As Jones said when he introduced the plan last month, the sales tax revenues -- an estimated $3.6 million a year -- would go toward improvements to the city's aging Civic Center. But several steps still lie ahead:
* Approval by the home rule board.
* Extension by the Legislature of the five-year home rule pilot program, which is set to expire this year.
* Passage by City Council of a bill to impose the sales tax.
If all that happens, the city also would lower its existing business and occupation tax rate on retail businesses from 0.5 percent to 0.35 percent and eliminate the B&O tax on manufacturing.
The new budget is up 3.7 percent, or $3.15 million, over the current year's budget -- thanks mostly to projections of continuing robust B&O tax receipts and an expected increase of almost $1 million in the city's hotel-motel taxes.
In 20 years, the city's budget has more than doubled. It's risen 129 percent from the 1993-94 budget of $34 million and gone up 55 percent over the 2003-04 budget of $56 million.
Most of this year's increases will go toward health-care costs, which skyrocketed last year after several years of unusually low claims. To be safe, Molgaard wanted to set aside extra money -- $2.1 million worth -- in the city's self-insured health-care fund.
Contributions to the city's woefully under-funded police and fire retirement plans also go up again next year, and will take a $10 million bite out of the budget.
Contributions to outside groups will stay the same and, in a couple of high-profile cases, even increase next year.
The city will give $925,626 to the Kanawha County Public Library, up from $891,000, under a formula based on property tax receipts.
And at Jones' recommendation, the city will give an extra $25,000 to the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department ($125,000) and an extra $1,250 ($15,000) to Multifest, after reassurances that a new board would prevent further problems with the annual festival. The group's longtime treasurer admitted earlier this year to embezzling more than $300,000 from the event.
Staff writer Travis Crum contributed. Reach Jim Balow at ba...@wvgazette.com or call 304-348-5102.