By Michelle Cassell
CARRBORO — Carrboro adopted a budget for the coming fiscal year Tuesday evening with no tax increase.
The $81.1 million spending plan is centered around the Town Council’s 13 strategic priorities adopted in February that address implementing Carrboro Connects.
The FY24 budget will increase by 3.8% over the previous year. This increase is attributable to additional debt service, personnel salary and benefits and inflation factors.
Property and sales tax revenues comprise 75% of the estimated revenue for FY24. The property tax rate will remain at 0.5894 per $100 of valuation for the general fund and 0.0150 per $100 for the affordable housing fund.
Employee recruitment and retention continue to be a high priority in the upcoming fiscal year due to the increased competition for talent in the local government employment sector. In the fall of 2023, the town implemented the compensation and classification study recommendations. For FY24, the recommended budget includes a 5% across-the-board salary increase.
The town received a subgrant award from Orange County Criminal Justice Resource
Department to participate in the Police and Mental Health Collaborations for Diversion Programs. The program involves the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Police Departments of Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough. Each police department has funds to hire an additional social worker.
At $41.4 million, the capital projects fund includes the construction of greenways throughout the town, the 203 Project, and reconditioning of existing town buildings. The 203 Project, a joint Carrboro and Orange County development, will house the Orange County Southern Branch Library, the Orange County Skills Development Center, the town’s recreation, parks, cultural programs, and other activities. Construction of this facility began in June 2022 at 203 S. Greensboro Street. The one addition to this Fund in FY24 is using the assigned fund balance for planning and designing Town Hall renovations.
The town has begun to implement its energy and climate protection plan to save energy and reduce operating costs. All capital projects, including vehicles and equipment, will be considered for energy-saving measures. Examples outlined in the budget include purchasing hybrid police cruisers and hybrid trucks for public works and parks.
The affordable housing fund was created to increase affordable housing in the town. This fund has risen by 4.5% to $593,923 in the current budget.
The town also has a climate action budget, guided by its 2014 Energy and Climate Protection Plan and 2017 Community Climate Action Plan.
“I am very proud of the town’s FY24 budget,” Mayor Pro Tem Susan Romaine said following the vote. “It reflects the community’s values and Council’s priorities in allocating the $30 million in our General Fund. Affordable housing, climate mitigation, and racial equity and inclusion remain top priorities.”
Romaine said she was gratified that the town could fully meet the funding requests from the Interfaith Council for Social Service and the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness, funding she has supported. She also mentioned that this would be the first time a social worker would be staffed within the police department as a notable.
And all of that, with no tax increase,” she added
Council member Sammy Slade was the one vote of opposition, expressing concern that climate mitigation was not fully funded in the budget.