on taxpayers.
Luttrell noted, "Focusing on this merger this year will help us get a better understanding of how the merger will affect taxes and the budget; we probably won't know anything for sure until after the first of the year."