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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

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City Council likely to discuss Mayor Young’s proposed solid waste fee increase next week

Memphis City Council members are expected to discuss a proposed monthly increase in solid waste fees tucked away in Mayor Paul Young’s proposed FY2025 budget during a scheduled council budget committee meeting on Monday, May 6.

The added $6.68 to monthly tabs would be used to improve services. 

“What we have not talked about at any point in time is the other fee that’s coming. The other fee that’s coming to the people of Memphis is the solid waste fee,” said Council Chairman JB Smiley.

The proposal came to light during a community meeting at New Hope Church in Cordova on Thursday, May 2. 

It follows a 75-cent property tax increase also featured in the proposed budget. For a home valued at $100,000, the bump would increase the annual fee to $863. Under the current rate, the hypothetical bill amounts to $675.

“This is not our goal. Although the mayor proposed 75 cents, the council is doing everything we can to say…’wait a minute, slow down, slow down. Let’s figure out if there’s any other way we can generate revenue in this city,” said Smiley.

According to the administration, the boost – in large part – is needed to fill a funding gap inherited from former Mayor Jim Strickland. In April, the council scrambled to approve a $10 million funding resolution to cover the payroll of over 100 new Memphis Fire Department hires that weren’t figured into the FY2024 budget.

“At present, we are tracking to not pick up an additional $12 million dollars, so we have to adjust and budget forward,” said Antonio Adams. “I know it’s a hard sell. We are in that budget hearing phase. We are open to working with colleagues at city council to come up with other alternatives.” 

If the extra revenue was sought through the property tax, it would equate to an additional 12 cents.

Instant public reaction to the proposed budget didn’t present a clear picture. Of the 20-plus attendants polled, three supported the increase, while seven were opposed. Another six could not yet support the hike, whereas five were maybes.

Four people supported both the tax hike and the rate increase, contrasted by six opposed who are opposed to both proposals.

Meanwhile, approval of solid waste services’ performance split down the middle, 8-8.

Along with blight control efforts, waste pickup is a component of the administration’s approach to crime reduction. The logic being, a neglected area encourages criminal behavior.

Thursday’s meeting was one of several the administration is hosting to present its proposed FY2025 budget to the public. The next will be held at New Salem Missionary Church on May 16.

 

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