The Atlanta City Council voted June 21 to approve Mayor Andre Dickens’ proposed fiscal year 2023 budget that includes pay raises for city employees and more funding for public safety including hiring more police officers.
The council voted 14-0 (Councilmember Mary Norwood was absent) to approve the budget that includes $754.2 million in the general fund, the highest in city history. The increase in the general fund is due to higher revenue from property and sales taxes, according to the city. General fund revenue is used to cover costs for city departments such as police, fire, transportation, and parks and recreation.
The biggest chunk of the general fund is dedicated to police at nearly $236 million, a nearly 2% increase from last year. The fire department receives the second largest amount at nearly $107 million, roughly 2.5% more than last year’s budget.
The budget includes a cost of living pay increase for all city employees as well as a pay hike for firefighters.
The budget also includes funding to expand operations for At-Promise Centers; technology infrastructure upgrades; increases in arts and culture funding; and investments in parks and greenspaces.
Also included is about $65 million for housing and homelessness.
Mayor Dickens came into the council chambers following the vote to thank members for their support.
“Today’s budget is about moving Atlanta forward. It really is,” Dickens said. “And some of the things that we were able to do was to make sure that we had a people-first budget — this budget is a people-first budget.”
Separate from the budget, the mayor allocated American Rescue Plan funds to pay retention bonuses police; expand premium pay for the city’s frontline workers; and support youth initiatives for the summer and throughout the year.
Earlier this year, voters approved the Moving Atlanta Forward infrastructure bond and T-SPLOST package, which will deliver $750 million in needed investments across Atlanta.