Mayor Calls for Property Tax Increase

The Memphis mayor called for a 58-cent property tax increase today, citing declining home values and negative consumer spending.

"Conservative consumer spending means less money in sales tax," Mayor Willie Herenton told the City Council during his fiscal year 2009 budget presentation. "Decreasing home values means less money collected in property taxes."

The mayor's budget includes $595.3 million for general operations and $241.3 million for the city's capital improvement program.

The administration anticipates a $6 million shortfall in local sales tax revenue and a $3 million increase in health care benefits to city employees.

"We must make adjustments," said the mayor.

The budget also includes a 5 percent raise for city employees, equaling $17 million.

by Mary Cashiola

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