City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget includes a 30 percent property tax increase.
Jaiyeoba’s budget maintains the property tax rate at its current level of 66.25 cents, but because of revaluation, holding the property tax rate flat results in a 30 percent tax increase for the average property owner. The revenue neutral rate, which would raise the same amount of revenue as if there had been no revaluation, is 54.56.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that because of the need to increase employee salaries, particularly for police, fire and Metro 911 employees, that the majority of the City Council realizes that the city cannot reduce the tax rate to the revenue neutral rate.
But she said that the property tax hike proposed by Jaiyeoba was too high.
She said, “I think we have to come down at least 6 cents and that’s a minimum. I’d like to see it come down more than that.”
But she said that conditions warranted an increase in city spending.
Vaughan said, “We’re not even in the ballpark when it comes to public safety.”
She said that a recent graduate of the Greensboro Police Academy left the next day to take a job at a neighboring police department and that some police departments in the state were paying signing bonuses as high as $7,500.
The Greensboro Police Department is currently down over 100 sworn officers from its authorized force of 679, and more vacancies are on the way.
Vaughan said if the City Council didn’t take action that the Fire Department was headed in that same direction and that Guilford Metro 911 currently had about the maximum number of vacancies it could handle.
But she said that there appeared to be many places in the budget where expenses could be reduced. One example Vaughan gave was using American Rescue Plan money for capital improvements like replacing roofs.
Jaiyeoba objected to this suggestion earlier because he said that ARP money was one-time money and shouldn’t be used for expenses like replacing roofs. But replacing a roof is also a one-time expense and is the kind of expense that should be paid with one-time money.
It appears Jaiyeoba and some members of the City Council have extremely different ideas on the budget, and by the end of June, when the City Council passes the 2022-2023 budget, the people of Greensboro will find out who’s running the city – the city manager or the City Council.