On June 20 Greensboro’s mayor and city councilmembers voted to establish the budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Here are the highlights from the city’s newly adopted $751.3 million budget:
Wage increases for city employees
The minimum wage for city workers is increasing to $18 per hour and police officers will now be paid a starting salary of $55,000 beginning in September, City Manager Taiwo Jaiyeoba said during the meeting. In contrast, Winston-Salem is raising the minimum wage for city workers to $15.45 per hour and paying its police officers a starting salary of $52,500.
To help afford spending increases, the budget came with a property tax at a rate of 67.25 cents per $100 property valuation — four cents higher than the previous year.
The tax rate is allocated as follows: 62.75 cents to the general fund, 3.5 cents to the transit fund, and 1 cent to the housing partnership fund.
The increase particularly concerned Mayor Nancy Vaughan and councilmember Zack Matheny. Matheny argued, “It may seem like a nominal property tax increase to some, I’ll say it — to me — couple hundred dollars a year, sure.”
But for some, like a taxpayer who owns a commercial office building Matheny spoke to, it would be much more burdensome. The new property tax rate would equate to a $10,000 increase for this constituent, Matheny said.
“What’s gonna happen in that commercial office building to the tenants?” Matheny posited, adding, “They’re gonna get rent increases. So that property tax may not seem like a lot but that property tax is gonna filter right down to the folks that are struggling to pay rent and they’re gonna end up not being able to pay it.”
Additionally, water and sewer fees will increase.
The proposed budget included a “water rate increase of 10.25 percent and a wastewater increase of 7.25 percent, or an 8.5 percent increase on average for inside and outside customers.”
This year, the police department’s budget hit $99,120,589, according to the city’s Assistant Budget Director Tiffany Jones. Compare that to the department’s budget during the previous fiscal year — $91,174,117 — as well as this year’s initially recommended budget of $96,023,712. This year, the city’s fire department has a budget of $71,153,692.
The increase in the police budget includes $40,000 for the department’s Flock camera program.
As of the 2022-23 fiscal year, funding has also been allocated towards the newly created Office of Community Safety — under public safety. This coming year, changes will be made to budget for one Violence Prevention Coordinator in the City Manager division; the transfer of one Behavioral Health Crisis Team Lead and seven Behavioral Crisis Counselors from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion division; and the addition of one LEADS Case Coordinator; and the addition of one Community Outreach Coordinator.
Greensboro Transit Agency has a budget of $31,536,452 for this coming fiscal year. GTA operates 19 routes from 5:15 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 17 routes 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. A dedicated property tax rate of 3.5 cents goes toward providing transit services to residents.
Also, the start time for all weekday fixed route services will change from 5:15 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. beginning July 3, Jones wrote.
One of GTA’s new projects is a downtown trolley service — christened the “Hopper” — a pilot program funded through participatory budgeting and ARPA funds. The trolleys hit the streets on July 17 at 11 a.m. and will circulate through areas of downtown seven days a week from the early morning until around midnight.
- Housing and Neighborhood Development: $2,447,284
- Housing Services & Administration: $3,113,848. According to Jones, “a significant portion of the funds within administration are reallocated for specific purposes during the fiscal year.” This budget allocates funding to support city-wide housing rehabilitation programs.
- Homelessness Prevention: $539,075. This budget allocates funding to support homelessness prevention activities such as emergency and transitional shelter, rapid re-housing and housing information and referral services for houseless people or those at risk of becoming houseless.
- Asset Management: $199,544. This budget helps support the maintenance and disposition of city-owned property in active redevelopment areas.
The adopted budget will be published at www.greensboro-nc.gov/budget in July.
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