During a Monday night workshop on the 2009 City of Augusta budget, Council members and staff looked at a tax increase of 2.2 mil to bolster the revenue stream.
That increase will involve the city’s five tax-supported funds: General Fund, Library Fund, two Employee Benefit Funds, and the Bond & Interest Fund.
Workshop participants also talked about the Sales Tax, Capital Improvement, Water, and Electric funds.
City Manager Bill Keefer said the budget contains no “extraordinary requests for equipment or capital projects.”
He said department budgets are “pretty basic”  with increases that address areas impacted by high fuel/petroleum costs and inflation.
Representatives of Augusta Public Library appeared before the workshop group to answer questions about their bid for a 5 percent budget increase. As proposed, that increase will be slightly less.
Council members also talked about a declining revenue from uncollected municipal court fines.
Revenue from rental fees for a variety of city buildings and sites was scattered throughout the budget sheets. The suggestion was made to create one line item for all such rental revenue.
Two Councilmen were unable to attend Monday’s workshop and a third walked out.
Councilman Doug Marr left about an hour into the the 3-hour session at the safety building.
He reopened a discussion item from the last regular Council meeting involving monies for the downtown Streetscape project. The Council was unable to act on the bid received because it was above the engineer’s estimate. The engineer, architect and city staff are analyzing their pricing for certain phases and materials to help the project come within available monies.
A comment about possibly cutting the scope of the Streetscape project made Councilman Marr bristle.
Marr said downtown businesses have made investments for improvement work and are expecting a full Streetscape project.
“We must make sure we bring this project home for them.” said Marr.
Councilman Robert Griffith suggested detailed discussion of the Streetscape was not appropriate at the budget workshop where generalized revenue and expense  figures were the topic.
City Manager Keefer spoke about city match monies that have been earmarked for ?Streetscape.
All at the workshop tables were hopeful the number analysis will allow the city to do the most Streetscape work money will allow.
Keefer said the city always seems to have too many things to do and not enough money to do the work.