Withstanding a year of dim financial news, the city of Overland Park passes a budget that reduces staff, freezes pay increases, keeps services at the same level without raising taxes.
The City Council approved a 2011 budget of $218.2 million, 7.4 percent less than the 2010 budget.
“The most important issue is maintaining current service levels to all of our citizens,” Mayor Carl Gerlach said.
The city’s operating budget is $101.5 million, 3.6 percent less than last year. The segment hit hardest in the budget was community development, including planning, parks and recreational services.
The planning department was reduced $1.4 million, which included eliminating 16 of the 57 positions.
The parks and recreation services cut $450,000, including the reduction of 11 positions. Jobs lost included a parks maintenance supervisor, a park attendant, a recreation supervisor, a customer service representative and a fitness supervisor.
Seven positions were eliminated in the police and fire departments, including five cops, a latent finger print examiner, a crime analyst, a fire battalion chief and a public education specialist.
Overall, the city’s work force will be reduced to 844 in 2011 from 901 in the current budget.
It is harsh but at least the did did not have to raise taxes. Keep your eye on the school board. They will likely raise your property taxes.
OP has delayed road projects and spent less on street maintenance as it weathers the dim economic forecast.
The city also has eliminated funding for public art and has delayed new projects at its arboretum because of a lack of sufficient private support.
The city has already made many of the cuts reflected in the proposed 2011 budget, including jobs eliminated in January when 42 employees were let go.
The current city budget didn’t provide for a pay raise this year. And while a pay raise wasn’t built into the 2011 budget, the city is holding out the possibility of using money from its contingency fund for raises later this year depending on the city’s financial outlook.
A decision on pay raises isn’t expected to be made until later this year as the city develops a new five-year financial plan.
Thanks Overland Park, the City Council, and the employees, most of the citizens of OP are not getting raises either. We are working harder, living more stressful lives and making less. But with all of us pulling together we will easily navigate the turbulent economic times and emerge as a strong and successful community.
We have one of the best cities in the country, a good economy, great services for our residents, great schools, we will thrive!
Excerpts taken from