Greensboro City Council Approves $751 Million Budget with Employee Pay Raise and Tax Rate Increase
The City of Greensboro recently approved a comprehensive budget of $751 million on Tuesday, June 20. The budget includes salary increases for city employees and a moderate 4-cent property tax rate adjustment. The decision was made by a majority vote of 7-2 by the City Council.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilman Zack Matheny Dissent: Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilman Zack Matheny expressed their dissenting votes on the budget. Although Mayor Vaughan supported the pay raise for city employees, she opposed the 4-cent property tax rate increase. She clarified that her vote against the budget was not a reflection of her stance on employee benefits. Councilman Matheny shared a similar sentiment, acknowledging the positive impact of the pay raises while expressing concern about the additional burden the tax increase would place on citizens.
Property Tax and Utility Fee Adjustments: As part of the approved budget, the property tax rate will be adjusted to 67.25 cents per $100 in valuation. Additionally, water and sewer fees will see an increase of 8.5 percent. These adjustments were met with widespread dissatisfaction among council members. Councilwoman Tammi Thurm recognized the economic challenges faced by the city, emphasizing that the rising costs of conducting business necessitated these changes.
Employee Compensation: The budget also aims to address staffing concerns within the city. The approved plan sets a minimum base salary of $55,000 for police officers starting in September, up from the previous $46,000. City Manager Taiwo Jaiyeoba further announced that the minimum wage for city employees would be raised to $18 per hour. Although the budget was described as pragmatic rather than visionary, Jaiyeoba expressed satisfaction with its provisions, stating that it fulfilled essential requirements.
Concerns About Public Safety: Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, despite opposing the tax rate increase, voted in favor of the budget due to concerns about community safety. She highlighted the issue of police salaries being lower than market rates, leading to significant officer attrition. To combat this problem, the budget includes measures to increase police salaries and attract more qualified candidates. Abuzuaiter emphasized the importance of addressing this issue, considering the significant number of resignations in the previous year and the ongoing departures of experienced officers.
The approved budget for the fiscal year 2023-2024, commencing on July 1, reflects a balanced approach by the Greensboro City Council. While the decision to increase the property tax rate and utility fees drew criticism, the focus on employee compensation and public safety issues garnered support. The budget serves as a foundational step in addressing critical concerns and securing the necessary resources for the city’s continued growth and development.