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Chesterfield City Council, mayor approve 2019 budget

Chesterfield Finance Director Chris DesPlanques reviews 2019 budget figures during a Nov. 19 public hearing on the plan.

After a brief public hearing, the Chesterfield City Council has unanimously approved a 2019 budget predicting revenues totaling nearly $39.3 million, leaving a total cushion of some $900,000 over expected expenditures.

The spending plan includes a merit pay raise increase amount of $82,950 for police department personnel covered under an agreement with the local Fraternal Order of Police organization and a boost of 2.5 percent for other city employees.

The pay hikes won’t go into effect until July 1, 2019, meaning the rest of the dollar impact will be in the 2020 budget.

Approval came following three workshop sessions in recent months where councilmembers reviewed projected figures on income and outlays and chipped away at expenditures they concluded could be cut with minimal adverse impact.

City officials have agreed to budget conservatively due to uncertainties about future revenue sources, especially sales taxes, which have been on a downward trend.

Revenue questions come at a time when repayments of principal and interest on bonds earlier issued to finance parks improvements and city hall remain high.

The Chesterfield budget includes revenues and expenditures anticipated in the city’s four major funds and some much smaller categories such as the police forfeiture and sewer lateral funds.

In the general fund, the largest of all, revenues are projected at $20.48 million, with the biggest source being sales taxes.

Other anticipated revenues include $8.99 million in the parks fund, $3.36 million in the public safety category and $5.97 million in the capital fund.

Councilmember Tom DeCampi [Ward 4] recognized the leadership of Councilmember Barbara McGuinness [Ward 1], who chairs the council’s Finance and Administration Committee, and the efforts of other councilmembers in the budget process.

The Nov. 19 budget public hearing agenda gave city Finance Director Chris DesPlanques 15 minutes to review the spending plan. Theoretically, the session could have lasted longer had there been questions or comments from the public; however, there were none and DesPlanques summarized key parts of the spending plan in just under the allotted time.

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