ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – St. Louis Aldermen give final passage to a balanced budget for the fiscal year that starts at midnight.

Alderman Joe Vacarro says the city had to make do with about $17 million less than last year.

“It’s tight, I mean it really is,” Vacarro says. “Out of $1 billion budget, we have about a $500 million operating budget and the cost of running each department keeps going up and up – the funds to do that keep going down and down.”

Alderwoman Megan Green protested the way the money gets divided up. She says that the city has very skewed priorities.

“We are spending 54 percent of our budget on public safety and 0.3 percent on health and human services,” Green says.

The $1.1 billion budget is $17 million smaller than last year – that’s how much revenue has shrunk. About 50 positions in city government are cut, including 38 that are currently staffed, which will mean layoffs.

Budget Committee Chairman Steve Conway says one revenue that is rising is the earnings tax. He adds the city’s expenses are rising faster than the revenues, resulting in layoffs.

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