Local News

Proposed Durham budget increases property tax for public safety, city debt

Posted May 19, 2014 9:15 p.m. EDT
Updated May 19, 2014 9:21 p.m. EDT

— Residents are being asked to fund a 1.29 cent tax increase to cover city debt and public safety salaries in the city’s proposed 2014-15 budget, presented Monday night.

The $386.7 million budget, a 2.7 percent increase from last year, includes funding for voter-approved debt service costs from previous bonds and covers the salaries of 16 police officers and 15 firefighters that were under recently expired federal grants.

For the owner of a $150,000 home, their tax bill would increase by $19.35.

City Manager Tom Bonfield described the budget as propelling the city forward with increased “connectivity, cooperation, collaboration, innovation and inclusion while meeting community priorities.”

Other budget highlights:
- The street resurfacing fund is recommended to receive a $250,000 boost, increasing the fund to $1 million
- Eight new positions will be added for the water management, public works and human resources departments
- $1.7 million for public arts and culture, including the Carolina Theatre, Durham Arts Council, St. Joseph’s Historic Foundation, American Dance Festival, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham Blues Festival and other public art initiatives
- $6 million for fleet vehicles

Residents are asked to submit their thoughts and questions on the budget through the city’s social media channels for an e-town hall meeting on June 2 at 7 p.m. A public hearing on the budget will also be held on June 2 at City Hall. City leaders expect to approve the budget on June 16.