ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOX) – The city of St. Louis is thanking its luck stars and strong fiscal management skills as city officials report a $2.4 million surplus at the end of the 2011 Fiscal Year.
“A lot of cities and states face fiscal meltdowns because they spend money they don’t have,” said Mayor Francis Slay. “We have made the tough decisions. We are living within our means. Unfortunately, with rising employee pension costs and looming federal budget cuts, we will continue to face tough financial challenges.”
Under the law, half of the surplus will go for capital improvements and the other half to bolster the City’s reserve fund.
During the recession, the reserve fund has fallen to a little more than $6 million. Given the size of the city budget, it should be $23 million.
The City faces increased pension costs and loss of federal revenue again next year. “We cannot let our guard down,” said Budget Director Paul Payne. “I expect our pension costs to increase by over $10 million next year. In addition, the federal COPS grant is expiring and the City continues to under fund its capital improvement needs. So, even if the national economy continues to grow, we will have to continue to watch our spending. And, we must take steps to stop the unending rising cost of employee pensions.”