The Greensboro City Council has a virtual work session on the 2020-2021 budget scheduled for Tuesday, June 9 at 3:30 p.m.
If the City Council actually discusses the proposed $612 million 2020-2021 budget for any length of time, it will be the council’s first and most likely only discussion of the budget.
During the virtual public hearing on the budget held Tuesday, June 2, only one citizen was allowed to speak and his concern was the proposed reductions in service on Greensboro Transit Authority (GTA) routes.
Councilmembers did ask several questions about GTA. City Manager David Parrish said that ridership on Greensboro buses was “drastically down” due to the coronavirus stay-at-home executive orders from Gov. Roy Cooper, even though fares are not being charged on any of the city’s buses.
At that meeting Councilmember Sharon Hightower once again expressed her concern that city employees were only getting a 1.5 percent raise in the proposed budget. Hightower asked to see budget scenarios in which city employees received 2 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent raises.
Many city employees were sent home during the stay-at-home orders, but unlike in the private sector where many employees were laid off or furloughed, not a single full-time city employee was furloughed, laid off or had their salary reduced because of the stay-at-home orders.
The original budget estimate included a 2 percent raise for employees but that budget also had a deficit of over $3 million. To balance the budget in a year when sales tax revenue alone is predicted to be down by 6 percent, the raise for employees was set at 1.5 percent, which reduced the cost of the raise by about half a million.
The City Council usually sets budget goals at its annual retreat in February. However, this year the City Council discussed vision statements, mission statements, values and goals.
The values that the City Council reached consensus on that are supposed to be guiding their work are: Inclusive, Innovative, Respect, Sustainability and Safety.
In the brief budget discussions the City Council has had so far this budget season, the values that the council spent an entire day, developing have not been mentioned.