GREENSBORO, N.C. - Greensboro City Council approved a $543.5 million budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, and it includes a $15 per hour pay increase for minimum wage city employees.

City Council passed the budget during its Tuesday evening meeting.

The budget fully funds the 2008, 2009, and 2016 bond referenda passed by Greensboro voters.

It also includes raises and employee compensation items among city employees. The city says this is to ensure the salaries remain competitive with other markets.

Minimum wage city workers are also getting a raise - the new budget bumps their pay up to $15 per hour. A city spokesperson says this affects new city employees and part-time workers who qualify for benefits.

The current City property tax rate of 63.25 cents per $100 property valuation is staying the same for the 9th consecutive year.

The city is raising the water and sewer rate by 3.5 percent for all users, effective July 1. The city says the increase is to support ongoing work and rehabilitation needs for the water and sewer systems. Despite the increase, the city says Greensboro still has one of the lowest rates in North Carolina.

The budget also includes $1.3 million for nonprofit community groups. It also approved a 3 percent merit raise for eligible City employees.

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