The Tuscaloosa City Council unanimously voted to adopt a $174 million General Fund Budget and a $58 million Water and Sewer Fund budget for Fiscal Year 2022 at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

The largest appropriations in the budget are unsurprisingly allocated to the salaries and benefits of the city's roughly 1,300 employees, with $36 million allotted for the Tuscaloosa Police Department, $37 million for the Department of Infrastructure and Public Services, and 28.6 million to Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue.

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The budget also includes more than $12 million in funding for outside agencies. The biggest beneficiaries are the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, who will receive $4.2 million, the Tuscaloosa City Board of Education, who will get $2.5 million, the Tuscaloosa Public Library at $1.4 million and the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission, which was awarded $1.25 million.

The council also adopted two measures related to the compensation of its workforce. The first resolution suspends the annual step-raises that give municipal employees cost-of-living salary increases every year.

"Due to the City's revenue projections for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, it is in the best financial interest of the City to suspend for the 2021-2022 fiscal year step raises for City employees pursuant to the City's Pay Plan," the resolution adopted Tuesday reads.

The council promised to revisit the issue of step-raises in November, and District 6's John Faile said they would try to find the money to re-instate the increases of pay.

The news is not all bad for the city's workers, however. The council also adopted a resolution recommending raises for TPD's 357 officers and TFR's 264 firefighters. Those salary increases, which Mayor Walt Maddox recommended in late August, would go into effect in spring 2022.

"The Council supports these recommendations to increase Police Officer and Firefighter pay and requests that the Human Resources Department and the Office of the City Attorney draft and ordinance making necessary changes to the City of Tuscaloosa Pay Plan for adoption in December 2021 with an effective date of April 9, 2022," the adopted resolution reads.

For more updates on the city's budgets and their impacts, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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