Crestwood Board of Aldermen eyes final approval of city’s 2010 budget

Schlink proposing adoption of rules for meeting conduct

By EVAN YOUNG

Crestwood aldermen will consider final approval of the city’s 2010 budget next week.

The Board of Aldermen is scheduled to vote on the second and final reading of the budget during its last regular meeting of 2009, which begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at the Government Center, 1 Detjen Drive.

Aldermen voted 7-0 last week to approve the first reading of the 2010 budgets for the general, capital improvement, park and stormwater and sewer lateral funds. Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel was absent from the Nov. 24 regular meeting.

No residents spoke during a public hearing conducted before the budget’s first reading.

The board also voted 7-0 last week to approve a series of amendments to the proposed 2010 budget, the largest of which was a $32,000 reduction of capital improvement fund expenditures.

Aldermen voted 7-1 during a Nov. 10 work session to recommend city staff trim the budget to produce a more balanced document. The $32,000 reduction came from cutting the number of streets scheduled to be overlaid in 2010 from 18 to 17, City Administrator Jim Eckrich said.

With the reduction of $32,000 from capital improvement fund expenditures and $70,416 from general fund expenditures in light of a Crestwood firefighter’s recent resignation, the city’s projected deficit at the end of 2010 across its major funds has dropped to roughly $138,000 from an earlier projection of some $240,000.

Six public-safety positions — three police officers and three firefighters — are being eliminated through attrition as part of the city’s five-year plan to reduce annual expenditures. The most recent firefighter resignation is the fourth of those positions to be removed. The salaries of the two remaining police officer positions, roughly $138,500 in all, will be removed from the budget once the positions are vacated.

Ward 1 Alderman Mimi Duncan, who voted against recommending the expenditure reduction during the budget work session, said last week that the board actually was “balancing projections.”

“(W)e are doing the best we can with the information we have right now, and … I’ve been pretty comfortable with the projections,” she told the board. “But essentially at this point, when we sit here in December 2009, we don’t know what the bottom line is going to be in December 2010. So making those changes … if somebody wants to say: ‘Yes we have a balanced budget,’ I say we have balanced projections.”

In other business, the board voted 7-0 Nov. 24 to:

• Formally establish an ad-hoc aldermanic committee to study animal-control options for Crestwood. Mayor Roy Robinson formed the committee during the recent budget work session after aldermen deadlocked 4-4 on Miguel’s motion to remove the city’s animal-control officer position from the 2010 budget. Duncan, fellow Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach, Ward 2 Alderman Jeff Schlink and Ward 4 Alderman Deborah Beezley comprise the group, which will report on its findings at the end of the first quarter of 2010.

• Select auditing firm Botz, Deal & Co. to provide audit services for fiscal 2009, with the option to renew each year through 2013.

The firm replaces Schmersahl Treloar & Co., certified public accountants, which in fiscal 2008 reached the charter-mandated, five-consecutive-year limit for providing audit services in Crestwood.

Botz, along with firm Schowalter & Jabouri, responded to the city’s request for proposals issued Oct. 2, according to Finance Officer Doug Brewer.

“Proposals were reviewed and evaluated independently by three staff members based upon criteria … such as required reporting, ongoing consultation, audit timing, qualifications and audit costs,” Brewer wrote in a city memo, noting audit costs “were not the primary factor in selecting an audit firm.” However, fee schedules submitted by both firms indicate Botz was the most cost-effective firm; it will charge the city $25,000 for a fiscal 2009 audit, compared to Schowalter’s $26,000 fee.

• Consider formally adopting a set of rules to govern board-meeting conduct. Schlink made the motion to place the topic on the board’s Dec. 8 meeting agenda. He said although the board has been “informally, unofficially” using Robert’s Rules of Order at meetings, “within the past few months we’ve seen some times when there’s been some issues with that particular thing.”

Robinson called Schlink’s proposal a “good idea” but noted the board would need a parliamentarian.

“Somebody on this board better study up on parliamentary rules, so they know what to do when the time comes, because there’s a lot of discussion back and forth,” he said.

The mayor later added, “In the future, when there is a problem with people making statements and stuff which are not considered by me or someone else to be appropriate at the time, I’ve already decided to move that so that every time that would come up, it would be decided by the board.

“That way, I’m going to let the board be the bad guy, and I’m going to stay the good guy. I’m just going to refer it to you all to decide. If you want to listen to something all night, I’ll be glad to listen all night. But if you don’t, then we’ll go from there. But it’ll be a board decision.”