Raleigh’s new budget, manager keeps his raise

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The Raleigh City Council passed its new budget Tuesday and, after a closed session, decided to let City Manager Russell Allen keep his $10,000 raise.

City employees will still be eligible for merit pay raises of up to 4 percent. Health insurance premiums will be going up 7 percent for city employees’ dependents on the city health plan.

The adopted budget keeps the Accessible Raleigh Transit program, which is the city program that pays for elderly and disabled residents to get rides to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments and similar necessities.

Council decided to pay for a handful of non-profit funding requests and increase the Downtown Raleigh Alliance tax rate to 7.86 cents for downtown businesses. The city property tax rate will stay at 37.35 cents per $100.

Council passed the $697 million budget with a vote of 7 to 1, with only Philip Isley voting against. Council made almost 20 adjustments to the proposed budget:

  • ART Tier I program with 40 percent city funds, $320,000
  • Full human service recommendation, $50,000
  • Funding for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, $78,000
  • Funding for Legal Aid, $45,000
  • CASA, $75,000
  • Tammy Lynn, $82,000
  • J.T. Locke Resource Center, $20,000
  • The Healing Place, $10,000
  • Lost Generation Task Force, $50,000
  • Not increasing medical plan provisions, $925,000
  • Arts per capita increased to $4.50, $190,000
  • Sunday afternoon service at the Seratoma Center, $5,000
  • Fund the Upper Neuse Clean Water Initiative at $1.5 million by putting the nutrient fee at $1,222
  • Fund the African-American Cultural Festival with $75,000 with $105,000 reserved for at-risk youth.
  • Worthdale Park trail and shelter to be built with savings from the bids on water reuse systems.

City parks and community centers will see reduced hours in the coming fiscal year to reduce costs. The Parks and Recreation Department will lose 27 vacant positions. Fifteen open jobs in the inspections department will also be cut because, the city says, the economic situation and less building in the city means less work for the department. All told, 85 vacant jobs are being cut in the approved budget.

Council added $1.85 million to the budget, which the city will pay for by sending less money from the general fund into paying the city’s debt.

The Manager’s Raise

The city manager will get to keep his $10,000 raise, despite the uproar it caused several weeks ago. Allen received the raise at the same time he proposed to council a budget that included no raises for city employees.

After council emerged from their closed session Tuesday, Mayor Charles Meeker said that the city has a contract with Allen. That contract includes annual merit-based pay raises for the manager, and, Meeker said, “We’re going to honor that contract.”

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