Some Crestwood aldermen question line-item revenue projections for city

City receives about $47,000 in rebate from insurance trust

By Kari Williams

Though Crestwood shows positive finances of nearly $530,000 citywide and revenues are aligned with 2012 for the third quarter, some aldermen had concerns about the city’s line-item projected revenues.

Ward 4 Alderman Mike Tsichlis questioned why “some of the projected revenues were so high for fiscal ’13 and yet the actuals are trailing, in some cases, fiscal year ’12.”

“For instance, I’m looking at utility tax revenue under the general fund balance …,” he said at the Oct. 22 Board of Aldermen meeting. “What variables go into considering a number as high as ($1.76 million) there as a projection for ’13? … When you look at the actuals and year-to-date, (it) looks like we’re trailing last year by what? About $9,000 plus utility taxes.”

The third-quarter actual revenues for utility tax total $425,745 with year-to-date at roughly $1.23 million.

City Administrator Mark Sime said the fiscal 2013 budget was created using a “three-year average change from the previous year,” which is the same method that has been used in the past. However, according to Sime, projections were based on fiscal 2011, “which was a very good year for the city all around for revenues.”

“So what that did was it seemed to be that it was an overly generous recommendation for the 2013 budget,” Sime said.

General fund revenues came in at $1.6 million for the third quarter, while expenditures totaled $1.8 million — resulting in a fund-balance decrease for the quarter of roughly $220,000. However, the balance is “up for the year by $452,401,” according to Sime’s financial report.

In the capital improvement fund, revenues reached $273,723 — an increase from fiscal 2012 of roughly $20,000 — and expenditures came in at $742,385.

The revenue increase, according to Sime’s report, is due to selling city equipment on GovDeals, a website governments can use to sell items.

“… The city realized a decrease in the fund balance due to costs associated with the Spellman Avenue construction project, but remains up for the year by $175,691,” Sime wrote of the capital improvement fund.

Park and stormwater fund revenues are down roughly $16,000 from last year with a total of $433,705, while expenditures totaled $436,612 — a decrease of $227,907 for the third quarter due to repaying the general and capital improvement funds, according to Sime’s report.

Additionally, the city received a roughly $46,000 check from the St. Louis Area Insurance Trust, or SLAIT, that did not arrive in time for the third-quarter financial report, according to Sime, but will go into the general fund. Sime said each year Crestwood pays into SLAIT, a group that holds workers’ compensation insurance.

“As they go through years and I think that this check is a rebate from back around 2003 … what they do is they keep a varied amount of money on reserve to take care of any cases that are going to have carry over or are open from previous years,” Sime said. “Then once they close those cases they look back and determine how much more money they need to keep the reserve going forward.”

The rest of that refund, according to Sime, is refunded to municipalities based on a premium of the percentages the city pays in.

Ward 1 Alderman Darryl Wallach proposed that the additional money be considered for employee compensation.

Sime said the current plan is to deposit the check in the general, but if the board decided “to pull money out of the general fund above the revenues then that can be used for any merit pay increases.”

Ward 4 Alderman Dan Tennessen voiced support for Wallach’s proposal. No votes were taken on the matter.