The City Council recently approved a $120.8 million fiscal 2013 budget. The spending plan developed by city manager Jay Ash was adopted following departmental budget reviews carried out by the council over several meetings. The budget is balanced while avoiding layoffs, according to Ash. Overall, it is up $5.6 million, or 4.9 percent over the current year, with $4.9 million of the increased spending for schools and $700,000 toward general government. The city avoided a larger spending increase because of savings in health insurance it achieved through union negotiations, and a reduction in its debt payments resulting from reduced borrowing. “It’s always a challenge, but things are getting better in our budget. We’re in solid position and appear to be on the course of being that way for the next five years, at least,” Ash said in a prepared statement. The city relied on $950,000 in free cash to bring the budget into balance, but Ash noted the city is moving to reduce and eventually eliminate that method of balancing budgets.