Asheville City Council Passes Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

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At its June 28 meeting, Asheville City Council passed the city manager’s recommended budget with a 6 to 1 vote.

The $217 million budget is based on internal work, community input and Asheville City Council priorities, and reflects the long term strategies and continuation of the reimagining public safety process.

The budget includes no change to the current property tax rate of 40.30 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

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City staff continued to use the same guiding principles as recent years:  1) Essential service delivery, 2) Enhancing customer value, and 3) Strategic alignment in the development of the budget.

At their retreat on March 17-18 2022, City Council identified six key priorities to invest in for the upcoming year. In addition to on-going funding for numerous services and programs linked to Council priorities, below are additional investments that are included in this balanced and fiscally responsible budget:

Reparations: 

  • $500,000 allocation in this budget, bringing the total available budget for Reparations to $2,235,000.
  • An on-going planned annual allocation of $500,000 in future budgets.

Improve & Expand Core Services

  • Funds employee compensation adjustments
    • Ensure all full-time employees earn at least $35,360 annually, with an additional adjustment in January 2023 to $36,816 annually including adjustments for compression.
    • Provide all other staff who do not receive an adjustment under the previous two items a 5.0% increase if hired on or before December 31, 2021 or a 2.5% increase if hired after that date.
  • Increase in Transit vendor contract to increase pay by $2.00 to retain and recruit Transit employees
  • Additional funding for traffic sign and pavement markings

New Positions and Operational Improvements 

  • GIS Specialist
  • HR Information System Software
  • Web based budget document
  • Sanitation and waste reduction (covered by fee increase)
  • Emergency Preparedness planning will improve the City’s response to, recovery from, and resilience against disasters, emergencies and other hazards.
  • Disparity Study required to maintain legal authority for the City’s race and gender conscious procurement policy.

Reimagining Public Safety

  • Funds a new Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) pay supplement for staff who have this certification.
  • Funds installation/replacement of 2-3 camera systems per year in recreation centers.
  • 911 Consolidation with Buncombe County to enhance safety and expand opportunities for alternate response methods through consolidated training and procedures.

Equitable & Affordable Housing & Stability 

  • One-time funding to complete a missing middle housing study
  • Funding to continue the City’s participation in the County’s Homeowner Grant Program to minimize the impact of increased taxes on qualified property owners.

Houselessness Strategies

  • Addition of a new Homelessness Strategy Project Specialist to develop and implement strategies to alleviate homelessness and provide technical assistance to community partners.
  • Funds Code Purple sheltering.

Neighborhood Resilience

  • Provides funding to the Parks and Recreation Department to relocate their parks maintenance operation from the East End/Valley Street neighborhood.
  • Funds an Urban Forestry position to enhance staff capacity and professional expertise to implement the Tree Canopy Protection Ordinance Amendment.
  • Additional funding to continue and expand after school programs at Recreation Centers
  • Utilize ARPA funds in the CIP for completion of the Memorial Stadium project
  • Budgeted for improvements at the Municipal Golf Course

The development of the budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 focused on connecting funding with our community needs. City Council and staff are pleased to present a balanced proposed budget that makes significant new investments in our community, our employees and Council’s strategic priorities.

To take a look back at the budget development process including videos and presentations you can visit the Budget Process page.

Written by the City of Asheville.