AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF) – The proposed 2024 budget is calling for a nearly 5% increase in spending, but some city leaders want to see less.

“We have to do our part as government leaders to show there is some fat that can be trimmed in this budget. And I believe here is some,” said Mayor Garnett Johnson.

But the interim City Administrator’s proposed 2024 budget is balanced, and some city leaders say it needs to stay that way.

“We’ve worked extremely hard to create a budget that will keep our budget operable, that will make sure service delivery does not slip and that the issues they keep putting on the agenda are solved,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnon.

But one big concern in balancing the 2024 city budget is using $4 million in Rescue Act funds. But those dollars will be available in 2025, so there is a big hole to fill in the future.

“Just go ahead and start planning for that and make those cuts, so we don’t have to make big drastic ones next year,” said Mayor Pro-Tem Brandon Garrett.

Efforts to cut the budget by $1.5 million failed Tuesday. But city leaders say the call for cuts is coming back and budget writers better be ready.

“I would assume there is going to be a motion that is going to come out of next week that is going to deal with cuts. And the situation is people ought to already get ready to present,” said Commissioner Alvin Mason.

“This $4 million deficit we keep bringing up about 2025 is just muddying the water for political purposes,” said Commissioner Jordan Johnson.

The Budget battles are heating up and the clock is ticking. The vote on final approval of next year’s budget scheduled for Nov. 21.