Crestwood 2020 budget includes funding for City Hall, Aquatic Center, quarry upgrade

Crestwood City Hall

Photo by Gloria Lloyd

Crestwood City Hall

By Erin Achenbach, Staff Reporter

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen unanimously approved and adopted the city’s 2020 budget at the Board of Aldermen meeting Nov. 26, including plans to upgrade City Hall, the Crestwood Aquatic Center and the Whitecliff Park quarry.

As proposed, the budget projects total revenues of $13.81 million and total expenditures of $14.84 million across all four funds: the general fund, the parks and stormwater fund, the capital improvements fund and the sewer lateral fund.

“It’s a cyclical process. Even though we tend to focus on budget season… It’s really something we’re thinking about year round,” said City Administrator Kris Simpson in his introduction to the board before the public hearing on the budget. “I like to think it starts with citizen input, what you guys hear from the community or what you guys sense the community needs… guides budget development and submission.”

Simpson’s highlights of the 2020 budget include the renovations and reconstruction of City Hall, Aquatic Center improvements and the Whitecliff Park quarry project: “Really three big things that are great for the board as they use this facility, for the staff as they use this facility and then for the public because they visit Whitecliff Park and enjoy our aquatics center.”

The general fund projects a year end balance of $6.31 million, which is $1.3 million above the Board of Aldermen’s 45-percent reserve policy, which would require $5.7 million in the fund.

The Parks and Stormwater fund projects a $1.02 million ending fund balance, while the capital fund will have $1.26 million.

Across all four funds, the ending fund balance is estimated at $8.9 million and the fund balance reserve is 56 percent.

Highlights of the general fund include $11.27 million in expenditures and $10.26 million in revenue. The $1 million deficit is due to a planned drawdown of funds for reconstruction and renovation projects at City Hall. The fund balance is estimated to start the year at $7.31 million and end at $6.31 million due to the projects at City Hall. The city has budgeted $300,000 for reconstruction and $700,000 for renovations, which collectively adds up to the $1 million deficit.

“Since 2017, Crestwood has increased the accumulated general fund balance… Since 2017, our fund balance, the reserve, the amount that we have in savings, grew by $2.5 million since 2017,” said Simpson. “Because of the fact we were able to bank those large recent surpluses, that’s what gives us the ability to fund those significant improvements that we’re doing to the facility here with the cash that we have on hand so we don’t have to borrow money to do it.”

Other highlights from the general fund pointed out by Simpson include enhanced IT protection and a citywide sidewalk, traffic calming and bicycle study.

“We’re taking some steps in light of the recent news stories about malware and some security threats with people doing phishing attacks and holding government hostage with their own IT networks,” explained Simpson. “We have already done a lot in that realm but we’re going to be doing more… We’re wanting to just protect our infrastructure from an IT perspective and do our best to make sure we don’t fall victim to an increasing threat.”

Other notable aspects of the budget include $6.65 million in revenue from sales/use tax across the general fund, capital improvement fund and parks and stormwater fund, while $2.57 million in revenue will come from property taxes. Utility taxes will generate $1.43 million in revenue.

Out of total expenditures, public-safety expenditures account for the majority of expenses at $6.67 million, with $3.19 million for the Crestwood Police Department and $3.48 million for the Fire Department, followed by $4.56 million for public works. General fund expenditures total $11.27 million, while capital improvement expenditures total $1.17 million and parks and stormwater will total $2.27 million.

No members of the public commented on the budget and little discussion was had by the aldermen about the proposal during the public hearing over the budget at the Nov. 26 board meeting. The aldermen met in October during a Ways and Means Committee meeting to discuss the proposed budget more in depth prior to the public hearing, but no revisions were made at that time.

The budget was proposed in four ordinances: one for the general fund budget, one for the capital improvement fund and capital program budget, one for the park and stormwater fund budget and one for the sewer later fund budget.

All four ordinances were unanimously passed and adopted by the Board of Aldermen.