If you like bloated out-of-control government spending, you’ll love Greensboro’s new budget.

Tuesday, June 21 the Greensboro City Council on a 7-2 vote  passed the $688 million 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, which includes the highest property tax increase in the history of Greensboro, as well as raising water rates, garbage and hazardous waste collection fees and development fees.

The budget sets the property tax rate at 63.25 cents, which is an 8.69 cent increase over the revenue neutral tax rate of 54.56 cents.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmember and mayoral candidate Justin Outling cast the two votes against passing the budget.  Both saying that the tax rate was too high.

Outling said that the increase in taxes doesn’t “accomplish enough.”

He said, “Compensation for public safety officials is not competitive with the market, even as it exists now, and our peers are also increasing their compensation for their public safety officials.”

Vaughan said that the budget included many items that she supported such as the raises for city employees, but she said that because of the increase in taxes, “I cannot support the overall budget.”

Councilmember Hugh Holston, who said at the June 14 work session that he couldn’t support the budget with the 63.25 cent tax rate, said that while he wanted to see a tax rate of 2 to 4 cents over the revenue neutral rate, “In my case I will be supporting the budget as it is.”

Holston said that further reduction in the budget would mean a possible reduction in services.  Holston didn’t explain how the city was providing all of those services currently with a budget of $619 million or why the budget needed to be increased by nearly $70 million to provide those same services after July 1.

The majority of the city councilmembers said that they were in favor of a lower tax rate, but they voted for the massive tax increase anyway.

Both At-large City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter and District 4 City Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said that Greensboro did not have the highest property tax rate of comparable cities in the state.

Hoffmann said, “We are not the highest tax rate in the state of North Carolina.”

The highest property tax rate is not a matter of opinion and city councilmembers can and do say whatever they want.  However, the fact is that Greensboro currently has the highest property tax rate of the 15 largest cities in North Carolina, despite what Abuzuaiter and Hoffmann say.