Belton may be looking at cuts to public safety in order to solve budget woes.
By DONALD BRADLEY
The Kansas City Star
City Manager Ron Trivitt said the city’s police and fire departments could lose a total of nearly $600,000 in order to make up shortfalls in sales tax and other revenue sources.
“We have some ground to make up,” Trivitt said. “We’ve looked at a lot of things, but the reality is that two-thirds of our spending is for personnel. And two-thirds of that is police and fire. So it’s hard to find real savings without going there.”
Firefighters rallied last week against job cuts. Citizens, too, have made clear they don’t want cuts to public safety.
The recommended cuts are a dollar figure, not a specific number of personnel. For the fire department, the amount is $311,000; for police it’s $270,000.
The budget needs to be approved by the end of March.
A city council special budget work session is set for 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 520 Main St.
Cuts have been made in the past to make up for falling revenue, but officials have always been able to spare police and fire personnel. Particularly as the city was growing.
But that may not be the case this time.
As effects of the recession linger, sales taxes continue to drag. Building and other development-related revenues are still down. The city has also seen less money in court fines.
Asking the voters to make up the shortfalls with an additional tax is not something the city wants to do, Trivitt said.
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