St. Louis County OKs Budget that Spares Parks, Reduces Staff
After a tumultuous two-month period that included threats of park shutdowns, protests and the possible closing of a West County satellite office, council members sign off on a $357 million budget.
The St. Louis County Council has approved a $357 million budget that spares county parks and averts the shutdown of a satellite office in West County.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the budget plan will include cuts in staff through layoffs and through allowing vacant positions to remain unfilled — including 10 positions in the county police department. The Post says those positions do not include patrol officers.
The cuts could involve as many as 50 employees.
“That won’t be decided until January, where we’re at with those positions,” councilman Mike O’Mara, D-Florissant, told KMOX. The biggest hit is likely to come from the parks department; while no parks will be closed, the department budget is down from $26 million to $22.6 million in in 2012.
The council vote was 5-0. Greg Quinn, R-Ballwin, and Kathleen Burkett, D-Overland, were absent.
After a budget compromise this month, County Executive Charlie Dooley also agreed to continue funding snow removal in unincorporated areas of the county.
Dooley's first pass at the budget included a plan to close half the county's parks to close a funding gap in the budget. That plan was met by public outcry that resulted in several petitions that raised thousands of signatures and a boistrous public rally outside the county building and within a council meeting.
Council member Steve Stenger, D-South County, said the plan was a non-starter with the council and organized a budget committee to review other plans. Those meetings resulted in the compromise with the administration.