Horseshoe Bend Mayor Robert Spear said there just wasn't enough money in the budget to fund a 5 percent cost of living increase for employees. But he suggested a 4 percent increase to the Budget and Finance Committee. The committee met on Dec. 5 for its fourth meeting to discuss the proposed 2002 Budget. The mayor said he had met with each department head in October for their budget requests and it was at that time they asked for the increase. Discussions became heated on the topic of the fire department. Committee member George Evans said there have been three dwellings that have been a total loss due to the fire department in Horseshoe Bend being unmanned. According to Spear the response time for the fire department is five to seven minutes, which he said was great. According to the mayor it would be ideal to have a fire department manned 24 hours per day, seven days a week, but this is not feasible at this time.The council suggested increasing the firemen's compensation from $10 to $15 for attendance at meetings and from $15 to $20 for responding to fire calls. This would require an additional $2,000 extra in the budget for 2002.The mayor explained that once the budget is prepared it must go before the council to be approved, and if approved then an ordinance would be passed to adopt it. This must be done by Feb. 1, but Spear said he hopes to have it done by the end of December.The committee will meet Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. at City Hall for further discussions on the proposed budget.