MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A special meeting was called as Memphis City Council members went over three new budget plans, but here's a switch. All of the council's proposed plans would cut taxes; the only one that raises taxes is the one proposed by Memphis Mayor A C Wharton.
The Wharton plan is raise taxes, shut several libraries and one golf course, and keep about $80 million in the reserve savings fund.
Every other proposal says to use some of that reserve savings money, keep libraries open and cut property taxes.
"I think the public is going to win out on this and get a tax decrease," said City Council Budget Committee Chairman Jim Strickland.
Strickland says everybody started depressed. The Mayor Wharton plan was the first plan they studied, and it called for a big property tax increase to pay for schools. The mayor claimed it was a one-time tax, but as many know a "one time tax" means the same as the check is in the mail - empty words that don't mean much.
"Up until that point the debate was how much of a tax increase are we going to give the mayor, and I wanted to change that conversation to how much tax decrease we would have. So I proposed the tax decrease, since then two others have proposed tax decreases."
The two other plans come from Councilmen Collins and Ford. The cuts aren't as big as Strickland's, but they're cuts nonetheless. They also would take money from the city reserve funds.
All the plans would keep libraries open. The Collins plan calls for closing city golf courses in the winter months.
The discussions are scheduled to end, and the vote is expected in one week.
Councilman Lee Harris said, "I hope this budget process will impact what finally comes out when we have that final council vote some time on or before June 30th."