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Crestwood Forecasts 5-Year Economic Surplus

Priorities include citizen engagement, revenue growth & zoning updates

September 14, 2018
Crestwood's economic outlook has gone from red to green in the past two years.

City Administrator Kris Simpson at the Sept. 11 Crestwood Board of Aldermen meeting reported that from 2017-2021 Crestwood was expected to have a $7.1 million deficit. Now, the five-year forecast for 2019-2023 is a surplus of $1 million.

Revenue increases have come from Propositions C and P, along with administrative changes deliberately taken to balance budgets.

Simpson said his economic projections were based on modest growth, average weather, current city service levels and no major regulatory or legal changes. He estimated little change in future sales tax levels, no change in future utility taxes, modest growth in property taxes, stable intergovernmental revenue, and some growth from licenses and permit fees.

Aldermen agreed to a planned 2.5 percent average merit plan and a 1 percent across-the-board cost-of-living for employee raises.

City Priorities

Simpson also presented an update regarding progress toward city goals, many of which were identified and prioritized during a joint board of aldermen and planning and zoning commission meeting in 2017.

The top three priorities are revenue-generating opportunities, updating zoning codes and connecting residential areas with parks and public spaces. Simpson said the first priority includes the former mall redevelopment and supporting local businesses while pursuing other opportunities through strategic partnerships.

Zoning codes are expected to be completed by 2019.

Sidewalk repairs are underway to improve the city's existing network of public spaces.

Another priority includes increased community events for residents, with prime examples being SunCrest Fest, Christmas in Crestwood and more recreational offerings.

A short-term goal was balancing the 2019 budget, which Simpson said he anticipated would be accomplished.

Watson Industrial Drive also was cited as an area in which improved roads are desired; however, Simpson said business owners in the industrial park were not presently interested in doing so.

New Police Board Volunteer

At the same meeting, Crestwood resident and global operations senior analyst Ben Mullins was appointed to the city's police board. This six-member board provides advice and recommendations on policies associated with operating Crestwood's Police Department. They meet six times annually to discuss budgeting, capital improvements, planning, administrative procedures, public relations, training, law enforcement programs and other safety matters.

Mullins is a recent graduate of Crestwood's first-ever Citizen Academy.

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