Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin released her approved version of the city budget for 2022 on Tuesday, projecting an increase in city revenues.
The budget will change over the course of the next eight weeks as the City Council hears from department directors and proposes changes.
The mayor-approved budget includes $33,817,729 for general expenses, $12,057,848 for wastewater work, $10,568,872 for parks and $2,700,285 for public transit, among other needs.
It also includes an estimated 0.03 percent funding decrease from the 2021 adopted budget.
City Administrator Steve Crowell compiled a suggested budget, which Tergin went over and made adjustments to, Tergin said.
The full City Council gets the final say on the budget.
"The budget meeting is a committee of the whole (council); I'm not part of that," Tergin said. "We're very collaborative, I would say, even though ultimately, I've given them my changes and I know that they will make changes from that."
Committee meetings will start Monday, led by Ward 5 Councilman Jon Hensley, where council members will discuss different aspects of the budget.
The committee will meet until council members approve the budget, which must be done by the end of October, as the budget goes into effect Nov. 1.
The first meeting will go over the budget highlights and projected revenue. The second and third meetings will be presentations from the department heads. All following meetings will be council discussion on the budget and amendments.
Meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at City Hall, 320 E. McCarty St., and are open to the public.
As part of her budget, Tergin included a summary letter with highlights from the full document.
The goal of the budget, she said in the letter, is to set up income and expense projections to limit budget amendments and fund transfers throughout the year.
The budget projects a 2.15 percent increase in revenues and doesn't account for whether the half-cent public safety sales tax will be renewed by voters in November.
The increase would account for $707,667 of the $64,629,892 budget.
Despite the increase in revenue, it is projected to be slightly below the 2020 budget because of the $1.2 million in one-time CARES Act funding the city received.
The proposed budget also accounts for a 3 percent salary adjustment for all full-time and part-time employees who receive benefits, which would cost an estimated $850,012.
Tergin says in her letter that the amount should be higher "if we want to fund our 'pay for performance' philosophy."
Rather, she said, it should be no less than a 5 percent cumulative increase, which would not be every employee, to help address "compression."
Wage compression refers to the difference between entry- level positions and higher-up positions and is considered an issue when the two extremes are too close to each other.
The budget also calls for a 10 percent health insurance and 5 percent dental insurance increase.
Tergin recommends using $250,000 of American Rescue Plan funding to address stormwater projects.
She's also recommending the purchase of four police vehicles and two 1-ton street trucks and replacing street lights.
In terms of available CARES Act funding, Tergin recommends putting $1.46 million into public transit, which she cites as a temporary solution to the long-term problem that the Transit Division isn't covering its own expenses.
Some items on the budget may be impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in particular employees' training and education.
It is also uncertain, she points out, what the city will see in FEMA funding for the 2019 tornado and flooding.
The full mayor's proposed budget can be found on the city's website, jeffersoncitymo.gov, on the Finance Department page.