City Manager Lloyd Payne presented the recommended Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget to the Mayor and City Council today. As one of North Carolina’s largest and fastest growing cities, the recommended budget positions the city to responsibly handle this growth. The budget focuses on delivering essential services, investing in critical infrastructure, and providing the high quality of life that distinguishes Concord as one of the best places to visit, raise a family, and start a business.
The recommended city-wide budget is $324,562,193 for all funds, including utilities and special revenue bonds. The budget is balanced and does not raise property taxes. For the 10th straight year, the budget maintains the same low tax rate of 48 cents per $100 of valuation. With this tax rate, the City of Concord property tax is $1,560 for a home valued at $325,000.
In keeping with City Council’s strategic priorities, the budget also continues to dedicate funding for transportation, affordable housing, and parks and recreation. The equivalent of 2.5 cents of the tax rate, or approximately $3.96 million, is dedicated to transportation for roadway projects. Affordable housing and parks and recreation each receive a one cent, or $1.584 million, set aside. The parks and recreation dedicated funding supports greenway expansion and neighborhood connectivity to reach the City’s goal of 30 miles of greenways in place by 2030.
With a historically strong job market and increased competition from both public and private organizations, the recommended budget also invests in employee retention and recruitment.
“The diverse men and women on Team Concord are our city’s greatest strength,” said City Manager Lloyd Payne. “We are continuously working to ensure Concord is a place where our employees feel valued and they are excited about coming to work each day. When we establish an environment where our employees thrive, we are able to deliver exceptional customer service and create a high-performing city where residents and businesses can flourish.”
The budget supports 1,218 full-time and 42 part-time positions. It includes a 3% cost-of-living adjustment, an annual 1-4% merit-based pay raise, a 1.5% career development salary increase, automatic 401K contributions for employees, and no health insurance premium increases for the third year in a row. Earlier this year the City also adopted new hybrid and telework options for employee flexibility, and City Council approved a new six week paid parental leave benefit that takes effect on July 1, 2023.
Additional highlights from the recommended budget include:
Investing in Residents’ Quality of Life
- Prioritizes funding to create affordable housing options for residents through partnerships with WeBuild Concord and other non-profit organizations.
- Continues investments in Downtown Concord to enhance dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences. Includes a $50,000 façade grant program to aid downtown business owners with storefront and building improvements.
- Supports the efforts of local non-profits to provide a safety net for those in need during difficult times.
- Funds boardwalk and building maintenance needed at existing parks and recreation facilities
- Puts the voter-approved Parks and Recreation general obligation (GO) bond dollars to work. The bond projects will be developed in two phases. The first phase of projects will begin later this year and includes:
- Caldwell Park: expanding parking, an inclusive playground, field renovations, and additional greenway within the park.
- J.E. “Jim” Ramseur Park: playgrounds, pickleball courts, open/event space, dog park, and park shelters.
- Dorton Park: improvements to the Yorke side of the park.
- Poplar Tent Trailhead Park: trailhead parking lot, park, and restrooms.
- Academy Gibson Recreation Center/Gibson Village Complex: pump track, skate park, open art event space, restrooms.
- David Phillips Park: park development of the 10 acres surrounding the existing David Phillips Activity Center.
Delivering Essential Services
- The City is developing a language access plan to improve services to residents who do not speak English or for whom English is not their primary or dominant language.
- Solid Waste Services are moving in-house starting in July. This change will create more prompt and reliable service. Collection schedules are being updated to reflect the new four-day work week, and more information is going out to customers soon with information on their schedule.
- Strengthens partnerships between public safety departments and funds new fire stations for response in growing areas while maintaining the City’s ISO 1 rating. Also funds a new 911 emergency communications facility.
Supporting Critical Infrastructure
- Maintains our water infrastructure and invests in capital improvement projects at Hillgrove Water Treatment Plant as well as the design for a cross county 16-inch water line extension and a Rocky River Road 16-inch water line.
- Includes $2,024,551 for street resurfacing.
- Funds sidewalk extensions near Roberta Road Middle School.
- Additional transportation projects include:
- Spring Street concrete street replacement.
- Construction of intersection improvements at Poplar Tent Road/Harris Road.
- Traffic Signal System Replacement.
The complete recommended budget is available for review online at concordnc.gov/budget. Residents can also request to review a copy in person at the City Clerk’s office.
City Council received an overview of the budget recommendation from City Manager Payne during a budget workshop on April 11. City Council will further discuss the budget and hold a public hearing during the City Council meeting on June 8 at 6 p.m. at City Hall.