The approved budget plans to increase the city's expenditures compared to the previous year by 7.2% to over $354 million in expenditures, according to City Manager Don Magner.
“This budget was designed to support the initiatives outlined by the City Council’s Statement of Goals and provides resources to achieve the long-term programs to meet them,” Magner said in a statement. “The largest investments are focused on retaining and recruiting talented and committed employees, infrastructure and public safety improvements, and includes necessary tax rate decreases to keep our community competitive and able to continue to attract people and business.”
The city’s tax rate decreased compared to the previous year to $0.56095. The new tax rate is the lowest for Richardson residents since 2006. However, city officials said the city's revenue is expected to increase by nearly $17 million compared to last fiscal year, mostly due to larger property values. The new budget commits $5.8 million to better compensate Richardson’s employees.
Magner said during a July 25 meeting that Richardson had 113 job vacancies, equivalent to 10.9% of the city’s projected staff size. A new compensation package includes a 6%-11% pay increase for both fire and police personnel, while general city employees are expected to receive an up to 6% merit-based market pay adjustment in addition to a living wage increase for full-time and part-time workers.
The budget includes an additional $4.1 million in operating funds to the Richardson Police Department and an additional $3.1 million to the Richardson Fire Department.
The additional funds for the RPD includes over $400,000 for the addition of three new police officers. The RFD is expected to add nine positions and additional vehicles.
As part of the city’s infrastructure efforts, Richardson will increase maintenance spending by 3.5%, dedicating $4.7 million to street upgrades and $1.9 million to alley repairs.
The city also plans to allocate $930,666 to parks and facilities maintenance and over $1 million to traffic system maintenance, which includes street sign replacement and streetlight maintenance.