ABILENE, Texas -

Abilene City Manager Larry Gilley kicked off budget talks Tuesday, explaining the proposed spending plan and answering questions from council members.

The 2013-2014 proposed budget calls for a 4.5 percent increase over this year – with expenses at nearly $80 million. The 2012-2013 budget stood at just more than $76 million.

The budget also calls for 3-percent raises for all city employees.

The tax rate would go down slightly for residents, but higher property values would mean most Abilene homeowners would pay more in taxes next year.

The next fiscal year begins on Oct. 1.