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, 2008
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the November 10 Budget Work Session were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Minutes of the November 10 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mayor Young asked if there are any opponents to the budget who would like to speak. There were none.
BILL # 3552 - AN ORDINANCE APPROVING AND ADOPTING AN OPERATIONS BUDGET OF ANTICIPATED CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE GENERAL REVENUE FUND OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2009, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2009, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Lembke to postpone voting on Bill 3552 until December 8, pending review of the Capital Improvement Plan by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
City Attorney Jones said that it is a State statute that the Planning & Zoning Commission must approve the Capital Improvement Plan, not the Operating Budget. If the Commission does not approve the budget, it can be approved by the Board of Aldermen by a super majority.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to accept the Historical Commission nominations. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Planning & Zoning Commission, Ward 2 Appointment: Mayor Young asked for a recommendation from the Ward 2 Aldermen.
Liquor Licenses: A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Buermann to approve Liquor Licenses for Discount Smoke Shop and Claymont Auto Service. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Evaluation: Mayor Young requested a Closed Session on December 8 after the Board meeting to discuss the annual City Administrator evaluation. The Board agreed.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Driveways: City Administrator Kuntz said this matter is regarding regulation of driveway construction within the public right-of-way. He said that this will establish standards that will be beneficial since this is the point of contact with snow plowing and other services.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to draft legislation for consideration.
Alderman Pogue asked if Ballwin replaces the aprons resulting from de-icing damage. City Engineer Kramer said no, and the proposed ordinance would support that position by regulating the materials used in the construction of the aprons. Alderman Pogue said he would like ordinance language that is less restrictive.
Alderman Terbrock said that if Ballwin is not going to accept responsibility for salt damage, the homeowner should not be told how it should be constructed.
Alderman Lembke said that the challenge is when a homeowner uses a special material for the driveway, they move out, and the next homeowner does not realize that if a snow plow or salt tear up the surface, it will be very expensive to repair. Ballwin will not replace a highly decorated surface. He said that legislation will assure that the City is not liable in the future. He said that if a homeowner wants the expensive material used, they should have to sign off on it forever and it should be transferable.
City Attorney Jones recommended that legislation could state that in the event the City must replace the driveway apron, it will only be done with standard materials and design, instead of prohibiting the property owner from using the materials of their preference.
Alderman Terbrock suggested that if a replacement is necessary, the City’s the cost of the standard concrete pour is the limit of the city’s responsibility. The balance of the cost for a decorative replacement would be the responsibility of the homeowner.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Theft Detection Devices: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding special tools that are used to pilfer tagged store merchandise. Possession of these tools could be basis for an arrest.
Mayor Young asked if there are any carpenter tools that could be in this classification. Alderman Terbrock said no because these are very specific tools. Police Chief Schicker said that the ordinance would include certain types of pliers that are used to pry the sensor tabs off of the products. He said that this is not typical carpenter pliers. He said that this is similar to a burglar in possession of burglary tools such as a crow bar.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Pogue to draft legislation for consideration regarding theft tools. A voice vote was taken and was approved by a vote of 7-1.
Recreation Fees: City Administrator Kuntz said as a result of a market assessment of new facilities in the area, fee adjustments are presented for consideration and legislation to implement the fee adjustments.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Buermann to prepare legislation with the suggested fee adjustments.
Alderman Pogue said that the proposed rate increase for rental of the North Pointe is a significant increase of 20% - 30%. He said that a 10% increase would be reasonable unless the competition is in line with the proposed increase. Alderman Terbrock said that the new rate is described as 20% over cost, but the increase is over 50% of the current rate. He said that we must have been operating at a deficit. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said this is what is happening under the present rate.
Alderman Boerner asked if the hourly rates are for labor and if the FICA rate is included, which is 7%. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said she will check on this. He said that 20% - 30% markup is not unreasonable if it is necessary to cover cost.
Alderman Pogue said all costs, including labor, benefits, and equipment, should be considered in the rates. Alderman Terbrock said he wants to be sure that all the numbers that the Board is given reflects all costs.
Alderman Suozzi said that an estimate cost on the usage of the pool filter during private parties should be part of the evaluation.
Alderman Fleming said that most of the costs can be determined on an annual day or hourly basis.
Alderman Lembke said that pool chemicals, pumps and filters are operating at all times. There are costs that could be considered variable even though they are also fixed costs, instead of depreciating equipment.
Alderman Robinson said that the legislation can still be prepared and the issue resolved when considered. Alderman Pogue said that his preference is to consider the fee adjustments in its entirety after staff has reconfigured the fees at the next meeting. Alderman Robinson did not believe that this should be held off for this matter.
A voice vote was taken to draft legislation under the present guidelines, with the following result: Aye: Fleming, Robinson, Buermann, Boerner. Nay: Pogue, Suozzi, Terbrock, Lembke. Mayor Young cast the deciding vote by voting Aye. The motion passed by a vote of 5-4.
