The City Council has adopted a $373.9 million budget for 2010-2011 that earmarks $11.4 million of the Dell refund for economic development, cuts the operating budgets for city departments, eliminates 37 vacant city jobs and raises the city property-tax rate three-fourths of a penny to 47.50 cents per $100 of value.
Overall the proposed budget allocates $300.23 million for operations and debt service, and $73.63 million for capital improvements. The budget takes effect July 1.
The council added to the budget $11.4 million in location incentives refunded to the city by Dell Inc., and earmarked that money for various economic development purposes. $6.7 million will be allocated for economic-development infrastructure improvements, $3.7 million will be reserved for economic development initiatives, and $1 million will be used to create a Jobs and Technology Fund. This is in addition to the $2.5 million of the Dell refund that the council had already agreed to use to assist distressed commercial areas and the $1.5 million that council had already allocated to shore up General Fund reserves.
The budget also:
- Eliminates 37 city jobs that are currently vacant, saving $1.3 million. Three other vacancies in construction-related programs would be frozen and unfunded for a savings of $195,000.
- Eliminates employee pay increases, saving $1.2 million.
- Reduces the operating accounts that will not substantially affect services to the public by $900,000.
- Defers equipment replacements, saving $690,000.
- Implements curbside garbage collection throughout the city, resulting in a first-year savings of $175,000 after providing rollout carts to all city households. Exemptions will be available for households where no one is physically able to roll out the cart.
- Raises $900,000 by increasing various fees and fines, including the yard-waste collection fee, code enforcement fines, some recreation fees, on-street parking fines, and off-street parking rates.
- Increases the property-tax rate to 47.5 cents from 46.75 cents per $100,
for a net revenue increase of $1.56 million. The owner of a home valued at $150,000 would pay $11.25, or 1.6% more, in property taxes. The city last raised property taxes in June 2007.
The proposed budget for capital improvements includes $57 million for water, sewer, stormwater management and solid waste disposal projects, including $9.8 million to
replace the dam at Salem Lake, $6.8 million for construction of the Reedy Fork pump station and force main, and $900,000 for cell construction at the Hanes Mill Road landfill. Other capital spending includes $11.4 million for replacing buses and $1 million for resurfacing streets.