DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — The beginning of a new fiscal year is just around the corner for Decatur and city leaders will soon have to make some important decisions. The $91 million budget that has been proposed is one of the highest budget proposals for a fiscal year in the city’s history.

Decatur has financially benefited from the its growing sales and use tax, which makes up for 48% of the historic proposed budget.

The budget will work to prioritize increasing the wages of firefighters, police officers, and city employees. Mayor Tab Bowling says the move aligns with the city’s number one priority, which is public safety.

“In this budget, we’ve given a lot of attention to the fire department and trying to get them market-based so we’re thrilled to do that. In addition to that, our city employees will receive a 3% COLA,” Bowling told News 19.

Bowling says for the upcoming year, Decatur will focus on a number of projects that the general budget fund won’t have to pay for.

The mayor says those projects are being funded by a 2021 settlement with 3M. The company was required to pay the city millions after they were said to have dumped harmful chemicals into bodies of water across Morgan County.

“We’ll have a new recreation center at Wilson Morgan Park with an auditorium there,” Bowling said. “We also have some improvements coming at Point Mallard to include outdoor pickleball facilities that has a cover over it.”

Bowling was asked what the River City’s residents would be getting out of the proposed budget. He says residents in the city could certainly expect to benefit from what the budget will work to accomplish.

“They’re getting a better quality of life. Hopefully, they’re gonna be able to enjoy better service from the city with the compensation improvements that we’re making,” the mayor said. “We believe that that’s going to allow us to be able to get more employees where we have some open head counts.”

City leaders are expected to vote on the proposed budget at their next city council meeting which is scheduled for September 18th.