Budgets adopted by the Tuscaloosa City Council Tuesday include raises for all city employees, small increases to the cost citizens pay for garbage collection and water service and funding for significant infrastructure projects and more.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox described the budgets he proposed for the city's $190 million General Fund budget, $67 million Water & Sewer Fund budget and the $28 million sales-tax-funded Elevate Tuscaloosa budget as conservative and reflective of a strong, stable economy.

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Healthy Raises for All Employees

Everyone working for the city of Tuscaloosa will see their paychecks increase in Fiscal Year 2024, which begins in October.

Combining a nearly 9 percent cost-of-living adjustment and a one-step-up step raise, all public safety employees will see an 11.1 percent raise and everyone else will receive a 10.1 percent raise. The adjustments will cost the city around $10 million in FY 2024.

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Slight Bumps in Water & Trash Bills

Perhaps most noteworthy to Tuscaloosa residents and Thread readers, the budgets include a $2.50 increase to monthly environmental service fees for trash and recycling collection, and a 9 percent increase to the city's water and sewer rate, which is expected to increase the average residential bill by about $6 per month.

Elevate Tuscaloosa Continues to Fund Education, Recreation, Safety and Infrastructure

Elsewhere in the budget, Maddox's Elevate Tuscaloosa plan will continue to fund education, public safety and recreation initiatives.

That includes $4 million for improvements to University Boulevard, $1.5 million for the Western Riverwalk and $500,000 for streetscaping on Skyland Boulevard.

The budget also includes $1 million for professional services to improve Bower's Park and another $500,000 to continue planning the Saban Center.

Takeaways on the education front include $765,000 for dual enrollment scholarships, $525,000 for the Tuscaloosa City Schools Athletic Excellence Fund, $380,000 for the Pre-K initiative and almost $290,000 for summer learning academies.

The Northport City Council adopted their budgets Monday night, and the Tuscaloosa County Commission will vote on theirs Wednesday morning - for updates on that meeting and how those funds will be allocated, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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