Crestwood’s 2008 initial budget shows $250,000 deficit in three major funds

Panel recommends cutting new phone system from 2008 budget


While Crestwood aldermen will further study the city’s 2008 budget this fall, the city administration’s initial budget for next year shows a deficit of $249,785 in the city’s three major funds.

The administration’s initial draft of the 2008 budget shows a $229 surplus in the general fund, a $94,468 deficit in the capital-improvements fund and a $155,546 deficit in the park and stormwater fund.

While City Administrator Frank Myers last week told the Ways and Means Committee that the city would balance that initially budgeted deficit of almost $250,000 by using reserves, the committee was set to meet again this week to find ways of trimming that deficit.

The Ways and Means Committee — May-or Roy Robinson, Ward 3 Alderman Jerry Miguel and Ward 4 Alderman John Foote — is scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. today — Oct. 11 — at the Government Center.

The general fund has $9,006,930 budgeted in revenues and $9,072,702 budgeted in expenditures, according to the administration’s initial draft of the 2008 budget. But with a $155,000 transfer from the capital-improvements fund and then an $89,000 transfer out of the general fund to the park and stormwater fund, the general fund’s initially budgeted surplus by the end of 2008 is $229.

The city’s capital-improvements fund is initially budgeted to see $1,467,702 in revenues and $1,407,170 in expenditures.

With a $155,000 transfer being taken from the capital-improvements fund to the general fund, the capital-improvements fund is initially budgeted to see a net loss of $94,468 by the end of 2008.

The park and stormwater fund is initially budgeted to see $2,105,547 in revenues and $2,367,625 in expenditures. The park and stormwater fund has been budgeted to see supplements of an $89,000 transfer out of the general fund and a transfer of the remaining $17,351 balance of the city’s now-dormant performing-arts fund.

As for reserves, Crestwood’s administration is projecting that the city will see a cash reserve of more than $3 million by the end of 2007.

That includes building on its 2006 general-fund cash reserve of roughly $1.3 million by the end of this year.

The city’s capital-improvements fund is projected to see a cash reserve of more than $850,000 by the end of 2007 and more than $500,000 in the park and stormwater fund by the end of the year.

But to cover operating costs in the park and stormwater fund, the city’s administration has proposed using $155,546 of that fund’s reserves in 2008.

As for the capital-improvements fund, the administration has proposed using $94,468 in reserves to cover its 2008 operating costs.

Among the budgeted expenditures for 2008 is a $471,317 principal and interest payment out of the general fund to the city’s seven-year annual-appropriation note with Royal Banks of Missouri. That note, approved in October 2006 by aldermen, transferred Crestwood’s remaining $2.87 million in debt at that time from a promissory note and line of credit with Southwest Bank to Royal Banks .

This year, the city paid $553,708 in principal to that note, which is funded from Proposition S — a seven-year, 20-cents-per-$100 tax-rate increase designed to pay off the city’s debt and approved by voters in April 2006.

Myers also has factored a loss of $340,000 in sales-tax revenue in the city’s 2008 budget because of Dillard’s upcoming closing on Oct. 20. He also includes a continuing “downward trend” in the city’s sales-tax revenues, which account for 53 percent of the city’s overall budget.

The administration initially recommended eliminating all new employee positions requested in the 2008 budget.

But the Ways and Means Committee recommended last week to leave an estimated $18,000 already in the administration’s initial draft of the 2008 budget for two new seasonal employees at the Crestwood Community Center.

The Ways and Means Committee also last week recommended cutting a budgeted $25,000 expense for a new phone system at the Crestwood Government Center.

Management Information Systems Di-rector Gordon Shaffar has requested the new phone system, fearing that the current 12-year-old system might expire in 2008 and leave the Crestwood Government Center without phone service for up to a week.

But Robinson, looking for expenses to cut next year, does not believe it is a necessary expenditure.

“That’s not a reason to spend $25,000,” Robinson said. “So to me, I’ll live. I think we can live another year with the phone system. That’s my estimation.”

“I don’t know whether it’ll make it,” Shaffar said.

“Well, we’re going to try, in my estimation,” Robinson said.

“If it dies on us, then we …,” Shaffar said.

“We’ll have an emergency meeting,” Robinson interjected.

“We’re going to be out of a phone system for a couple of days completely,” Shaffar said. “That’s kind of one of the things … I’d hate to see the city go down.”

“Well … I think if we’ve got a system problem, it won’t be because the voicemail’s not working,” Robinson said. “The other thing is I don’t think hardware will be the one that shuts it down. It may cut a couple of offices down. But it won’t shut all of us down.”

“Hardware dies in that phone system, it’ll shut it all down,” Shaffar said.

“Well, we’ll just take our chances …,” Robinson said.

“If this thing crashes, you’re going to be on cell phones for a couple of days,” Foote said. “How long a response time before something can be put in place? There’s no slide-in replacement.”

“No, there’s not,” Shaffar said.

“Does it affect our Police Department, too?” Robinson said.

“Yes …,” Shaffar said. “It all comes in on one line and then it’s split up …”

“I respect where the mayor’s coming from,” Myers said. “We are over capital … we’re over. We’ve got to find ways to cut. Will this system last another year? It might. It might.”

“It is a possibility,” Shaffar said.

“What you’re saying as our IT person is there is a possibility that it might not …,” Myers said. “I feel I need to at least add it. But if this body wants to take it out, we will do everything we can to make the phones work.”

“I’d prefer to take it out,” Robinson said. “The rest of you may not be. But the board can put it back in, too. This is not the end of the trail.”

“It’s a tough call,” Myers said.

“Everybody will have a chance,” Robinson said. “But my recommendation is let’s take our chances because we need to cut. If something happens, we’ll go to the board and ask them to appropriate the money to get it done. We might suffer a couple of days. But that’s the way life is.”