The Greensboro City Council is holding the final scheduled work session on the recommended $749 million 2023-2024 fiscal year budget on Thursday, June 15 beginning at 2 p.m. in the Plaza Level Conference Room.

This will be the fourth budget work session since City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba presented his recommended budget on May 16.  However, the City Council could decide to hold another budget work session before the scheduled vote on the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget, which is Tuesday, June 20.

The City Council traditionally holds at least one work session after the public hearing on the budget, which was held on June 6 and didn’t attract a whole lot of comment from the public.  However, two speakers did ask that the 4-cent property tax increase in the recommended budget be eliminated.

The recommended budget does include an 8.5 percent increase in water and sewer rates and a 4-cent property tax increase, which would raise the property tax rate in Greensboro to 67.25 cents. The recommended 4-cent property tax increase is coming on the heels of a property tax rate increase last year equivalent to 8.69 cents – the largest tax increase in the history of Greensboro.

When asked about possible changes to the recommended budget, Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “I would like to see a change in the tax rate. I don’t want to see another tax increase.”

Vaughan said that in light of “windfall” of revenue last year due to the revaluation, she didn’t believe another tax increase was necessary.  But she added, “I don’t know that there are enough other councilmembers who agree with that.”

When asked about possible cuts to the budget, Vaughan said that she thought money could be saved on consultants.  She said, “Even Tai said that maybe we are top heavy when it comes to consultants. Do we just default to having a study done or having a consultant come in on an issue? Maybe we need to be more careful on how that money is spent and maybe we don’t need to spend it at all.”

Vaughan said, “If we come up with a number and say, ‘this is your budget.’ I think they will find a way to make it work. We really don’t know where all the money is and how it is being used. We need direction from our department heads.”

Vaughan did say that she thought the final budget would include a starting salary for police officers of $57,000.  The City Council had previously asked that the starting salaries of police officers be raised to $57,000 to make Greensboro competitive with other law enforcement agencies in the area, but the recommended budget only raised police starting salaries to $52,400.