By MARK EVANS
STE. GENEVIEVE HERALD
In advance of this week’s budget workshop, Ste. Genevieve City Administrator Happy Welch went over budgetary items with the board of aldermen during a work session last Thursday night.
How to address employee pay raises was one issue.
Welch wanted the board to decide whether it wanted to go with an 8% increase or a $1 an hour increase.
The budget needs to maintain reserves equaling 50% of the General Fund balance. Any raises higher than 8% or $1 would fail to do so.
Ward 2 Alderman Bob Donovan asked Welch what they would do if revenue “substantially drops.”
Welch noted that in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic shut things down, the city survived by reducing its capital expenses, including paving.
“That is what the 50% (reserve) is set up for, for the general funds,” Welch said, for paying necessities like utilities and payroll.
Donovan thought the issue should be looked into.
“With all the gloom and doom you’re hearing from the media, the recession and all of this, I don’t know how we can’t think about all of those things and talk about them because they could happen,” he said.
Welch pointed to recent years’ budget figures. He said the year-by-year totals for the general fund and sales tax are “pretty consistent up and down” and offer a good guide to see how the numbers would be in an economic downturn.
“You can see on there, what would happen if we had a fall, for instance of 1% for the next three years,” he said.
Welch said there had been an average increase of 2.37%.