Durham not planning tax increases to cover extra $81M in in budget

Answer Desk

As the city of Durham grows, so do the expenses. As the start of a new fiscal year approaches, the city has laid out its new budget, which requires more money.

How will that increased budget affect Durham’s taxpayers?

Durham’s proposed $510 budget is $81 million dollars more than last year’s spending package, but the city envisions no tax increase to pay for that.

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The city says an estimated 25 people a day are moving into Durham. All those people need places to live.

As a result, the city is seeing a boom in construction, which means its property tax revenues are increasing. City manager Tom Bonfield says the taxable value of new construction was twice what the city’s financial model projected.

Also, the city is seeing a 5-percent increase in sales tax revenue.

Here are some of Durham’s plans for the money:

  • The city wants to add 133 new positions
  • Give all general city employees a 4-percent raise
  • Give all sworn police and firefighters 5-percent raise.

The budget includes funding to add 15 new firefighters who’ll staff a new engine for downtown Durham because more people are moving into that part of the city, which has seen a 17-percent increase in property values due to the boom in development there.

Recreational activities are also included in the new budget with nearly $9 million for soccer fields at the Hoover Road Athletic Park and almost $2.5 million for the Durham Beltline Trail.

Public transportation costs for riders will remain the same. The city will not increase the fares of GO Durham buses under this plan.

Durham residents get a chance to comment on the proposed budget during a June 4 public hearing and the council votes on the final budget June 19.

More information can be found in the proposal

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