With City Pay Hike, Are We Safer Now?

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Burning questions in the aftermath of the city budget meeting this week.

Is Memphis safer now? The Memphis Police Association put up billboards saying "DANGER, ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK" like the one in this picture taken on South Third Street, one of the gateways to Memphis from Mississippi. Members of the police and firefighters unions were vocal advocates at council meetings, seeking restoration of a 4.6 percent pay cut. They got it. Why do unions play hardball at crunch time? The same reason corporations play hardball on tax breaks: because it works.

Will there be another push to revise the residency policy for public employees so they can share the burden of Memphis property taxes? City policy does not require police and fire fighters to live in Memphis. Memphis and Shelby County have gone back and forth on residency requirements for public employees in the last ten years, with referendums in 2004 and 2010.

Will the public safety unions whose members benefit from taxes mount a billboard campaign urging them to live in the CITY THAT SUPPORTS PUBLIC SAFETY, which only a minority of them do?

If the school scramble doesn't do it, will even more people move out of Memphis now that the new combined city-county rate is likely to be about $7.78 once the Shelby County Commission acts?

Will karmic justice be done when the revenue-generating ticket cameras in school zones are installed and council sponsors Myron Lowery and Bill Morrison get ticketed and fined for going 20 miles an hour in a 15 mile an hour zone after school hours by a police officer making the city safer?

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