The city's budget for the fiscal year that begins Saturday calls for a 7% increase in general-fund spending and allows for pay hikes for police and other city employees.
The budget, unanimously approved by the City Council, calls for a 1995-96 general fund of $5.4 million.
That compares to $5.1 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30. It allows an average 5% pay raise for police and city employees. Police have not had a pay raise in two years, and the last increase for other city employees was three years ago.
Increases in anticipated city income, particularly from the utility tax, made the pay raises and larger budget possible, council members said.
Some residents, however, say that increased spending is foolish in the wake of the Orange County's bankruptcy and a weak economy.
"The overall economy . . . reflects a decrease in property values, yet we still see an increase" in the city's proposed spending, resident Jack McKnight said. "If, in fact, the overall economy has gone down for us living in Orange County, I don't see how you can sit there and justify negotiating an increase in salary [for city employees]. . . . Why hasn't the city manager instructed departments to come up with a budget decrease?"
In response, Mayor Wally D. Linn said that most of the increased spending goes to the Police Department.
"We're having a heck of a time keeping our people," Linn said. "We need to keep up quality and morale in the Police Department."