The ire was thinly veiled at Pevely City Hall on Election Night earlier this month, when voters rejected a business tax hike, and vengeance was swift. Not two weeks after the vote, Pevely has announced some cuts to take effect next month. Even though the city’s 2012 budget is in balance, it is claimed that these cuts are needed in order to save money for 2013. Some of the cuts are as follows:
- Homecoming Festival cancelled – $30-50,000 savings
- Fall bulk clean-up cancelled – $1,500
- Water fluoridation cancelled – $10,000
- Tree limb removal reduced to quarterly – $12,000
- Park improvements cancelled – $10,000
- Not replacing 3 employees – $120,000
These cuts must be viewed through the prism of Pevely’s stated plan to bring back the business tax idea next year (along with some other taxes at the above link). Typically, when governments or government agencies are told they have to cut their budget, they will cut high-profile, popular programs (Washington Monument Syndrome) in an attempt to win support for tax hikes or budget increases. There is quite likely a measure of that going on here. My favorite cuts are the fluoride one, as well as ending random drug tests for employees. Not only will your kids’ teeth rot, Pevelians, but your city workers will become potheads! A threatened cut, not yet enacted, calls for no snow plowing until 2″ have fallen.
The idea behind these cuts is to end any sympathy the residents of Pevely have for the businesses in their town, in hopes that, in April 2013, voters will throw businesses under the bus and agree to a tax hike.
I would be remiss if I did not offer some budget solutions of my own here. Pevely’s website is rather sparse on budget details (due to lack of funds?), but two questions I have are: why does Pevely do its own 911 dispatching (in concert with Herculaneum)? Why not go in with the Jefferson County system? That would save money on salaries and equipment and, since Pevely only has 5,500 people, I can’t imagine there’d be much service reduction. Second, why does Pevely do its own animal control? I suspect there are some opportunities for city/county synergy that could be explored.