A 3.5 percent pay increase for all Abilene city employees is included in the proposed budget for the upcoming 2013 fiscal year, the city said in a release Tuesday.
It's a welcome prospect for workers who faced furlough days in 2010.
"Those were days off without pay for employees," Director of Finance Mindy Patterson said. "This year, because the economy is overall better, we're able to propose a 3.5 percent increase."
Overall, the budget proposes a 5.8 percent increase in the general fund budget with $75, 740,100 this year compared to $71,577,560 last year.
Sales tax revenue is projected to increase for the 2012 revised budget but decrease for the 2013 budget.
Patterson said the decrease is possible because of a one-time project--that the city cannot talk about--that will not continue into next year. Patterson said she can't discuss what the project is because she is bound by a confidentiality agreement with the State Comptroller's office.
The proposed tax rate is also a decrease, going down from 69.32 cents to 68.60 cents.
Patterson said that decrease was made possible after the city council decision in April that approved cash funding for some capital improvements projects this year.
"We didn't have to issue debt and so we don;t have to increase the debt portion of the tax rate," she said.
The budget also proposes using money left over from the current budget to replace old air conditioning equipment at the Abilene Civic Center.
The proposed budget will not be made final until city council votes on it.
"This is the proposed city budget to city council and so it's ultimately city council's decision," Patterson said.
The 2013 fiscal year begins Oct. 1, 2012 and ends on Sept. 30, 2013.
City council will begin holding workshops to review the proposed budget Monday July 30 at 8:30 a.m. They will meet in the City Council Chambers at City Hall on 555 Walnut Street. Workshops could continue on Tuesday, July 31 if necessary.
The workshops will be televised live on the Abilene Television Network.
A public hearing will be set for August 9th and the final budget hearing will be September 24.