At their meeting Thursday evening, the Lubbock City Council gave initial approval to a new budget and a tax increase for Lubbock citizens.

Nineteen people spoke during the public hearing on the proposed fiscal year 2013-14 operating budget and capital program, and comments varied from Market Lubbock and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, smart meters, LP&L fuel costs, and more.

The proposed budget cut around $6.1 million from the $671.5 million budget that was originally presented to the Council in July.

The new budget does not include increases in utility fees, with the Council choosing to forgo increasing proposed residential and commercial stormwater fees.

The Council also chose to remove a $15 million capital project from Lubbock Power and Light for smart meters. The project was to be financed through bonds, which means that the removal of the project will not have an effect on the utility’s rates.

Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson said he would not support a budget that requires a tax increase or still includes LP&L’s $500,000 advertising budget.

The proposed tax rate is 1.23 cents higher than last year’s rate, meaning that if the rate is ultimately approved, a Lubbock homeowner with a $100,000 home would pay another $12.30 in property taxes.

If the rate is approved on second reading next month, the amount of taxes imposed on the average home by the City would be $584.73, up from the current fiscal year’s $568.81.

The Council approved the first reading of the proposed tax rate 5 to 2, with Mayor Glen Robertson and District 3 Councilman Todd Klein voting against the measure.

The Council will consider final approval of the FY 2013-14 budget and tax rate at a meeting on September 10th. That meeting will begin at 6:15 p.m.

The Council also approved the construction of new Fire Station 19. The new 12,000 square foot multi-company station, which will be located at 5826 98th Street, will cost more than $3.5 million. The contract, which has been awarded to Lee Lewis Construction, specifies that the project will be completed within 330 days.