Board of Aldermen Meeting Agendas & Minutes
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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.
Capital Budget Workshop 2003
Minutes Capital Budget WorkshopOctober 27, 2003
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Jones at 5:35 p.m. in the Board Room at the Ballwin Police Department. The meeting was open to the public and notice was posted in the 24-hour lobby of Ballwin Police Department, the Government Center, and The Pointe on the Friday preceding the meeting. Those in attendance were Mayor Jones, Aldermen Easter, McDowell, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Anderson, Gatton and Lembke. Also in attendance were City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Finance Officer Loehr, Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer, Chief of Police Biederman, City Engineer Kramer, Deputy Director of Public Works Levoy, and City Attorney Lucchesi.
City Administrator Kuntz said the budget is approximately 40% less than what was spent in 2003 because this budget does not reflect any federal grant aid. It is recommended that the motor vehicle fee revenue, which is approximately $155,000, be re-appropriated to the operating budget. This will be used for street maintenance instead of street improvements. It is recommended that $250,000 of the $1.5 million Parks sales tax be applied toward operations and maintenance of the parks. This is a change from 100% being spent on capital which had been done since the funds were approved by the voters. The debt service limits spending discretion. This total is about 30% of the aggregate. There is a contingency in three programs totaling $120,000. The budget is balanced. A formula was used to determine the percentage of street miles in each ward and that percentage is used as a basis for expenditures on streets.
Finance Officer Loehr said in 2003, the City is expected to be approximately $200,000 - $300,000 short from the projected budget revenues. With the rebound in the economy that is expected, a 4% increase is budgeted for 2004. Approximately $150,000 of the motor vehicle fees and $250,000 of the parks sales tax are being moved to the operating budget. There is a carry over of $1.2 million of the capital fund balance because of the projects that were not completed in 2003 such as the Manchester Road sidewalk and Olde Towne sidewalk. The budget revenues are approximately $4 million less than 2003 because the COPS proceeds were used to offset the North Pointe project. The reimbursement on federal projects are also not in the budget this year.
Alderman Gatton asked if there is any knowledge of how much the lockout at Schnucks will cost the City in terms of lost revenue. Finance Officer Loehr said that Schnucks is one of our major revenue sources. The strike’s impact is uncertain at this time. Alderman Gatton said they are probably doing only about 40% of the normal business. Finance Officer Loehr said that Aldi’s is in Ballwin and doing well, and Target sales are also up.
Alderman Anderson asked how much flexibility there is regarding the parks sales tax to move more than $250,000 to operating. City Administrator Kuntz said the law states that as long as you can demonstrate that it directly relates to park costs, it’s applicable. Ballwin’s pledge to the voters was to first construct the North Pointe and that has been done. It can be justified that at least $250,000 will be budgeted for park maintenance. There are capital improvements in the Parks that need to be funded, such as the completion of Vlasis Park, the pond, roadway, playground, and North Pointe.
Alderman Lembke asked if the relationship with Clarkson Valley is good regarding the police service that is provided. City Administrator Kuntz said Clarkson Valley is going to bid out the contract this time, but the Board is happy with the service. The contract is through June 30, 2004. The $20,000 or partial allocation is meant to show that there’s a commitment for a vehicle. It’s logical that Clarkson Valley will pay for one of the vehicles. Police Chief Biederman said a vehicle is assigned to Clarkson Valley 23 hours per day. This includes a minimum of one officer, but also a supervisor, a traffic car, and investigators when needed.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken reported that it has been proposed to install a lobby drop box at the Government Center. This is a $2,000 expenditure. One staff vehicle needs replacement. AmerenUE has caused the price per street light to go up dramatically. Ballwin Public Works crews can do the installation of the conduit for the electrical wiring. There isn’t much time available for Public Works crews to do this, therefore, only about 4 or 5 lights in a year can be installed. There is a contingency of $50,000 in the budget, $62,500 is the administration department share of the TIF funding, $63,500 is proposed to keep the computer system current. The total is $208,000.
