City Manager Gary O’Connell has presented the city’s $100.3M FY2005 budget proposal to City Council, a 7.1% increase over the current $93.6M budget. The city cites decreased state support (such as school and jail funding, a consequence of the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis) in the need to raise city taxes. To fund the increased spending, O’Connell proposes doubling the cigarette tax from $0.12 to $0.25 per pack, raising the monthly E-911 tax from $1.04 to $3, and an unspecified increase in the currently-$2/bag trash stickers. The debate over the proposal should last for about six weeks, at which time Council will take a vote. Elizabeth Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.