North Charleston City Council is set to give tentative approval tonight to its 2009-10 budget — an $82.2 million spending plan with no tax increases and few frills.
Under the plan, homeowners would pay about the same as their current tax bill — with possible changes depending on the local option sales tax credit levels that will be determined later this year, Warren Newton, director of administration and finance for the city said Wednesday.
The owner of a $150,000 home in North Charleston pays about $427.80 in city property taxes.
One of the biggest changes in the proposed budget would affect city employees, who are being asked to pick up a larger chunk of their health care costs.
Beginning in July, employees who select family coverage will begin paying $75 per two-week pay period, ending what had been one of the most generous offerings around.
There are no layoffs or furloughs for city staff built into the budget, but there are no employee pay raises or money for new equipment either. Officials will try to keep the motor vehicle fleet operating by padding the maintenance department by $200,000. Staff vacancies have been frozen at March levels.
This year's proposed budget is about $8.6 million less than the current spending plan of $90.8 million, a more than 9 percent decrease that drafters say is tied largely to the decline in the economy. Leading factors include the drop in sales taxes, decreased business license revenues and reductions in accommodations taxes and food and beverage taxes often tied with travel or business.
Mayor Keith Summey called the plan "perhaps the most difficult budget any City Council has faced" during North Charleston's 37 years of existence.
Final approval of the budget is set for June 11.