The total budget comes in at $146,1644,770, which is 7 percent less than last year.
"It is an overall tight budget," Rhinehart said. "It's a very workable budget. We just have to monitor it from month to month."
A 5 percent increase in residential water and sewer rates is part of the budget and would cover increased operation and maintenance costs. On average it would lead to an additional $1.50 per month for residents, which is based on consumption of 7,500 gallons. Rhinehart stressed, however, that, even after the increase, Cartersville would still have the lowest utility rates in the area.
Rhinehart also said keeping up with maintenance was necessary to keep costs from shooting up in future years.
"If we don't implement small increases now, the customers will be paying for it a year down the road," he said.
While 12 firefighters will be hired in July, the budget states that there is no increase in positions within the city. The firefighters were originally to be hired on last year's budget, but it was bumped to fiscal year 2013.
City Manager Sam Grove said the budget was a good balance between austerity and spending.
"It also has some money in there for economic development, in terms of funding the city/county department, funding debt for the park, and it also includes funding for our increase in firepeople needed for the new stations," Grove said. "So, if you look at it from a big picture, the things that the city should be doing, those are what we're doing. We're trying to create jobs, we're making sure people are safe, we're keeping the utility rates reasonable and offering good quality service."
Every department had to go through its budget and find areas where they could successfully reduce costs without sacrificing service. Grove thanked the department heads and staff for their time and hard work.
"We've actually, absolutely, gone through and looked at everything that we can do to get this in balance ... I'm very happy that we were able to include everything that we have in here, including council priorities, that we didn't have to raise property taxes and that we didn't have to cut our services or staff," Grove said after the meeting.