The city of Brainerd has a proposed budget to present to the public but the city council isn't in agreement about the plan.
The city council Wednesday, by a 5-2 vote, approved the draft budget for presentation at its truth in taxation public hearing set for 7 p.m. Dec. 9.
Voting against the budget were council members Bob Olson and Gary Scheeler.
Olson said before the budget is approved he would like the city's department heads to review it for any cuts that can be made.
"I feel we're rushing into this," Olson said of the approval of the draft budget.
Scheeler said there were too many unanswered questions, such as possible reduction of $800,000 in the amount of local government aid the city would receive from the state in 2003.
Council member Mark O'Day said it was his opinion that it was foolish not to approve the presented budget and levy the maximum amount of taxes. He said a budget can be amended at any time in 2003, and the tax rate can be lowered once it's set, but not raised.
"The budget is a working document, a road map, and if we don't approve these numbers we're making a mistake," said O'Day. "We can always come back and make cuts."
With the draft budget, Brainerd's tax rate is expected to increase from about 33 percent in 2002 to 37 percent in 2003.
For 2003 the city's market value will increase about 10 percent from 2002, an increase of $39 million from $391,504,060 to $430,850,150. With the increased tax rate, the city's share of taxes on a home valued at $100,000 would go from $330 to $370.
Total revenue in 2003 is projected to be $10,718,488, compared to $9,881,864 in 2002. Total expenditures are projected to be $10,460,764 in 2003, compared to $9,696,898 in 2002.
Major areas of revenue adjustments in 2003 include $317,139 in levy increase, $213,725 in intergovernmental revenue and $175,745 in licenses and permits.
Major expense adjustments in 2003 include $366,000 in salary increases, new employees and health insurance increases.
The final budget will be presented to the city council at its Dec. 16 meeting.
In other action, the council unanimously approved a request from the city of Baxter to hold its council meetings at Brainerd City Hall to have them televised for a trial period of two months.
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