The Crestwood Board of Aldermen voted last week to eliminate the city’s non-expendable trust fund and to transfer the more than $300,000 in that bank account to general fund reserves.
Aldermen voted 6-0 March 23 to approve the associated ordinances. Ward 2 Alder-man Jeff Schlink and Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel were absent from last week’s regular meeting.
The board in 2004 approved an ordinance eliminating the city’s “reserve fund” and transferring its balance to the general fund in a new “non-expendable trust account.”
However, instead of creating an account within the general fund, Crestwood officials created a new fund in the city’s accounting software and opened a separate bank account.
“Part of our confusion with this ordinance is that currently the non-expendable trust fund is a separate fund,” City Administrator Jim Eckrich told the board March 9. “The ordinance allows the city administrator to use that money for cash-flow purposes. However … by the charter I can’t do that because I can’t transfer moneys between funds.
“No. 1 there’s a lot of inconsistencies in here. No. 2 we just think it makes a lot more sense to contain this money in the general fund in a reserved capacity and … if the board reserves that we don’t think that we have any right to use it.”
The city’s general fund contains both reserved dollars — the settlement Crestwood recently received from a lawsuit with AT&T — and unreserved dollars.
If the board authorized the use of fund balance, or cash, officials would first tap the unreserved moneys, Finance Officer Douglas Brewer said.
“Let’s say a certain need for an expenditure came up during the year after the budget has been passed,” Brewer recently told aldermen. “In order to authorize the use of cash for that expenditure, we would come to the board and the board would have to do a budget amendment to do so.
“So it’s still at the board’s discretion even to appropriate fund balance or to appropriate cash to spend during the year.”
Last week’s board decision transferred $348,275 from the shuttered non-expendable trust fund to general fund reserves.
Combined with the roughly $223,000 AT&T settlement, reserved moneys within that fund now total about $571,000, Brewer said.