Alderman McDowell asked what the difference is between this budget proposal and last year. City Administrator Kuntz said that last year, approximately $50,000 was budgeted for Government Center remodeling and an HVAC unit. The total for 2003 was $261,767, and in 2004, the proposed is $208,500. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that 25% of the computers are replaced every year. Maintenance agreements are not purchased because a replacement schedule is less expensive than paying a third party for a maintenance contract. Due to the technology changes, the computers cannot be kept longer than 4 years before they become obsolete. Alderman Gatton said that there are several applications in the finance department that a 4-year old computer cannot run. He suggested replacing the computers every 3 years.
Alderman McDowell asked if the contingency built into this budget, $50,000, is the same as last year. City Administrator Kuntz said the whole budget has a $65,000 contingency in 2004. If there is going to be a problem with a bid situation, it would be Parks and Public Works. In the TIF redevelopment agreement, the City is required to maintain a pot of $250,000. If the collections from the retail sector are not sufficient, the City has to make up the difference up to the $250,000. Half of the pot is being provided from the capital budget and the other half will be recommended from the Operating budget. If the streets come in favorably priced and more street work is requested, a transfer could be made from Administration contingency fund during the course of the year. This is a way to avoid re-appropriations and re-budgeting. The contingency is for unbudgeted, unforeseen capital equipment or improvements. If it’s not used, it stays in capital and becomes part of the base for the following year. It can only be used for a capital expenditure.
Alderman McDowell asked if there was a contingency fund draw last year and the budget came up short so now it is needed to be replaced. City Administrator said the Board approved $62,000 in pool changes and requested re-appropriation legislation for this purpose in Bill # 3268 on tonight’s Board agenda. Mr. Kuntz said another example of a need for the contingency is when the State said the deadline was not met for construction of the Ries Road sidewalk and it wants its money back for engineering. It needs to either be budgeted to give it back or have a contingency fund for use if something like that happens again.
Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer reported that the Parks Capital Budget is approximately $4 million less than last year due to the completion of North Pointe. The Parks sales tax money reflects $250,000 going into operations. Approximately $1 million of the $1.9 million capital budget is for debt retirement for The Pointe and North Pointe. For TIF funding, $69,000 has been budgeted. Two major improvements have been proposed in the 2004 budget. $300,000 is for rebuilding the Vlasis Park tennis courts. This is the last phase of the renovation of the park. A county park grant application for half of the $300,000 is in the process. $300,000 has been budgeted on the expense side and $150,000 on the revenue side. Mayor Jones asked how confident is she that Ballwin will get the grant. Ms. Bruer said that she is very confident because $150,000 is being budgeted as though it is a done deal. Ms. Bruer said a question on the application is if we do not get the funding, will we do the project. She said her response on the form is no because if the $150,000 from the county park grant is not obtained, the project will not be completed in 2004. She is confident that Ballwin will receive the grant because she said the money is in the fund, however, the County prefers to fund new projects rather than maintenance items.
Alderman Anderson said it is his understanding that the county commission is looking to spend the money. Ms. Bruer said she can ask for $200,000 from the grant fund. The Board agreed.
The meter for sprinkler system at the Golf Club needs to be updated and $12,000 is budgeted for this repair. Other items include resealing and striping the Golf Club parking lot, completion of the zoysia sodding program, signage for Vlasis Park with the City logo. In New Ballwin Park the tennis courts need to be color coated. This has not been done since 1994. This is normally done every 5 years. The multi-use trail needs to be sealed and the basketball court needs to be color coated. These items total $18,000. An estimate for repair of the logs on the Log Home is $55,000. Alderman McDowell asked if the Log Home was repaired last year. City Administrator Kuntz said when the repairs were started last year, it was discovered that many logs had deteriorated. They stopped work until a final determination could be made regarding this work. He asked if the structure has to be rebuilt from scratch, has all of the historical integrity been destroyed. Mayor Jones said that perhaps the funds should be spent on the old Ballwin School instead of the Log Home. The Historical Commission should be contacted before this decision is made. Alderman Easter thinks the original structure should be preserved as much as possible and not dismantled and rebuilt with new materials. Ms. Bruer said that another option is to put clapboard siding on the outside of the Log Home so that from the inside the original logs can be seen but will be protected. It would no longer look like a log home from the outside.
