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Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris proposes $1.6 billion budget

Published: May. 7, 2022 at 7:13 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris wants to increase spending on education and transportation and help more families pay their property taxes.

That’s all part of the $1.6 billion budget he unveiled this week.

Harris asked Shelby County Commissioners to set aside $2.4 million to continue a program to help elderly, veteran and disabled homeowners pay their property taxes.

The mayor says the program helped 8,700 families last year.

With inflation on the rise, he says help is needed even more this year.

“If this is approved by the commission, we will be able to reduce the property tax bill for hundreds and hundreds of families in Memphis and Shelby County,” said Harris. “In fact, for some families, we will pay their entire property tax bill.”

His proposed budget includes $2.3 million for MATA and would set aside one million dollars for transit projects to help improve the transit system.

“Everyone in our community deserves to be able to get to work, to get across town, and to get access to medical care. Our transit system will never work unless all of us do our part to pitch in,” said Harris.

The mayor’s budget adds another $8.5 million to Pre-K and early Pre-K programs and $28 million for school construction projects.

Overall, the mayor’s budget would allocate$428 million to the county’s seven public school systems.

“If approved, this will be the largest allocation for schools in history,” said Harris.

The mayor also proposes a one percent pay raise for county employees and he wants to raise the hourly minimum wage for county workers to $15.44.

The mayor’s budget is based on a five percent decrease in the property tax rate.

It’ll be up to commissioners to approve that rate along with other priorities in the mayor’s budget.

The county commission has until June 30 to approve the budget.

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