Augusta's $8 million budget shortfall could be getting bigger.
At a public hearing on the budget Tuesday, economic developers and industrial leaders said they don't want to pay higher power bills.
Under state law, manufacturers do not pay sales tax on the energy they buy, but the city can charge them a 2% excise tax.
City Administrator Fred Russell recommends the tax to generate $1.5 million. If not, Russell says a small property tax may be needed.
"That $1.5 million is about a .3 mil increase, give or take a little bit, there that would be an option spread that across everybody as opposed to charging the excise tax for the energy manufacturers use," said Russell.
City leaders will hold a budget work session on Tuesday.
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