City News

The City Council adopted a $396.5 million budget June 16 for fiscal year 2008-2009 that maintains the current levels of city services and keeps the city property-tax rate unchanged at 49 cents per $100 of value.

Overall, the budget allocates $305 million for operations and debt service, and $91.5 million for capital improvements. The budget will take effect July 1.

Highlights of the budget as adopted by the City Council include:

• Expanding City Link, the city’s centralized call center, to respond to all calls placed to the city, except for highly specialized areas, including revenue collection and non-emergency police and fire calls. This will be accomplished by transferring 12 positions to City Link from other city departments.

• Allocating $518,000 for the Winston-Salem Transit Authority to enhance services and review its route structure, fees and schedules.

• Providing $57,160 for the Sanitation Division to buy 5,000 more roll-out carts for voluntary curbside collection and 30 bulk containers to meet demand.

• Increasing the Streets Division’s budget for street resurfacing by $102,230.

• Adding three positions in the Utilities Division to create an additional crew for cleaning sewer lines.

• Adding $22,910 to the Fire Department budget to allow more firefighters to attend specialized training in rescue operations and hazardous materials handling.

• Giving city employees pay raises of up to 3 percent, based on merit.

• Increasing the money to outside agencies to provide a $50,000 grant to Old Salem Inc.

The budget for capital improvements includes $25.5 million to begin rebuilding the R.A. Thomas Water Plant, $19 million for updating the Elledge Wastewater Treatment Plant, and $4.5 million to replace aging water and sewer lines in the Ardmore neighborhood.

Revised budget documents incorporating changes made by the City Council will be posted on the city Web site as soon as they are prepared.


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