Dispatching: City Administrator Kuntz said this matter is regarding legislation for a 3-year contract proposal with the City of Manchester. He said this proposal reflects an approach to recover increased cost that came from the contract with the agency that’s benefiting as opposed to capturing a portion of our fixed overhead, which was done in the past.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Lembke to draft legislation for a 3-year contract with the City of Manchester.
Alderman Suozzi said that any type of service that can be spread among surrounding communities is an intangible benefit that this contract proposal attempts to retain. Some of the communities that discontinued our service may be interested in coming back.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Leaf Collection Program: City Administrator Kuntz said that the program is up to date. Overtime and needed manpower has been utilized. Saturday pickup has also been utilized. The first week in December is the final week for leaf pickup. If a vehicle is parked in front of a leaf pile, the hose cannot reach around the vehicle. The leaf vacuuming truck will have to continue moving forward.
Allied Waste Contract: City Administrator Kuntz said that Allied’s proposal for the first year will increase the monthly rate from $17.01 to $18.26, which is a 7% increase starting January 1, 2009. The proposed increases after the first year are 3%, 3½%, 3½%, and 4%. He said that this is 21% increase over 5 years. The last increase was on January 1, 2007, the price went from $14.19 to $17.01, which was 20%. The rate has been frozen since that time. He said the only option at this point if the proposal is not accepted is to solicit bids. The Allied proposal for the 5-year contract prior to this was 7%, 4%, 4%, 4%, 4%. He said that the current proposal is a lower rate. $20.93 in the year 2013 for every refuse collection service is not a bad price if the leaf collection is included, which we do. This is why Ballwin cannot be compared with another city.
Alderman Lembke said that the Chesterfield contract has 3% per year increases. City Administrator Kuntz said that Mr. Lamantia had stated that the Ballwin contract has been frozen for 2 years, there has not been an increase since January 1, 2007. The Chesterfield yard waste is an optional add-on item. Ballwin’s is city-wide and includes leaf collection. The Chesterfield agreement with Allied is also a non-exclusive agreement. City Administrator Kuntz said that he does not anticipate the Allied rate getting an lower at this point.
Alderman Terbrock said that the 2007 rate increase included an automated pick up system. The automated system is still not being provided. City Administrator Kuntz said that this 5-year rate increase proposal will not go into effect until the recycling carts are delivered. This commitment must be fulfilled before Allied can implement the new rate. A twice per week pickup is available for those who currently receive this service, but it is not offered to new subscribers. He said that this is a 5% increase every year.
Alderman Terbrock said that the leaf pickup program is the item that prevents a price comparison with other cities. City Administrator Kuntz said that the leaf pickup cost should be reflected in the contract, and not be subject to future discussion. Alderman Suozzi said that contract language should state that if the city finds an alternate place for the leaves to be hauled, consideration will be given to reduction in the price.
Alderman Lembke said that if this contract is accepted, the increase will be a 22.72% increase over 5 years. He said that people are not going to be happy if they know that Chesterfield negotiated a 3% increase. He said that the contract should be presented with numbers that can be compared with other cities.
Alderman Robinson said that the publication of this offer must state that this is an estimate not only for trash pickup, but also for leaf pickup and removal. It should show that this is a two-part estimate. He said the overall average of a 4% per year increase is reasonable, considering that if we don’t have the leaf pickup, leaves will be put into plastic bags and end up in a landfill. Leaves will also be raked into the creeks and storm drains. This will cost the city to clear the drainage areas. He believes that the leaf pickup program should be viewed as a cost saving and earth saving means to dispose of natural waste.
Alderman Boerner said that the only way to determine if the proposed rate is reasonable is to have the cost of the leaf collection separate from the trash collection rate proposal. He anticipates a reasonable cost for the trash collection without the leaf collection combined in the cost. City Administrator Kuntz said that Chesterfield does not do leaf pickup, and the yard waste collection is optional.
Alderman Fleming asked what will happen if the contract has not been accepted by December 31. He asked if Allied would continue picking up the trash but state that the rate is now much higher. City Administrator Kuntz said that is possible. Alderman Fleming suggested offering a proposal back to Allied that if the leaf collection program were discontinued, the regular trash collection rate would be dropped accordingly. He suggested that a cap on the number of leaf truck boxes is not acceptable. City Administrator Kuntz said that the number of boxes increases every year.
Alderman Robinson said that the yard waste pickup should remain part of the basic service in Ballwin.
City Administrator Kuntz said another suggestion would be to ask Allied to increase the yard waste portion to reflect the cost for the leaf pickup in the last quarter. The residents would see a surcharge by Allied on the October, November, December invoice. That amount would go back to the city in the event the city ever discontinued yard waste. This would be Allied’s money because we would not be in the program.
