IT IS WELL BEYOND TIME THAT PEOPLE START READING GOVERNMENT BUDGETS-LET US START WITH THE CITY OF MEMPHIS
We read a lot about the lean mean budget of the City of Memphis. The City Council says it is fat but they pass it anyway. The City Administration says it is lean and cannot be cut. Who is right? What should be done?
Well I decided to make a start and put the budget on a spreadsheet and I intend to continue on until I get some answers and let the people who pay the bills, the TAXPAYERS, know about their budget.
This project is extensive but I intend to continue to work on it, the City, the County, comparable cities (Nashville, Louisville, and others) and see how we compare and compute.
I start with the attached spreadsheet which shows the various departments from the 2008 adopted City budget and compared it with the 2006 City budget, actual numbers. The following items should make the taxpayers and the City Council ask questions.
Here are the various departments:
EXECUTIVE, HUMAN RESOURCES, FINANCE, PUBLIC SERVICES, CITY COUNCIL, FIRE SERVICES, GENERAL SERVICES, CITY COURT JUDGES, POLICE SERVICES,HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT, CITY COURT CLERK, PARK SERVICES, CITY ATTORNEY, GRANTS AND AGENCIES, PUBLIC WORKS, SPECIAL REVENUE FUNDS (metro alarm fund, zoo, museums, mlk park, solid waste management and office of planning and development), DEBT SERVICE FUND, ENTERPRISE FUNDS (sewer, storm water and golf), INTERNAL SRVICE FUNDS (health insurance, printing and mail and vehicle maintenance).
Here is what I found. Look for yourself.
- In the executive suite at City Hall, the employee count went from 36 to 98 and $12.6 million got added to the lean budget.
- In Human Resources, 39 to 64 people with $6 million added to the budget.
- The City Attorney added 16 people and $5.7 million
- Housing and Community Development added 10 and $2.1 million.
- Park Services added 54 people and $4.3 million.
- Solid Waste Management added 72 people and $12 million.
- Sewer workers added 39 people and $5.5 million.
- Total Budget employees went up 1317 employees.
THAT IS $48.2 MILLION JUST FOR STARTERS
The total operating budget is $744,577,884 not $540 million. Why? Just look at your utility bill and hidden on the back are the City of Memphis Sewer Charge, the Solid Waster Fee, the Storm Water Fee and the County Mosquito/Rodent Control Fee. Rather than put the first three on the operating budget, they charge you this tax through your MLGW bill.
Call or email your City Council members and let them know you want the City budget cut and by a substantial amount as there is plenty of fat there, especially starting at the top.