Durham leaders approve new budget, which raises taxes

A Durham City Council meeting. Photo by AJ Janavel/CBS North Carolina.

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Durham city leaders Monday evening approved a budget for the coming year that raises taxes and spends more on “youth engagement” and public safety, officials said.

The $429.4 million budget includes a 1.79 cent tax increase, which would be roughly $32 more per year for a home valued at $180,000.

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The new budget is a 6.1 percent increase from last year, and includes a $189.4 million for services covered by the general fund, a nearly 5 percent increase from last year, the city said in a news release.

The city’s budget has 53 new positions including 30 new firefighters to staff Station 17 in southeast Durham, according to city officials.

Also included is nearly $1.7 million in funds for the Durham police Take-Home Car program, which encourages officers to live in Durham neighborhoods.

The budget also funds replacing and upgrading electronic equipment for programs such as police body-worn cameras, officials said.

The budget also adds an extra penny to the city’s dedicated housing fund. That’s a value of $2.79 million.

That, combined with federal entitlements and the existing penny from the tax rate brings the city’s affordable housing fund to nearly $9 million.

Meanwhile, the funding for paving and street maintenance was nearly doubled in the new budget, which receives a $2.6 million boost above the $4 million included in recurring paving expenditures, city officials said.

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