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story.lead_photo.caption The John G. Christy Municipal Building, also known as City Hall, is located in Jefferson City at 320 E. McCarty St.

The Jefferson City Budget Committee approved funding for select department requests Monday night.

City departments submitted pink sheet items for requests to the mayor-approved fiscal year 2020 budget, which begins Nov. 1.

Of the more than 130 pink sheets, 12 were funded in the mayor-approved FY2020 budget.

Mayor Carrie Tergin told the committee she was hesitant to approve additional pink sheets without knowing where the city would be financially following the May 22 tornado.

"The reason I didn't fund any of those at the time was knowing that we have some uncertainty with the tornado," Tergin said. "That's something that I still felt very cautious (about) when I presented this budget to all of you. Keeping in mind there may be some things out there we may need to do some upfront funding with."

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Jefferson City Police Department vehicle requests top budget discussion

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The committee will continue the discussion on what projects could be funded.

Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham requested funding six Jefferson City Police Department vehicles for approximately $243,780 during a committee meeting last week.

The committee voted 9-1 Monday to fund the vehicles and offset the cost with police renovations and upgraded funds in the Capital Improvement Sales Tax G fund. The final budget has not been approved.

The mayor-approved budget includes $300,000 for police renovations and upgrades.

Council members, Ron Fitzwater, David Kemna, Rick Prather, Mark Schreiber, Laura Ward, Carlos Graham, Rick Mihalevich, Jon Hensley and Ken Hussey voted for moving the funds.

Councilwoman Erin Wiseman voted against moving the funds after a discussion on $16,266 of unused drug forfeiture funds.

Police Chief Roger Schroeder said he was concerned about the move which impacts other items the sales tax could fund.

"Our concern beyond this year is that it's an easy target," Schroeder said. "I can understand why you would utilize it this year and it is our priority. I have a list of about 50 items that are on our Sales Tax G list. If one excluded the pink sheet request and that $7.7 million in building upgrades and adding another story to our 40-year-old building — we still have $1.1 million in identified needs. Beyond this year that is our only resource for those items."

Ward 2 Councilman Rick Mihalevich said the use of the sales tax is on par with what voters approved in 2017.

"The language directs us somewhat to the expenditure of those Sales Tax G funds," Mihalevich said. "Matter of fact, I would never stray from it."

While reading the information from a flyer, he said the voters were ensured the police department would receive funding for improvements to the 9-1-1 emergency operations center, vehicle and personal safety equipment and replacement, and station renovations, improvements and upgrades.

Ward 3 Councilman Ken Hussey said the police vehicles could be purchased without the line item in the FY2020 budget because of the sales tax.

He was concerned, however, that the committee would not have come to this conclusion if the vehicles were not discussed as a request.

"Had councilman Graham not made this motion tonight and we did not do anything with police cars, we were not going to discuss how to spend that $300,000 in that (Sales Tax G) line item."

City Administrator Steven Crowell said the council previously discussed what should be done with Sales Tax G funds and has authority to set a priority of projects in the fund.

"I can tell you that several times I suggested Sales Tax G as an appropriate opportunity for the purchase of vehicles," Crowell said. "I think Sales Tax G is a discussion that was had and you all decided that those were the projects based on that conversation."

He added in the mayor's budget letter to the council that sales taxes were mentioned to replace vehicles.

"Obviously we need to maintain the safety of our employees; customers/users and the public," Tergin wrote. "It might be prudent to consider using a portion of sales taxes for vehicle acquisition, which would obviously impact the availability of funding for other sales tax capital projects/needs."

In other business, department heads presented their reasoning for not taking additional cuts in the FY2020 budget.

Ward 4 Jon Hensley requested funding a part-time prosecutor clerk position and a summer law clerk position at a previous budget meeting. The position would be offset by budget cuts from several departments.

Of those cuts, more than $7,000 would come from the law department, Jefferson City Counselor Ryan Moehlman said.

The part-time clerk would assist the city prosecutor with court preparation, duties that are currently unfulfilled, Moehlman said.

The budget committee approved funding the part-time prosecutor position and eliminated the summer law clerk in the FY2020 budget.

Margie Mueller, Jefferson City Finance Department director, requested that the committee reconsider $3,000 worth of cuts.

Department heads were previously asked to cut 7 percent of their budgets for FY2020.

"The 7 percent exercise that department directors were asked to do, this is basically where the bulk of my 7 percent cut came in," Mueller said. "So I'd already cut this budget by $3,000. So this would be an additional $3,000 cut on top of what I had already proposed."

The cuts would make the department's continuing education requirements like traveling to conferences difficult, she said.

The budget committee approved to fund $3,000 for the department's training and education.

The overall proposed mayor-approved budget for FY2020 is more than $65.1 million. The general fund budget for FY2020 is more than $32.9 million.

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