Monday night marked the first time in more than a decade that city leaders are giving serious thought to a property tax increase. It's part of the proposed budget for next year.
Council members got more of a general overview of the new budget proposals Monday night. City Manager Ted Vorhees publicly presented the $209 million budget to council members for the first time.
In the budget, the police department would get one of the larger chunks of new money. The police chief wants 57 additional sworn officers as well as support personnel, along with computer and crime scene technicians.
To pay for that new expense, along with other non-police spending, property taxes would have to increase by about 4 cents to roughly 49.8 cents.
The mayor says the public's reaction to a proposed tax increase is mixed, but the council has made crime fighting one of their top priorities.
"I think that's where the proposed spending budget comes from as far as law enforcement, and public safety, is that city council, in a strategic planning retreat, identified crime as the number one priority," said Fayetteville Mayor Nat Robertson. "We are looking to address that, and give Chief Medlock every tool he needs to reduce our crime rate."
The budget is far from a done deal. Several council members told ABC11 that they want to see some spending cuts, as well as budget increase.
Medlock was at Monday's budget presentation, but he didn't speak, and had no comment when asked him about his department's needs.
This is just the start of the budget review process. Council members have at least five or six more budget review meetings and workshops including a public hearing May 27.