It appears a 2022-2023 fiscal year budget with a tax rate of 63.25 cents has the five votes needed to be approved by the Greensboro City Council at the Tuesday, June 21 meeting.
The budget proposed by City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba was based on a tax rate of 66.25 cents, which would result in a 30 percent tax increase – the highest in the history of Greensboro. Guilford County revaluated the property in the county and the property values increased significantly. The revenue neutral tax rate, which would raise the equivalent amount of money as if there had been no revaluation, is 54.56 cents. So the tax rate proposed by Jaiyeoba is equivalent to an 11.69 cent tax increase.
The revised budget proposal is the equivalent of an 8.69 cent tax increase and that reduction doesn’t include cutting much of anything from the bloated budget and, according to the Rhino Times research department, will still be the largest tax increase in the history of Greensboro.
The city staff reduced the tax rate with what might be called financial smoke and mirrors, not by reducing expenditures.
The amount of sales tax revenue the city is projected to receive in the fiscal year was increased by $4.1 million.
The $5.1 million increase in facility maintenance will now be paid with American Rescue Plan funds, as will the $1 million for Gateway corridors. The eight additional police officers were removed from the Police Department budget. Since the Police Department is down well over 100 officers and there is no chance that in the upcoming fiscal year that the police will fill those positions, adding eight officers appeared to be an attempt to make it appear that the City Council was supporting the Police Department.
The funds set aside to meet economic development incentives was reduced by $2.5 million. The city is not required to make the economic development reimbursement payments until the conditions in the agreement are met, and staff decided that it was unlikely the full amount allocated would be necessary.
The estimate of the increased revenue from the electric utility tax was upped by $700,000.
The transfer of revenue to the transit fund from the general fund was reduced, but the transit fund will still be receiving additional revenue in the 3.5 cent transit fund.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan, District 3 City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Justin Outling and At-large Councilmember Hugh Holston all said they could not support the budget with a 63.25 tax rate.
However, At-large Councilmember Yvonne Johnson, At-large Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter, District 1 Councilmember Sharon Hightower, District 4 Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann and District 5 Councilmember Tammi Thurm all said they would support the budget as presented, and that’s five votes.
District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells did not state a position.