Memphis City Council members are working toward a compromise to pay the bills.
Councilman Lee Harris could be a key swing vote, he missed last week's meeting, and he could break the tie on some big issues like a four point six percent pay increase for city workers.
"All stakeholders in this dire economic times are going to have to show some collaboration and some sacrifice. So I want very badly to vote for the 4.6% and I expect I will. But, you know, again I'm going to expect some sacrifices some shared sacrifice among everyone involved in city government," Harris said.
One sacrifice Harris is exploring, asking the firefighters, police, and other union workers to drop their lawsuit against the city over pay.
Several council members have their own budget plans.
Harold Collins wants to cut the police budget by 2.5% and eliminate city vacancies among other things.
He wants to add funding for communities centers, libraries, code enforcement, and he wants to add to the reserve fund.
His tax rate would be 3.31%.
"This budget is a vision it takes us to a place where we can go and begin to share in some of the good things about Memphis," Collins said.
Council chairman Edmund Ford junior proposed more funding for community programs last week.
He also has plans to save money through layoffs and job cuts.
For a tax rate of 3.35%.
"Over time we have de funded or lowered funding for community centers, parks, libraries, paving our roads and things of that nature to where I'm asking for money to be put back into those things," Ford said.
The council approved several proposals from budget committee chair Jim Strickland last week.
Including 100 layoffs and 300 jobs cut through attrition.
The tax rate would remain at 3.11%.
"I just want to hold our expenses down as much as we possibly can, also take care of public safety which is a priority, and my plan does that and I think we can operate under that," Strickland said.
Councilman Shea Flynn says he's looking down the road as he decides on a budget plan.
"You just don't want to go and ask either the employees to bear another round of cuts, the taxpayers to bear another round of tax increases. I mean we need to provide stability for both of those stakeholders and we can do it," Flynn said.