By Sarah Lang The Lebanon Reporter
---- — The Lebanon city budget could increase next year by nearly $800,000 if the proposed budget is approved by the Lebanon City Council at its Oct. 15 meeting. The budget ordinance passed first reading at the council meeting last Monday. It is a total of $13.3 million for the year of 2014, a 6.3 percent increase over this year’s $12.5 million budget. The city is proposing a five percent pay raise for all employees, said Clerk/Treasurer Tonya Thayer. That proposed increase, coupled with this year’s two-percent pay raise, gives city employees an average of a 1.5 percent increase per year for the last five years. Raises had been eliminated for several years after the recession started. “We just felt like it was time,” Thayer said. “Since we had the money, it was time to get everybody up to where other cities are paying.” Several departments also received proposed budget increases for things other than the pay raises. The city had been saving up for some projects for the Parks and Recreation Department, Thayer said, such as work on the tennis courts, basketball courts, and the roads within Lebanon Memorial Park. That budget increased by around $125,000, or 28.6 percent. The Motor Vehicle Highway budget went up because the state gave municipalities more money this year, around $130,000 more, to be used for roads only. That budget increased by around $145,000, or 19 percent. The Planning and Zoning Department’s budget increased by $91,000, or 38.5 percent, due to a state-mandated comprehensive plan that must be completed and is very expensive, Thayer said. For more of the story, see Friday's Lebanon Reporter.