Slay open to most ideas to balance the city budget

St. Louis – Mayor Francis Slay has ruled out little in his efforts to close a $45 million gap in the city's budget for fiscal year 2011.

Members of the aldermanic Ways and Means committee tossed several ideas into the mix on Tuesday. They include higher employee contributions to pensions, and a reduction in trash collection. Comptroller Darlene Green wants to see a 39-hour work week for most city employees.

Slay said he is willing to seriously consider those proposals, and any others from lawmakers and city officials - with a couple of caveats.

"We are not looking at increasing taxes. That is something that has not been suggested," he said. "And we will not be reducing the number of police in the police department."

Members of the Ways and Means Committee have asked Slay to attend an upcoming meeting. Slay said his message will focus on their shared responsibility to provide quality services with a balanced budget.