Dickens proposes pay increases for all city of Atlanta employees

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Rotary Club Monday, May 2, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

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Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens speaks at the Rotary Club Monday, May 2, 2022, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com

Crafting his first budget since taking office, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens on Monday proposed increasing pay for all city employees, providing funds to hire more police officers and investing in the city’s customer service efforts.

Dickens’ proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2023, which starts July 1, was released Monday. At $743 million, it’s the largest general fund budget in the city’s history, with revenues boosted by increases in property and sales tax revenue.

“It’s going to have things that reflect our commitment to safety, as well as equity and taking care of employees for their hard work and commitment, particularly over COVID,” Dickens said in an interview Monday. “And as inflation has come into our nation, we’re being responsive to that.”

The mayor hopes to increase wages for frontline staffers in departments including corrections workers, 311 customer service agents and transportation and parks employees. All other employees would see their pay increase through a cost-of-living adjustment. Dickens also supports continued pay increases for the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department.

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Other city operations that would see an increase in funds include park maintenance, fire station and police precinct upkeep and arts and culture initiatives. Dickens also hopes to upgrade the 311 customer service technology to improve residents’ experiences. The proposed budget is balanced and would increase the city’s reserves without selling off any city assets, according to the mayor’s office.

“Not only will this budget allow us to deliver the basic city services our residents expect, but it will allow us to make key long-term investments that will benefit Atlantans for years to come,” Dickens wrote in a letter to the City Council.

Copies of the draft budget were sent Monday to the council, which will analyze it and make changes over the next two months, with the goal of approving a final spending plan in June. Various city departments and unions are set to present to the council about their priorities starting this Thursday. Public hearings have been scheduled for June 7 and 15.