Durham passes 2021-2022 fiscal budget and raises taxes by two cents
Durham City leaders unanimously approved a budget of $ 529.7 million on Monday night which raises the city’s tax rate by 2 cents, or nearly 3.8%.
The 2021-2022 fiscal year budget, which takes effect July 1, includes funds for affordable housing, green and equitable infrastructure projects, and a new department for community safety.
Much of the tax increase will go towards repaying the $ 95 million bond for affordable housing that voters approved in 2019. A quarter will go to infrastructure projects, which city officials and staff have will determine at a later date.
The Community Safety Service will house new initiatives for public safety outside of traditional policing. It will include pilot programs to explore alternative responses to 911 calls and oversee the $ 935,000 that city leaders have invested in expanding Bull City United, the county’s violence interruption team.
The budget also includes a $ 4 million increase for street paving, bringing the city’s total funding for road resurfacing to $ 10 million.
City council members made no comment when they approved the budget on Monday, but two community members signed up to speak before leaders voted.
Larry Hester has called for more police patrols along Fayetteville Street in the Southside neighborhood.
“This request is based on the belief that foot and bicycle patrols help deter crime before it begins, promote a safe environment for all citizens and form a healthy relationship between police and residents, business owners, in our community, ”he said. .
Donald Hughes, program coordinator for the non-profit organization WAR4Life, asked council members to double the city’s funding for YouthWorks, a summer job training program run by Durham Technical Community College.
The approved budget includes $ 558,000 for the youth program.
Total operating budget: $ 529.7 million. Last year’s budget was $ 502.6 million.
Tax rate: An increase from 53.17 to 55.17 cents per $ 100 of assessed value. For the median Durham home value of $ 233,927, the city’s property tax bill will be approximately $ 1,291 per year. Homeowners pay an additional county property tax of 72.22 cents per $ 100 of assessed value.
Community safety: The community safety service will have 15 full-time positions. Five positions are being funded by the transfer of four vacant sworn officer positions and one vacant civilian position from the Durham Police Service.
In May, city council members called for 15 more police stations to be frozen. After a six-month evaluation, board members can transfer up to 15 of those positions to the new department, The News & Observer previously reported.
Tax assistance: $ 500,000 for a joint city-county tax relief program. The program will be available to County Durham homeowners who earn less than 30% of the region’s median income and who have lived on their property for more than 10 years. County officials have designated $ 750,000 for the program in the next county budget.
City employees: Salary increased by 5% for essential frontline employees in the city, retroactive to June 2020. Municipal workers will also receive increases: a 2% salary increase for general employees; a 4% salary increase for sworn police officers; and a 3.5% salary increase for sworn firefighters. All employees will also receive a bonus of $ 2,000 to $ 3,000, depending on salary level.
New jobs in town: 36 new full-time positions in several departments, including Parks and Recreation, Community Safety, Communications, Community Development and four others.
Water and sewer: A 3.6% increase in water and sewer rates for the average water consumer.
The full approved budget will be available on Thursday, July 1 on the City Budget and Management Service webpage.