LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - After much deliberation, the Lee's Summit City Council has approved its budget for the 2012 - 2013 fiscal year. The nearly $60 million dollar allotment is up from last year.
"Some of the things we're excited about is the ability to provide the same level of service despite a challenging economic set of conditions," said city manager Steve Arbo.
Part of the plan allows for a two-percent, merit-based pay raise for city employees. It's the first time they'll get a raise since the 2010 budget year.
"A large part of the operating budget is our salaries and so that two percent is a little over $700,000 in cost," said Arbo, who added that about 80% of the annual budget goes towards personnel. "So, that's a very big decision to make of keeping the salary levels competitive but also knowing that it's going to increase your operating costs not only this year but in future years."
Arbo said another important element of the budget -- making sure money is set aside for arts and culture to keep people living in and coming to Lee's Summit.
"There can be a tendency for people to say, 'well those aren't basic needs of a community,'" he said. "But what happens is there are people that rely on that type of experience for their quality of life in the community. It's also been shown that culture and arts can be an economic development opportunity as well."
One way Lee's Summit makes sure it can pay for potential growth is by creating an outline which anticipates the budget for the next five fiscal years.
"The budget is a plan," he said. "It's based upon the best knowledge you have at the time. Based upon the knowledge we have today, we think the $59.4 million budget is a good plan. But as we go on and as we get better knowledge, we may change that $59.4 million."
If everything doesn't go as planned, the City Council can add amendments to the budget later in the year. That would allow them to cut spending should they need to.
The new budget is effective July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. To get a budget breakdown, visit the City of Lee's Summit online.