As Beaufort City Council continues to work on its finances in the face of a possible property tax revenue decrease, officials started thinking Tuesday about how they want to spend any money they have next year.
"The idea is to keep a continual foot on the gas when it comes to budget," city manager Scott Dadson said.
Finance director Kathy Todd previously made three presentations on revenue and on ways the city could make up what preliminary numbers indicate could be a $500,000 decrease in revenue because of the ongoing property reassessment.
Some options for increasing revenue to offset the difference include business license rate increases, additional fees and a penny sales tax.
During Tuesday's work session, Todd started the conversation about expenses with a presentation on capital improvement projects, including street and sidewalk repairs.
Councilmembers received a list of millions of dollars worth of possible projects they could authorize next year. The projects come from the city's master civic plan. Many of the projects would take more than a year to finish, so money would be budgeted the first year and carried over for subsequent years.
"We have to discuss which ones do you want to start with next year," Todd said.
The only projects on the list already in motion are a new fire station in Mossy Oaks and improvements to Allison Road and Duke Street. Councilmembers will consider the rest and discuss them at their April 9 meeting.
"Once it becomes a priority and set in motion, it is very hard to change midstream," Todd said.
Mayor Billy Keyserling asked staff to indicate which projects are eligible for grants or matching funds to help pay for them.
"If someone is going to pay half of it, it might make it a little more attractive," he said.
Councilman Mike Sutton suggested creating a ranking system.
"Once we start spending money on areas of sidewalk, the citizens are going to be asking 'why did you pick that one?'" he said.