May 24, 2021
At last week’s City Council meeting, City Manager Marchell Adams-David released a proposed budget for the next fiscal year titled, “Raleigh on the Rise.” It’s a fitting theme for this moment as we make tremendous progress on key issues in our city. We are moving forward on housing affordability and choice, commuter rail and bus rapid transit, and Dix Park. But there is still much more we need to do. That is why this budget is so critical. We must make investments in our future to ensure that Raleigh is affordable, accessible and equitable.
This budget does that. Some key areas of investment include:
- The preservation and development of new affordable housing units. We recently approved hundreds of new affordable housing units and last year’s affordable housing bond will pave the way for thousands more to be built over the next five years.
- Approval of the “Penny for Parks.” This will provide approximately $7 million per year to maintain our parks and greenways and modernize aging facilities, including community centers.
- The prioritization of pedestrian safety and bicycle lane improvements. Funding is provided for multiple forms of transportation and transit but will also ensure that we focus on Vision Zero – an effort to make our streets safer.
- The establishment of the new Office of Community Engagement, reporting to the City Manager’s Office. This investment will re-imagine how all of our citizens can have their voices heard with a focus on inclusion and equity.
- The addition of three new staff members to the Office of Equity and Inclusion. This effort will help support social justice and civil rights efforts, as well as provide funding for new citywide equity training.
- Additional funding to support our homeless community. If anything, Covid has shined a light on the need for improved services to our homeless residents, especially related to housing, shelter and supportive services. This will be a major effort, working with our partners in Wake County.
- Funding for a disparity study to review procurement with Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Small Businesses. This effort will help ensure equity in contracting and procurement, ensuring that our efforts are equitable and inclusive.
This is just the start of our budget process, and I invite all Raleigh residents to participate in the upcoming public hearing on June 1 to share your thoughts on city priorities. You can sign up to speak on the City’s website at raleighnc.gov.
I’m grateful for your support on these critical issues. This budget will help us build on the successes of the past year and allow us to get ahead on challenges we will face in the future by making smart investments now.