Council approves 2014 Jefferson City budget

The Jefferson City Council has put its final stamp of approval on the 2014 budget, by a 8-2 vote.

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, the bill to approve the budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins Nov. 1, was taken off the informal calendar for action. The council has spent nearly two months discussing the budget and various changes.

But one last change was made through a motion from 3rd Ward Councilman Ken Hussey. Hussey moved to reduce the amount allocated for a full-time finance director from $130,000 to $120,500 to allow for the purchase of new applicant tracking software for the Human Resources Department.

The software was detailed on a “pink sheet” from the department, which lists unfunded requests. According to the original pink sheet the new applicant tracking software would “encourage tech-savvy applicants, minimize data entry and paper processing, create a progressive image for the city, and allow application questions to be customized to each position.” The original cost of the request was $14,000, but department director Gail Strope said she was able to get the cost down to $9,500 with annual subscription fees at $7,000.

The motion passed 7-3, with 5th Ward Councilman Ralph Bray, 1st Ward Councilman Rick Prather and 2nd Ward Councilman Shawn Schulte voting against the motion.

The overall budget was then taken up and approved by a vote of 8-2, with Hussey and 4th Ward Councilwoman Carrie Carroll casting the oppostion votes. Carroll said she refused to approve a budget that did not include some kind of incentive for city employees.

Hussey said he’s worried about another tight fiscal year coming down the line and whether the council’s actions taken during the budget process reflect the economic situation of the city.

“I just hope that we’re not in a situation a year from now where we have to talk about some staff reductions,” Hussey said. “I have really serious concerns still about this budget ... we’ve got our work cut out for us next year.”

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