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City Manager’s recommended budget focuses on public safety, prepares for growth

City Manager’s recommended budget focuses on public safety, prepares for growth
Today, Salisbury City Manager Jim Greene presented his recommended fiscal year 2023-2024 (FY24) budget to City Council at a budget work session meeting. A fiscal year is the city’s annual financial period beginning July 1 through June 30. 

The recommended city budget of $108,064,027 includes a recommended general fund of $54,102,406. The balanced budget includes a property tax recommendation of $0.61 per $100 of valuation, a decrease from last year’s tax rate of $0.7196, following Rowan County’s revaluation. While Salisbury’s revenue-neutral tax rate is calculated at $0.58, Greene is recommending a three-cent addition to fund Council priorities, such as debt service for new Fire Station 3 construction, police pay adjustments, funds for new positions based on new Police Chief recommendations and camera upgrades and maintenance.

Additional proposed items in the recommended budget:
$75,000 for crime reduction initiatives 
$100,000 for in-park cameras
Debt service for the construction of a new fire station
Stormwater and water/sewer projects
$353,000 for street lighting and traffic safety improvements
$200,000 for neighborhood revitalization
$30,000 for small business entrepreneur development

 “As I present my first city budget to City Council, I’d like to thank the city staff team who has risen to the challenge by providing exceptional services to our community in a very efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Greene. “Our team is focused on innovative solutions to control costs and improve services to the public. While limited revenues continue to constrain city investment in programs and assets, this recommended budget helps Salisbury address many infrastructure and operational concerns, and better positions the City to prepare for growth and increased demand for services. The recommended tax rate reinforces our commitment to fiscal stewardship, service efficiency, strategic investment, maintenance of infrastructure, and planning and preparation for growth.”

Salisbury-Rowan Utilities (SRU) has been impacted by significant cost increases as well as staffing shortages. Projected growth of the customer base will help absorb these cost increases and SRU’s fund balance remains strong to cover emergencies and match grants for system improvements. As a result of growth in revenues and strong reserves, no increase to the water and sewer rates is recommended for FY24. 

The Transit Fund’s recommended budget for FY24 is $3,100,600. The majority of funding for Transit is provided through federal and state grants, but the recommended budget includes a General Fund transfer of $630,000, and an appropriation of $88,831 in Transit fund balance.

The Stormwater Fund recommended budget for FY24 is $2,337,601. Stormwater fees make up $2,287,601 of the total revenues for this fund. The two major projects targeted in this proposed budget for FY2024 and funded through Stormwater’s 15-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) are:
• The Jackson Street watershed drainage improvement construction at a projected cost of $916,000
• The North Long Street watershed drainage improvement construction at a projected cost of $2,281,000

The Stormwater CIP calculated the estimated fee levels necessary to fund the full plan endorsed by Council. Greene proposes a new rate of $4.81 per Equivalent Residential Unit -- an increase of 40 cents per month to support plan implementation.

City Council will hold a community input meeting on Thursday, June 1, at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 217 S. Main St. At the session, residents and stakeholders can share their thoughts on the proposed budget. A public hearing about the budget will be held on Tuesday, June 6, at 6 p.m. at the regular City Council meeting. This meeting is open to the public and also can be viewed via the City’s live stream at www.salisburync.gov/webcast or the City’s Facebook account at https://facebook.com/CitySalisburyNC. Council must adopt a final budget by June 30.  

The proposed budget can be found on the city website at salisburync.gov/RecommendedBudget.
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