Alderman Pogue said he favors the increase reflecting back to the cost increase for the leaf boxes. He asked if legislation could be drafted without the final contract being approved. City Attorney Jones said that the contract will be an exhibit to the legislation. The contract will be needed in order to vote on the legislation, but legislation could be drafted without the contract.
Alderman Terbrock said that there are Ballwin residents that do not have Allied Waste pick up the trash, and they are receiving leaf pickup. This service is being paid for by the residents who subscribe to Allied Waste trash service. Alderman Lembke said that perhaps residents should be required to have trash pickup. City Attorney Jones said that there are ordinances regarding nuisances such as trash. As long as residents can choose a trash hauler, it would be difficult to enforce. It’s against the law to transport trash without a license.
Alderman Robinson said that the trash hauling fee could be reduced if Allied sent the city one bill instead of individual bills to the residents. There is administrative cost to Allied Waste to send out the invoices and to restrict trash pickup if certain bills have not been paid. He said that a tax could be used to collect the trash hauling fees. Alderman Fleming said that we do not want to get into the business of billing for this service. City Administrator Kuntz said that Ballwin would have to absorb all of the delinquencies while Allied would receive a full check every month. He said that if we did the billing, the reduced rate from Allied would be 5-6%. A minimum rate reduction of 15% would be necessary because we would have staff cost, postage, and enforcement. With the current setup, if someone doesn’t pay their bill, it’s Allied’s problem.
Alderman Robinson said that the utility tax could be increased to include the trash collection cost. The overall cost to the residents would be less than the 22.7% increase that is proposed. The cost of leaf pickup would be covered for everyone, so that those not paying for the service at this time could not receive the service. Every household pays for utilities. This would be about a $5 increase over 5 years.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Robinson to draft legislation for consideration. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Speed Limit Changes: Alderman Lembke asked if the Board needs to establish a process to review speed limit adjustments requests. Alderman Robinson said that nothing can be done at this time. Alderman Boerner said that he and Alderman Lembke have received two requests for information about what the residents can do to get the speed limit reduced on their streets.
Alderman Fleming recommended that this issue be considered by the Public Health & Safety Committee. He said that he does not want to have to consider each request on a case-by-case basis. In the Richland Meadows request, there wasn’t a policy in place to apply to the request. City Administrator Kuntz said that the approach that was applied was that the City Engineer and the traffic study of the Police Department, reviewed speed and accident data.
Alderman Boerner said that the purpose of a policy is to simplify the process so that studies do not have to be conducted for every request in the future. If someone presents a petition with the acceptable percentage of signatures, the Board should be able to immediately change the speed limit on that street. This could be made every 6 months if the citizens want their speed limit changed.
Alderman Suozzi said that when decisions are made based on resident perceptions unsupported by factual information, we abandon the process that has been effective in the past. She said that each street should be considered on its own merit. She said that she is in favor of referring individual requests to the Public Health & Safety Committee, but she opposes changing the basic speed limit for whole residential community. She noted that acting in favor of such petitions means considerable expense in changing signs. Board action resulting from petitions for speed limit changes should not be based on fear and perception. She said that this is not the way to approach this issue.
Alderman Boerner said it will cost more to do the study than for the signs. Alderman Suozzi said this is a determination that should be made by our Police Department. Alderman Lembke said that the challenge is the citizens that say they want the same consideration and have a similar situation as Richland Meadows. He said that a Board policy needs to be in place to address this situation.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Buermann to refer the discussion of residential speed limits to the Public Health & Safety Committee. A voice vote was taken with 7 Aye votes, and Alderman Terbrock voting Nay. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Trash Hauling Contract: Alderman Fleming asked about the exclusivity of the trash hauling contract. City Attorney Jones said that St. Louis County recently set up trash districts and entered into exclusive contracts within those districts. St. Louis County was sued and their ordinance was declared to be invalid. He said there is a State statute that requires, if an exclusive contract is used, and the city is not doing the hauling itself, a two-year notice must be given to everyone who is operating within the city to wind down their operations in the city. He said that from a statutory standpoint, we cannot do an exclusive contract at least for the first two years.
Leaf Collection: Alderman Robinson said that the ordinance that prohibits raking leaves into the street should be enforced. Piles of leaves in the street make mail delivery more difficult. Alderman Terbrock said he asked one of the leaf pickup crews their preference of a pile of leaves, or a long row of leaves. They said their preference if a long row of leaves in order to keep the truck moving forward. They also said that the raked leaves should not be at the mailbox. Alderman Robinson said that the leaf pickup truck should stop long enough for the mail carrier to deliver the mail.
City Administrator Kuntz said that a parked car could also block the leaf vacuuming truck from picking up the leaves. Alderman Robinson said that piles of leaves at this time of year do not kill the grass because the grass is now dormant.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
WALTER S. YOUNG, MAYOR
ROBERT A. KUNTZ, CITY ADMINISTRATOR