Raleigh’s proposed budget has tax increase for parks, raises for city workers

Raleigh homeowners could see a 10% increase in their city property tax bill under a proposed budget that includes implementation of a $275 million parks bond and pay raises for city workers.

City Manager Marchell Adams-David presented her proposed $1.26 billion budget to the Raleigh City Council Tuesday afternoon.

The proposed property tax rate is 43.30 cents per $100 valuation, up from 39.3 cents. That would cost the owner of a $350,000 home $140 more in city taxes a year.

Wake County’s proposed budget includes an additional 3.25 cent per $100 valuation increase to the county property tax rate.

“The intent behind this budget was to ensure that our budget process was not created in a silo,” said Sadia Sattar, the city’s new director of Budget and Management Service. “So we took into account City Council priorities, our city’s strategic plan, we took into account departmental needs.”

This budget is rooted with community engagement and equity at its core, she said, adding that the city got more than 3,000 responses to its budget survey. And, for the first time, focus groups were held with residents about their budget priorities which included affordable housing, transportation and public safety.

The proposed budget also include a 4% rate increase to the base water charges, 2.5% increase to the stormwater charges and a $2.10 fee increase per month for garbage collection.

“That was a lot but it is very well done,” Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin said. “I want to say thank you for your efforts. I think this is the 14th city budget I have been involved in, and it is kind of miraculous work that gets done. It is very much appreciated.”

City workers

The proposed budget includes a 5% pay increase for hourly full-time workers and a 3.5% pay increase for full-time salary employees. Part-time employees would see a 1% pay increase. That totals $9.5 million increases in merit increases. The city of Raleigh has 3,832 full-time employees.

The budget also includes $500,000 to address leapfrogging in the police, fire and emergency communications.

The city also plans to contribute a flat 3% into employee retirement funds regardless of employee matching.

Other budget highlights:

  • GoRaleigh buses would remain fare free for the next year.

  • $80 million for bus rapid transit projects include implementation of the Southern Corridor, an ADA facility construction and bus shelter improvements.

  • 11.8 million in housing assistance programs

  • $6 million in performing arts complex, convention center and Walnut Creek maintenance

  • Two new employees in community engagement, six new telecommunicators and expansion of the city’s ACORNs unit.

  • Wifi upgrades for over 50 community centers and wifi installed in the city’s fire stations.

  • $7.8 million for affordable housing

Next steps

The Raleigh City Council will hold a budget work session on June 5 and a public hearing for the budget is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 6.

The city has to approve a budget before the start of the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

Read the budget

The budget, its supporting documents and presentation can be found online at budget.raleighnc.gov.

This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.