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AUBURN — The Auburn City Council got its first look Thursday at a proposed budget that increases taxes but decreases spending.

The preliminary budget sets the framework for city's budget season. Under it, the city is looking at a 1% spending decrease for the next fiscal year, with an overall budget of about $35.6 million.

As much as $330,000 could be used from the fund balance, Auburn Comptroller Rachel Jacobs told the council.

Jacobs continued by highlighting key changes to city expenditures and revenues. Personnel changes were made to Auburn Police, code enforcement and DPW/Parks, where positions were added or part-time positions became full-time ones. Other noted expenditures include various salary changes based on contracts. 

A 2.4% tax levy increase (the city's tax cap), a 0.5% sales tax increase and a 60% increase from code enforcement's grass, snow and trash services were among the noted revenue highlights. The significant increase from code enforcement was because of part-time positions become full-time positions. 

Following the comptroller's presentation were presentations by civil service, municipal utilities, Auburn Fire Department, corporation counsel and the city clerk's office. 

While presenting the proposed municipal utilities budget, Director of Municipal Utilities Seth Jensen said adjustments to the city's sewer and water rates are not needed. He added that the department has seen an increase in waste hauling — a recent source of revenue. 

Auburn Fire Chief Joseph Morabito also presented to council. The department, down a firefighter due to a retirement, is suggesting raising the cost of fire inspections from $35 to $50. 

"It's something I'm sure we're going to have to discuss in the future," Morabito said. "The last time the fee was raised was 2013, when Chief Dygert was in place then." 

A company of fire officials look for fire safety items during each fire inspection, Morabito said. An inspection can last about 20 minutes to a half hour. The chief added that the inspections give the fire department a better understanding of building layout. 

In other news

• The council unanimously voted to ratify a collective bargaining agreement with the Civil Service Professional Unit. The agreement contains much of the past agreement, and a few minor changes to the agency's pay schedule. 

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.

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