Panel seeks to alleviate budget concerns

The Jefferson City Council sought to assuage any concerns of city staff about layoffs or furloughs, something city officials say will not be necessary to deal with the $1.68 million budget shortfall.

At a special City Council meeting Thursday morning, city staff were assured by council members and Mayor Eric Struemph that no layoffs or furloughs would be needed to balance the city’s current budget.

During the meeting, 2nd Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte said he would offer an amendment to the bill adopting the city’s budget cuts at Monday night’s regular council meeting to recognize an additional $172,000 in cuts.

Interim Finance Director Bill Betts said the latest list of cuts has been adjusted to recognize additional vacancy savings “due to one of the recent resignations.” On Tuesday, the city announced the resignations of Public Works Director Roger Schwartze and Communications Manager Michelle Gleba.

The new list also details an additional $23,000 cut to seasonal employees in the street department, an additional $60,000 cut to street materials and $52,000 in savings from “Public Works personnel shifts.”

The complete list of cuts, if approved Monday, will allow the city to cover the entire $1.68 million shortfall and leave an excess of $1,296.

Third Ward Councilman Bob Scrivner said the actions of the council have created uncertainty and apprehension for city employees, and though the current budget shortfall has been addressed, the city will be expected to do more with less.

“I’m sorry for any unnecessary sleepless nights that we may have caused you,” Scrivner said.

Struemph said he hopes the budget process for the current fiscal year will come to a close Monday with the approval of the proposed amendments.

“I think our future is bright,” Struemph said.

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