Mayor’s budget proposal includes 2% raise for some police and fire employees

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland presented his budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to the Memphis City Council Tuesday.

The proposed operating budget totals nearly $716 million.

“I am presenting to you an operating budget of nearly $716 million that is limited in growth from this year’s budget but that I believe balances the challenges we face in what still remains a very uncertain time, and in the same instance, acknowledges the hard work our city employees, particularly police and fire, have done over the last year and continue to perform today,” Strickland told the council.

Strickland said the City is expected to receive in total $160 to $168 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The money will be split into two disbursements a year apart. The first half will be distributed, along with further rules explaining the allowed uses, within 60 days after the act was signed into law, which was March 11, 2021. That means the City is expected to receive between $80 to $84 million this year.

Read Mayor Strickland’s budget proposal here.

Strickland proposed a “one-time spend in the form of premium pay to full-time City of Memphis essential workers in accordance with the federal guidelines.”

He also proposed a two percent raise for commissioned police and fire employees.

“As it is each year that I present our budget, I wish I could give all city employees a raise for the incredible service they deliver to our citizens each day,” said Strickland. “But, unfortunately, each year we have a finite amount of resources. Fortunately as discussed a moment ago, we can use $16 million in federal funds to give premium pay or bonuses.”

The mayor proposed a capital improvement plan (CIP) budget for general obligation bond support of roughly $89 million.

The CIP budget includes funding for “mission critical projects” such as the paving of roads, maintenance, necessary vehicles, and projects mandated by law.

“This proposal contains $19.5 million in much needed paving for our city streets and nearly $11 million in capital acquisitions on items for core city services, such as, more police cars, fire trucks, and dump trucks,” he said.

Strickland said he would not propose a property tax increase.

“I will not be proposing a tax increase, especially because so many of our neighbors have suffered significantly over the last 12 months,” Strickland said. “I will be proposing a tax rate which we calculate will result in the same revenue as before the assessment. At this point, it appears that rate will be around $2.75 to $2.80.”

The budget committee will make its recommendations ahead of scheduled final votes by the full council at the June 1 meeting.