- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - City officials in Raleigh proposed a budget that implements a city-wide hiring freeze and cuts costs without hiking taxes or eliminating staff during the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposal was made Tuesday by Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall. Its recommendations include putting off city construction projects, software updates and travel for employees, closing a visitor center on Mondays and cutting back on a tackle football program, the News & Observer reported.

The nearly $1 billion proposal also recommends an additional monthly charge on recycling fees and canceling the city’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration.

Hall said city officials have tried to limit the impact of the multimillion-dollar cuts on residents.

“We have even gone through some of our own personal loss and sorrow,” Hall said. “And the organization has really stepped up and remained committed to providing our core services to our citizens.”

Overall, the proposal for the fiscal year that starts on July 1 is 2.2% less than the current year’s budget. It also calls for city employees to get a 2% base pay increase if Raleigh meets its financial goals.

Hall said the proposal does not include adding staff to the city’s police and fire departments, something that was discussed by city leaders before the virus outbreak.

A virtual public hearing for the proposal is scheduled for June 2.

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