Crestwood aldermen to weigh final OK of ’12 budget Dec. 13

By MIKE ANTHONY

Executive Editor

Final approval of a balanced 2012 budget is scheduled to be considered later this month by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to consider final approval of the proposed 2012 budget when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

Aldermen conducted first readings last week on ordinances for the proposed 2012 general fund, capital improvement fund and park and stormwater fund budgets.

As currently proposed, the 2012 budget projects a surplus of $85,210 on Dec. 31, 2012. The city’s 2011 budget projects the use of $249,307 in cash reserves to balance it.

The proposed 2012 budget projects total expenditures of $11,882,094 with anticipated revenues of $11,117,304 — a deficit of $764,790.

Including $850,000 held in escrow for the final payment on certificates of participation issued in 2001 to fund the construction of the city’s Aquatic Center 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 $85,210 is anticipated.

That surplus is $15,000 more than originally projected and results from a corresponding reduction in the Police Department’s budget from what initially had been proposed for the budget— to $2,793,152 from $2,808,152.

The city’s proposed 2012 budget also includes a five-year plan, based on a 2-percent annual cost increase and department heads’ individual five-year plans, that forecasts the city’s total cash across all three major funds: $3.54 million in 2012, $3.35 million in 2013, $3.4 million in 2014, $3.41 million in 2015 and $2.75 million in 2016.

While the city’s total cash position remains relatively flat from 2012 through 2015, Crestwood’s cash position is expected to drop by roughly $663,000 in 2016, primarily a result of expenditures outpacing revenues in the city’s general fund from 2013 through 2016.

In a Nov. 18 report to Mayor Jeff Schlink and the Board of Aldermen, City Administrator Petree Eastman wrote, “… The city is transferring funds from the parks and stormwater fund, which is funded by a dedicated sales tax, to the general fund and the capital improvement fund. This is part of a repayment plan when the general fund and the capital improvements fund lent monies to the parks department for the construction of the Aquatic Center at Whitecliff Park.

“This repayment comes at a good time because without the repayment of those funds, the general fund — which pays for police, fire, public works and administration — would be operating at a deficit. Unfortunately, in coming years, those repayments are not likely to allow us to balance the general fund budget. In the coming year, the mayor, Board of Aldermen and I will be looking at ways to rectify this serious problem.”

Eastman also noted in her report that the proposed budget does not include any increase in employee compensation for the third consecutive year.

“This is a serious problem insofar as without increases, especially for cost of living, the purchasing power of our employees has actually decreased,” the city administrator wrote. “This means, in effect, that employees have been taking yearly pay cuts.

“This is a major concern in attracting and retaining superior employees. It will ultimately affect the services now received by citizens.”