The City of Erie is one step closer to approving its 2023 budget.

Wednesday night, the Erie City Council passed the first readings of ordinances relating to next year’s budget. Mayor Joe Schember presented it to the council last month earlier than ever before, so the council has had time to ask questions and workshop new ideas.

“Council has the ultimate say, so they can decide what they want to do, but if they ask us ‘where can you cut?’ Our answer is that we don’t have any place to cut. We’ve cut back as much as we can. We’re only up about 2.5% when inflation is up 8.5%. We think that’s pretty successful,” said Mayor Joe Schember, City of Erie.

An increase in sewage and refuse fees were highly contested in Wednesday’s vote, but they still passed the first reading.

City council needs to pass a budget before the new year begins.