Elevate Tuscaloosa

By WVUA 23 Reporter Jabaree Prewitt

During Tuesday’s Tuscaloosa City Council meeting, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox presented his $235 million 2020 fiscal year budget.

The budget allocates nearly $165 million for the general fund, $56 million for water and sewer and $15 million for the mayor’s Elevate Tuscaloosa plan.

Maddox said this budget emphasizes public safety.

Tuscaloosa Police and Fire and Rescue will receive funds for vehicles, equipment and new personnel. The budget allots $1.7 million for the Tuscaloosa Police Department and nearly $1 million for Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue.

“First and foremost, six new police officers (are) investing in the (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Integrated Ballistic Information Network) system, which is going to give us a great start on taking ballistics evidence and connect that to the bad guys in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama,” Maddox said. “We really wanted to make certain that public safety became a theme in this budget year.”

City employees can also expect a 2.2% cost of living pay raise.

“This has probably been the best budget I have had since 2006, and it’s certainly something we want to take as an opportunity to continue to move Tuscaloosa forward,” Maddox said.

Maddox also recommended a 3% water and sewer rate increase. Residential rates will rise 1.78%, and commercial rates will rise 9.99%. With these changes, residents will also see a big reduction in garbage rates.

“A pledge we made as part of elevate Tuscaloosa is that we would substantially reduce residential garbage fees people in Tuscaloosa pay, and for 97% of our customers, they’re going to see a savings of $218 next year that comes close to offsetting the entire impact of the sales tax increase,” Maddox said.

The budget calls for a $3.5 million city-wide paving project.

The council will vote on the budget at the end of September.

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