Alderman Robinson asked about the fund raising efforts of the Historical Commission. Mayor Jones said the Historical Commission is not self-supporting. They give tours of the Log Home, they organize the Memorial Day ceremony in Vlasis Park, updating the Ballwin History Book, etc. Some of the Commission members serve on the Winding Trails Historical Commission which has the Bacon Log Cabin on Henry Road. Ballwin could make a contribution to that Historical Society for the Bacon Log Cabin which is also in Ballwin. He recommended that this suggestion be considered and ask the Ballwin Historical Commission for their thoughts on this. Alderman Suozzi asked if there is grant funding available. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said there isn’t much money available for this. She said the building would have to be designated as a historical landmark. The materials for the School House will hopefully be donated. Allen Roofing has agreed to pay for taking off the 3 roofs that are on the structure and put on a new roof. Ballwin crews will do the residing and build a bell tower.
Alderman Robinson believes that the Historical Commission does not produce enough effort in acquiring funds for historical preservation. He said the Commission costs the City money and suggested that the City take over the Commission. Alderman Suozzi said that more grant money should be obtained by the Commission. Alderman Gatton compared the attempts to preserve the Log Home with his father’s ax, which is important to him – the handle has been replaced 3 times and the head twice. This is what is being done with the Log Home. There will be nothing left of historical value. It will be a replica.
Alderman Buermann asked about the $25,000 budgeted for the soccer field. He said he thought the field was going to be funded by the tower. City Administrator Kuntz said it is. The field didn’t get built because of the time and energy that was put into the construction of North Pointe. The checks have been received so the money is there for the field.
Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said that at The Pointe, the $60,000 item is to re-plaster and paint the indoor pool, carpet in the fitness area needs to be replaced.
At North Pointe the temporary parking will be made permanent. Both of the gravel areas south and north of the facility will be paved. The northern part of the lot will have an area for basketball play if there are no parked cars. The neighbors do not want the basketball court.
Alderman McDowell does not think a basketball court should be placed on the parking lot. This will be a conflict when people want to park their cars and others want to play basketball. Are the motorists supposed to park around the basketball area and balls will bounce and hit cars. He said the parking is needed more than the basketball courts. The court should be eliminated. The parking lot is supporting a revenue generating facility. Basketball courts are also provided at The Pointe and in New Ballwin Park. A basketball court on a parking lot is not going to work. Mayor Jones suggested taking off the rims while the North Pointe is open so that there won’t be confrontation between parking and basketball.
Alderman Anderson asked what was decided about the Log Home improvements. Mayor Jones said the money would be left in the budget and the Board will decide how it will be appropriated. Alderman Anderson asked if nothing else is done to the Log Home, what will happen. Ms. Bruer said that in about a year, the structure could become dangerous. Alderman Easter said if the Log Home is completely replaced, it will not be historical any longer. City Administrator Kuntz said that after talking with the Historical Commission, by keeping the amount in the budget, it doesn’t mean that it must be done, but the money is there if you decide to go forward with the project. Alderman Suozzi said that what makes a structure historical is the way it was built, not necessarily the materials that were used. With some research, it may be possible to find someone to do it the right way so that the Log Home will retain its historical status. Alderman Anderson suggested having someone from the Historical Commission come to a Board meeting for discussion.
Chief of Police Biederman said that most of the items in the budget are for maintenance and yearly rotation of equipment. By purchasing Chevrolet vehicles to put in the police car rotation, this will save approximately $3,000 per car. On the HVAC system, the roof mount unit needs to be replaced for $6,000. He said that his car will be rotated into the Detective Bureau to replace one of the vehicles that they are having problems with at this time. His car will be purchased from the State grant.
Alderman McDowell asked about an emergency fund. City Administrator Kuntz said this is an operating expenditure and is not in the capital budget. The capital budget is only for equipment that is over $5,000 with a life cycle lasting over 5 years, either land or a permanent improvement such a purchase of real estate. Everything else is treated as operations.
Alderman McDowell asked if the communications system is up to date. Police Chief Biederman said it is, the CAD system is functioning well, however, it is reaching the end of its life cycle. It has been used for 7 years. In 2005, the police radios will need replacement because this equipment is reaching the 10-year mark and parts cannot be obtained any longer. A few are being replace over time and the old parts are used the older models. The St. Louis area is trying to get a regional radio system and are considering a bond issue where they would purchase all of the radios and equipment.
Alderman Buermann asked if drug confiscation money is in the operating budget. Finance Officer Loehr said it is but can also be used for purchasing equipment.
