St. Louis Public Radio News
6:42 pm
Tue February 2, 2010

St. Louis braces for budget cuts in upcoming fiscal year

St. Louis, MO – Budget cuts are expected to hit St. Louis City services hard in the upcoming fiscal year.

City officials are looking at a $45 million deficit next year. That means they'll have to cut about 10 percent of their costs.

Of the $453 million the city collected as part of last year's budget, $100 million can't be touched due to pension and debt-service obligations.

City Budget Director Paul Payne says that means St. Louis needs to cut something more like 15-percent which amounts to much more than a few tweaks here and there.

"Given that that is such a large amount," says Payne, "you almost have to have to identify big ideas to offset that kind of reduction because you can't just cut every service that much otherwise you end up doing nothing well."

St. Louis City Comptroller Green addressed the Aldermanic Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday as it seeks to cut services to balance the deficit.

Green says going to a 39-hour work week for city employees is one cost-saving solution that she's recommending.

"What that means is every Friday of every week City Hall is closed for all offices and we have a rough figure of $3 million that it would save," says Green.

One hour per week is roughly equivalent to a one-week furlough. Green also mentioned the possibility of a $5 per month fee for bulk trash pickup and a hard freeze on all new hires.

The Board of Aldermen will take public comment about the proposed service cuts, next Wednesday at City Hall, at 6:30 PM.