GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — A $689 million recommended budget presented to Greensboro City Council members Monday night will prioritize safety in the city. 

The proposed budget sets asides funds for 24 new positions, including eight additional patrol officers for the Greensboro Police Department, and 15 fire positions to form a new company to help keep annexed areas of Greensboro safe. 

Greensboro’s city manager also recommends adding an End Gun Violence Coordinator dedicated to neighborhood safety and curbing crime. 

The 2022-2023 budget sets aside about $500,000 for the Cure Violence program. 

During Monday’s city council meeting, raised concerns about recruiting and retaining officers.   

“We pay $80,000 to $100,000 training our public safety, and then two to three years later they’re enticed by other cities like Cary for much more money, so we’ve done all the training, and spent all that money and then they’re gone,” said Councilwoman Marikay Abuzuaiter.  

To help keep them on patrol, Greensboro City Manager Taiwo Jaiyeoba proposed expanded incentives. 

“We’re getting into the second year of our five year installment of 20 take-home police vehicles,” he told councilmembers. 

$1.7 million dollars would provide 20 more police vehicles to the fleet. 

If approved, the budget also promises increases in starting salaries for fire and police officers to stay competitive when hiring for new positions.  

“It appears we are adding positions, but we’re not even at 100% full employment right now,” Mayor Nancy Vaughan said following the presentation. “I don’t want to just make it look like we added eight police officers when we’re down 50. Do we really think we can gain 58 in the next year?” 

“Adding additional positions increases the size of the police budget, it increases the ability of officers to work overtime, if that’s a way that we can get faster response times, although ideally of course it would be for filling the positions with new officers, but an increase in the size of the budget may have utility in the goals you’ve articulated,” Councilman Justin Outling later said. 

A combination of signing bonuses, military incentives, shift differentials, educational incentives, and bilingual pay could earn starting firefighters and police officers almost $10,000 in their first year. 

City Council will hold a public hearing on the recommended budget on June 7 at 5:30 pm.