A Closer Look at the 2019-2020 Proposed Budget
This year’s proposed budget totals $253.5 million. The property tax rate will remain at 57.5 cents per $100 valuation.
In the budget message delivered in May, City Manager Grant Goings recognized a few significant budget decisions made by the City Council in the past few years, and how those decisions have impacted the community.
“This year’s budget fulfils the priorities the City Council has set,” said Goings. “The tough decisions the Council has made in the past, including funding salary increases for the Wilson Police Department and enacting the registration fee to increase streets funding, are paying off for the community.”
2017: Police Salary Increase
Last year’s budget funded a 15 percent increase in starting salaries for Police Officer I, Police Officer II and Senior Police Officer positions to address growing vacancies in the department. A little more than a year later, the Wilson Police Department has stable staffing, allowing the department to enact changes needed in response to issues in the community. Recently the department adjusted staffing to a key team that can address the brief seasonal uptick in crime typically seen in the summer.
Police Chief Hopkins also says that the attrition rate among officers is down, fewer positions are vacant, and the applicant pool includes high quality applicants in terms of experience and education.
2016: Vehicle Registration Fee Increase
In 2016, the vehicle registration fee was increased $25 to provide a continuous revenue stream for an ongoing street maintenance program. The increased revenues are earmarked by law for street paving and improvements. Since the fee increase, the city has resurfaced more than 20 miles of city streets, triple what was done in past years.
The City has a comprehensive street maintenance program, including conducting regular pavement condition surveys to assess the number and size of pavement cracks, oxidation and ridability. The pavement condition study allows the city to prioritize streets based on traffic volume, age and condition of underlying utilities.
Although Goings acknowledged there is much more work to do in street maintenance, he said the desired impact of the new registration fee is working.
For more information on the budget, visit www.wilsonnc.org