The departments of the city of will soon be working out budgets for the upcoming year.
Alderwoman Maureen Saunders and others on the Ways and Means Committee at a meeting Tuesday night, discussed an aspect of the budget they're not happy with: the city has less than one month's expenses in reserve.
Saunders said the residents have been given the wrong impression over the years.
"My concern is that, the residents felt that we were swimming in money," she said. "Time after time people came to this podium and talked about money being spent by the city. (They were told), 'No big deal. It’s insignificant,' and yet we only have a half a month's reserve."
Saunders told her constituents in an email that the general fund balance at the end of the year was $491,985, "which is only 4 percent of the operating expenses for the year, or less than one month's expenditures."
She said some surrounding cities have much more of a reserve than Brentwood, including Crestwood, which lost its mall, but has a year's worth of expenses in reserve.
Alderman Tom Kramer said the Brentwood Forest association has double the reserve of the city. Alderman Patrick Toohey, the "financial guru" of Brentwood Forest, according to Kramer, said its association has $1.4 million in reserve.
Kramer said for years he wanted to make more contributions to the city reserve, but was told the city has uncollected taxes, that if the city wanted to collect, could bring an enormous amount of money into the reserves. Also that the city doesn't bring those taxes in to keep the residents happy.
He said, therefore, he was told that the city is richer, even though the money isn't in the actual reserves.
Kramer said he would like the city to have formulas for contributions to the reserve that are based on reality and need, which are based on an inventory of the city's assets and needs.
City Administrator Bola Akande said the big picture is that there are ongoing expenses.
"Do we want to continue some of the projects going forward, or do we want to be status quo, so that any additional revenue that comes in, we start to set that aside to build our reserves," she said.