Crestwood 2008 surplus drops down to $9,825

Aldermen approve allocation of funds for management analyst

By BURKE WASSON

After turning what was once a $250,000 deficit into a $38,980 surplus in Crestwood’s 2008 budget, aldermen last week cut that surplus to $9,825 by allocating funds for a management analyst to replace recently resigned Economic and Community Development Manager Tryla Brown.

Aldermen voted 7-1 during a Nov. 6 work session to recommend City Administrator Frank Myers’ proposal to allocate $41,044 in the 2008 budget for the newly created position of management analyst.

Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel voted “no,” saying he was uncomfortable voting on a budget recommendation that he and aldermen had not seen before that evening.

That $41,044 allocation includes a package of $36,000 in annual salary, $3,644 in benefits, $1,000 in travel expenses and $400 in training and education.

Brown, who recently resigned after being hired in June, was budgeted to see a 2008 pay package totaling $71,522 — $60,690 in salary and $10,832 in benefits.

Myers is proposing the promotion of administrative intern Christal Laswell as the city’s new management analyst. He also is proposing that the city hire a new administrative intern to work from January to August in the position that Laswell would vacate.

While the 2008 budget already includes $33,720 for an administrative intern for all of 2008, Myers has recommended filling that intern position from January through August for a cost of $21,831.

Between the $41,044 in total costs for the new position of management analyst and the $11,889 savings that the city would see by eliminating the administrative intern position at the end of August, the total impact to the city’s 2008 budget between the personnel shuffling would be $29,155. When subtracted from the city’s previous 2008 budgeted surplus of $38,980, that $29,155 overall cost equates to a new surplus of $9,825.

On Oct. 30, aldermen had recommended erasing $113,469 from the city’s economic-development budget, which included the elimination of the position of economic and community development manager.

Aldermen voted 5-2 to recommend eliminating that position from the 2008 budget with Ward 1 Alderman Richard Bland and Ward 2 Alderman Chris Pickel voting “no.”

Ward 2 Alderman Steve Knarr was excused from the Oct. 30 meeting.

After that recommendation, aldermen voted 7-0 to cut remaining expenses in that economic-development position’s budget.

That decision was made simpler after aldermen voted 5-2 in a closed session before the Oct. 30 work session to accept Brown’s resignation and also supply her with five weeks’ additional compensation in the lump-sum amount of $5,721.15.

Board of Aldermen President Gregg Roby of Ward 3 and Ward 4 Alderman Steve Nieder were the two “no” votes.

In a statement released by the city, the decision to accept Brown’s resignation was made because of a desire to re-structure the position.

The statement reads: “The city of Crestwood and its economic and community development manager have mutually agreed to end their employment relationship. Tryla Brown, who was hired in June 2007, has voluntarily resigned as of Oct. 26, 2007. This will allow the city to explore the possibility of restructuring the position in 2008 to better fit the needs of the city in the most cost-effective manner. According to the city, the resignation and potential restructuring could result in significant savings in payroll costs on an annual basis. The city has also agreed to provide an additional five weeks’ compensation to Ms. Brown to assist in her transition to a new career.”

Aldermen also previously recommended two additional cuts — $30,000 from the capital-improvements fund for a new sound system in the Crestwood Government Center and $10,000 from the general fund for employment-security benefits.

Before aldermen were given a chance to recommend cuts to the 2008 budget, the city’s Ways and Means Committee made several cuts and additions to the budget.

Among the budget additions requested by the Ways and Means Committee, comprised of Mayor Roy Robinson, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel and Ward 4 Alderman John Foote, are:

• $99,460 retained in the budget for one 2.5-ton dump truck after the committee initially recommended its removal. The 2008 budget has the purchase of two such dump trucks earmarked.

• $30,000 for “any legal services rendered through the redevelopment process for the Crestwood Mall.”

• $18,000 retained in the budget for two seasonal park workers after the administration recommended cutting those two positions.

• $8,000 for “additional professional services associated with the redevelopment of the Crestwood Mall.”

• $1,200 as a stipend for a resident manager in the city’s historic-facilities budget.

• $900 to allow the city’s municipal court to transfer detainees with “mental-health conditions” to St. Louis County.

The Ways and Means Committee also recommended the following cuts from the 2008 budget:

• $25,000 for a new phone system at the Crestwood Government Center.

• $3,000 to hire an outside consultant for annual strategic-planning sessions. The Ways and Means Committee recommended that City Administrator Frank Myers facilitate discussion at next year’s sessions.