Warner Robins Mayor and Council review public safety budget

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick said the fiscal year 2023 budget focuses on people and public safety. She says the annual funds include a 10% raise for city employees.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The City of Warner Robins has decided on its budget plan for 2023. The $143 million budget will help expand and grow the city, and half of that amount will go to safety public — mover $27 million specifically for firefighters and law enforcement.

Mayor LaRhonda Patrick said the fiscal year 2023 budget focuses on people and public safety. She says the annual funds include a 10% raise for city employees.

“We do not anticipate any loss of service or loss of quality with respect to the city of Warner Robins,” Patrick said.

Patrick says any inflation any household sees the city also sees.

“It was very difficult to approach it from this technical point of view, given these inflation prices, but make sure that we do not raise taxes at the city level,” said Patrick.

Mayor Patrick says they made the decisions about increases with inflation in mind. She says employees cannot live comfortably on last year’s wages due to the changing economy.

“We wanted to make sure that our employees didn’t have to fight inflation, deal with household inflation,” Patrick said.

Even with the 10% increase for city employees, Councilman Keith Lauritsen says he doesn’t think wages are where they need to be.

“We already have the best benefits you can offer, but sometimes that doesn’t always translate well when you’re considering salary,” Lauritsen said.

The police and fire departments also received recruitment and retention bonuses of $4,000, which will be paid over a three-year period.

“We support our police department. We are a team, we are a family,” Patrick said.

Budget 2023 added nearly $5 million to new initiatives. This includes more than $2 million in technology enhancements to upgrade systems and expand community reach, and more than $1 million for improved customer service projects, such as strengthening the code enforcement and review of entrance fees to parks and recreation facilities.

“With where was the customer service initiatives, which I think will have a huge impact on our community, just enjoying being a citizen of Warner Robins,” Lauritsen said.

The remaining resources will largely go towards new equipment needs throughout the city, with some earmarked for special annual community events. Some of these events include a June 19 celebration and the Christmas parade.