Council members rethink big budget cuts - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Council members rethink big budget cuts

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Some Memphis City Council members are proposing to take $1.1 million from the city's reserves to keep Fire Station No. 6 open for another year.

At a public safety council committee hearing the fire station, slated to close Aug. 1 due to budget cuts, was given a 30-day reprieve.

Fire Station No. 6 closure delayed 1 month

These cuts to public safety were included in the budget passed by the council in June but some council members were concerned about how these cuts are playing out. Council Chairman Edmund Ford, Jr., voiced his concern about what that could mean for the city's long-term financial situation.

When this budget was passed, these cuts were on paper. But now that they're tangible, they're effecting neighborhoods and city workers so some council members are having second thoughts.
One thing to remember here is we haven't even heard the official cuts from the police department. Director Toney Armstrong has to trim about $6 million. He says he might have to close two precincts next year.

So some council members are having second thoughts about these cuts.

There was a proposal Tuesday to pull money from the city's reserves to cover some cuts, but Council Chairman Ford said that could be a bad idea and it defeats to purpose of cutting the budget in the first place.

"We need to look at this budget that we have and adhere to it," he said. "If there was some negative consequences that came with it those individuals that voted for this budget deal with those negative consequences."

Chairman Ford brought up the State Comptroller's warning to the city to get its fiscal house in order. He says if council members want all of these services they would have need to pass a higher tax rate. But the real concern is that every time the Wharton administration makes a cut some city council members are going to second guess the decisions.     

The results could be a slippery slope for the city.

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