City council approves pay raises, improvement projects in 2023 budget

Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Big bucks for city employee raises and some Bluff City improvement projects.

The Memphis City Council approved the fiscal year 2023 budget Tuesday.

The Strickland administration originally proposed a two percent increase for general employees and a three percent increase for Memphis firefighters.

Council instead voted Tuesday to increase pay to those employees to three percent next year, without voting on a pay increase for firefighters. However, some council members say that’s not enough.

“For me, I’m all for paying people more,” said Councilmen JB Smiley Jr. “I have no problem with that but I do have a problem with is taking dollars out of people’s pockets and we’ve stated two times that we’re going to give them four percent.”

The original resolution before council Tuesday, called for 3.5 percent increase, leaving some city council members to vote against the lower pay hike a majority of council agreed on.

“I will not be supporting a reduction from three and a half to three,” said Memphis City Council Vice Chair Martavius Jones. “However, we’re still in this hyper inflation environment... I would support a 3 and a half to four.”

Council also approved a resolution to amend the 2023 capital improvement program budget for several city projects.

The city will dedicate $5.5 million for repairs to the Mud Island monorail, $500,000 for city side walk repairs, $1 million for park services, 1.2 million for a new splash pad, $500,000 for traffic calming devices, and $1 million for modifications to city buildings along with improvements to Ida B. Wells Park. However, some council members believe that money should be focused on improving blighted areas in the city too.

“I just still think if we have any extra money,” said Councilwoman Cheyenne Johnson. “Let’s clean up this city please and what can we do to make that happen.”

Council members say they can amend the budget if needed and can review this again, if needed.

Fiscal year 2023 begins July 1.

Council also approved a two percent increase in payments to retired city employees at their meeting Tuesday.

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