CARRBORO — Town Manager David Andrews proposed a $29.5 million budget Tuesday that would bring Carrboros lowest-paid workers up to the towns housing wage within five years.
The recommended 2014-15 spending plan does not contain a property tax increase, although the towns property tax revenue will increase as a result of higher property valuations, Andrews said.
Seven out of the last eight years weve been able to deal with our valuation going up somewhat but no tax increase, and I know thats appreciated by our residents, said Mayor Lydia Lavelle.
The budget includes a 2 percent cost of living increase for Carrboros 156 full-time employees and a housing-wage strategy to increase the pay for the towns lowest-paid workers. The housing wage for the Durham-Chapel Hill area is $31,158, and 15 Carrboro employees make less than that, Andrews said.
The plan calls for those employees, if they receive an outstanding performance evaluation, to receive a $1,500 addition to their base salary. Those receiving a proficient performance rating would receive a $1,000 addition to their base salary.
Its expected that in the first year, seven of the 15 employees would reach the housing wage standard, and the other eight would be phased in over five years.
The 15 affected employees are primarily housekeepers, groundskeepers, equipment operators, solid waste equipment operators and maintenance workers, Andrews said.
Employees who make more than the housing wage would receive a $1,000 addition to their salary if they receive an outstanding performance rating and $500 if they receive a proficient performance rating.
Half the towns employees make more than $31,158 but less than $50,000. They include police officers, firefighters and parks employees. Fifty-five employees make more than $50,000, and they include professional and supervisory personnel.
The aldermen liked the plan to give the lower paid employees a chance to earn a $1,500 increase.
Hard work will be recognized and our employees will be rewarded, said Alderwoman Jacquelyn Gist.
The property tax rate will remain at $0.59, but its expected the town will claim an increase of $186,775 in property tax revenue for a total of $12 million. Revenue from the local sales tax is expected to increase by $45,721 for a total of $3.4 million.
The sales tax is slowly increasing, Andrews said, adding its increased 11 percent over the past five years.
Other revenue totaling $5.7 million comes from intergovernmental funds, fees and permits and other sources, and the special revenue fund provides $860,000. The capital fund provides $7.4 million for capital improvements.
The budget calls for two new full-time positions. One position would be for a managers assistant to work on affordable housing and human services. The other full-time position would allow two part-time administrative support employees in the police and fire departments to be hired on as full-time employees.
Im really excited about an assistant to the manager for affordable housing, said Alderwoman Michelle Johnson.
The budget also calls for a $25,000 increase for Human Services Grants for a total of $200,000. Those grants are given to nonprofit groups that serve Carrboro residents.
You get so much bang for your buck in supporting these organizations, Lavelle said.
The capital projects budget calls for $900,000 for Rogers Road remediation, replacing the Wilson Park tennis courts at a cost of $168,000, LED street lights at $96,000 and storm water management at $80,000.
The aldermen will hold a public hearing on the budget at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Town Hall.