The 2010 millage rate will stay at 6.8 mills. The council during a called meeting on Thursday night was deciding whether to increase it to a "revenue neutral" 7.469 mills.
An owner of a $200,000 house with a standard $5,000 exemption paid $510 last year. If the property dropped the county average of 8 percent in value, that property owner would pay $464 with the rate staying steady.
Six residents spoke out during the meeting in favor of keeping the millage rate unchanged. They argued it was a bad time to raise the tax rate.
Resident Bill Grant said raising the millage "simply to build a bigger nest egg" and with no specific purpose was unacceptable.
Earlier this year, the city passed a balanced $31 million budget based on a 6.8 millage rate.
The vote was unanimous, but Councilman Bill Bryan did speak about the need to build up the city's funds given its debt obligations, roads in need of paving and repairs to be made at City Hall.
"I voted for it with hesitation," he said, adding that he thinks the city can make it, but "we are on a razor thin line."
Mayor Gene Hobgood, who was outspoken against a tax increase, said between the end-of-the-year balance and budgeted contingency funds, the city should have "at least three-quarters of a million dollars" for unexpected needs.
After an executive session, the council issued a reprimand for City Manager Scott Wood.
In an e-mail recently made public, Wood made disparaging comments about a resident, Joyce Cain, who had complained to the city about a broken sewer line.
Wood also issued a public apology during the meeting.
"I have learned a lesson," Wood said. "The mistake will not be repeated."
Despite the reprimand, the council on Thursday night approved a 4-percent raise for Wood, whose salary was $145,000. He was hired for the job a year ago.
The new budget allows for merit salary increases for staff of as much as 3 percent.
Shipp Cain, Mrs. Cain's son, during the meeting asked that the raise for Wood be denied and that he be relieved of his duties.