Highlights Of The City Of Lubbock's Proposed Budget
The City of Lubbock is getting ready to approve its budget for the next year. Here's what you need to know.
One of the Lubbock City Council’s annual tasks is approving the city’s operating budget. Last month, the council and city staff made their way through the lengthy budget in work sessions. Now, that’s coming up for a council vote of approval.
A first reading of the budget ordinance is on the agenda for the Sept. 7 city council meeting that starts at 4:30 p.m. at Citizens Tower. There will be an opportunity for citizens to comment on what’s included.
The full budget is available on the city’s website. Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope recently visited the Texas Tech Public Media studio to break down some highlights, including property taxes, rates and specific projects. Hear the full interview in the attached audio.
Here are some key takeaways:
Police officers are getting a raise - The Lubbock Police Department’s budget is increasing by over $4.1 million in order to give officers a pay raise.
The Lubbock Professional Police Association began advocating for this earlier this year. They said stagnant wages affected recruitment and retention.
For example, new recruits will go from earning $51,455 annually to $60,002. Other ranks will see anywhere from a 4-16% increase in pay. Pope says this is a step in the right direction and another pay bump is likely to happen sooner rather than later.
Other city staff are getting raises, too - City employees did not see a change in pay under last year’s budget, but that changes this time around.
Lower pay grades will see the biggest bump, with a 7% difference over current pay. That will affect over 400 employees. The highest level of staff will see a 3% wage difference.
During the work session, Solid Waste Director Brenda Haney said her department experienced significant employee turnover in the past year. She specified that the city’s landfill only has about half of the workers needed. Haney said the pay raise should help fix the labor shortage.
ARPA funds are still on the table - While the majority of funds have not yet been allocated, two projects in this year’s budget will be funded by federal American Rescue Plan dollars.
About $8.1 million is going toward a new public health facility on 50th Street and Avenue U. Nearly $6 million has been allocated for public safety vehicles. That leaves over $42 million that the city has a few years to spend.
Pope says the city is looking at six categories of needs: public safety preparedness, critical infrastructure, neighborhood recovery and revitalization, community support services, job training and economic development.
Planning for the once-in-a-generation amount of federal money is ongoing.
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