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City manager prioritizes recruitment, retention in budget

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Springfield City Manager Jason Gage is putting talent first in his fiscal 2020 budget proposal.

Gage yesterday began a series of City Council workshops to present budget recommendations for the budget starting July 1, according to a news release.

In his request for an additional $4.9 million, Gage said securing and retaining the city’s workforce is his “first priority.”

“Employee recruitment and retention is the foundation for implementing City Council’s priorities of public safety, economic vitality and fiscal sustainability,” Gage said in the release. “We must increase our employee pay to ensure we remain competitive in employee salaries. To the most financially prudent extent possible, employee compensation has been addressed to move employee pay toward the middle third of the city’s benchmark cities and organizations”

Out of $14 million in budget requests, Gage is recommending increased funding for $3.8 million in ongoing costs and $1.1 million in one-time requests, according to the release.

While he said many city jobs “are now within the target middle third,” he’s proposing a funding pool in an attempt to target those who “remain in the lower third and need continued attention.”

To support expenditures, Gage is projecting a general fund increase to $86.1 million from the adopted $83.8 million fiscal 2019 figure. Sales taxes are projected to increase by 1.5%, and payments in lieu of taxes are expected to be nearly $16 million in fiscal 2020, up from around $15.8 million in fiscal 2019.

As required by city charter, Gage is required to submit a proposed balanced budget to council by May 1. Council budget workshops, which are open to the public and broadcast online, run through June 30, according to the release.

The total budget figure was not included in the release or materials provided by the city, and officials did not provide the amount by deadline. The current fiscal year’s total budget is $366 million.

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