Layoffs and Outsourcing Services Are Possible as City Forms Budget for FY 2012
About a dozen residents showed up for a public session on the City's budget.
Layoffs and outsourcing University City services are some options the City is considering as it drafts the budget for Fiscal Year 2012.
About a dozen residents attended a budget meeting for the public on Wednesday night at Mt. Gideon Church, at 6505 Etzel. University City's deficit for 2011-2012 is about $900,000. That sum doesn't include next year's one million dollar buyout of residents impacted by the 2008 flooding of the River des Peres.
City Manager Lehman Walker said University City is going to have to make "major adjustments." He said "our expenditures are outpacing our revenues." He said the City has to take a look at being more efficient. He said personnel is the City's largest expense, so the City will look ''internally'' to reduce jobs.
Walker said U City residents are accustomed to a high level of service and that may have to be re-examined. He said no decision has been made, but one possibility is outsourcing trash collection. He said the City spends more than two million a year on that service.
"We're looking to see if that will save us a bunch of money," he said. But he acknowledged it was a controversial topic. And he added "I don’t want to be in the position where I have to lay off a bunch of people."
But he said it's important to look at "what can we do that impacts us the least, but saves us as a city money. "
Some of the City's money is out on the street. Walker said about a thousand residents have not paid their trash bills. "They owe the City more than a million dollars," he said. One person hasn't paid a trash bill in 20 years according to Walker. The City has started putting liens on peoples homes who are delinquent in their trash payments.
Walker said while he's faced with making some hard decisions now, he said it'll put the City on a good course. "Within 2 years things are going to be much better," he said.
Mayor Shelley Welsch and Councilwoman Lynn Ricci were also in attendance at Wednesday's meeting. It was the third in a series of public hearings on the Fiscal Year 2012 budget. City Manager Lehman Walker will present a draft budget to the City Council in February. There will be additional hearings on the budget from April-June.