The budget does include a slight increase to the water rate at 5 percent -- about $1.50 a month for residential customers -- but Mayor Matt Santini said this was a regular increase that helps avoid a rate jump after several years of not adjusting rates.
"We feel it's more frugal to do a small adjustment every year and it fares better for the consumer," Santini said.
The budget of $157,729,545 is up $15,276,225 from the 2011 fiscal year. It is a balanced budget, meaning that revenues are equal to expenses.
The 15 new jobs consist of 12 new fire fighters to be hired in April 2012. It also includes one public works, one stormwater and one solid waste employee for half of the fiscal year.
City Manager Sam Grove said a salary study conducted by an outside resource showed the city needed to make wage adjustments to about 34 classifications of city jobs.
"[The study] identified positions largely within police and fire and utilities, mainly the lower [positions]," Grove said. "Now, I'm not saying other people aren't getting raises because what happens is, the second piece of [the process] is you go in and adjust [other classifications] and then potentially you have people who are new hires who are making nearly what people who have been here for a while are making."
Grove said the city felt it was important to provide raises to employees when possible.
"We have not given raises in the past two years," Grove said. "The first year we went through a reduction in staffing and eliminated about 20 positions, so that was kind of how we got to where we're at. We've been really watching closely, we always do, but in particular over the last two years and have been able to kind of weather the financial storm."
Councilwoman Lori Pruitt voted against the budget.
"The budget is presented as an all-in-one document, and there were a couple of line items in particular I was uncomfortable with," Pruitt said. "There's not really a line item veto option for the council, and since that wasn't there, I felt more comfortable saying no to the budget overall."