The Creve Coeur city budget for the 2013 fiscal year was presented for public hearing at the City Council meeting June 11.
City Administrator Mark Perkins walked through a breakdown of spending in 2012 and areas of improvement for the coming year. Perkins called the proposed budget, which would go into effect July 1, "labor intensive, so to speak," because of its emphasis on city employees.
The proposal of a 2.8 percent increase, from $14,598,654 in 2012 to $15,008,740 for 2013, came largely in part to cover expenses for city employees. With the decreasing number of personnel, the Police Department would still make up the largest total budget spending area at 45 percent. Public works make up 28 percent.
A primary focus for employees would be enhancing health insurance and developing a benefit pension, contributing 7 percent annually to a 401(a) plan. However, city employees hired after June 1, 2006 are not eligible for the current pension fund plan.
Other key areas of concern included reducing and minimalizing the effects of debt generated from Millennium Park and the city's Dielmann Recreation Complex renovations. As of 2012, about $1.2 million remain in debt from golf course and ice arena capital improvement spending, and $4.8 million in part from Millennium Park efforts. Perkins stated that the Creve Coeur Golf Course generated more revenue and less expenses in 2012, contributing a positive move forward in the city's enterprise fund.
The Finance Committee's report revealed that intergovernmental revenue generated the most at $6.4 million and public utilities at $6.2 million in 2012.
Creve Coeur resident David Caldwell, editor of CreveCoeurVoter.com with a background in strategic planning at Monsanto, discussed his concerns during the public hearing about the five-year plan that the proposed budget would spur on.
Caldwell suggested reducing property taxes and, over the next five years, using excess reserves to retire debt. Perkins added he would note to the Finance Committee considering re-handling of the pension fund.
Various members of the City Council expressed acceptance of the state of the budget proposal at this time. Perkins said the Finance Committee is still meeting to make improvements and noted comments for further review and discussion.