First look: Arlington to fund new firefighters, law enforcement raises in proposed 2024 budget
The city of Arlington will host two town halls about the proposed $672.6 million budget for Fiscal year 2024.
The budget, a 7.7% increase from last year, includes funding for 40 new firefighters as the fire department moves to four-person staffing, a new fire engine and truck and fire bunker gear.
The budget also provides 6% cost-of-living adjustments for public safety personnel in order to make the agencies more competitive at recruiting, according to a presentation during council's afternoon meeting Tuesday.
Glen Bucy, Arlington Police Association vice president, told council members during their evening meeting that a 10% raise would be more effective. He said inflation rates since October mean the proposed 6% raise would not go far enough to recruit and retain officers.
“Tonight I challenge our council and city manager to step up and give us the tools we need to recruit the most qualified candidates for our city,” Bucy said.
Proposed raises for city employees range between 2% and 6%, which would overall cost $8.8 million. The budget also accounts for $519,131 to go towards additional compensation for 9-1-1 dispatchers and $305,410 for code compliance officers.
Additionally, the city proposed cutting property taxes by 1 cent, to 0.5898 per $100 of assessed property value. Arlington homeowners could pay around $209 more per year combined on property taxes and rising costs for city water, storm water and garbage services.
Arlington’s projected sales tax revenue in Fiscal 2024 is $93.1 million, which is $6.4 million above the budget. City Manager Trey Yelverton attributed the bump to Arlington’s attractions and shopping centers.
“This is all about us creating value here from things like the (Arlington) Highlands, stadium areas, entertainment tourism. As you might remember from what we did on the ballpark, half of this revenue is coming from outside of Arlington,” Yelverton said.
The city will host two town halls in the run-up to council’s vote on the budget: Aug. 17 at the South District Police Station, 1030 SW Green Oaks Blvd.; and Aug. 21 at city council chambers, 101 S. Center St.
Council will hold public hearings on the budget and tax rate Sept. 5. The council will vote twice to pass the budget: once Sept. 5, and for a final time Sept. 12.
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