Memphis City Council decides not to increase property tax rate

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis City Council decided not to increase the city’s property tax rate.

Councilman Martavius Jones wanted the tax rate increase and said it would have benefitted Memphians.

However, the majority of the city council voted against it on Monday and said it’s just not the right time to talk about tax increases.

“We will still have a trashy, dirty city because there is no additional revenues to take care of,” said Jones.

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Councilman Jones said the city council failed its people on Tuesday tonight.

He wanted to increase the property tax rate from $2.71 to $3.02 for every 100 dollars in assessed values.

He said this would have generated extra revenue, thousands of dollars for MATA, a three percent raise for employees, affordable housing, and programs designed to help the youth workforce.

Instead, council members voted against discussing Jones’ proposal.

“The will just wasn’t there. This isn’t the first time I stood alone. I guarantee it won’t be the last time,” said Councilman Jones.

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Council Chairman Frank Colvette said increasing property taxes would not be fair for people still recovering from the pandemic.

“We just thought, and I think it’s the will of the body, that asking Memphians to pay more at this point is a no-go,” said Chairman Colvette.

He said Memphians are also paying higher sewer, trash, and stormwater fees.

“The council, I think, sent a very loud and clear message that we care about the constituents, and they pay enough in taxes. We are going to do the best we can and pull every dollar as hard as we can to get the most out of it,” Colvette said.

Meanwhile, Jones said the city would use $23 million from city savings to make up for the budget shortfall.

He also said he isn’t afraid to propose a property tax increase next budget season, but there is nothing he can do for now.

“We just continue to go through the next year, and we’ll have, we’ll continue to have blight, we will continue to have trash on the path that we haven’t taken and gone in a different direction,” said Jones.