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Crestwood board OKs 2004 budget


By MIKE ANTHONY

Executive Editor

A balanced fiscal 2004 operating budget that projects net expenditures totaling more than $8.5 million recently was adopted by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

Alderman voted 5-2 last week to adopt City Administrator Don Greer's recommended operating budget that projects net expenditures totaling $8,558,952 with anticipated revenue of $8,587,967 for a surplus of $29,015. The anticipated surplus of $29,015 totals $27,860 more than the surplus of $1,155 that was projected in a draft budget presented to the board in May.

Voting to adopt the fiscal 2004 operating budget were Board of Alderman President Richard Breeding of Ward 1, Ward 1 Alder-man Richard LaBore, Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood, Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent and Ward 4 Alderman Tom Fagan.

Opposed were Ward 3 Aldermen Don Maddox and "Bernie'' Alexander. Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe was absent.

For the general fund, total expenditures of $9,765,192 are projected for fiscal 2004 with revenue totaling $9,866,535, including $1,206,240 in transfers from other funds and a beginning fund balance of $72,328.

Based on a projected undesignated fund balance of $72,328 on June 30 of this year, the fiscal 2004 general fund budget anticipates an undesignated fund balance of $101,343 on June 30, 2004.

For previous fiscal year, total expenditures of $9,590,125 were projected in the general fund with anticipated revenue of $9,662,453, including a total of $964,000 in transfers from other funds and a beginning fund balance of $132,334.

The Board of Aldermen last fall adopted a new pay and classification plan designed to compensate employees based on their performance and the value of their job as determined by the marketplace. Maddox and Alexander voiced concerns that six Fire Department captains were receiving 13.6 percent raises and two police officers were receiving 9.4 percent raises under the new pay plan.

Maddox and Alexander also cast dissenting votes on the fiscal 2004 parks and stormwater budget that projects expenditures totaling $2,366,374 with revenue of $2,729,854, including a beginning fund balance of $445,319. A fund balance of $363,480 is projected on June 30, 2004.

Revenue for the parks and stormwater fund is generated by a half-cent sales tax approved by city voters in August 2000.

Alexander said she objected to including $165,000 of parks and stormwater funds for curb and gutter work. Of the $165,000 included for curb and gutter work, she said, "I think that's a stretch of the definition of what the voters approved.''

Maddox, a member of the Ways and Means Committee, had voiced the same concern during a meeting of that panel in early May. During that same meeting, he also objected to including $50,000 to fund a master plan for the city's parks. Maddox reiterated that objection at the June 24 board meeting.

Aldermen voted 7-0 to approve the fiscal 2004 capital improvements budget that projects total expenditures of $1,986,839 with anticipated revenue of $2,209,795, including a beginning fund balance of $291,030. A fund balance of $222,956 is projected on June 30, 2004.

In a separate matter, the board voted to reopen for 60 days the request for proposals process to redevelop Watson Plaza.

In December, aldermen voted to issue a request for proposals to redevelop Watson Plaza. One proposal was received by the Feb. 28 deadline — from G.J. Grewe Inc., which owns 92 percent of the property within the redevelopment area. The only parcel within Watson Plaza not owned by the company is the former Service Mer-chandise site. Service Merchandise filed for bankruptcy in 1999 and the rights to the Crestwood site are owned by Developers Diversified Realty, a real estate investment trust based in Cleveland, Ohio.

DDR acquired title to the former Service Merchandise property in May.

Grewe has proposed a $12.5 million redevelopment proposal for Watson Plaza that calls for a Gordmans and a PETCO as well as retaining existing tenants.

Representatives of DDR told aldermen they had not received the request for proposals and asked that the process be reopened so DDR could submit a proposal.

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