St. Louis proposes spending 7.1% more, to $1.32B

The city of St. Louis plans to spend 7.1% more in fiscal 2024, due to employee pay increases. This would bring their total budget to $1.32 billion.

St. Louis proposes spending 7.1% more, to $1.32B

In fiscal 2024, the city of St. Louis expects to spend 7.1% more, or $1.32 billion. This increase is due to employee wage increases.

On Wednesday, City Budget Director Paul Payne presented an initial budget to the Board of Estimate and Apportionment (the three-member fiscal top body), the first of a series of steps towards finalizing the city budget that takes effect on July 1.

The Estimate and Appportionment Committee, comprised of Mayor Tishaura Green, Aldermanic president Megan Green, and Comptroller Darlene Green will meet on April 24th to approve the budget for fiscal 2024. This budget will be sent to the Board of Aldermen who can add or remove line items, but cannot do so. The budget will be implemented if the Board of Aldermen does not pass it.

Payne shared on Wednesday information that showed the pay and benefits costs would increase by nearly $25 million as a result of an agreement between the police union, and Jones' administration. General government and financial costs have increased by $4.7 million. This includes $900,000 for the Board of Aldermen and $2,25 million to cover insurance premiums on city-owned properties.

The city said that costs for recycling and refuse disposal "will also rise significantly."

The city reported that revenue through the third quarter fiscal 2023 is on track to exceed budget expectations. Individual withholdings of earnings taxes and payroll tax receipts are up 5,9% and 6,7% respectively. In an inflationary climate, sales taxes were up by 10.1%. Revenues from hotel and restaurant taxes also increased.

The city has a budget for 6,611 jobs and also reserves of $92.7 millions, or 17.2%, of its general fund budget for fiscal 2023.

In anticipation of an economic slowdown, the city estimates that revenues will grow little or not at all in fiscal year 2024. Payne predicted that payroll tax revenue would drop 3.6% and earnings tax revenue by 3.1%.