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Jefferson City Council to continue budget discussions

The Jefferson City Council will continue to discuss a nearly $2 million budget shortfall Monday night.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that the city is running a nearly $2 million shortfall for the current fiscal year and has been overspending in past years. City Administrator Nathan Nickolaus has proposed a series of cuts and measures to deal with the budget situation and the council may act on that proposal Monday after further discussion.

The discussion is scheduled to take place near the end of Monday night’s council meeting, meaning it will be televised by JCTV and streamed online.

In other business, the council also will discuss a proposed contract amendment to the JCTV contract Monday.

City attorney Drew Hilpert said the current contract stipulates $165,000 to be provided to the station. But since the council cut the station’s budget to $110,000, without the amendment, the city would be contractually obligated to pay the remaining $55,000.

In September, the council approved $110,000 in funding for JCTV — a $55,000 cut to its normal budget. That was meant to keep the station operating through June 2013 and enable Lincoln University to discuss whether it will fund the station at some level before the university's fiscal year starts July 1.

In October, Nickolaus told members of the JCTV steering committee that the City Council would need to see a financial show of support for the station from the community and Lincoln University or the city would terminate its contract with JCTV in March.

As of early February, the station had raised about $3,300.

Station manager Gloria Enloe has said her understanding is that Lincoln University intends to find the money to keep the station operating for the full year.

At an earlier City Council meeting, Lincoln University interim president Connie Hamacher said the university is committed to JCTV and was searching for funds to make up the shortfall.

The proposed ordinance also seeks to shorten the notice of termination of the contract from 90 days to 30 days, but Lincoln may have issues with that.

Second Ward Councilman Rick Mihalevich said there is an interest to keep the termination notice requirement at 90 days.

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