City Manager’s Proposed Budget Focuses on Strategic Investments in Workforce, Operations, and Infrastructure
Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall unveiled the City’s proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and the proposed Five-year Capital Improvement Program for FY19-FY23 at today’s City Council meeting. The proposed budget reflects continued strategic investments to support a high quality of life for the community, particularly related to the City’s workforce, operations, and infrastructure.
“Selecting which investments to include in the budget is never an easy task as it challenges us to meet the diverse and growing needs of our community within the confines of limited resources,” Mr. Hall wrote in his budget message to the City Council. “The continued implementation of the City’s Strategic Plan, a sharpened cross-departmental focus, and intentional use of data from the 2016 Community Survey and the FY2019 Resident Budget Priorities Survey assist us in completing such an important task with appropriate intentionality and thoughtfulness.”
The proposed net operating and capital budget for FY19 is $973.9 million, which includes a General Fund total operating budget of $509 million. The proposed budget is a 6 percent increase from the FY18 adopted budget.
The proposed FY19 Capital Improvement Program totals $329.6 million, with the total for five years (FY19-FY23) being $1.78 billion.
The budget proposal includes a property tax rate increase from 42.53 to 43.82 cents per $100 valuation. If approved, the 1.29 cent increase will fund the voter-approved 2017 Transportation Bond. Raleigh’s median taxable value for a home is $196,625. The proposed increase would cost the owner of a median value home an additional $25.36 in City property taxes per year.
The City Manager also proposed increasing the monthly water and sewer bill by 3 percent to support the Public Utilities Department’s efforts to maintain and replace critical infrastructure. This would increase the average customer’s monthly bill by $1.68 per month. Following the presentation of the proposed budget at today’s City Council meeting, Council voted in favor of amending the proposed water and sewer increase. The new proposed increase is 1.6 percent.
FY19 begins July 1 and ends on June 30, 2019.
STRATEGIC INVESTMENT IN WORKFORCE
With a goal of fostering a transparent, nimble organization of employees challenged to provide high quality, responsive, and innovative services efficiently and effectively, the City must attract and retain a talented workforce. To address this goal and the Strategic Plan’s initiative to “assess, develop, and adopt a total compensation philosophy and structure,” the City has taken steps to position the organization as a competitive, desirable employer.
The proposed budget continues the pursuit of investing in employees by funding the following:
- Proposed step increases for public safety and general step employees at either 3 percent or 5 percent;
- Variable merit increases based on performance for all Broadband employees; and,
- An adjustment of the living wage rate from $28,621 to $30,340 in accordance with the Council adopted living wage policy.
STRATEGIC INVESTMENT IN OPERATIONS
The proposed budget continues the City’s strong support of public safety operations, and addresses the Strategic Plan’s objective to “promote a positive level of real and perceived safety that reflects a thriving atmosphere in which to live, work, and play.” The proposal includes funding for additional resources including:
- Improved equipment and technology in police vehicles;
- The addition of a deputy police chief and police sergeant to more effectively address operational and strategic needs;
- Modernization of the Fire Department’s fleet through the replacement of one engine and one ladder, as well as capital funding to complete the renovation of Fire Station 11, and to conduct a study to design an emergency vehicle operations course to meet the Fire Department’s long-term driver education needs;
- The addition of a Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) analyst to increase the City’s ability to engage and recruit MWBE business to work in and for the City;
- Two new positions in the Communications Department to develop web, print, social media, and video materials that will assist with communication and engagement efforts;
- Three new positions in the Planning Department to streamline processes, enhance service delivery, and improve communication and customer service;
- Continued investment in the Stormwater program to enhance service and program delivery, expedite capital project processes, and support drainage assistance efforts;
- Improvements to community parks and amenities, including funding to install public wi-fi at 11 community centers and pools, funding for maintenance of structures at Dix Park, and additional operational funding for the newly renovated Walnut Creek Athletic Complex; and,
- Implementation of activities and studies for the City’s Strategic Plan Initiative Teams to continue progress toward established goals, including: pop-up art studios, a tree canopy study, Continuity of Operations Plan, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design Training (CPTED), and Connect Raleigh Speakers Series.
For the first time in a decade, the City is proposing a fee increase at Pullen Park and Chavis Park to enhance the user experience. Additional funds will support enhanced facility maintenance and additional temporary staffing as attendance continues to increase.
STRATEGIC INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE
The proposed budget and five-year capital improvement program includes critical investments in the City’s transportation network, utility infrastructure, and affordable housing program including:
- Implementation of the voter approved 2017 transportation bond, which totaled $206.7 million;
- Major investments in street construction and improvements, pedestrian and bicycle projects, downtown parking improvements, bridge repair and replacements, and general transit projects with $109.6 million planned for FY19;
- Implementation of FY19 Wake Transit Work Plan projects, including an East Raleigh transit center, a total of 16 new expansion buses and 13 replacement buses, as well as bus shelters and stop improvements;
- Resources for Public Utilities totaling $1.75 billion in capital needs over the next 10 years, including $139.1 million in FY19 (projects funded in FY19 include eight wastewater collection and treatment projects totaling $168.8 million, initial design funding for the rehabilitation or replacement of a large diameter sewer interceptor along the west bank of the Neuse River, and funding for the facility construction portion of the anaerobic digester project, also known as bioenergy recovery); and
- Support of the adopted Affordable Housing Improvement Plan by programming $22 million for housing projects in FY19.
The additional affordable housing funds will address both new construction and preservation of affordable housing projects throughout Raleigh, with a total of 1,084 affordable housing units being added. Specific development communities have been identified, including Sumner Pointe, Sumner Pointe II, The Pointe at Town Center, The Pointe at Town Center II, Capital Towers, Beacon Ridge, Hampton Spring, Walnut Trace, and Sir Walter.
BUDGET DELIBERATION PROCESS
A public hearing on the proposed budget and CIP will be held Tuesday, June 5 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chamber on the second floor of the Avery C. Upchurch Government Complex, 222 W. Hargett St.
The City Council will hold budget work sessions on each Monday in June if needed. All sessions will be held at 4 p.m. in the Council Chamber, and will be carried live on RTN11 (97.5) and video streamed here on the City of Raleigh’s website.
The budget must be adopted by July 1. Bound copies of the proposal may be reviewed in the City Clerk’s office, or you can view the complete budget proposal here.
For more information, contact
- Mary Vigue, Director, Budget and Management Services, 919-996-4273