Major cuts were made to the city’s 2021-2022 budget and were approved in a public hearing on Monday, June 21, by the Charlotte City Council. These cuts created an overall reduction of 15.66% from the previous year’s budget. The 2020-2021 budget totaled $6.30 million, while the 2021-2022 budget will be $5.5 million in terms of expenditures. The budget was unanimously approved as another step in resolving the city’s budget crisis.
Councilmember Weissenborn expressed her concern that the cuts didn’t feel visible to her and requested that City Manager LePere go over some of the cuts that were made in the budget.
Salaries and wages did increase 3.74%, LePere explained, but not due to raises made to staff. The hiring of additional staff that were needed caused the increase.
“We are still saving, but are increasing staff, which will result in better customer service for our residents,” LaPere explained. With the elimination of some outside service contracts, the city will see a 21% savings in those costs.
Department heads were able to whittle supply costs down by 33%. The capital outlay was reduced, mainly by the indefinite postponement of the purchase of a mini pumper truck by the fire department, which created a $100,000 savings. The police department also eliminated the purchase of one vehicle and applied for grant funding, which, if received, would provide for even more savings.
$100,000 was cut from the airport subsidy.
“It’s good that we can reduce our expenses and still maintain the level of services to the community,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dyer.
The re-opening of City Hall with limited services has gone well, LaPere stated.
The hunt for a new fire chief is progressing, and a number of applications have been received, reported LaPere. They will soon be setting up times for the first round of interviews and will invite the public to attend so that the applicants can get a feel of the community.
Council also approved fees for water and sewer, with a 0% increase in water rates.
“We did what we could to try to help residents,” Armitage said.