The City’s new proposed budget reflects some important realities, including new resources authorized by City voters and a growth in revenue.
It also reflects some of my priorities for the coming fiscal year: reducing crime; preparing for the I-64 reconstruction; increasing recreation opportunities for residents; and improving many of the great parks scattered throughout our neighborhoods.
Here are some of the most important things to note:
The proposed budget will pay for more police officers; seven positions in the career criminal unit of the Circuit Attorney’s Office; and four positions in the Problem Properties Unit of the City Counselor’s Office.
Police officers, firefighters, and other City employees will get mid-term pay raises for the second straight year.
Nearly 3 million dollars will be spent expanding jail space.
Highway 40/I-64 reconstruction
The proposed budget will add new people to take calls for service; additional tow truck operators to keep key arterials and intersections clear; and more than $400,000 for traffic mitigation programs.
Recreation and Parks
The proposed budget will include nearly a half million dollars in new revenue to invest in recreation programs.
Revenue from the BJC lease will add $400,000 in new money to maintain Forest Park, plus another $1.8 million from Forest Park Forever’s commitment. Other commitments in the BJC lease will allow $1.5 million in additional improvements in Forest Park.
$1.6 million will be spent on neighborhood parks within a half mile of Hudlin Park.
One important asterisk in the proposed budget is the relatively small increase written in for increased pension costs in the three public employee pension systems. We are working right now on a comprehensive plan to fix them once and for all. That plan, which should be finalized in the next several months, will certainly include some tough medicine.