Jefferson City Council Discusses Budget & Employee Morale

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JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Council met Thursday morning to discuss the looming issues facing the city after two of its employees announced their plans to resign on Tuesday.

Jefferson City's public works director Roger Schwartze announced his resignation on Tuesday, along with the city's communication manager Michelle Gleba. According to a statement from Gleba, Schwartze resigned on Monday.

Mayor Eric Struemph spoke at the meeting saying there will be no employees laid off or furloughs. The city council is planning a two-phase program to correct the current budget deficit of more than $1 million. Phase one will include correcting the budget problems for the current fiscal year and phase two will look at how to adjust the 2014 budget.

Earlier this week KOMU reported that Schwartze said Jefferson City has found itself in a significant financial crisis.

"We're having to make significant cuts and at this point it doesn't look that we're not going to be able to avoid layoffs so I'm simply starting with myself, to be the first one, instead of having to cut other folks," said Schwartze.

Struemph said that he hopes with the new budget modifications that Schwartze and Gleba will reconsider their resignations. Streumph said if they wanted to keep their jobs, they would make every effort to find money in the budget for their salaries. He said they were never asked to resign and that the news shocked him.

Nickolaus said, "Our problem really is that our revenue as a whole are not keeping up with our expenses. Right now at best case senario our revenue grows at two percent a year and expenses due to inflation are running four percent or higher."

The two city employees who resigned had a combined salary of $157,000. However, that will not make up the difference in the revenue and expenditures for the city. Other cuts such as $21,000 for non-departmental general insurance will be voted on as one possible budget modification. Cuts to the street seasonal employees and street materials are also up for consideration. With these new cuts in place that still puts the city $1,296.00 over budget for 2013.

The budget modifications released at the Thursday meeting will be voted on at the Jefferson City Council meeting on Monday, March 18.