Durham’s Proposed FY24-25 budget highlights spending for capital improvements

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North Carolina Construction News staff writer

City Manager Wanda Page presented her proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2024-2025 budget at the City Council meeting on May 20, recommending funding for three new full-time positions in the planning and transportation departments.

Page also shared more about Forever Home, Durham, the city’s $160 million program to create affordable opportunities for renters and homeowners as well as to stabilize neighborhoods. Four affordable housing projects to be completed this fiscal year will add 468 units. Eight additional projects will begin or be under construction next fiscal year, adding another 943 units once completed.

The proposed CIP budget includes $232.1 million for new projects and to continue completing existing projects. Funding is included for $84.7 million in General Capital projects that were deemed a priority and essential to the City’s capital infrastructure needs.

More than 40 projects are included in the proposed CIP, including lead soil remediation in parks, school zone speed reductions and trail crossing improvements, Guess Road improvements for safer bicycling, neighborhood bike routes, and bike lane vertical protection. There is an additional $147.4 million of CIP funding dedicated to Water and Sewer, Stormwater, and Solid Waste projects. The is also $15 million to support annual ongoing maintenance of streets and sidewalks.

Also, the city plans to place a $200 million General Obligation (GO) Bond on the ballot in November 2024. If the Local Government Commission approves, Durham voters will be asked to vote on two projects:

  • Bond #1: $85 million for Durham Parks & Recreation’s Splash & Play Project, which is the former Wheels Fun Park, Long Meadow, and East End Parks.
  • Bond #2: $115 million for improving sidewalks and streets across the city.

If approved by voters, bonds will be issued in two parts, starting in FY2025-2026. To cover the cost of the bonds, there may be a future tax rate increase of 2.95 to 3.45 cents, depending on interest rates at the time of the bond issuance. Page shared that using GO Bonds is the most affordable way to fund these large construction projects because the City has a AAA-credit rating, which is the highest possible credit rating, enabling it to borrow money at the lowest interest.

City council will review the proposed budget details at special work sessions today and tomorrow (May 29 and 30).

In-person work sessions will begin at 9 a.m. in the City Hall Committee Room and will be livestreamed to the City’s YouTube channel and website.

A final budget public hearing is set for Monday, June 3, at 7 p.m. with final budget approval on Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m. To review the entire proposed budget, visit the City’s Budget and Management Services Department webpage.

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