During Asheville City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on May 9, City Manager Debra Campbell and Budget Manager Taylor Floyd presented the proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24 budget. Once adopted, the FY 2023-24 budget will fund City operations from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.
The FY 2023-24 Proposed Budget totals $239.7 million, a $22.1 million increase over the prior year, and includes:
- No change to the current property tax rate of 40.3 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.
- Employee compensation adjustments that reflect inflation in the labor market and local cost of living increases including 5% salary increase for existing employees or a 6% salary increase for sworn police officers.
- Increased on-call and shift differential pay (evenings and night shifts).
- Continued funding for community services in a time of rising costs and additional investments in alignment with Council priorities.
- Strategic utilization of fund balance and American Rescue Plan (ARPA) funding to advance Council’s priorities and balance the budget.
Along with funding ongoing operations aligned with City Council’s strategic priorities, a number of services also will see additional investments. These new investments were influenced by the public engagement completed in January and February of this year. During that process, we heard from residents that the City should prioritize investments in community safety and emergency response, as well as water production and distribution. The proposed budget responds to those priorities in the following ways:
- Incentives for achieving Intermediate Law Enforcement Certification.
- Participation and certification in a wellness program for sworn police officers that will help improve hiring and retention of sworn police officers.
- Upgrading APD uniforms to a more technical fabric for durability and comfort.
- An additional water maintenance crew and additional night staff for water treatment plants.
- A new communications position in Water Resources to improve critical communication and customer engagement.
The City’s five year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) was also influenced by resident feedback during public engagement, which indicated a desire to focus on core infrastructure. The proposed FY 2024 to FY 2028 CIP plan includes continued funding for projects like:
- Road resurfacing
- Water and stormwater infrastructure improvements
- Additional park and facility maintenance
- Changes to sidewalk and other pedestrian project funding to allow greater flexibility for use with a focus on prioritizing ADA enhancements and other GAP Plan projects.
The CIP also includes appropriation of previously approved funding for McCormick Field.