Board of Aldermen Meeting Agendas & Minutes
Every effort is made to ensure that the Agendas and Minutes provided on this and subsequent pages is timely and correct; however, users should keep in mind that this information is provided only as a public convenience. In any case where legal reliance on information is required, the official records of the City of Ballwin should be consulted.
The Board of Aldermen meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Ballwin Government Center, 1 Government Ctr. Schedule and place subject to change. Meetings are open to the public. All citizens are urged to attend.
Board of Aldermen Meeting
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING November 24, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Jones at 7:04 p.m.
The Scouts from Troop 631 from St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church in Ballwin posted the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Minutes of the November 10, 2003 Operating Budget Work Session were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Easter and seconded by Alderman Buermann to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed.
The Minutes of the November 10, 2003 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Anderson and seconded by Alderman Gatton to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed.
Kraig Whittenberg, 575 Goldwood: Mr. Whittenberg spoke in opposition to reinstating the property tax. He said the Board is not tightening its belt enough. He is opposed to reinstating the tax without a vote. He said the Mayor and Board want to find a way around the Hancock Amendment, which limits the abilities of cities to raise taxes without a vote of the citizens. The property tax has been set at zero since 1988. Technically there is still a tax and raising it back to its original rate may not require a vote of the citizens. The citizens should be allowed to make this decision.
BILL # 3270 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 18 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BY AMENDING CERTAIN USER FEES.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Anderson for a first reading of Bill No. 3270. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3270 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Lembke for a second reading of Bill No. 3270. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3270 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3270 with the following results: Ayes –Buermann, Robinson, Lembke, Anderson, McDowell, Suozzi, Easter, Gatton. Nays – None. Whereupon Mayor Jones declared Bill No. 3270 approved and it became Ordinance No. 03-65.
BILL # 3271 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BY AMENDING SECTION 14-78 SUBPARGRAPH (B) WITH RESPECT TO BUSINESS LICENSES, NAMELY NON GROSS RECEIPT BUSINESSES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR IN THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3271. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3271 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Easter and seconded by Alderman Robinson for a second reading of Bill No. 3271. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3271 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3271 with the following results: Ayes – Easter, Robinson, Gatton, Buermann, McDowell, Anderson, Suozzi, Lembke. Nays – None. Whereupon Mayor Jones declared Bill No. 3271 approved and it became Ordinance No. 03-66.
BILL # 3272 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 14 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BY AMENDING THE CODE WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FEES.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Anderson for a first reading of Bill No. 3272. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3272 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Anderson for a second reading of Bill No. 3272. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3272 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3272 with the following results: Ayes – Lembke, Easter, Suozzi, Robinson, Buermann, Anderson, McDowell, Gatton. Nays – None. Whereupon Mayor Jones declared Bill No. 3272 approved and it became Ordinance No. 03-67.
Alderman Lembke said that from the time The Pointe was opened up to this past year, there were no changes to the fees. When times are difficult and money is tight, adjustments need to be made. The rate adjustments are fair and necessary.
BILL # 3273 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 25, THE SUBDIVISION ORDINANCE AND ORDINANCE 557, THE ZONING ORDINANCE OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BY AMENDING THE CODE WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FEES.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3273. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3273 was read for the first time.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken explained that the fee changes for the petition fees are contained in the Zoning Ordinance. In order to amend the Zoning Ordinance, it is necessary that the petition go before the Zoning Commission. Since this ordinance is amending the Zoning Ordinance, it should be reviewed by the Commission at their next meeting in January before being voted on by the Board.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Gatton to refer Bill # 3273 to the Planning & Zoning Commission for consideration on January 5. At that time the Commission can make a recommendation to the Board for further action. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed.
Alderman Gatton explained that this Bill is the result of approval by the residents in the November 4 election.
Historical Commission: Mayor Jones reported that Dot Andrews, the outgoing chairman of the Historical Commission, will address the Board at the December 8 meeting about the Commission’s activities.
At the regular meeting of the Lafayette Area Mayors’ Organization, the Chiefs of Police discussed an evacuation plan for the West County communities. The Police Chiefs are going to meet again and submit a plan back to the Lafayette Area Mayors, who will then make further recommendations for consideration.
Alderman Lembke said that Metro West Fire District is offering Citizen Emergency Response Team System (CERTS) classes. This is training people within the community to help in their local communities if a disaster occurs.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
City Administrator Kuntz commended Police Chief Biederman and the Police Department on their handling of the recent bank robbery in Ballwin. There were no injuries, and there was full recovery of the stolen property and apprehension of the suspect. He also commended the Chesterfield Police Department because they were instrumental in working with the Ballwin Police.
FINANCE ADVISORY COMMITTEE – City Administrator Kuntz said this committee is not intended to be a local government 101 class. This committee will be expected to hit the ground running and have a big picture understanding and perspective. He suggested having a full report from the committee at the spring retreat in March or April.
Alderman Buermann said he is concerned that using a Finance Advisory Committee will send a bad message to the citizens of Ballwin regarding the City staff and the Board of Aldermen. The City staff, Mayor and Board of Aldermen are already in place and capable of doing this. Mayor Jones said it is hard to know the benefits until it is tried. Citizen input should be considered for more detailed discussion at the retreat. Alderman Gatton agreed with Mayor Jones and said that listening to other suggestions from individuals experienced in these financial areas could be helpful. Alderman Buermann said the committee should be told in the beginning that their suggestions will be considered but not necessarily put into action.
