After two months of considering ways to boost revenues and reviewing capital projects, Beaufort City Council began discussing department expenses for fiscal 2014 during a work session Tuesday night.
Police, planning and public works draft budgets were discussed.
The city manager's recommended budget includes a 2 percent cost-of-living increase for all employees.
Information on the recommended budget can be found on the city's website.
The fiscal year begins July 1. Council must vote on the budget and fees before they could take effect.
The first vote on the proposed budget is expected in early June, followed by a public hearing and a final vote.
Planning director Libby Anderson's recommended budget was down $339. The largest budget line, for contractual services, remains the same at $318,000. That amount is covered by fees paid to the city, she said.
The police budget increased by $59,000. Of that, $29,000 is for payments for four new Dodge Chargers and other equipment, police Chief Matt Clancy said. Other increases are for fuel, technology and vehicle maintenance costs.
Clancy is also applying for a federal grant that would pay for up to 75 percent of costs for two new officers for three years. Since 2008, the department has decreased from 48 to 45 officers.
Public works director Isiah Smalls went over parks, streets, stormwater, vehicle maintenance and sanitation issues.
He wants to replace several aging vehicles, including a bucket truck. The contract with The Greenery would increase by $24,000 to account for maintenance of the Spanish Moss Trail, according to the presentation.
Other increases are for street upkeep and re-striping roads, fuel costs and for maintenance of older vehicles. The parks budget would more than double because an estimated $355,000 in maintenance costs for the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park will no longer be paid for by a special tax district.
The draft budget assumes a tax-rate increase, or "roll forward," designed to keep revenue neutral despite a decline in overall assessed property value.
City officials have discussed several ways to boost revenue, including city manager Scott Dadson's recommendation of a $40 fee for all vehicles registered in the city to pay for street maintenance. That fee would bring in about $320,000.
Dadson also recommends a public-service fee equal to 0.01 percent of a property's appraised value for nonprofit groups that do not pay property taxes. That fee would bring in about $301,000, and the money would go to emergency-response services such as police and fire.