MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis Mayor A C Wharton proposed raising property taxes by nearly 50 cents Tuesday to balance a record budget for next year.
Mayor Wharton delivered his annual budget proposal to the city council, saying the city would also need to cut $24 million from day-to-day operating expenses.
"Let me tell you, had we not cut, it would have been a colossal increase," Wharton said, referring to the property tax increase.
"Can I stand here and guarantee you there won't be any layoffs?" Wharton said. "No, I can not do that, it is our goal to minimize if not completely avoid layoffs."
The mayor said the 47-cent increase is needed to meet the city's obligation to fund the Memphis City Schools system.
Wharton said his budget does not include layoffs of police officers or firefighters, but other city workers could face cuts.
For the owner of a $100,000 home, the increase would mean another $118 added to their property tax bill. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an extra $235.
"We don't have the money to afford no higher taxes, we struggling to pay the taxes we got right now," said Johnny Hale as he stood outside his Highland Heights home.
"It is hard to maintain right now, so how are we going to get some extra?" he added.
The mayor's suggestions are just that, suggestions. In the end, it will be up to the city council to flesh out the mayor's suggestions and pass a budget by this summer.