CRESTWOOD, Mo. (KMOX) – Crestwood is sounding the alarm about the city’s “grim” financial outlook.

City Administrator Kris Simpson says the recent demolition of Crestwood Plaza leaves the city without the same level of economic activity it once had. “Crestwood was riding high for decades on the back of the mall and now it’s gone,” he says.

Dramatic cuts have already been made, but it’s not enough. Since the mid-2000s, there has been a 21 percent revenue drop with city personnel reduced by 27 percent – more than 33 positions. Wage freezes are in effect for the remaining workers, so now they earn an annual $400 less than what they earned in 2009.

Simpson says city officials have proposed new tax increases to counterbalance the loss of the Crestwood Plaza, but nothing has been agreed upon yet.

“The initial [tax increases] I presented were a combination of utility tax increases because that was an inquiry that the board had if that was an option,” he says. “I don’t think it’s a realistic one because the impact isn’t great enough. The other one are property tax increase.”

Although a new development will rise on the site of the former mall, Simpson says it won’t generate the same economic benefits. He believes Crestwood will have to consider cutting services, laying off city workers or both to deal with a projected $7 million deficit by 2021.

A public meeting on the situation will be held October 18th.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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