Alderman McDowell agreed with Alderman Buermann saying that it would be different if there was mis-management within the City. The Board and Staff have done a good job in managing the City’s finances. Committees like this are instituted to find solutions to problems. The City does not need a finance advisory committee. He said, when he took the aldermanic oath of office, that he pledged good financial management of the City. The City is not financially destitute or mismanaged and the Staff is doing a good job.
Alderman Lembke said that since 1988, Ballwin has collected no real estate tax. He does not want to see that change; however, the slow economy has caused a lag in sales tax revenues for 3 years. It is hoped that it will improve. Ballwin’s revenue mostly comes from sales tax. Everything that the City is doing and going to do in the future is based on sales tax. Is this an inappropriate way to be looking at operating the City? The budget is not going to go down. All of the services cannot be performed with fewer employees, and the City continues to annex more areas and residents. If this is the direction in which the City is going to continue, how is the City going to pay for it?
Alderman McDowell said this is the purpose of the retreat, to discuss these matters. The budget has come out looking good every year because there is sound financial management by the Board and staff. He understands the purpose of a financial advisory committee, but when there are good people in-house that qualify to do the job, they should be allowed to do the job and do it well.
Alderman Buermann said that Staff and the Board needs to stay focused on making sure that appropriate revenue is being received to cover the cost of providing the services.
Alderman Anderson said it is beneficial to have outside advice and objective opinions. He feels that a committee could present new thinking and new ideas for consideration. The decision process would not be taken away from Staff or the Board.
Alderman Gatton said that Ballwin’s bond rate would be improved if there was a property tax. Property tax is considered by bond rating agencies to be a more stable method of financing. Perhaps a finance committee could recommend if this is the best way to finance the City long term. Maybe sales tax isn’t the best way any longer to operate in the present and future.
Mayor Jones said he recommends making nominations for the Finance Advisory Committee and for the Board to approve the members at the December 8 meeting. Alderman Robinson said he is hesitant to ask anyone to serve on this committee if the entire Board is not committed to forming the advisory committee.
Alderman Easter asked if an outside Finance Advisory Committee will give the public the impression that Ballwin officials don’t know how to do this. Alderman Robinson said it would be just the opposite that the Board is arrogant. This would be an advisory committee and the residents have a right to advise the Board. This is a no risk win-win situation. Alderman Easter said that half of the people on the sample advisor list do not live in Ballwin. City Administrator Kuntz said this does not have to be a resident committee.
Alderman Buermann said if the committee is formed, he would like to be considered for the Board representation on this committee.
A motion was made by Alderman Gatton that the City appoint a Finance Advisory Committee, subject to recommendations of Mayor Jones for the appropriate members of the committee, consisting of 6 citizens, for a period of 90 days starting in January, 2004, with at least one representative from the Board.
Alderman McDowell asked Alderman Gatton to amend the motion to specify that the members of the committee would be citizens of Ballwin and to specify the purpose of the committee. Alderman Gatton said he is not going to make that a requirement.
Alderman Suozzi said the Board may be limiting itself if the members were only citizens of Ballwin.
Mayor Jones asked if there is a second to the motion as it was made. Alderman Anderson seconded the motion as first made. Alderman Gatton said the members do not have to be Ballwin residents.
Alderman McDowell said the parameters and purpose of the committee has not been defined. Alderman Buermann said that there may not be enough time for the Mayor to contact potential nominees and to start the committee duties by January 1. Alderman Gatton said in that case, the deadline could be the spring retreat.
A voice vote was taken with 6 yes votes and Aldermen McDowell and Easter voting no. The motion was declared passed.
TIF DISTRICT – City Administrator Kuntz said a legal opinion was requested regarding the change in the boundaries for the TIF district RPA Section B. Jim Mello, with Armstrong Teasdale, who served as the special council for the TIF project said that it is legally possible, but to do this, the TIF Commission will have to be reconvened. No adjustment can be made administratively or legislatively without their input.
Mayor Jones said the TIF Commission should be reconvened. Two members, who no longer live in the City of Ballwin, will have to be replaced. City Administrator Kuntz suggested contacting the other members of the commission to find out if they are interested in continuing to serve if the commission is reconvened. Mayor Jones agreed. Alderman Buermann asked for a list of the TIF Commission members to verify that members are not serving on another commission, according to the instructions in the Policy Book.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Public Health & Safety Committee Meeting – Smoking restrictions in restaurants: Alderman Easter said that a Public Health & Safety Committee meeting was held before this meeting. At Alderman Gatton’s request, the committee discussed the value of a law limiting smoking in restaurants. The committee is split on a recommendation and she asked for further direction. Mayor Jones recommended legislation be prepared and the Board discuss and vote on the issue without benefit of a committee recommendation. Alderman Gatton suggested that he take the issue under advisement before further action is taken.
Target Park – Southwest corner of Kehrs Mill & Holloway: Alderman Lembke asked for an update on this issue. City Administrator Kuntz said in spite of his regular efforts to get this information, there isn’t a clear answer at this time because the company’s position swings back and forth. Alderman Easter said that Target is not under any obligation to build the park.
Highview property: City Administrator Kuntz said that he contacted the adjoining property owners and he received one telephone call and no other responses. December 1 is the deadline.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Easter and seconded by Alderman Buermann to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 7:59 p.m.
November 10, 2003