ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph City Council is currently reviewing a $182 million city budget for the next fiscal year.
The proposed budget was broken down in a work session Tuesday night, giving the new council a brief overview of what they can expect in 2018-2019.
“I think this should be a very conservative budget, while still maintaining city services,” Mayor Bill McMurray said
The budget allocates funds that touch on a variety of city departments and services including the Public Works, Parks and Recreations, Health and Safety.
“The budget says these are your priorities, because this is what you’re spending your resources on,” McMurray said.
The proposed budget calls for a 12 percent increase from last year’s city budget. It also calls for an increase in city staff, including an additional two officers for the St. Joseph Police Department.
According to City Manager Bruce Woody, last year's city budget was artificially low. Woody said this year will be more typical compared to other budgets from the last few years.
“Capital projects, large construction projects that are just one-time expenses usually drive that more than anything else,” Woody said.
The budget is still in a preliminary state. The council will continue to meet with city departments and agencies that receive a portion of the funding to evaluate what adjustments need to be made.
“I’ve read through the budget, I’m a finance guy and I see several areas where I’m questioning some funding,” McMurray said. “There are some areas that I think need some tweaking as any budget does.”
McMurray said the budget will set the foundation for the new council's city plan, but will also leave room for adjustment later in the year.
“A budget is a living, breathing document and as time goes on through the year, we can always amend the budget if necessary,” McMurray said.
The City Council will have four more work sessions before presenting the proposed budget in a public hearing in May. The council will meet with the Public Works Department for a work session Wednesday at 4 p.m. at City Hall.
Woody said the city is planning to present the city budget for a final hearing and approval at the June 4th council meeting. The next fiscal year will start on July 1st.