Fayetteville has a new budget for fiscal year 2023.
The City Council unanimously approved the budget Monday night, forging ahead with little disagreement over Fayetteville’s financial planning for the next year.
The property tax rate will stay the same at 49.95 cents per $100 of property valuation.
The city’s solid waste fee will remain at an annual rate of $225 per single family residential unit.
City officials previously considered increasing the trash fee several months ago.
The final value of the approved budget is more than $249 million, a slight increase from the slightly more than $248 million initial proposal introduced to council members last month.
Public comments on city vision
While no one spoke at the public hearing on the budget ahead of the council vote, speakers the Monday’s general public comment period of the council meeting addressed the vision of city government, urging the council to better address systemic racism and inequality in Fayetteville.
Several speakers addressed gun violence and police brutality committed by law enforcement officers, particularly to an incident in January when Jeffrey Hash, an off-duty Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy, shot and killed Jason Walker, an unarmed Black man.
The N.C. Conference of District Attorneys decided in April not to press charges against Hash, arguing that the incident was a case of self-defense under North Carolina law.
“This council should be championing economic justice, racial justice, equity and health care and independent oversight of the Fayetteville Police Department,” said Shaun McMillan, co-founder of Fayetteville Police Accountability Community Task Force, during the public hearing.
“The majority of you should be forging ahead on policy that boldly and unapologetically dismantles the systemic faults that perpetuate inequality in your city. We need accountability, transparency, justice, policy and change.”
Changes to budget
After the budget was presented in late May, the City Council met three times to discuss and make alterations.
The city added $865,000 to the general fund, appropriated from various other parts of the budget.
The added money will increase funding for at-risk youth programs, workforce initiatives, community beautification programs and resurfacing of the walking trail at Lake Rim Park.
It will also add about $500,000 in increased payment to temporary, seasonal workers, increasing their minimum wage to $15 an hour.
While there were some initial disagreements about this change, the council ultimately approved it unanimously.