Memphis looks to sheriff’s office to patrol-monitor school crossings www.privateofficer.com
Memphis TN May 20 2012 A Memphis City Council member is pressing the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office to patrol school crossings instead of the Memphis Police Department.
Council budget committee chairman Jim Strickland informed Sheriff Bill Oldham he will ask the council on Tuesday to cut city funding for MPD crossing guards and shift that responsibility to the Sheriff’s Office. The move could save the city $1.2 million a year, Strickland says.
The Sheriff’s Office monitors school crossings in Shelby County outside Memphis city limits. Strickland said since Memphis residents pay county taxes, the Sheriff’s Office should patrol school crossings inside the city, too.
“Because Memphians are Shelby County taxpayers, we should get the same level of service from the county that citizens of Bartlett, Collierville and Germantown receive,” Strickland said in a letter sent to Oldham. “I understand that it will not be easy to locate funding for this service, but please be assured that I would use the savings achieved by the city in this matter to reduce the tax rate for Memphis city government.”
Oldham currently opposes Strickland’s plan, said his spokesman, Chip Washington.
“(Oldham) stated that he does not support the proposal as stated because at this time, he has had no serious discussions with the County Commission as of yet regarding the issue of funding, or what will happen next year,” Washington said.
“This is a bit premature at this point and will take time and discussion to figure things out from all parties concerned.”
Strickland has invited the public to speak during the City Council’s 5 p.m. budget committee meeting Tuesday at City Hall. Residents who wish to speak should contact Juaness Keplinger at (901) 576-6797.
“After hearing from city government directors and representatives from the employee unions, I want to give citizens an opportunity to weigh in on the substantial tax increase they will potentially face under the proposal by (Mayor AC Wharton),” Strickland said.
Wharton has called for a 47-cent property-tax increase to cover the cost of court-ordered school funding.
The mayor proposed a $628.3 million operating budget next year for city government, up from $606 million in the current year. The administration says higher costs for fuel, materials and supplies, along with debt restructuring, contributed to the increase.
With school funding, the total budget would be around $696 million.
Strickland has introduced a budget counterproposal that would reduce the tax rate by 10 cents as it eliminates jobs and makes a large draw on the city’s reserves.
Wharton said the tax increase he proposed of 47 cents per $100 of assessed value could be reduced if council members use $9 million from the sale of the Defense Depot and $20 million from a retiree health care reserve fund toward the budget.
Source:the commercial appeal