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Chapel Hill Town Manager's Office presents 2024-25 budget proposal

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The Chapel Hill Town Council meets at the Chapel Hill Town Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023.

The Chapel Hill Manager's Office has proposed its Fiscal Year 2024-25 budget. Nearly $156 million is available, $89.4 million of which is accounted for by the general fund, which are assets used to finance Town operations. This is a 4 percent increase from last year's budget.

Some highlights of the proposal include a tax increase of 2 cents and a 6 percent cost of living pay increase for Town employees.

Chris Blue, Chapel Hill's Town Manager, said that the budget is part of a five-year plan that started last year.

The plan is intended to catch up on maintenance projects or fleet needs that had been deferred because of funding challenges or an interest in keeping tax increases level, he said

“When we're thinking about it in a five-year window, in some ways, our framework is already in place for us because we've plotted out what five years might look like,” he said.

He said each year, the process starts with asking department heads to think about their needs so that they can tell the council about them at its annual planning retreat. The town manager then presents the recommended budget in May.

“We'll do a work session with the council where we will update them on what the budget is looking like and what our recommendations are shaping up to be,” he said. “We check in with them and see if the way we're thinking about it is lining up with their priorities.”

Year one of the plan prioritized people — adding and supporting staff — while this year's budget is more focused on operations, such as increasing the town’s vehicle fleet and street resurfacing fund, he said.

The budget's 2-cent increase designates a penny and a half for the town’s general fund and half a penny going to the transit fund — which Blue said is made up of contributions from Chapel Hill, Carrboro and UNC.

“It's a partnership between those three, and so each of them will absorb some of that increase for this coming year,” he said.

On Wednesday, May 15, the Chapel Hill Town Council held a public hearing, which they are required by law to do before adopting the budget, Blue said. 

At the meeting, Aaron Nelson, the president and CEO of the Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro, gave a presentation about the impact the tax increase will have on local businesses.

How businesses will be impacted depends on the type of enterprise — if it's retail, office or a property owner — if the business is existing or if it's new, and the uneven impacts of revaluation, Nelson said

Blue said that tax increases have an effect on a community, so the council has given a lot of thought to what the appropriate tax increase would be. 

At the meeting, council member Amy Ryan said the Town needed to make sure they were seeing the big picture when creating the budget. 

“We’ve been digging ourselves out of a hole that was a long time in the making, so I understand that it will take us time to dig out. I’m just concerned that we plan so that the budget is sustainable not only for our aspirations, but for what our citizens and our businesses can bear,” she said

Blue said the next step is for the council to hold a vote on the proposed budget, which will occur on June 5

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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