After a month of discussions, the Jefferson City Budget Committee voted 9-1 Thursday to send a balanced fiscal year 2020 budget to the City Council for approval.
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Ahead of Thursday's meeting, the committee was tasked with finding items within the mayor-approved budget to make up for more than $68,530 in expenses — including funding a part-time prosecutor clerk and training and education in the Jefferson City Finance Department.
To cover the excess, the committee approved increasing city employees' health insurance premiums by 5 percent. The city and employees will share in the increase, according to the information provided.
Employees currently pay $425 a month for health insurance, Jefferson City Human Resources Department Director Gail Strope said. The increase would make family plans about $446 a month, she added.
Other non-governmental bodies including parking, airport, transit, wastewater and parks would need to offset their budgets to account for the city's share of the health insurance premium increase for employees, Jefferson City Finance Director Margie Mueller said.
The committee ultimately approved the budget for FY2020 at more than $65.1 million. The general fund budget for FY2020 is more than $32.9 million.
Council members Ron Fitzwater, David Kemna, Rick Prather, Mark Schreiber, Laura Ward, Erin Wiseman, Rick Mihalevich, Jon Hensley and Ken Hussey voted for moving the budget to City Council.
Ward 4 Councilman Carlos Graham voted against sending the budget to council after a discussion on safety within the city and additional police officers.
After the committee finalized a balanced budget, Graham continued discussions by proposing the addition of one Jefferson City Police Department officer for $58,398.
The crime in Jefferson City is on the rise, he said. Graham cited two serious incidents Thursday that required heavy police attention.
"Looking at the crime in which we are getting here in Jefferson City, it's not getting any better," Graham said. "I think this is a request that was put on a pink sheet item (budget request) for a reason. If it wasn't, I don't think they would have wanted that."
A proposed offset for the salary came from the Jefferson City Public Works Department's chemical line item. More than $300,000 in chemicals was budgeted in the mayor-approved FY2020 budget.
Police Chief Roger Schroeder said the officer would be placed on the Community Action Team as well as serve in other needed areas, if the committee approved.
"They are assigned to the spectrum of community problems," Schroeder said. "They resolve those issues because we have no one else to do them."
Currently, about eight officers serve on CAT. The department has one officer vacancy. Schroeder said the department recently hired five police trainees who have at least nine months before they would be on their own.
Hussey said he was concerned about approving personnel positions this year without taking a broader look at all departments.
Mark Schreiber said, given the city's recent luck with natural disasters and severe winters, it was not a good time to take away chemical funds from the Public Works Department.
"There is no doubt that personnel for our emergency services is critical," he said. "Also, it's critical that we have the appropriate materials to deal with circumstances like we've had this summer, and we've had a bad winter. Yes, it's a roll of the dice, but it would appear to me that at the present time, I would hate to take the funds from the Public Works Department for this position."
Departments have said pink sheets items don't always reflect the needs, Schreiber added.
When departments submit requests to the budget committee, it would be beneficial if the rankings reflected what the highest priorities are, Schreiber said.
Graham's motion failed and was not added to the committee-approved FY2020 budget.