"The devil is in those details, we'll see in the budget hearings, but I'm optimistic that we've got a balanced budget that preserves the pay scale and addresses the pension issues," said Lauren Benedict of Macon City Council.
“So far, so good” was the response of many city council members to Mayor Reichert's presentation of the 2012 budget Tuesday evening. The city's general fund budget is up 3 percent from last year to 74.3 million dollars. Mayor Reichert says the budget has been well received so far.
"People were glad to know and glad to hear number one that this is a balanced budget with no fee increases, no tax increases," said Mayor Reichert.
In a move that many city employees welcome, this budget fully funds the new pay scale, but there will be no pay increases this year for city employees. Councilwoman Lauren Benedict says more tweaks could be made to the scale in the coming months.
"I think the pay scale is a work in process. It's never going to be finished in one year. There's always room for a step increase or a grade increase," said Benedict.
The budget increases the contribution to both the general employee and public safety pension funds by about 10%.
Mayor Reichert says cutting spending and using left over money from last year, made all this possible.
“The pension issue is a $5.5 million issue for us this year. We've been able to find a way to address that without having to do any sort of tax increase or fee increase," said Reichert.
In the 2012 budget there will be no positions added. Mayor Reichert says reduced spending and using leftover money from last year helped balance the budget. He also noted the first part of the service delivery strategy created better financial efficiency for the city.