The real property tax rate would be reduced to 56 cents per $100 of assessed value and continue the personal property tax credit of $500 to encourage local businesses.

"I think what you're going to find is a lean budget but a balanced budget, and a budget that takes into account all the efforts that our employees have put into obtaining the few grants that are out there," Dougherty said.

Public work sessions will be held March 25 and April 8, the first reading on the tax rate ordinance will be April 15 and the budget is set to be adopted June 17.

"I think that's a great outline for us to begin our work," Council President Randy Craig said.

The council also introduced an ordinance at the meeting to establish new rates for the utility tax that were set to freeze in 2013.

An ordinance refinancing bonds from 2002, 2003 and 2004 was also introduced.

"We're going to keep pushing for every dollar and this is another way of doing that," Craig said about the proposed bill.

Joe Conaway, Will Berry and Jack Stuprich made a presentation on GIS at Joppatowne High School, part of the school's homeland security and emergency preparedness program.

GIS instructor Eve Bour and several students also appeared for the presentation.

The students analyzed old Havre de Grace and most of new Havre de Grace, the presenters explained.

The students, who are from North Harford and Joppatowne high schools, analyzed the city by walking through most of it in the summer heat to map aspects of the sewer system, including marking items like hydrants on every block in the downtown area, as well as west of Route 40.

"They were real troopers," Bour said, explaining: "When the next snow comes and they have to plow, [city officials] will know where everything is."

Dougherty thanked the students for saving the city money and said he has heard plenty of compliments about their work.

"They were dedicated about what they were doing and they took it very seriously," Dougherty said.

Craig added: "This will really help the city of Havre de Grace as we consider infrastructure problems."

"This information is invaluable," he said. "There's always something that needs to get done here."

Craig pointed out such a program is not available at Havre de Grace High School but the city is "always open" to such initiatives.

Water and sewer, marina suggestions

Members of the commissions on water and sewer and the marina made suggestions to the council.

Garett Lyttle recommended extending the program of capital-cost recovery fees for one year because even though the desired revenue has not been realized because of a drop in home construction, the commission believes it is still a useful program.