In the outlines brought before the city council Thursday, the 2011-2012 budget increases by more than 10 percent. Under the first plan, the city would hire 12 firefighters, with the second option allowing for the additional firefighters as well as pay raises.
According to the first scenario, the budget increases $14,578,080, or 10.23 percent, from $142,453,320 in 2010-11 to $157,031,400. This would include the hiring of 15 employees -- the 12 firefighters and one each in public works, stormwater and solid waste. Also, property taxes within the city would not increase.
The second option places the upcoming fiscal-year budget at $157,729,545, which is $15,276,225 more than the current year's. Under the scenario, the 15 additional employees from option one would be included as well as salary adjustments in all funds. Again, property tax rates would not increase.
The proposed budget will be on the agenda at the June 16 council meeting.
A first reading of an ordinance that would increase the water and sewer rates also was held Thursday. While the proposed 5-percent increase will help balance the budget, it also allows the city to operate and maintain the existing system. The change will equate to an increase of about $1.50 for the average customer. If approved, the rate increase would take effect July 1.
Mayor Matt Santini said the city attempts to implement gradual rate increases as opposed to keeping rates level and suddenly increasing them by 30 or 40 percent.
In other action the council:
* Held a first reading of an amendment to the city charter regarding ward redistricting. Based on the 2010 Census, the city ward boundary map will move several pieces of property. The shifts will even out population distribution to maintain the average of 3,300 people per ward.
The city is working to have the map approved and submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice in time for the November election.
* Approved the bid from Cornerstone Demolition for $7,950 to remove two residential structures, which will become the sites for new Habitat for Humanity residences. The cost will be covered by the CDBG, which funds the Habitat project.
* Voted to approve the purchase of a new commercial mower for the grounds division. The bid was awarded to Franklin Tractor at a cost of $8,930.
* Approved the purchase of a four-ton asphalt hot patch trailer unit for public works from Spaulding Manufacturing for $29,530.
* Approved a bid of $15,900 from C&L Contractors for the installation of 250 feet of pipe at the water treatment plant. The line will increase capacity to better handle periods of heavy rain.
* Voted to enter into an agreement with Bartow County for the city's assistance during the April 27 tornadoes. The agreement allows the city to apply for reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.