City employees to see pay increase

A public hearing on the proposed Hannibal city budget for fiscal year 2019-20 is scheduled at 6:45 p.m., Tuesday, June 18, at city hall.

The budget will come up for a first reading by the city council later in the evening during its planned meeting that begins at 7 p.m.

Approval of the budget is set to occur during the council's Tuesday, July 2, meeting at city hall.

While the 2019-20 budget features an assortment of cuts and revenue-saving measures, it includes a 1 percent cost-of-living pay increase for city employees.

A larger raise had initially been considered, said Mayor James Hark during the council's June 5 budget workshop.

"The bottom line is we can't afford to give 3 percent. The money is not there to do that," he said.

A $1.4 million deficit occurred after all departments submitting budgets with a 1 percent cost-of-living increase, plus one step on the pay chart, said City Director of Finance Karen Burditt.

"There will be other years when we should be in better shape to award those type things. Right now it's not there," Hark said. "It would be irresponsible to magically inflate a revenue line item to reflect that type of raise."

The city was facing a projected deficit of just more than $204,000 at the time of the budget workshop, despite an increase in sales tax revenue and the general fund compared to last year.

Expenditures are growing faster than revenue streams, some of which are still down from three years ago, Burditt said.

Revenue decreases have been experienced since 2014 in license tax-gas, license tax-telephone, Red Flex enforcement and in police court fines.

In an effort to shave down the anticipated deficit, Hark informed department heads that there would not be any promotions or additional hiring in the coming fiscal year.

In another revenue-saving move, the city has called off an announced citywide cleanup this fall. That will save a minimum of $44,550.

The city will take over management responsibilities July 1 at the community's airport. The city anticipates a net savings of $43,899 by using part-time city staff to man the airport and by keeping fuel sales revenue.

danny.henley@courierpost.com