DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham City Manager Wanda Page proposed her $568.9 million budget to city council Monday night.
Will the proposed budget make Durham safer?
“It is no secret that there is great concern about violent crime in Durham, like many other cities in America, at the same time there are concerns about the history of policing in our country and the impact on people of color,” Page said.
The proposed budget for the Durham Police Department is more than $77.1 million, a 9.8 percent increase from last year.
When it comes to gun violence, nearly $200,000 is budgeted for a year-long pilot of ShotSpotter. The technology detects gunshots and alerts police.
As of May 7, 92 people were shot in Durham, 17 of them killed, according to numbers from the Durham Police Department. That’s three more people killed than this time last year, and more than double the number of people killed during the same time frame in 2020.
Page is proposing funding for seven more full-time positions to support alternative 911 response pilot programs. Those programs are already set to launch next month, and include crisis call diversion, care navigators, co-response of a police officer and mental health professional.
On property taxes, Page is proposing a .6 cent tax rate increase, going from 55.17 cents per $100 of property value to 55.77 cents per $100 of property value. She said the owner of a home worth just over $235,000 would pay about $1,311 in city property taxes next year.
She said this will help support employee pay raises.
“Durham has not been immune to what has been called the great resignation,” Page said.
She’s proposing a 3 percent salary increase for city employees, and bringing back a merit system for additional raises that was suspended during the pandemic.
“To move forward as a city, taking care of city employees must be a high priority,” Page said.
There will be a public hearing to provide feedback on the budget proposal June 6 at 7 p.m. The final budget adoption will be June 21.