Last night, after meeting for nearly seven hours and hearing from dozens of citizens, the Memphis City Council adjourned without passing a budget for Fiscal Year 2012. They will reconvene on June 21 to keep working. The city government’s fiscal year begins on July 1.
In 2008, the City Council voted to decrease funding to our schools, which resulted in an 18-cent property tax decrease. During yesterday’s negotiations, I supported a motion that would have restored this property tax rate, prompted by the court’s ruling that we must meet our funding obligation to our public schools. My hope is that we can find a way to fully meet this obligation while preventing widespread layoffs and service reductions that harm our quality of life. The budget proposals I have offered are balanced, fund our schools, and lay the groundwork for more sustainable reforms in the future. There is no question that everyone will need to share the sacrifice next year. It is my sincere hope that the Council will keep this in mind when they meet again on June 21.
For more information and background on our budget situation, I encourage you visit my blog and watch the two “Budget Talk” videos that are posted there. Please take a few moments to watch the videos, email them to your friends and share them to your Facebook wall. More “Budget Talk” videos will be coming soon.
Our city has made so much progress in the past couple of years, and I know that we can reach a budget that is fair, equitable, and keeps this momentum alive. As always, thank you for your support. With your help, I know that we can continue to make Memphis an safer, stronger, and more prosperous city of choice.
Yours in service,
A C Wharton, Jr.
Mayor, City of Memphis
P.S. Today, I am attending the Beale Street memorial parade for the late Rudy Williams, the dearly beloved “Mayor of Beale Street” and fixture on our local music scene for decades. The parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Beale Street. All Memphis music lovers are encouraged to attend and pay their respects.