The Mandeville City Council will hold at least two more public hearings on a proposed $47 million budget for the coming fiscal year, a time when Mayor Donald Villere says the city faces business challenges including the closure of Kmart and Winn-Dixie and expected personnel moves.

In his budget message, Villere said the council faces more challenges this year than last year.

“We will put together a redevelopment plan to encourage new growth in the older commercial areas to include more diverse development,” Villere said in his message.

The meetings are open to the public, and residents are allowed to give input on the budget for the fiscal year which begins Sept. 1.

The budget must be approved 15 days before the new fiscal year, placing the deadline on Aug. 16.

Nearly half of the proposed $22.2 million operating budget is for wages and benefits. The nearly $25 million capital budget includes $16.8 million for projects from the current fiscal year expected to be completed in the coming fiscal year.

The goals for the budget, as listed in the budget proposal, will be to increase connectivity and quell traffic issues in Mandeville.

There will also be a focus on addressing flooding and tidal surges.

The budget proposes raising starting salaries for lower government positions to attract qualified employees and keep the workforce strong with upcoming retirements in mind.

The first budget hearing was scheduled for July 16. The second and third meetings will take place at Mandeville’s Town Hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 23 and Aug. 7.

City council chairman Clay Madden said the budget should be decided in three meetings, but if a fourth meeting is required, it will be scheduled.

Follow Sara Pagones on Twitter, @spagonesadvocat.