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Crestwood board OKs ordinance to repay $901,000 to general fund over 10-year period

An ordinance calling for the repayment of more than $901,000 to the general fund from the capital improvements fund over a 10-year period recently was approved by the Crestwood Board of Aldermen.

The Board of Aldermen voted 7-0 last week to approve the ordinance that will provide for the repayment of $901,322.82 to the general fund from the capital improvements fund over a 10-year period. That ordinance and four others that the board approved on first reading April 13 are designed to help restore the financial health of the city's general fund.

The four ordinances approved on first reading are scheduled to be considered for final approval when the board meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 27, at City Hall, 1 Detjen Drive.

Those ordinances, if approved, would:

• Eliminate the internal service fund and create a non-expendable trust account.

If the ordinance is approved, the city's general fund deficit would be reduced by $1 million to $871,000, according to an April 8 memorandum written by City Administrator Don Greer.

"We have learned that while the internal service fund was originally created by the board for the purpose of archiving $1 million to meet cash-flow and emergency appropriations, that $1 million was carried on the books, but not funded,'' Greer wrote.

In his memo, he stated, "The ordinance also establishes the non-expendable trust account within the general fund enabling the board to accumulate cash reserves to meet operating obligations of the general fund throughout the year. This non-expendable trust is subject to annual appropriation by the board and the intended goal of reaching $1.5 million.''

• Eliminate the vehicle replacement fund.

"The vehicle replacement fund was originally established to set aside general fund monies to replace vehicles within the general fund,'' Greer wrote. "As we have discussed on a number of occasions, it is my intention to recommend a capital replacement account within the general fund, subject to annual budget appropriation and identify capital items to be replaced from that account.''

The account will fund the replacement of such items as vehicles, copy machines and printers. Eliminating the vehicle replacement fund will increase the general fund deficit by $13,939.

• Create a designated fund.

"As we worked through the various restatements of prior years' financial documents, we learned that during previous fiscal years, the board intended to 'set aside' certain dollars for future projects,'' Greer wrote. "By creating a designated fund, the board will be able to independently verify that its intentions have been met in this regard. The designated fund will accumulate those amounts identified by project in a separate bank account and assure that monies designated for future projects do, in fact, exist.''

• Establish a parks and stormwater internal service fund.

"... This ordinance recognizes that a significant amount of time from the director of parks and recreation and certain members of her staff are devoted to issues involving the various parks and park programs and aquatic center,'' Greer wrote. "By establishing an internal service fund for the parks administration, the board recognizes costs to the general fund for providing that oversight.''

For the current fiscal year, $207,160 in salaries and benefits could be reimbursed to the general fund.

Details of the four ordinances that will be considered for approval on second reading as well as the ordinance that was approved April 13 — Ward 2 Alderman Gary Vincent was absent — were discussed by aldermen during two work sessions in March.

The approved ordinance to capture prior years' general fund overhead from the capital improvements fund uses the same formula — plus an acceleration factor — that is contained in the fiscal 2004 budget.

In a March 20 memo to the board, Greer wrote, "A review of prior years' history clearly indicates that the capital improvements fund played a significant part in the overspending that led to the decline in general fund cash reserves. During those periods of time, little to no general fund overhead was captured from that fund.

"I have caused the calculation of prior years' overhead to be completed to present the option of recapturing the costs associated with the management and operation of the street reconstruction program,'' he wrote.

In his memorandum, the city administrator noted that based on his calculations, $2,253,307.04 in prior years' general fund overhead could be captured from the capital improvements fund. However, Greer was quick to note he had no intention of asking aldermen to recapture the entire $2.2 million. After discussing the matter at length March 27, aldermen indicated their desire to attempt to capture $901,322.82 — 40 percent of the $2.2 million — over a 10-year period.

In other business last week, the board:

• Voted 7-0 to approve Acting Mayor Richard Breeding's appointments to the Charter Review Commission that will be chaired by Ward 4 Alderman Pat Duwe.

Besides Duwe, former Mayor Jim Robertson, former Mayor Jim Brasfield, David Brophy and Matt Conley, assistant to the city administrator, will serve on the panel.

Four more members will be appointed at a later date.

• Approved a motion by Ward 3 Alderman Don Maddox and seconded by Ward 4 Alderman Tom Fagan to dedicate a wall at the Crestwood Community Center in honor of the late Patricia Killoren, who served as mayor from 1978 to 1995.

A citizens' committee had recommended that a Community Center wall be dedicated in Killoren's honor as well as renaming Crestwood Park as Pat Killoren Park, according to Duwe, who chaired the panel.

In expressing support for Maddox's motion, Fagan said, "This is just in the general discussion. People elect us to do certain things. Surveys are great. Asking constituents what we think — or what they think, asking committees what they think is all well and good, but ultimately people elect us. This is not a democracy. This is a republic form of government where people elect us to make decisions and I think, you know, we're spending a lot of time and in fairness to the family it is time to make a decision. What I would also say is I think the memorial wall at the Crestwood Community Center is a proper compromise and I know, I mean I think of parks, it seems to me whenever you change the name of a building or a park, it creates a lot of confusion and by doing so is that going to add to people's confusion in the city of Crestwood? I think there may be some confusion that's going to be presented that's unnecessary ...''

Ward 2 Alderman Tim Trueblood voted against the motion and Breeding abstained.

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