Memphis budget includes funding for MATA, pay increases for police and fire, mayor says

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland’s new budget proposal includes more funding for MATA and raises for City employees.

The mayor’s proposed operating budget for the 2023 fiscal year is just over $750 million.

Strickland said the increase is due to increased revenues from the 2019 public safety referendum, an increase in online and local sales taxes and a return to ‘normalized’ post-pandemic operations.

Strickland said the budget includes a ‘significant’ investment in City employees, particularly public safety employees.

His budget includes a six percent increase for firefighters, a 10 percent increase for police officers, a 2 percent increase for general employees and a one percent cost of living increase for retirees.

For every year police officers and firefighters stay, they’ll receive a 9 percent annual bonus payment up to five years.

The mayor said the budget would boost the public safety retention program, expanding the current yearly program to five years, and allowing public safety employees to choose the duration of their contract.

The budget also includes funds to tackle illegal dumping,

A unit of 17 staff members and equipment will be added to the environment enforcement department.

Strickland said the team will provide a quicker response to complaints of illegal dumping and a resource for neighborhoods who deal with it.

The budget includes an additional $10 million worth of operating funds for MATA and a first-ever transit fund.

This additional funding will increase frequency of service for MATA and connect Memphians to over 10,000 unfilled jobs, Strickland said.

The proposal also builds on the momentum of our Accelerate Memphis program by delivering a new Lester Community Center, a renovated Audubon Park Golf Course, and a new Mt. Moriah Police Precinct, Strickland said.

Because a portion of sales tax revenues have been allocated for Pre-K, continued funding for pre-K is secured for more years to come.

Strickland also proposed excess funds in the amount of $26 million be used to fund the following projects: the balance of the Harbor Docks project ($10 million), cost escalation for Accelerate Memphis projects ($10 million), an additional neighborhood splash pad and transform the former Davy Crockett golf course into the city’s first outdoor adventure park ($3.4 million), and to make an allocation of $2.6 million of funding for immediate capital improvements across libraries, parks and community centers.