Police salaries were a big part of the discussion at the Tuesday, May 23 City Council work session held in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber.

In April, the City Council voted to raise the starting salaries for police officers to $57,000 in the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba ignored that direction from City Council in his 2023-2024 recommended budget, aka “Moving Forward Together.” In Jaiyeoba’s recommended budget, the starting salary for Greensboro police officers was raised to $52,459.

At the work session, the council was told that increasing the starting salary for police officers to $57,000 would require and additional $6.3 million and a tax increase in addition to the 4-cent tax increase in the manager’s recommended budget.

Councilmember Tammi Thurm noted that the salary data that showed raising the salaries to $52,459 would put Greensboro at the middle of the pay range of comparable cities was about six months old.

She said, “We know that things have changed dramatically in salary rates from January to May.”

She added, “We don’t want to fool ourselves.  We are barely keeping up with the Jones.”

Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter noted that the Police Department, already down 120 officers, recently lost nine officers to a municipality 20 miles away.

She said, “I say we need to do something and do something now.  We need to go up to $57,000 and go up to $57,000 now.”

Jaiyeoba said, “I do get the spirit behind that direction.”

He added, “It will take us another year or two to get there, but we will get there.”

Mayor Nancy Vaughan questioned the compensation survey and noted that it didn’t include Burlington, which is leading the local market with a starting salary of $57,000, or Rocky Mount, which has a starting salary of $60,000.

Even Councilmember Sharon Hightower questioned raising the property tax rate higher than the 4 cents in the manager’s recommended budget.

Hightower said, “Be mindful you can only increase your property tax rate by so much.”

Hightower and Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann both noted that the recent major economic development announcements weren’t going to bring any additional tax revenue to Greensboro, since they are not located in Greensboro and one not even located in Guilford County.