Aldermen to discuss proposed 2012 Crestwood budget

Final payment will be made next year on Aquatic Center

By MIKE ANTHONY

A proposed balanced budget for 2012 was scheduled to be discussed earlier this week by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen were set to discuss the proposed 2012 budget during a work session before their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night — after the Call went to press.

The city’s Ways and Means Committee recently voted to forward to the Board of Aldermen the proposed 2012 budget that projects a surplus of $70,2010 on Dec. 31, 2012. The city’s 2011 budget projects the use of $249,307 in cash reserves to balance it.

The Ways and Means Committee met three times — Sept. 27, Oct. 11 and Oct. 25 — to discuss the proposed budget before voting to recommend the draft that was scheduled to be discussed this week by the Board of Aldermen.

In her budget message to Mayor Jeff Schlink and the Board of Aldermen, City Administrator Petree Eastman wrote that she anticipates the city will be debt free by next year.

The final payment on roughly $8.5 million in certificates of participation, or COPs, issued in 2001 to fund the construction of Crestwood’s Aquatic Center, will be made in 2012. The city will make the final principal and interest payment on the COPs of $1,055,750 on April 1, with $850,000 of that already held in escrow.

“In 2010, the Proposition S note was retired, and in 2012, the city of Crestwood will make the final payment on the Aquatic Center debt, at which time the city of Crest-wood will be debt free …,” Eastman wrote.

While the elimination of debt is positive, the city administrator noted that the city still has financial hurdles to overcome.

While revenues are projected to increase slightly over the next five years, they cannot keep up with a projected 2-percent annual increase in expenditures.

“The pattern of expenditures outpacing revenues threatens the long-term financial security of the city …,” she wrote.

Collection of the Proposition S property tax will cease after this year. Ballot language for Prop S, which Crestwood voters approved in 2006, allows the tax to be collected through 2012, but the Board of Aldermen voted last year to sunset the tax after 2011 due to the early retirement of the associated debt.

“Unless sales-tax revenues increase more than anticipated or action is taken to increase the city’s annual revenues, the city of Crestwood will have to take further action to reduce expenditures in future years,” Eastman wrote.

The proposed 2012 budget projects total expenditures of $11,897,094 with anticipated revenues of $11,117,304 — a deficit of $779,790. Including the $850,000 held in escrow for the final COPs payment and transfers in totaling $249,543 to the general fund and capital improvement fund from the park and stormwater fund — and corresponding transfers out totaling $249,543 from the park and stormwater fund — a surplus of $70,210 is anticipated.