Council approves 2014-2015 budget

After much discussion, the budget is a done deal. Highlights:

  • Property taxes are going up by 2.37 cents / $100 assessed value to 59.12 cents / $100; that’s an increase of about 4.17%
  • The median price of a home in Durham county (as of February) was $172,000; the tax hike would equate to an extra $41 in city taxes for such a home.
  • The tax hike will cover, among other things:
    • salaries of some police officers and firefighters whose positions lost Federal funding
    • 6 parks and rec employees who will help maintain parks and greenways
    • capital needs of the garbage collection fleet (formerly paid for with a $1.80/month fee rather than a tax)
  • The total budget is $389.9M, up 3.4% from last year
  • Yard waste (brown bin) fees will go up by $1/month
  • Water and sewer rates will go up by 3%, stormwater rates will go up by 7.5%
  • Budgeted in the Capital Improvement Plan are:
    • $44M for a new police HQ
    • $7M for fire equipment
    • $4.2M for park upgrades
    • $20.5M for water and sewer infrastructure
    • $815,250 for sidewalks, “web 2.0” (really guys?), and to cover the funding gap caused by the legislature’s ban on business license fees.
  • Pay raises are in store for city employees, up 3% for those classed “general pay plan” and 3.5% for police and fire.
  • $500K for deferred maintenance
  • $1M for street repaving
  • $6M for fleet vehicles
  • $1.7M for “arts and culture”

The preliminary budget is available on the city web site. The final budget doesn’t seem to be online yet.

Not really a lot of surprises here, at least at first blush. If you see anything especially interesting or concerning, let me know in the comments.

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