City Council Passes 2011 Budget
The vote wasn't a slam dunk in everyone's book, though.
The Florissant City Council voted to approve the fiscal year 2011 budget Monday night. The council adopted the $31.8 million budget with a vote of 8-1, but not without some heated discussion.
"This budget has stabilized and made a lot of positive changes, some of which will have long-term affects for citizens and families of city employees," said Ward 1 City Councilman Tim Lee.
Several city councilors made public statements regarding their votes on the budget, including Ward 6 City Councilman Andrew Podleski, who was the sole holdout.
"I will not be voting for passage of the fiscal year 2011 budget," Podleski read from his prepared statement. "We are not presented information consistently from one department to another making it impossible to compare like expenditures across departments. Nor does the format present a history of budget versus expenses to analyze budgeting and expense trends. When asked to present more detail, the administration always promises data but follow-through is rare."
Podleski also cited concerns with a deteriorating reserve account, which stands at the 2002 amount of $14.5 million, overspending and "bad forecasting of revenues and expenses."
Some council members did not like what Podlieski had to say.
Ward 3 City Councilman Tom Schneider said he wasn't sure if Podlieski was "grandstanding or suffering from schizophrenia."
"This is not consistent with his demeanor at [last month's] city budget meetings," he said. "And I didn't appreciate his statement."
After council members' individual statements, Mayor Robert G. Lowery took the floor and made his thoughts known regarding the budget.
"We have a balanced budget," he said. "We have a budget I'm very proud of. We're in a better position than 95 percent of America."
Before the final vote on the 2011 budget, citizens had the chance to gave their say. Resident Kevin O'Donnell voiced concerns about spending.
"The more taxes we get, the more money the city gets, the more money the city spends," he said. "We need to stay more frugal."
The majority ruled, however, as the council passed the $31.8 million budget, an increase to the original proposed budget by almost $2 million.
Before the vote, Ward 5 City Councilman Keith Schildroth proposed to amend the police department budget to include the addition of a corrections officer, which the council unanimously approved.
The changes from the proposed 2011 budget to the approved budget include a number of department financial increases and decreases:
- The capital improvement fund grew by $1.7 million to account for an increase in street contracts from $2 million to $3.7 million.
- The health department's budget was originally proposed to be $776,000 but was decreased to $676,000 to be in accord with the decrease of employees' salaries and benefits. City Finance Director Randal McDaniel said that this stemmed from not filling the health superintendent position for the department, which will be kept open.
- The public works department saw an increase of more than $400,000. Originally $3.9 million, the council allowed for additional funding for salaries, benefits and professional services for the department. According to McDaniel, two positions were moved from the sewer lateral fund to the public works department, which accounts for the increased salaries and benefits. The council adopted the new $4.4 million budget for the department.
The new fiscal year starts Dec. 1, 2010 and ends Nov. 30, 2011.