Crestwood mayor returns after brief health scare

Robinson ready to refocus on city government after hospitalization for pneumonia

By BURKE WASSON

After a brief health scare, the man who presides over Crestwood’s city government is easing back into that role.

Crestwood Mayor Roy Robinson said he is recovering well from a recent bout with pneumonia, which hospitalized him for five days.

But the first-term mayor said after several days of rest, he’s ready to jump back into city affairs — but not yet quite at the same pace as before.

“I was told not to overdo it,” Robinson said. “Just take my time, and if I didn’t have to do things normally, just reduce the amount of time I spend. So I have done a little bit of that.”

Robinson’s pneumonia kept him out of the city’s May 23 Board of Aldermen meeting and also a May 22 trip to the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention, “Breaking New Ground,” in Las Vegas, Nev.

“I thought I was going to get to go (to Las Vegas), but I’m glad I didn’t try,” Robinson said. “My doctor said I’d never made it back if I had.”

But even though he was physically unable to attend at that time, Robinson said he believes City Administrator Frank Myers and Economic Development Specialist Ellen Dailey had very productive meetings.

Myers has said that he and Dailey met with the Westfield Corp., which owns the Westfield Shoppingtown Crestwood, to discuss revitalization efforts to the mall and also spoke with several restaurants interested in coming to Crestwood.

With a future visit from Westfield corporate officials to a Board of Aldermen meeting scheduled as well as other city affairs, Robinson said he is looking forward and will be ready to preside over Tuesday’s board meeting.

At the moment, he said he is still working a bit every day as mayor, but has been told to not do too much.

“I’m still making it in probably pretty much every day, but what I’m doing is doing what I need to do and then going resting,” Robinson said.

“I’ll be right back (at Board of Aldermen meetings) unless something happens. Like I said, you never know. But I plan on being back full doing my full thing as soon as the doctor tells me that I can go full steam. But the thing about it is nothing … even going half rate, I still make all the meetings and all that. I would have made the last one, but I couldn’t do anything about that. I was in the hospital.”

Robinson said while he has no certain way of knowing how exactly he got pneumonia, he believes his immune system was down after several public meetings and duties that he had to perform as mayor.

“I think I got run down and, you know, just my immune system was run down a little bit,” Robinson said. “And then I think I kept getting these … I went to a lot of meetings where you shake hands and there’s kids and I think I kept getting these little things that are going around and finally it just caught up with me.”

The mayor said he has been taking oral antibiotics and was also intravenously medicated during his stay in the hospital, which he said was absolutely necessary for his health.

But now that the hospital stay is over and he’s back in the Crestwood mayor’s office, Robinson said he will refocus his energy on city business while also watching his health.

“That’s it, that’s part of life,” he said. “I just take it one day at a time. I don’t get upset over, you know, something that just doesn’t go on right. That’s the way life is.”

Since Robinson’s illness, the Board of Aldermen has unanimously approved amendments to ordinances previously approved in January to place proposed changes to the Crestwood charter on the Nov. 7 ballot.

The proposed changes include eliminating term limits for aldermen, adding a censure provision for elected officials who violate the charter as opposed to dismissing them from office, modernizing the charter’s language and reducing the number of signatures needed for an initiative, recall and referendum.

The mayor will be present for the board’s concluding discussion Tuesday on whether to opt out of this year’s state sales-tax holiday, which is scheduled to run from Aug. 4 to Aug. 6.

The deadline to notify the state is June 20 — 45 days before the Aug. 4 sales-tax holiday begins.

The state sales-tax holiday does not in-clude all sales, as customers would be limited to not having to pay sales tax on clothing and shoes priced less than $100 per item, school supplies priced less than $50 per purchase, computer software priced less than $200 per item and computers and computer equipment priced less than $2,000 per item. The sales-tax holiday does not include restaurants.

Crestwood has participated in past tax breaks for customers, but Myers said that because this year’s sales-tax revenue is already below projections, he is against the city’s involvement.

However, Ward 1 Alderman Richard Breeding has said that he believes the city could benefit from participating in the sales-tax holiday because of the added advantage Crestwood would have over several neighboring cities that are not taking part in this year’s sales-tax break.