Roanoke City Manager, Bob Cowell presented his FY24 proposed budget to City Council at their meeting today. The balanced budget proposal recommends expenditures of $335,400,000 in response to a number of Council priorities, arrived at through a series of retreats and briefings. The proposed FY24 budget accomplishes the following:
Massive Funding for Schools
The proposed FY24 budget includes record funding support for Roanoke City Public Schools – nearly $9 million more than budgeted in FY23. For the first time in its history, the City is now providing over $100 million in local funding to schools. Further, the proposed budget continues support of the schools on-going efforts at renovating and modernizing their facilities.
Continued Commitment to Public Safety
The proposed FY24 budget continues the Council’s support of public safety through completion of the third and final phase of compensation enhancements for all sworn Police personnel, Fire-EMS personnel and Sheriff’s Deputies. Since beginning this effort in 2022, the City has increased public safety compensation by nearly $9 million in addition to a series of cash bonuses issued in FY21 and FY22. Additionally, the proposed budget introduces a new medic unit at Station #14, replacement of various Fire-EMS and police vehicles and completion of land acquisition and site preparation for replacement of Fire Station #2.
Continued Commitment to Recruiting, Retaining and Recognizing Employees
The proposed FY24 budget continues the Council’s support of the City’s general employees through continued implementation of a multi-phase compensation increase. More than $7.5 million is proposed for compensation increases for these employees. Further, increases in health care costs will not be passed on to employees and more than $5 million is being contributed to the City’s pension plan to maintain its fiscal position. All total, nearly $10 million in compensation increases for employees (public safety and general) is included in the FY24 budget proposal.
Increased Investment in Infrastructure and Quality of Life
The proposed FY24 budget increases expenditures for stormwater facilities, sidewalks, street paving, vehicle replacement and repair and municipal facilities repair and renovation. Under the proposal, bridges on Main Street, 13th Street and Wiley Drive will be replaced, more than 13 miles of sidewalks will be repaired and as many as 64 lane miles will be paved. Further, the proposed budget continues the City’s record levels of investments in parks and recreation facilities with funding to complete the Eureka Recreation Center, Washington Pool replacement, and replacement of the Skate Park. Additionally, funding is proposed that will facilitate significant tree planting over the next three years as well as ensure their care. Additional funding is also proposed for mowing of parks.
Continued Support of Community Partners
The proposed FY24 budget continues the City’s long history of support of community partners. Most notably, this includes increases in funding for the Roanoke Health Department, RVTV-3, Mill Mountain Zoo and Visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge. In total, the proposed budget provides more than $11 million in support to a variety of community partners.
Roanoke City Council will conduct a public hearing April 27, beginning at 7:00 PM on the proposed budget and the City’s tax rates. On May 1, the Council will meet in Work Session to discuss further the proposed budget and any necessary follow-up from the public hearing. Budget approval by Council is scheduled for May 8.