City Manager David Parrish presented his proposed 2021-2022 budget to the City Council at the Tuesday, May 18 meeting.
The City Council had gone over the preliminary proposed budget at the work session on May 11 and there were no notable last minute changes from the preliminary budget.
What made this proposed budget a little more noteworthy was that this will be the last budget Parrish, who is resigning effective June 20, will present to the City Council.
The total budget is $617 million – an increase of $13.1 million or 2.2 percent over the current 2020-2021 budget, which totals $604 million, and the manager’s proposed budget keeps the property tax rate at 66.25 cents.
Property tax revenue is projected to increase by a relatively modest 2.1 percent to $182.4 million. However, sales tax is projected to increase by $15.6 million, or 30 percent, to $68 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
The budget projects an increase in city employees of 44.63 during the 2021-2022 fiscal year, with 24 new employees at the beginning of the fiscal year and 20.63 added in January. This will increase personnel costs in the budget by 5.1 percent.
One of the major variables in the budget is the amount of revenue from the Coliseum Complex including the Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the Coliseum Complex has had an extremely limited number of events and The Tanger, which was scheduled to hold its grand opening in March 2020, has yet to open.
The budget projects increased revenue from the Coliseum Complex and The Tanger, and includes a $2.9 million transfer from the general fund to the Coliseum budget, which is $500,000 less than the budget transfer in the current fiscal year.
The budget for the Police Department is being increased by $5.2 million, or 6.7 percent, which includes an additional eight patrol officers and $250,000 for additional counseling for police officers. It also includes a $493,000 increase in the technical services fund.