iBerksires.com Mayor Linda Tyer has put forth an FY19 budget calling for a 1.8 percent increase in total expenditures.

On Friday, the mayor released her proposed $167.6 million spending plan. That reflects a $2.8 million increase from the current year. The City Council will be asked to raise and appropriate a total of $159.9 million of that.

The city is seeing a $1.4 million boost in state aid, most of which is in the form of Chapter 70 school aid. Some $52.4 million is expected in state support and local receipts are expected to make up just short of $12 million. The mayor is also asking the City Council to use $1 million in free cash to offset the tax rate.

The largest driver of the operating budget is $60,492,869 for the School Department.

The school had asked for about a $900,000 increase but the mayor opted to shift about a $500,000 payment for school buses from the school budget and into the municipal side - thus equating for at least some of the increase in debt payments.

The budget was significantly helped by a recent agreement between the Public Employees Committee and the city regarding health insurance.

The budget does not call for any reductions in staffing and Tyer said 11 departments are either level-funded or seeing a reduction.

The proposal isn't absent of all new initiatives. The mayor is asking for a new diversity and inclusion initiative in the Personnel Department.

Looking forward, the mayor said her administration is looking to complete an efficiency study to implement increase operations and develop a home improvement initiative to help residents increase home values.

The City Council will hold a series of meetings throughout the rest of the month to debate the budget.