Municipal employees would be paid a minimum of $15 an hour as a result of additions to the proposed 2022-23 budget approved by the Fayetteville City Council on Thursday night.
The eight additions would increase the budget by a total of $899,000.
In its third budget work session, the council spent much of the time discussing specific items that members want to see incorporated into the budget.
The additions would be the only changes to the $248.25 million budget recommended by City Manager Doug Hewett. The property tax rate would remain at 49.95 cents per $100 valuation.
“It will not change,” said Kelly Olivera, the budget and evaluation director for the city.
A public hearing on the budget will be held during the council’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.
“They’re not extensive by any search of the imagination. They’re reasonable,” Olivera said of the additional expenditures.
Most will be paid for from the fund balance, a kind of savings account.
The items that were added by a consensus vote of the council include:
● $15 an hour pay for all city employees, including seasonal part-time workers. That will add an outlay of $484,000.
● A multipurpose indoor sports facility in partnership with an existing facility.
● Resurfacing the walking trail at Lake Rim Park for $35,000.
● Outdoor basketball courts that have already been funded.
● $100,000 for a “next generation” workforce initiative. The city will pursue partnerships with schools and businesses to provide training and job opportunities for students and others to learn skills for jobs in demand.
● An additional $200,000 for micro-grants for at-risk youth programs, doubling that allocation. The grants would range from $1,000 to $5,000. Community groups will be able to submit ideas to the city for funding. The increase is meant to allow for bigger initiatives.
● $30,000 for neighborhood signage, a project added to a community beautification initiative that had already been allocated $20,000.
● $50,000 for a concierge program intended to add security to the downtown area.
Mayor Mitch Colvin said the concierge program is important for downtown.
“That environment is not good,” Colvin said. “We have a bad environment down there. ... It is bad down there after the (baseball) games.”
He said visitors to downtown are being solicited for money by homeless people and others, which puts a blight on the city.
Left off the list of consensus budget items were gunshot detection technology, a $260,000 outlay that will be covered by money from the American Rescue Plan; financing a makerspace and the Sherwood Road recreation center; a beautification plan for the Bonnie Doone neighborhood; and homelessness and affordable-housing programs that also will be funded by the American Rescue Plan.