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Council approves 2012 budget unanimously

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At its June 13 meeting, the Springfield City Council unanimously approved the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1. While some factors point to a gradual economic recovery for Springfield, city officials emphasized prudence.

The $297 million fiscal 2012 budget is is 4.8 percent higher than the $283 million fiscal 2011 budget, and the 2012 general fund is up 4.9 percent compared to $70.3 million in 2011, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

“We’re being cautious about the budget, even though revenues are increasing,” City Manager Greg Burris told the council. The city’s sales tax revenues were positive for the first time in three years, he added, up more than 2 percent from the previous year. Sales tax revenue is expected to account for more than a third of the city’s budget resources.
 
That increase in funding will allow Springfield to fill 12 of 84 positions that were previously frozen by budget cuts. Some of them are in human resources, which Burris said has been under “tremendous strain” because of fully-staffed Police and Fire departments and the creation of a new department of Environmental Services, which will split off from Public Works.

“We were very, very selective,” Burris said of the newly filled positions.

Burris said more may be filled if the city feels comfortable further along in the fiscal year. His budget proposal included an estimated 1.7 percent further increase in sales tax, an estimate he called conservative.

For more on the June 13 City Council meeting, look to the June 20 Springfield Business Journal print edition.
   
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