Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty warned of "the most challenging budget of my administration" for fiscal year 2015 and said he expects to raise water and sewer rates by 20 percent, as suggested by a city commission.
With home building still stagnant and failing to generate revenue, the administration plans to trim its overall spending by $835,000, to a total of just above $15.4 million, Dougherty told the council in a report on the preliminary budget at Monday's council meeting.
No merit increases or cost-of-living adjustments are planned for city employees, and a hiring freeze is scheduled for 2015.
That fund is set to have a $115,000 surplus by the end of fiscal year 2015. The general fund, which is set to start the year with a $770,000 surplus, is also expected to finish with a $960,000 surplus.
Although the state's Department of Assessments and Taxation suggests lowering the real property tax rate from $0.56 to $0.5556, Dougherty is suggesting keeping it the same in light of the planned fee increases.
The following special events were approved: Havre de Grace Farmers' Market every Saturday between May and October; War of 1812 weekend at the Lockhouse Museum on May 3; Red Coat Run 5K at the Lockhouse on May 3; Pirate Encampment at the Lockhouse on July 12 and 13; and Pirate Gala and Pirate 5K at the Lockhouse on July 12.