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On June 25, City Council approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget, which includes the resources necessary to maintain the City’s high level of service. The City’s General Fund expenditures are budgeted at $15.44 million, or 2.8% higher than FY 2018. Revenues continue to be flat, with a projected increase of less than one-half of one percent, totaling $15.37 million. City expenditures continue to increase faster than revenues, despite expenditure growth of less than 2% annually over the past 10 years. During this same period, General Fund revenues have actually declined. To further contain costs in the face of flat revenues, the FY 2019 Budget provides funding for 106 full-time employees, or three fewer than the previous year.
The budget also includes an increase in the City’s gross receipts utility tax rate, which is currently 7% for all utilities except for residential electric service. The residential electric rate was lowered from 7% to 5.5% in 2013. Options under consideration include returning the residential electric rate to 7%, and increasing the commercial utility tax rate to 8%. The final reading and possible adoption of the utility tax amendment is scheduled for the next City Council meeting on Tuesday, September 11. If approved, the rate increase would become effective November 1.
Even with an increase in the City’s utility tax rates, long-range financial projections indicate that more will need to be done—either in the form of additional revenue, reduction in expenditures or a combination of the two—in the coming years. A Subcommittee of the citizens Finance Committee has been established to examine the City’s long-term financials and make recommendations to the City Council over the next few months. Meeting times of the Finance Subcommittee are included on the calendar on the City’s website.
Citizens are encouraged to review the FY 2019 Budget, available at www.crevecoeurmo.gov/budget.