Town of Davidson Takes First Steps in Response to Racial Healing, Unity, and Peace, Approves FY 2020-2021 Budget
On June 9, 2020, the Davidson Board of Commissioners began their virtual work session meeting by discussing the first steps in the town’s response to racial healing, unity, and peace. The board then voted 3-2 to approve the FY2020-2021 Budget Ordinance 2020-02 and the Capital Improvement Plan and Fee Schedule as presented in the Manager’s Recommended Budget booklet, to freeze the Parks & Recreation Director position, and appropriate $103,000 from that position plus $70,000 in contingency to the administrative budget to fund the Affordable Housing, Equity and Inclusion position and programming.
RACIAL HEALING, UNITY, AND PEACE
After issuing a joint statement at the end of last week condemning police brutality and the systemic racism that still persists in our country, state, and town, a united board tasked staff with implementing the following actions in the coming weeks and months:
- Conduct a review of Davidson Police Department policies and procedures to ensure we continue to model best practices in community policing to include the 8 that Can’t Wait and the President Obama 21st Century Task Force on Policing and review police data and report back July 14.
- Create an intensive racial equity education program for all town board members, appointed advisory boards, and all town staff. This curriculum, which could be phased, would work to educate all connected with the town in an institutional capacity on the role implicit bias plays in our current decision-making, the history of our government and economic systems from a racial equity perspective, and how applying a racial equity tool to the town’s programs, policies and procedures can help begin the long-term work to dismantle racism.
- Invite community institutions – non-profits, businesses, and churches – to participate in the racial equity education program.
- Accelerate the hiring of the affordable housing/equity and inclusion position.
- Explore a human relations commission type engagement group
Of these important first actions, Davidson Mayor Rusty Knox said “we made a commitment to the community that we know there is work to be done and we need to do better. Those were not empty words to me or any of my colleagues – we intend to begin that hard work now. Of course, this is just the first step before thousands more at making our town the place it really ought to be for ALL of our residents, especially our people of color, but we’re starting now and hope you all will join us.”
The Affordable Housing, Equity and Inclusion position was originally highlighted in the recommended budget as a priority to fund in January 2021 if sales tax revenues improved after impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. As a part of the changes made to the manager’s recommendation, the board also tasked staff to bring potential options to re-establish the funding for the Parks & Recreation Director position to the June 23 meeting.
The budget was originally presented on May 12, 2020, and a virtual public hearing was conducted on May 26, 2020. Finance Director Piet Swart provided one final presentation to the board this past Tuesday, June 9, 2020.
As a reminder, the recommended budget includes:
- General fund budget of $12.4 million, a 2.4% reduction from last year
- Stable tax rate at $.29 per $100 valuation
- Appropriate response to COVID-19 pandemic
- Plan for potential budget adjustment mid-year
- New capital funding strategy
The five-year Capital Investment Program provides a timeline for prioritized projects and related funding streams. Projects to be funded by the 2017 voter-approved GO Bond projects for parks, mobility and greenways are included. Projects slated for FY2021 include restroom facilities at Fisher Farm and Plum Creek Park, pedestrian improvements, a resurfacing project, a kayak launch at the nature preserve and a walking pier at Armour Street. The 2019 public facility bonds are also included.
All budget presentations are available on our website at www.townofdavidson.org/agendas
. All budget documents are also available on our website at www.townofdavidson.org/budget