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      City of Florence budget includes no tax hikes, so far

      Florence City Council members and department heads took part in a budget work session, Tuesday afternoon.

      The city manager, Drew Griffin, says the city isn't in bad shape, and the economy is slightly improving.

      He says the city's total operating budget is about $70 million. Griffin says most of that money comes from property taxes and business license fees.

      Griffin says the city spends majority of the money for personnel.

      Florence Mayor Stephen Wukela says they expect to adopt the city manager's budget recommendation which includes no taxes increases.

      "It's a very significant budget, and it's continuing overtime to grow. The city is growing our budget operations and services are continuing to grow over time. We aren't seeing dramatic cutbacks in our budget like many communities are seeing," said Mayor Wukela.

      City employees are expected to get a two percent performance based raise, and officials don't anticipate any layoffs or furloughs again for the second year in a row.

      The city has about $224,000 in a Community Development Block Grant which is about $8,000 less than it got in 2011.

      City leaders are looking at spending those funds to improve downtown lighting and fix drainage problems in some communities.

      City council could pass first reading on the proposed budget in May and approve it by June.

      The fiscal year starts July 1st.