Raleigh passes budget with tax increase

June 24, 2008 6:40:41 AM PDT
By a vote of 5 to 2, the Raleigh City Council approved the City's fiscal year 2008-09 (FY09) budget. The approved tax rate of 37.35 cents per $100 is an increase of 4.18 cents. Council members Philip Isley and Russ Stephenson voted against the budget. Council member Rodger Koopman was out of town on a business trip and had an excused absence. Raleigh's new property tax rate of 37.35 cents per $100 is among the very lowest in the state. It goes into effect July 1. The current rate is 43.5 cents per $100. The property revaluation that was conducted this year put the revenue-neutral rate at 33.17 cents per $100. The FY09 budget continues Raleigh's tradition of investment in its infrastructure and programs and services. The proposal also maintains the City's AAA quality credit rating.

The FY09 budget contains $4.7 million of new investment for staff and equipment. Of this, $3.2 million is additional funding for public safety. This additional public safety funding will help fund:

  • the construction of Fire Station #29;
  • add a ladder company to the Fire Department;
  • add 12 police officer positions;
  • increasing the starting salary for police and fire by 5 percent and award a 3 percent increase upon completion of the academy; and,
  • add six 9-1-1 call-taker positions.

A 15 percent increase in the water and waste water rate also was approved. (This increase represents a $4.86 monthly increase for the average residential customer.) This rate increase will help maintain a sound environmental stewardship approach to operations and support a major capital improvement program. A total of 24 new positions were approved to support the combined system. The budget includes the implementation of tiered water rates by mid-2009 or sooner. It also includes a nutrient reduction fee of $500 per connection that will generate more than $2 million annually and will be used to increase the funding for the Upper Neuse River Initiative by $1 million and $648,400 for Little River mitigation.

The FY09 budget includes the initial budget for the grand opening of the new Raleigh Convention Center. This required the addition of 35 positions.

The council approved $4.22 million in new impact fees to reduce the proposed tax increase from 5 cents to 4.18 cents. Any excess fund balance is to be allocated to debt service and/or risk management reserves.

The new budget increases the arts per capita spending from $4 to $4.50 and increases support for the North Carolina Symphony to $200,000.


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