The Winston-Salem City Council unanimously approved a $627 million fiscal budget at a meeting Monday.

That's an increase of about $95 million over last year's budget. The plan also includes a property tax rate increase of 2.36 cents. City staff said that will cover increased recycling costs, new personnel costs, and public safety pay plans. 

The budget was passed without much comment from the council. However, member Robert Clark did raise objections to the costs of the city's public transportation system.

Clark presented data on public bus ridership and costs from 2012-2022 in Winston-Salem. It showed that ridership has decreased by 60% in that time period.

“At the same time, the costs are up 40%. We're spending 40% more money to move 60% fewer people," said Clark. "Add the two together and the fixed cost per ridership over the last 10 years is up 335%. We've got to do better.”

Clark said ridership is projected to further decrease this year. He said he'd spoken with the city manager's office about possible solutions.

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