Alderman Robinson asked if money could be saved on the car acquisitions if a more economical car was purchased. Police Chief Biederman said the car has to stand up to the demands of police service. Police vehicles have heavy-duty equipment because they have to withstand long periods of idling. A police car cannot be purchased right off the lot. Alderman Robinson asked if a car is only going to be used for monitoring traffic, could a smaller car without all of the equipment that is normally on a regular police car be used. Mr. Biederman said the interior of the vehicle also has to be equipped with emergency and radio equipment.
City Engineer Kramer said the 2004 budget for streets and sidewalks is almost 5% less than 2003 in the amount of $73,700. On the distribution of funding for streets, in the past it was attempted to fund equally among the wards; but for 2004, the miles of streets in each ward were determined and funding is according to the percentage of streets in the various wards. The engineering for phase 2 of Crestland will be done. The Kehrs Mill/Holloway intersection signalization and intersection improvements have been deferred until 2005. Only the right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation are budgeted for 2004. Concrete slab replacement will be incorporated with the asphalt overlays. Due to large annexations, the truck fleet, leaf vacuums, and salt supply has been expanded to the point where there is no extra room in the maintenance yard. The salt pile must be under roof within the next 4 or 5 years or the City will be in violation of the EPA Clean Water Act. At least 10% of the salt supply is being lost by wind and water erosion. Alderman Buermann said that if the City is going to spend $970,000, the decision has been made that this will be the Public Works location for a long time and it will not be relocated. As part of the yard expansion, some of the leaf boxes can be removed from the perimeter to other locations which will free up space for plantings. Alderman McDowell said that Public Works has looked for new locations without finding anything suitable, and the current location will be the committed spot. City Administrator Kuntz said the neighbors are aware of that. The best option, at sometime in the future, may be a satellite sub-station where some of the operation on the south side can be more efficiently maintained. The Vlasis Park location will always be the main Public Works yard. The salt pile building will be moved further away from the adjoining residents.
Alderman Buermann asked if there is any connection between the stalt storage area and the maintenance yard expansion. Can the maintenance yard expansion be phased or deferred? Mayor Jones said the expanded area can go up to Kehrs Mill Road without constructing fences and the retaining wall. City Engineer Kramer said the retaining wall could not be deferred because that is what will support and hold up Kehrs Mill Road. There will have to be a fence for safety and security.
City Engineer Kramer said the funding for the Manchester Road sidewalk can be restored. If it can be done administratively, the funding will be restored in about a week, otherwise it will be by the end of January. As part of the application, a time schedule had to be submitted and we must meet the schedule. The original schedule that was submitted was to commence right-of-way acquisition in July, 2003 and be finished by April 1, 2004. There are 21 parcels of land and most of the owners are not local. This compounded the amount of time. Due to the re-appropriation at the last meeting, the funding we had for the project in 2003was deleted, therefore, there is no longer any money to begin the acquisition. If we restart the project in January with funding in the 2004 budget, there will be 3 months to acquire the right-of-way. He does not believe this is possible. If this goes forward, the funds would have to come out of the capital budget. Mayor Jones said this transitions into the concerns over the Operating budget whether the City can fund raises for the employees. Alderman Easter said she would not be in favor of buildling any sidewalks in lieu of streets.
Alderman Buermann asked which is better nova chip or microsurfacing. City Engineer Kramer said the nova chip has been used in the City for one year and the microsurfacing for 3 years. The nova chip can be used on streets where microsurfacing would not be a good treatment. Deputy Director of Public Works Levoy said that the nova chip is used on streets where a lot of preparation work is not needed. With microsurfacing, a lot of preparation work must be done.
Alderman Anderson asked about the Kehrs Mill/Holloway intersection, what is projected to be the total cost when completed. City Administrator Kuntz said the construction of a signalized intersection of this nature is generally in the $200,000 - $250,000 range. Alderman Suozzi said this was part of the original TIF discussions to put a light at this intersection. Alderman Easter said the TIF development has not negatively affected this intersection. Alderman Anderson agreed. He does not think a signal is needed at this intersection.
A motion was made by Alderman Easter and seconded by Alderman Buermann to adjourn the Capital Budget Work Session. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. The Work Session was adjourned at 7:03 p.m.
Robert E. Jones, Mayor
ATTEST: Robert A. Kuntz, City Administrator