Crestwood aldermen give final approval to 2018 budget

Crestwood City Hall

Photo by Gloria Lloyd

Crestwood City Hall

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted 7-0 last week to adopt ordinances approving the city’s 2018 general fund and park and stormwater fund budgets.
With the adoption of the two ordinances, approval of the 2018 budget is complete. Ward 2 Alderman Mary Stadter was absent from the Dec. 12 meeting.
First readings of ordinances approving the general fund and park and stormwater fund budgets were conducted Nov. 28 by aldermen.
The budget projects total expenditures of $14,830,096 with anticipated revenues of $13,645,312 — a deficit of $1,184,784.
An ending fund balance of $7,748,918 is projected on Dec. 31, 2018.
City Administrator Kris Simpson originally proposed a 2018 budget that projected a total deficit of $1,083,784.
However, during two Ways and Means Committee meetings attended by all eight aldermen, the total deficit increased by $101,000, primarily due to the board’s decision to reduce projected sales-tax revenue.
Simpson has noted that carryover projects from 2017 that are included in the budget in both the park and stormwater fund and the capital improvement fund are the reason for the projected overall deficit.
General fund revenues for 2018 total $9,337,797 with anticipated expenditures of $9,199,738 — a surplus of $138,059.
With an estimated beginning balance of $5,340,045, an ending balance of $5,478,104 is projected.
Aldermen two years ago adopted a fund-balance policy mandating the city maintain a general fund reserve no less than 45 percent. The 2018 budget anticipates a general fund reserve of 59.5 percent.
Included in the general fund are $525,000 in sales-tax revenue from Proposition P, a countywide half-cent sales tax for police and public safety, and roughly $1.3 million from the city’s Proposition C, a 45-cent tax-rate increase.
Both measures were approved by voters in April.
Parks and stormwater fund revenues total $1,778,484 with anticipated expenditures of $1,963,459 — a deficit of $184,975. With an estimated beginning balance of $1,010,205, an ending fund balance of $825,230 is projected.
For the capital improvement fund next year, total revenues of $2,390,450 are anticipated with projected expenditures of $3,531,899 — a deficit of $1,141,449.
With an estimated beginning balance of $2,315,375, an ending fund balance of $1,173,926 is anticipated.
The sewer lateral fund projects total revenues of $138,580 with anticipated expenditures of $135,000 — a surplus of $3,580.
With an estimated beginning balance of $268,077, an ending balance of $271,657 is projected.
Miguel, who did not attend the Nov. 28 meeting, noted that the board approved the capital improvement fund budget at that meeting. He also said the projected deficit in that fund is roughly $1.141 million.
“If you factor out the revenues and expenditures associated with the Public Works facility, that deficit comes down to $347,949 — or let’s just say $348,000. And to me, that’s the real deficit in that fund because the other moneys are associated with the Public Works building and over the long term, those moneys and expenditures are a wash.”
The capital improvement fund includes $300,000 for sidewalk replacement and tree removal. During a Nov. 16 Ways and Means Committee meeting, Miguel made a motion to remove the $300,000 for the sidewalk replacement and tree removal.
The board voted 7-1 against the motion with Miguel in favor.
The new Public Works facility is being constructed at 9353 Watson Industrial Park, and will replace the city’s existing facility at 8645 Pardee Lane. The existing Public Works facility is being demolished as part of an MSD project on Pardee Lane designed to alleviate overflows into Gravois Creek.
MSD is paying for the new Public Works building, which should be completed in early 2018.
Miguel also commented on the amount of money the city is spending on street maintenance, contending that he doesn’t believe roughly $500,000 is adequate. To reinforce that belief, he cited former Director of Public Services Jim Eckrich’s comments that were published in the Call on April 3, 2008.
Miguel read from the article, which quoted Eckrich saying, “The city needs to adequately fund street maintenance in order to satisfactorily maintain our streets. I have a (five-year) street-maintenance plan that calls for $700,000 (per year) in contractual maintenance … And $700,000 will allow us to keep our streets in a similar condition to what they are now …”
He continued reading the article, which quoted Eckrich saying, “… We don’t have the type of funding where we can just let streets deteriorate and then go in several years later and reconstruct the whole thing. That’s never going to work with this program.”
Regarding the capital improvement fund, Miguel said that projections show the balance of the fund will decrease from roughly $1.8 million in 2016 to about $857,000 in 2022.
Miguel said, “… And if you consider the fire engine, which is due for replacement … I believe the following year, that balance drops to $317,000. So the city has been working its way through that capital improvement fund. It’s brought that capital improvement fund — it will be bringing that fund down $1.5 million over the next five years. My concern is that on an annual basis that fund only provides for $500,000 in terms of street maintenance. So over a five-year period, that’s a million dollars that was previously set out 10 years ago as what was necessary for the maintenance of streets in the city.
“That concerns me, especially as the city has now decided to undertake a major sidewalk improvement program, which is budgeted at $300,000 for the coming year and an additional $250,000 over the next four years. So you put it all together, the drawdown on the capital improvement fund and the underfunding of the streets … to me, that’s a major concern.”