The City of Ladue Finance Committee has some recommendations to help save money in developing future budgets. They include an oversight committee for the construction of new fire houses and a long-shot idea to close the former police station.
Jim Schiele, finance committee chairman, delivered the state of the budget with some suggestions for the city council this week. He thinks there are places where substantial amounts of money can be saved.
Ladue has no financial difficulties, but like good city leaders, they are just planning for a rainy day. The city's employee pension fund was in deep trouble, but money from an AT&T settlement for cell phone taxes shored up that issue mostly.
"I ran a business for 40 years; believe me, there are ways to save on the budget," said Schiele. He believes the city has talented department heads who will find ways to trim their needs.
These are some suggestions that came from the annual budget review:
- City form a compensation committee to evaluate employee salaries. This is a "best practices" suggestion to be sure salaries are in line with other municipalities and that employees are fairly compensated within the paramaters of the budget.
- Department heads should find ways to trim their budgets 5-10 percent.
- An ad hoc committee should be appointed to oversee the construction of the newly-planned two fire houses and a construction manager should be hired to oversee the project and the cash flow related to it.
- The new Fire Chief John Bailot is asked to report back the costs of keeping both a spare pumper truck and ambulance in servicable condition.
- Suggested that Ladue consider closing the old police station, adjacent to city hall. Currently, the building department maintains space in that building. This is the least likely suggestion to be discussed in the near future.
Schiele would like to see an up or down vote on all of these proposed measures.
"We don’t have a lot of commercial development in Ladue like a Brentwood," said Schiele. "If we had a Galleria (in Ladue), we could put a moratorium on the Finance Committee."
Ladue has no Galleria, Best Buy store or fast-food restaurants, so this is a non-issue.
The mayor and council members will take these recommendations under consideration.