Budget blues continue in Jefferson City

Jefferson City council meets again for budget issues.

The Jefferson City council met again Monday night to mull over the budget deficit.

Several hot-button issues were on the agenda, including a laundry list of proposed cuts. Some of the most debated ones involved the police and fire department, as their overtime funds would be cut by $40,000 and $20,000 respectively.

A motion was passed to approve the purchase of six Ford SUVs for the police fleet for a grand total of $161,000 taken from the general budget. The police budget will have to cover the remaining $11,000.

Another $45,000 is slated to come from decreasing the spay and neuter program at the animal shelter.

Several other items on the list included cuts to transit, mainly from fuel, vehicle repairs, and advertising on JeffTran buses for a total of $138,500.

One council member recalled previous fiscal years and analyzed the necessity for certain services. He urged council members to review what services are essential, and which ones they could do without for the time being.

To help offset some of the shortfalls, city council proposed a separation incentive plan, or SIP, for city employees eligible for retirement.

The plan would allow city employees to voluntarily resign from their position to help the budget deficit. In return, they would recieve a sick leave and vacation time cash pay-out, a health insurance subsidy of $150 per month for six months, and a lump sum severance pay of 15 percent of their annual base salary.

Applicants would have a deadline of April 15 to submit their SIP request, and all applications would need to be approved by May 31, 2013.

The council has until the end of the year to come up with a solution to the budget deficit.