Wharton makes case for budget at town hall - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Wharton makes case for budget at town hall

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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WHITEHAVEN, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton and his department heads began their budget town hall meetings with a stop in the community of Whitehaven on Thursday night.

The mayor hopes by opening the books of the $613 million budget to the public, they will understand or at least be engaged.

More than half billion dollars seems like a lot of money but department heads explained to how those dollars get eaten up by fixed costs such as public safety. Subtract salaries and benefits and you don't have much left.

"We are like a household, we have to live on a budget," Memphis Chief Administrative Officer George Little said.

This year the Wharton administration in the State of the City address promised to take on more quality of life issues such as fixing pothole and reducing poverty. There is also pressing concern of pension reform for public employees.

Weighty issues but only three people spoke out at the town hall meeting held at Middle Baptist Church in Whitehaven.
Clara Ford told CAO Little she wants more economic development in her community.

"I'm pay taxes and seeing now results," Ford said. "I still have to take my money got to Mississippi or got to East Memphis.

"Let's work together to try and cut these taxes," said Ray Smith, who cautioned the mayor and council members in attendance not raise taxes.

Mayor Wharton told FOX13 News he was pleased with turnout even though there was only a couple dozen residents in the room.

"We just laid it right out there," Mr. Wharton said. "The numbers don't lie. That is why we had the numbers up there, not a lot of editorials, just the numbers."

The concerns voiced publicly Thursday, while on three, will help shape the budget.

Next stop of the so called "Budget 101 Tour" is the community of Orange Mound.

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