The city of St. Mary Board of Aldermen last Thursday passed a budget for fiscal year 2020 that included eliminating expenses related to law enforcement and a city treasurer.

The board later approved terminating its lone police officer, Tim Maurice, but tabled a bill that would eliminate the police department.

The budget approved last week had general fund revenue of $92,670 and expenses of $105.908. The $13,238 shortfall is smaller than the $61,573 shortfall in the original budget presented to the board in August by city manager David Woods.

Removing the police department expenses — and court revenue — makes a difference of more than $30,000 per year and allows the city to save an additional $6.000 in legal fees by not having to have a prosecutor pursue the cases.

In addition, the board passed a resolution to have the duties of the city treasurer performed by the city manager. HSB Advisors has been providing treasurer’s services. The savings from that move is expected to be $2,700 for the year.

The board had discussed the major changes during a work session in late September, so there were few comments about the budget last week. The fiscal year started October 1.

Alderman Brian Helms said the city would be in a “much more comfortable position” with the new budget.

In 2019, the board twice voted to cash in certificates of deposit in order to pay its bills.

“This is the best, closest to a balanced budget than we have had in a couple of years,” Helms said.

The vote was unanimous 3-0.

See complete story in the October 16 edition of the Herald.