AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Augusta’s 2024 spending blueprint is now in the hands of city leaders. The general fund is recommended to top $200 million with the overall budget growing by almost 5% over 2023.

“Times are changing our population is growing of course it’s going to take more to operate a budget,” said Commissioner Stacy Pulliam.

But a growing budget does not mean a tax rate increase.

“Not for fiscal year 24, a tax increase has not been proposed if commissioners approve this budget as proposed it does not include any increases to taxes,” said Interim Administrator Takiyah Douse.

The proposed budget includes $1.9 million increase to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office budget and $300,000 for new department performance audits approved by commissioners earlier this year.

“Well, I knew that was something that was going to be expensive, but I don’t think fathomed it would be $300,000. So I think that’s going to be something we’re going to take a look at,” said Commissioner Bobby Williams.

Commissioners plan to look at look at possible cuts at the first budget workshop next week.

“We’ll take this seriously and look at it, even if it means line item by line item to make sure of what we are talking about,” said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

Mayor Garnett Johnson talked about cuts after the proposal called for a $21,000 in his budget.

“When we submitted our budget item for 2024, we asked that our budget remain the same as it was for fiscal year 2023,” said Mayor Johnson.

Budget talks are underway with final approval scheduled for Nov. 21.