The Greensboro City Council is deep into the budget process, with a work session on Thursday, June 9 and one on Tuesday, June 14.
The normal budget process for the City Council is to have the city manager present the proposed budget in May and, during the budget work sessions, the City Council makes minor tweaks amounting to a few hundred thousand dollars in the more than half million dollar budget.
However, 2022 is far from a normal budget year and the City Council is considering major adjustments to the budget presented by City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba, which includes the equivalent of an 11-cent tax increase.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan sent an email to the senior city staff and city councilmembers on Tuesday, June 14 outlining some of the concerns and questions she has about the proposed budget.
Vaughan states, “I have always said that my main concerns are employee compensation and housing. I think this budget falls short on both of those items.”
“We must show our commitment to employee compensation and the best plan for retaining our employees and making us competitive in the marketplace. I do not believe we are meeting those objectives.”
Vaughan included a number of possible reductions in spending that would free up money for employee compensation increases. One is reducing the $12 million in the proposed budget for debt service for the $135 million in bonds that are on the July 26 ballot to $6 million. Vaughan in a telephone interview noted that it was unusual to fund bonds before they passed and even if all $135 million in bonds passes, the bonds won’t be sold immediately.
Vaughan also suggested the City Council consider using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for maintenance currently budgeted at $5.4 million and to purchase take home cars for the Police Department, which would take those expenditures out of the 2022-2023 budget.
Vaughan questioned the reasoning behind adding eight new positions to the Police Department when the Police Department is well over 100 officers short of its full authorization.
Vaughan said, “They have a lot of work to make it where I could support this budget.”