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City budget sent to full Board of Aldermen

By Rachel Lippmann, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – With three weeks left in the fiscal year, city unions and negotiators have yet to strike a deal on furloughs that would generate $3.4 million in savings in the fiscal year 2010 budget for St. Louis.

The Ways and Means committee of the Board of Aldermen approved a budget Thursday that assumes a deal will be struck. Civil service employees, except for uniformed police and fire personnel, would take a week of unpaid leave, while management would take two weeks. A structure proposed by city budget director Paul Payne would place the days off on the Fridays before Monday holidays.

Without the furloughs, each individual department would be responsible to find equal savings in personnel, said Ways and Means chairman Stephen Conway, the 8th Ward alderman.

"This year, sure, they may get away with just laying off one person and not hiring someone else, but then are they going to get the job done for the community?" Conway said.

The city needs to take a look at the county and consider charging for services like trash pick-up, said union official JoAnn Williams.

"And because we've never done it before, I think we're inherently reluctant to even try to implement some of those," she said. "And I don't know that it's realistic to expect that you can continue to do those same things and provide the same level of services without it having some negative impact on the budgetary process."

Fiscal year 2010 begins July 1.