New Shelby County budget funds pay raises, more deputies

coimmission tax

Shelby County Commissioner Terry Roland, right, debates the first item on the agenda as commissioners gear up for talks on budget issues and tax cuts Monday. (Photo: Jim Weber / The Commercial Appeal)

By Ryan Poe   /  The Commercial Appeal

The Shelby County Commission unanimously approved a budget Monday with a 2 percent pay increase for all county employees and an assumed tax cut.

The commission voted 11-0 for a budget based on a tax rate of $4.10 per $100 of assessed value, giving the county a budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. The county was funded through a continuing resolution in the interim.

The commission will vote on the final tax rate later this month. Mayor Mark Luttrell pleaded with the commission Monday to reduce a proposed 3-cent tax rate cut by a cent or two to free up funds for an account for small, discretionary, pay-as-you-go projects.

Although he initially considered a veto, Luttrell said he plans to sign the budget. His administration was tasked Monday with reducing expenses by $1.4 million — the amount needed to balance the budget following the commission’s amendments.

Among the amendments was the 2 percent across-the-board pay increase for employees. The commission voted 12-0 to pay $5.2 million for the raises instead of adjusting pay to fit the market averages outlined in the county’s compensation study.

The vote effectively shelves a compensation study that was months in the making, at least for the current fiscal year.

The administration initially estimated that the pay adjustments recommended in the study would cost $4.9 million.

To read the full compensation study, click here.

The commission also voted to hold $3.2 million in reserve to hire 25 new sheriff’s deputies to help the Memphis Police Department patrol the city’s crime hotspots.

Meanwhile, Luttrell announced he had launched an internal audit of the nonprofit grants program administered by the commission.

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