Council Adopts $707M Budget

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Raleigh City Councilors Tuesday adopted the 2014 fiscal year budget that includes no property tax increase, but calls for an increase sewer and solid waste fees.

The total budget comes in at $707 million, passing the $700 million mark for the first time in the city’s history.

The five-year Capital Improvement Program is $665.1 million with $147.7 million allocated for the next fiscal year. During the next five years, about half of the total funding — $417.3 million — will go to maintain and improve the city’s water and wastewater infrastructure.

The average resident will see an increase of $3.74 added to his or her water and sewer bill, which will raise about $13.9 million for the public utilities fund. The public utilities fund is an enterprise fund, which means it must raise its own money for operations and isn’t subsidized by the general operating budget.

An additional $1 solid waste monthly fee will be implemented to cover some additional spending in the adopted budget that wasn’t included in the proposed budget. The increase will generate about $1.4 million.

The solid waste fee will go to transit and greenway improvements, along with funding for the arts and victims of domestic abuse.

The additional funding will help cover $700,000 in transit improvements. The money would fund, in part, six months of the short-range transit plan. The plan will decrease the wait time between buses to 15 and 30 minutes on Capital Area Transit’s busiest routes. CAT service would also be expanded on the weekends.

Councilors have increased arts funding from $4.50 to $5 per capita for a total increase of about $208,000.

About $92,500 will go towards the design and construction a pedestrian bridge so that residents in the Neuse Crossing communities can have access to the Neuse River Trail and Horseshoe Farm Park without having to cross Louisburg Road.

InterAct, a nonprofit organization that provides services for victims of sexual and domestic violence, will receive a funding increase from $25,000 to $50,000.

The adopted budget includes 40 of the 70 positions that were eliminated between 2009 and 2012, with most of those positions being in the Parks and Recreation Department.

The budget also includes a 3 percent merit raise for employees.

At the June 4 public hearing, representatives for city police officers, firefighters and solid waste workers requested the merit raises be increased from 3 to 5 percent.

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