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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE City Council began budget discussions Tuesday at a lunch workshop facilitated by Finance Director Mary Mannix Decker. The workshop follows City Manager Greg Burris submitting the fiscal year 2016 City of Springfield Budget to City Council Tuesday, April 28. Council must approve a final budget before the new fiscal year begins on July 1 each year. By City Charter, the City Manager is required to submit a balanced budget to City Council by May 1 each year. The budget is prepared with extensive input from city staff. A series of budget workshops allow City Council time to discuss and consider the budget in detail and put forth any suggested changes. The workshops will take place at noon on Tuesdays, May 5, 12 and 19 in the Busch Municipal Building 4th Floor Conference Room. The budget is a plan – a financial proposal that annually directs the provision of public services and facilities. Once finalized and adopted, this plan represents the City Manager's and City Council's commitment to provide for the most important citizen needs within the boundaries of available revenue (funds). The money collected by the city from taxes, grants, fees, and many other sources to pay for this plan is called revenue. The money spent on salaries, materials, and equipment to provide these planned services and facilities is called appropriations (planned expenditures). By city law, revenues and expenditures must be equal in the Annual Budget. This is what is meant by a balanced budget. Burris said that the highlights of the 2016 budget include addressing public safety; preparing for anticipated costs for environmental compliance and employee pay. Public Safety
Funding for public safety continues to be a high priority. Including wage increases, 54% of all new revenue in the FY 16 budget is proposed to be appropriated to public safety departments. The FY 16 budget also includes funds to purchase police vehicles and a required grant match to fully fund an additional 10 new police officer positions, initially covered by a Community Oriented Police Services (COPS) grant. These 10 officers will start their police academy training this summer and complete field training in the last quarter of the upcoming fiscal year. We will need to continue to absorb one-third of this cost over each of the next two fiscal years as the three-year grant expires. The FY 2016 budget also proposes funding for two additional police service representatives (PSRs) to support these 10 new officers. Environmental Compliance
The long-term Overflow Control Plan submitted to regulatory authorities will require significant investment in the City’s sanitary sewer infrastructure over the coming years. Eleven new positions in the Clean Water Services division of the City’s Environmental Services Department are funded in the proposed FY 2016 budget, as recommended in the Council-approved Early Action Plan – all required to meet unfunded environmental mandates. The FY 16 budget also includes funding for needs anticipated to maintain compliance with the existing stormwater permit. The new stormwater permit could have additional requirements that are not funded in the FY 16 budget. Due to the sunset of the Parks/Stormwater Sales Tax, there is no ongoing funding source for these anticipated additional stormwater requirements. Employee Compensation
“Competitive pay continues to be an issue that challenges us as we recruit for specific positions,” Burris said. Responding to Council’s request to develop a plan to address this, Burris outlined plans for limiting the number of new positions added, in favor of increasing the competitiveness of pay for current employees. The FY 2016 budget has very few new positions in the general fund. The City recently signed three-year collective bargaining agreements with the Internal Association of Fire Fighters Local 152 (IAFF) and the Springfield Police Officers Association (SPOA) containing the equivalent of a 3.5% wage package each year. Burris proposes that City employees not represented by a bargaining unit also receive the equivalent of a 3.5% wage increase (including merit steps and an across-the-board component). In addition to this wage increase, the proposed budget includes funds set aside to address several positions in the City that are paid significantly below market. Burris says there are positions in the City that are paid 20% or more below market, which “causes us difficulty in recruiting for these positions. This impacts our ability to provide quality services for our community.” # # # For more information, please contact City Manager Greg Burris at 417-864-1006 or Finance Director Mary Mannix Decker at 417-864-1399.View Budget Overview.