Webster Groves city workers could get a 2 percent pay increase and residents would have another police officer patrolling the streets of the city under the 2012-2013 budget proposed by City Manager Steven J. Wylie.
The public can have its first say on the spending plan on Tuesday at a budget hearing before the city council at 7:30 p.m. at .
The city's next fiscal year starts on July 1. The new spending plan anticipates expenses of about $26.7 million, while revenues are expected to be $21.6 million. Finance Director Joan Jadali said the deficit is largely the result of plans for a sculpture park in the city that is awaiting approval.
In his message to the city council, Wylie said the city "will draw off balances in some of our capital improvement funds as we continue to keep up with infrastructure needs."
He said most of the difference between expenditures and revenues can be tracked to the costs of street improvements.
Jadali said the city is also in a position to spend down some of the $11 million in reserve it has acquired over the years.
"We try to budget conservatively and in prior years, we have budgeted to use (the reserves), but we haven't had to use them," she said. The city has come into other windfalls that have helped instead.
The residential property tax rate that supports the existing spending plan, Jadali said, is 76.3 cents per $100 of assessed value. For a home appraised at Zillow's average $193,000, the residential taxes would be $2,798. The commercial tax rate is 75.5 cents per $100.
Jadali said that as a result of the $11 million reserve, residents have seen the portion of their taxes dedicated to paying down debt decline by 11 cents per $100 of assessed value since 2011.
Highlights of the budget plan include:
- A 2 percent across the board pay increase, with the possibility of additional 1 percent performance-based increases starting in January.
- A new patrol officer in the . Jadali said this was the only new employee planned in the 2013 budget. The new officer would work five months a year on patrols to help deal with "a large increase in the number and seriousness of calls in and around Ivory Crockett Park that demand more proactive attention," Wylie wrote. The other seven months, the officer would be assigned to the traffic unit. Wylie said the added officer would be "revenue neutral" because of reduced overtime and revenue from traffic stops.
- A budget of $19,025 for marketing and public relations, including $10,000 for the sustainability commission and $6,000 for the arts commission.
- A $53,000 expense to replace street lanterns in Old Webster.
City residents are invited to review the budget at City Hall from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, at the Webster Groves Library, or by downloading the budget from the city website.