St. Louis County Council proposes cutting $14 million to address budget deficit

St. Louis County Council Proposes $14 Million in Budget Cuts

In response to the county’s projected $27 million budget deficit, St. Louis County Council members have put forward a proposal to make $14 million in cuts. The proposed cuts aim to address the significant deficit and prevent the need for a tax rate increase.

The legislation introduced by the council outlines cuts of 10% from five offices, totaling approximately $3.8 million. The affected offices include the county executive, county counselor, Department of Revenue, Department of Administration, and the Public Administrator. Additionally, public works would see a 5% cut of about $2.1 million, while the prosecuting attorney’s office would experience a 5% cut equivalent to about $772,000.

The Health department would face the most substantial reduction, with a $8.2 million cut, constituting approximately 10% of its requested budget. Notably, no cuts were proposed for the police department, the jail, or parks.

Council Chair Shalonda Webb emphasized that the proposed budget cuts eliminate the need for the tax rate increase initially suggested by County Executive Sam Page.

It is important to note that the council’s proposal does not specify where the cuts should be made within the departments. Instead, it leaves that decision up to the department leaders. The council’s budget policy coordinator, Chris Grahn-Howard, explained that the proposed cuts were based on analyzing the departments’ actual spending at the end of the year, and vacant positions may be considered for elimination.

The budget proposal also includes the addition of two expenses: $21,000 for the council to send physical mail to constituents and $718,000 for the police department’s Shot Spotter program. This program, initially proposed to be cut by the County Executive, was reinstated by the council after police leaders testified to its usefulness.

The council could potentially approve the budget as early as next week.

Historical Background:
St. Louis County has faced budgetary challenges in the past, often resulting in tough decisions regarding budget cuts and revenue generation. The current proposal by the County Council reflects the ongoing efforts to address financial deficits and maintain essential services for the community during times of economic strain.

Overall, the council’s budget proposal seeks to strike a balance between addressing the projected deficit and ensuring that critical services are maintained for the residents of St. Louis County.

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