News Flash

Marketing & Communications

Posted on: June 22, 2022

$627.6 Million Budget Approved for 2022-2023

The City Council on Tuesday approved a $627.6 million budget for 2022-23 that gives police officers and firefighters new pay and career plans to improve retention, funds a new program for 911 calls involving mental illness, and authorizes the city to issue $55 million in bonds to address necessary maintenance and other high-priority needs. The budget takes effect July 1.

Council members approved a property tax rate for the coming year of 63.6 cents for every $100 of value, an increase of 2.36 cents. 

The approved budget is $1.8 million more than the $625.8 million budget that City Manager Lee Garrity proposed. Of this increase, $1 million is to provide firefighters with the same increase in salaries that police officers will receive, $700,000 will fund a pilot program for Behavioral Evaluation and Response Teams to respond to 911 calls involving mental health crises and $75,000 will fund a summer and afterschool tutoring program at community centers.

Overall, the budget allocates $415.8 million for operations, $46.6 million for debt service and $165.1 million for capital improvements. 

The budget authorizes 35 new positions, counting 14 positions that will be required when the city brings recycling collection service in-house next April.  Three positions have been added to the Community Development Department to support housing development and redevelopment services, along with a position to coordinate the efforts of local agencies that serve the homeless.

Seven additional positions required for the behavioral response teams pilot project will be authorized by a separate council action. Under the program certified mental health professionals will respond to 911 calls involving non-violent mental health crises in which there is no need for a police officer. The response teams will coordinate with existing mental health services programs. 

The new pay plans and career ladders for the Police and Fire departments are aimed at improving retention and recruiting.  The new plans create new pay grades, “police officer 2” and “master police officer,” to give officers the opportunity for pay raises before they reach the rank of corporal. Similar new pay grades will be established for firefighters.

The $55 million in limited obligation bonds will fund a variety of maintenance and infrastructure needs as well as priorities the City Council identified in its strategic plan. Limited obligation bonds do not require voter approval.

Of this, $21.5 million in bonds will address major maintenance needs, including bridge replacement, street resurfacing and stream erosion in city parks; $8.75 million will fund improvements at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, Truist Stadium and Bowman Gray Stadium; and $11.45 million will go towards improvements and maintenance at recreation facilities. 

To address the priority the council has placed on economic development, the bond package includes $6 million for a job training center that would offer instruction to meet the city’s critical staffing needs as well as other job-readiness training.

The proposed budget for capital improvements, not counting the proposed bonds, includes $66.5 million for water, sewer, stormwater and landfill projects, $14.5 million for transportation and transit and $3.3 million for a new fire truck and other Fire Department needs. 

The proposed budget allocates $1.2 million for grants to community agencies and $659,180 for downtown services and improvements, financed by the 9-cent levy recommended by the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District Advisory Committee. 

Once the budget documents are updated, they will be posted at CityofWS.org/Budget.


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