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Olivette Planning for Worst-Case Budget Scenario

Michael Calhoun
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OLIVETTE (KMOX) – Instead of waiting for crisis to happen, Olivette city leaders say they want to start planning ahead.

City Manager Mike McDowell tells KMOX that they don’t know whether spending cuts will be necessary, but he does expect some “critical decisions over the next few years.”

One theme he says residents should expect to hear about is cooperation. He points to the parks-and-recreation partnership between Maplewood and Richmond Heights and to the new emergency dispatch center, of which Olivette, Clayton,  Webster Groves and Shrewsbury are a part of, as good examples.

He says a merger with any other suburb, though, has never been talked about.

A public hearing on the matter is Wednesday night at 7 at the community center, for residents to share any ideas they might have for efficiencies.

Last year, Olivette laid-off two-and-a-half staffers and raised the cost of trash service.

McDowell says if the economy continues to improve and sales taxes rise, then all of this might be an unnecessary conversation.

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Olivette city leaders are concerned, but not convinced, that budget cuts might be necessary next year.

So, tonight at 7, they’ll hold a town hall meeting with residents to see what they think.

Last year, the city had to lay-off two-and-a-half employees and raise the cost of trash pick-up.

City Manager Mike McDowell tells KMOX that more drastic measures might be necessary — or this could all be crying wolf.

He says it all depends on the economy, and whether sales and property taxes recover.

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