HS approves $2.1 million budget

— The Board of Aldermen Monday night approved a $2.1 million city budget for 2011 that carries a 3 percent pay raise for all city employees.

Approval of the budget came after a lengthy discussion about the advisability of granting pay raises when many taxpayers are not receiving pay raises. But in the end the board gave unanimous approval to the pay raises.

The 3 percent pay raises, which will cost the city an extra $39,463.29 next year, will come in the form of a 1.5 percent across-the-board pay hike and a 1.5 percent performance-based salary increase.

Second Ward Alderman Paul Buckley said he was troubled by the perception of most taxpayers who are not receiving pay raises and in many cases are experiencing job losses. Buckley said employees often feel they are penalized if they don't receive a pay increase. He said pay hikes should not be granted automatically if the budget warrants it. Instead, the pay hikes should be linked to the job market and whether it is necessary to grant the pay hikes, he said.

He found general agreement with that viewpoint from First Ward Alderman Jason Michael and to some extent from Mayor Lucas Fitzpatrick.

Second Ward Alderman Thomas Durham, however, said he had no reservations about giving the pay raises, saying they were needed to attract and retain quality employees.

First Ward Alderwoman Pamela Murray said she also believes quality employees deserve consideration and she believes Holts Summit is competitive in its salaries with other government employees in this area. She also suggested that the city in the future consider paying a one-percent bonus to employees who live within the city limits of Holts Summit.

The 2011 city government budget includes $2.1 million in income and about $50,000 less than that in expenses. "We have a balanced budget," said City Administrator Brian Crane.

A plan for a new full-time code enforcement officer was defeated by an amendment offered by Alderwoman Murray.

The budget also includes a new police car and the promotion of one part-time clerical employee to full-time status.

Prior to discussion of the budget, the board approved a plan to allow the Police Department to build a new garage to house police cars. Most of the work would be done by city employees, cutting costs of the new facility.

The board also agreed to keep all municipal court revenue in a separate fund and to earmark it for eventual construction of a new municipal courtroom. The city now has $78,568.09 in the fund to begin accumulating money for the courtroom.

The board also agreed to develop a master plan for the 56-acre Greenway Park that the city has had since 2005 but has not yet fully developed. Crane was asked to request assistance from the Mid-Missouri Regional Planning Commission and the Missouri Conservation Commission in developing plans for the park.

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