The Chesterfield City Council has given unanimous approval to a 2018 budget with a cushion to guard against the possibility that sales taxes and other revenues will not meet expectations.
On a 7-0 vote at its Dec. 4 meeting, councilmembers passed the spending plan after reviewing and discussing it during five workshops over the two-month period from late September through late November. Councilmember Ben Keathley [Ward 2] did not attend the December meeting due to the imminent birth of his and his wife’s first child.
Among the highlights reviewed by Finance Director Chris DesPlanques during the public hearing on the budget were these:
• General fund revenues totaling $23.87 million and expenditures of $21.11 million. Transfers to other funds of $1.55 million boost total outlays to $22.66 million. The general fund is by far the largest in the city’s operations.
• Parks sales tax fund revenues of $8.72 million and expenditures of $5.71 million. Transfers to other funds of $3.02 million yield total outlays of $8.73 million.
• Capital improvement sales tax fund revenues of $6.63 million and expenditures of $2.94 million. Transfers to other funds of $3.49 million bring total expenditures to $6.43 million.
• Transfers from the general, parks and capital improvement funds are for current and future debt service payments.
• Sewer lateral fund revenues of $430,000 and expenses of $460,000. The difference will be made up with an expected decrease of $30,000 in fund reserves.
• No revenue budgeted into the city’s police forfeiture fund and anticipation of spending all of the $82,522 in reserves now in that account.
Although sales tax money going into the general fund is expected to increase due to the impact of extra revenue from Proposition P for law enforcement, revenues from the parks and capital improvement sales taxes are projected at the same level as in the revised 2017 budget. Updated estimates have those revenues well below those in this year’s original spending plan, as well as those received in 2016.
At its final workshop in late November, the council approved a number of spending cuts and deferrals in light of the sales tax revenue decline. Before the budget vote, Chesterfield resident and former councilmember Mary Brown urged those now on the council to reconsider some of the cutbacks, including spending that promotes the city and its various assets and activities. Cuts in these areas could wind up costing the city more in the long run, she said.