Crestwood aldermen reject cost-of-living pay increases

Crestwood budget includes 1-percent, merit-based hike

By Kari Williams

Crestwood Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel unsuccessfully attempted to add cost-of-living raises to the city’s 2013 general fund budget, which recently was approved with a 5-3 vote.

Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach, Ward 2 Alderman Bob Deutschmann, Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild and Ward 4 Aldermen John Foote and Dan Tennessen voted in favor of the general fund budget.

Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan, Ward 2 Alderman Tim True-blood and Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel were opposed.

Miguel originally suggested adding a cost-of-living adjustment, which was not approved, to the budget at the board’s Nov. 27 meeting.

“One of the reasons given for not making that adjustment is that the funds were not available,” he told the board Dec. 11. “I would suggest that that might be an appropriate use of our reserve funds.”

Crestwood’s budget shows $571,033 in general reserves.

Miguel estimated the cost-of-living raise — excluding the city administrator and department heads — would total roughly $45,000.

He proposed the following increases:

• $500 for employees hired in 2008 or before.

• $400 for employees hired in 2009.

• $300 for employees hired in 2010.

• $200 for employees hired in 2011.

• $100 for employees hired in 2012.

“I’d be willing to listen to alternatives to that, but as a starting point that’s what I would recommend and will so move,” he said.

Ward 3 Alderman Paul Duchild said any time the board considers using reserves, aldermen need to look at the amount available and other issues occurring in the city instead of “this one item.”

“I don’t think it’s necessary to do this at this time with the second reading of the budget for 2013,” he said. “I think we could do it at the first meeting of January, but I think we need a more thorough discussion of what to use that money for, how we intend to spend those dollars or to save those dollars. I just think it’s very narrowing to do it at this point …”

Mayor Jeff Schlink said there probably is a “more methodical, a more analytical way” to look at providing cost-of-living raises.

“I’m not in favor of just doing something big like this at the 11th hour in the 12th month of the year,” he said, “but I would be more supportive of taking a clearer look at the total impact …”

Schlink also suggested waiting until a new city administrator is hired so he or she can be involved in the process.

Miguel’s motion to include a cost-of-living raise for employees did not receive a second.

The approved 2013 general fund budget estimates the beginning fund balance for 2013 at $3,247,960 with $7,989,656 projected in revenues and $8,212,566 in expenditures. With a transfer to the general fund of $150,000, the budget projects an ending balance of $3,175,050.

Included in the 2013 budget is a 1-percent, merit-based raise for employees. Salaries for the city administrator and public services director positions were decreased during earlier budget discussions to account for a projected deficit of roughly $6,570. The deficit occurred due to the city hiring two additional employees.

The board also approved the city’s capital improvements, park and stormwater and sewer lateral fund budgets with 7-1 votes.

Duncan was opposed to all four budgets and told the Call she opposed the 2013 budgets because she believes the city is “budgeting guesses.”

“It’s hard to budget based on unknown revenues and as we see quarter by quarter, we go up and down and up and down,” she said, “That’s my opinion that we’re trying to balance a budget and we really don’t know what the revenues are.”