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Brentwood Ways and Means Considers Salary Freeze, Traffic Stops in Budget Talks

The Ways and Means Committee met on Oct. 29 and worked toward approving the 2013 budget.

The Brentwood Ways and Means Committee discussed city employee compensation, salaries, and revenue from the ice rink and traffic fines, among other topics, as it worked toward approving the 2013 budget.

The committee met on Oct. 29, and didn't get to an approved budget in the meeting.

Alderwoman Maureen Saunders asked City Administrator Bola Akande why a three percent pay raise is recommended in the proposed budget.

“It’s what other communities are doing, it’s what we can afford, and we want to stay competitive.”

Akande said the cost to the city for a city-wide three percent raise would be $195,000, which could be paid, and still have money left over to add to the city’s reserve.

Alderman Andy Leahy said the raise should be reduced from three to one percent, which he said saves $65,000 per percentage point. He also suggested cutting back on comp time and overtime.

Alderman Tom Kramer said the employees would be happier if the city simply gave no raises, rather than cutting into sick leave and comp time.

“We are one of the best-compensated municipalities, and I don’t think you’re going to find an employee in our city now, who were told they would not have a raise this year that they would…jump ship.”

Leahy also suggested cutting salaries.

“If we’re going to do something, then the Board of Aldermen should pony up and set the example," he said. "Mrs. Saunders was successful in getting the health care removed, I was looking at the payroll.”

He said if the aldermen, mayor, judges, city attorney and others took a 25 to 33 percent pay cut, there would be a $22,000 savings.

Saunders wanted to know why ice rink program fees are down. Akande said the rink tried new programs this year that didn’t bring skaters in. She said they’re researching what people will be interested in.

Saunders said she is concerned about rink fees being down, and Akande had a reply.

“Fortunately for us, we’ve heard that another rink in another state (IL) is having problems, therefore we are aggressively recruiting their users,” Akande said. “Maybe they’d want to come here and skate.”

Saunders also asked Akande why revenue from traffic fines jumped from an estimated $460,000 in 2012, to $510,000 in the 2013 budget.

“We’ve never even hit the $500,000 mark,” she said, “so why do we think we’ll get there?”

Akande said 2008 was a high year for revenues from fines, and it’s gone down from then.

“Part of the conversation, when the board decided to add the officer in the budget last year, was that position would bring up to about $70,000.” She said that didn’t happen.

“The chief has communicated to his officers that we need to be actively working towards a goal,” Akande said. “Not that we have a quota, but that in general, that revenue needs to be what we indicated it would be.”

Saunders said the residents should know that traffic rules are going to be better enforced.

“I think we need to educate the public, otherwise we’re going to have a bunch of angry residents,” she said.

“This shouldn’t be a traffic stop for us to make our revenue on the backs of residents, although it’s the number one complaint that I receive,” she said.

Shanahan October 31, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Bola continues to be a joke to the city, glad Saunders is asking the hard questions
Scott Stinson October 31, 2012 at 03:18 PM
I am offended by the Police Chief and Bola's discussion of writing traffic tickets to pay officer salaries. We residents are concerned about crime. Fight the Crime. Tax us to fund the appropriate police force to do that. Do not steal from the residents with these unvoted taxes to create jobs. We want a good police force and will pay for it with taxes not tickets.
Mr. Completely October 31, 2012 at 08:22 PM
This is just perfect, you couldn’t make it up. Brentwood city of warmth; with the slick Willie mayor who has his name plastered on the new fire house and the alderman who addresses others on BOA as Esteemed Colleague like he’s Robert Kennedy or something. Shiny new police station, new Early Childhood Center, water features all over the place, golf outings that operate in the red and donate the “proceeds” to cronies. A city manager turned major embarrassment/felon with a pension, fire chief who runs his department on unearned overtime for 30 years, yet another pensioner. Illegal health insurance for the A-list-elected. Tiffs everywhere with near 10% sales tax, TTDs, LSMFT’s? broke school system, 40K auto for the figurehead, inadequate cash reserves at city hall. Now the plan is to balance the budget by screwing Brentwood residents with traffic tickets. Yes we’re proud of you city of warmth, great job colleagues!
Ed October 31, 2012 at 08:42 PM
easy $40,000 cut - eliminate the new car purchase for Bola - there are pool cars... if she doesn't want a car that smells like smoke, she can get it detailed or buy her own!
Gene Fitzgibbons October 31, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Mr. Completely... I am sure the rest of us residents who are perfectly happy with the changes the city has made to make things better, and are paying attention to the real discussion, would respect your comments more if you had the guts to show us your real name. Sounds as though you have a problem with authority figures.
Jim Schmuke November 01, 2012 at 01:20 AM
Believe me, all of the teams that skate at the rink in Fairview Heights ARE looking for ice time. This could be a huge help to the ice rink here in Brentwood.
Mr. Completely November 01, 2012 at 01:22 PM
OK Gene Fitzgibbons (if that’s your real name) we’re all on the edge of our chairs after your recent post. If the issues I enumerated in my earlier post aren’t the “real issues” in Brentwood please tell us what you believe to be the real issues so that I/we can refocus. You mention the “rest of us residents” as if you speak for a group. Who are these people in your group? Could we have their real names as well? You reference “the changes the city has made to make things better”. Please list any changes that have been made by the city and what individual is responsible for them? You suggest that I have a problem with authority. Are you clairvoyant? You should consider that maybe I am the authority.
S. Berenger November 01, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Mr. Completely... I am sad for you.
RDBet November 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM
And don't forget our library has books advocating marriage for gay gerbils! To hell in a handbasket, I tell ya. I'm hopping the next train to Maplewood! ... Oh here we go on Metrolink.
CHERYL EMERY November 01, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Unfortunately, Mr. Completely does understand what is going on in our city government. It is time for residents to get active and show our city officials that we are paying attention and are holding them accountable. There has been mismanagement by our city officials, prior to, during, and following Chris Seemayers resignation. We should feel fortunate that we have a few on the BOA that are willing to spend much of their time and energy trying to make things better for the citizens of Brentwood. After all, that is their duty as our elected officials. I commend them for all that they have accomplished so far. They need our support!
Richard Emery November 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Gene, can you point out the citizens that are "perfectly happy with the changes..."? Because I have yet to find any--- everyone is frustrated and fighting back. I would be happy to discuss the hundreds of citizens that I have talked to that are NOT happy with City Hall. I assure you that everyone that is actively trying to improve City Hall is getting overwelming support from the masses.
J. Armstrong November 06, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Well said Mr. Completely!

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