City leaders in Bowling Green have passed a $122 million budget that increases spending without tax hikes.
The city commission gave unanimous, final approval to the spending plan during a meeting Tuesday night. The budget is for the 2021-22 fiscal year beginning July 1.
Coming off spending cuts in the current year’s budget due to uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, the next one boosts funding thanks to increased revenue projections.
The spending plan also increases wages for the city’s lowest paid employees to $15 an hour. Bowling Green Mayor Todd Alcott said the minimum wage increase was given “out of necessity” as the nation faces a pandemic-related worker shortage.
“We’re in the same competition to get people to work," Alcott told WKU Public Radio. "We’ve got to entice people to come work for us just like everyone else.”
The budget also contains funding for a new downtown development coordinator. Mayor Alcott said many downtown restaurants and other businesses are struggling because of the pandemic. One goal of the new position is to bring more Scottsville Road commerce to downtown Bowling Green.
While some commissioners expressed the need for a new position to address homelessness and affordable housing in the city, Mayor Alcott said he wants to do more research and that the budget could be amended later. He announced a July 22 working session on the issue.