Durham city leaders OK budget with no property tax change, new $5M COVID-19 recovery fund

Durham County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham City Council approved a budget Monday that includes no property tax increase and cuts street paving spending nearly in half.

City manager Tom Bonfield cited “financial uncertainties and declining revenue” caused by the COVID-19 crisis in a news release about the initial budget plan.

The budget submitted by Bonfield last month was $504.3 million but a slighly lower budget of $502.6 million was approved Monday.

The new budget includes a $5 million recovery fund would be created to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“We don’t yet know the full depth, breadth, and duration of the impacts of COVID-19 on our community, but we can anticipate that the city will likely need to provide additional resources,” Bonfield said in about the budget plan.

The proposed budget is $502.6 million, compared to $477.8 million for last year, which is an increase of $24.8 million. Of that amount, about $24 million will be used to refinance city debt, officials said.

Bonfield said that several areas trimmed in the budget, including travel, training, fuel, and deferred maintenance.

Street paving in the new budget is cut nearly in half from $10 million to $6 million.

A rate increase of about 2.1% for the average customer in water and sewer rates are also included “to continue to support ongoing capital, operating, and sustainability efforts,” officials said.

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