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Winston-Salem $627M budget: pay raises & new programs

City council passed the budget Tuesday night, approving a property tax rate hike and pay raises for some city workers.
Credit: J. Sinclair Photography

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Winston-Salem city council voted unanimously to adopt their 2022-2023 budget. The budget total is just over $627 million. 

The total was a $95.3 million increase from the city's 2021-22 budget.

The budget includes a 2.4 cent property tax rate hike. The new rate is 63.6 cents per $100 valuation. The 2021 rate was 61.2 cents per $100 valuation.

For further context, the city's 2020 rate was very similar at 63.7 cents per $100 valuation. The rate in 2019 was much lower at 59.7 cents per $100 valuation.

The city opted to keep the ad valorum tax that applies to property in the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District. It is an additional 9 cents per $100 in property taxes.

The city said this money will be used to "raise revenue to provide for enhanced services and programs in the Downtown Winston-Salem Business Improvement District for fiscal year 2022-2023". The city went into further specifics, saying the the tax will pay for $659,180 worth of downtown improvements.

Here are a few other highlights in the newly approved Winston-Salem city budget:

  • $700,000 for a Behavioral Evaluation and response (or BEAR) program.
  • $1 million to increase pay for firefighters.
  • 35 new positions across all city departments. 14 are specifically for in-house recycling collections. Seven are for a behavioral health response teams pilot project.
  • 2.7% increase in water and sewer rates.
  • $55 million in bond money will fund infrastructure improvements. That includes $21.5 million for bridge replacement and street resurfacing. Another $8.75 million will go toward improvements at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds, Truist Stadium and Bowman Grey Stadium.
  • $14.5 million will go to public transportation.
  • $3.3 million will pay for a new fire truck and other fire department needs.

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