Today was the first meeting to dissect the 2018 budget for Abilene's City Council and expenditures are expected to be over $91 million dollars.

Comparing it to last year, it's 5% higher. The largest portion of the budget is 73% for employee salaries.

The City's self insurance fund has seen increasing health claims, which could mean raising taxes by one cent.

Also, raising employee wages to market level could cost about $400,000; meanwhile, funding for first responders could cost thousands more.

The proposed tax rate is to increase by 1.87 cents.

City Manager Robert Hanna discussed making some cuts, like to City Link bus services.

"I would suggest we de-fund the bus service from 6 p.m. to midnight. That's about $240,000," Hanna said.

Hanna also suggested making changes to City Link bus routes, reducing the routes from 12 to 8.

Hanna said the changes would save thousands of dollars and that they can save half a million dollars by decreasing other salaries.

"Reduce salary increase to 1.5 % for non-public safety personnel," Hanna said.

It would be reduced from 3%.

"Mayor, that is the city manager's recommended budget," Hanna said.

The discussion is far from over. The budget meeting will continue at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.