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 Budget Workshop
The Ballwin Board of Aldermen will meet in a Budget Workshop on Monday, September 22, at 5:30 p.m., prior to the Board meeting at the Donald “Red” Loehr Police and Court Center at 300 Park Drive. The items to be discussed regarding the 2015 budget are major expenditures, wants and needs, and 2015 employee compensation.
Budget Work Session
1. Call to Order - Mayor Po!,iue
Download the Agenda click here
Note: It is expected that the Government Center options will be discussed at the beginning of the regular Board meeting.
This meeting and all other meetings are open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible.
Robert Kuntz, City Administrator
Residents of Ballwin are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the programs and services of the City of Ballwin regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, familial status, national origin or political affiliation. If you are a person requiring an accommodation, please call (636) 227-8580 (V) or (636) 527-9200 (TDD) or 1-800-735-2966 (Relay Missouri) no later than 5:00 P.M. on the third business day preceding the hearing. Offices are open between 8:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M. Monday through Friday.
The Minutes are prepared in summary to reflect the overall discussions – not verbatim quotes.
The Budget Work Session was called to order at 5:35 p.m. by Mayor Pogue. In attendance were Aldermen Boland, Dogan, Fleming, Harder, Kerlagon, Leahy and Terbrock. Also in attendance were City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Chief of Police Schicker, Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer, Director of Public Works Kramer, Finance Officer Keller, Human Resource Coordinator Morrison, and City Attorney Jones.
City Administrator Kuntz said that the purpose of this introductory session is to provide the Board with an overview of items, projects, things that are not recurring parts of the budget. It’s not about the operating side of things as much as it is about establishing priorities for the 2015 budget. The first presentation tonight will come from Police Chief Schicker and he will address primarily the issue of technology as it relates to cameras.
Police Budget Overview
Police Chief Schicker spoke about the 2015 Police Budget. He mentioned that his department just completed a multi-year facility upgrade that included new flooring on the lower level of the building. He said now they are looking at equipment upgrades primarily with patrol vehicles and in-car cameras. We have experienced considerable mechanical problems with our fleet of Impalas, including some of the 2013 models during the first nine months of operation. Their reliability has impacted other City departments who receive the used vehicles for their fleets. Our frequent mechanical problems include melted fuse blocks, failures of the power steering unit racks and pumps, power seat adjustments, radiators, cooling fan assemblies, air conditioner compressors and transmissions. There have also been instances of catastrophic engine failures resulting in new engines. We have looked at all of the manufactures PPV options to include large and mid-size SUV’s, but he feels the best option for Ballwin is the Ford Taurus, which has an all-wheel drive option in the PPV package.
Regarding in-car cameras, the technology we are currently using is 1998 VHS video technology. In July of this year, the manufacturer told us they are no longer going to provide support for this equipment. We’ve been working on this proposal for well over a year and have researched grant opportunities. The recommendation to upgrade in-car cameras is based on the benefits of that system. It captures traffic stops as events are occurring, documents DWI cases from the point of first observation, documents motor vehicle accident scenes and documents emergency operations.
Police Chief Schicker said that body worn cameras have been discussed with staff and City Administrator Kuntz. Some of the major considerations and concerns that we have looked at are citizen complaints, the lack of security using cloud storage and the continual yearly cost. A major vendor is about to release an integrated car-officer video system, but is unwilling to provide any information at this time, so he couldn’t propose it to the Board. Just today, he received an invitation from another vendor offering a presentation of what Chesterfield was offered. They indicated they have an integrated in-car body worn system. The Chief said that he and his staff will continue to keep on top of this as a priority and bring any changes and information with regard to integration back to the Board. Based on these reasons, he is asking the Board for funding to replace the current in-car system.
Alderman Leahy asked if the Chief is recommending that we work on the cameras inside of the vehicle versus the body cameras.
Chief Schicker said yes, that ideally it would be best to have both systems. His primary concerns are the cost and there is presently no integrated system with one storage option. He explained that we would be paying for two storage servers and possibly fees for two different companies or two different storage options with that cloud. An estimate on just the body cameras is up to $32,000 a year for continued storage options.
Alderman Leahy asked Chief Schicker if he is confident in the security of the cloud.
Chief Schicker said that he doesn’t have any confidence in the cloud. When that question was asked of Taser, a vendor, they couldn’t give us a sound response. Privacy is a concern since we would be wearing these cameras when walking into a residence or talking with citizens. He looked at whether or not we have a problem here with regard to police and community relations. He thinks we have a very positive relationship with our community. Ballwin’s complaint level is extremely low for the number of police actions. These are all things that we’ve taken into consideration with making this recommendation. It is vitally important on the prosecution end to have the in-car video because the majority of our interactions are traffic based. Another liability issue is the operation of the vehicle. We know through our training process whether or not our officers are responding in a prudent manner and following policies or whether we need to make some tweaks in our training.
Alderman Terbrock said he is not very comfortable with the security of the cloud and would be disinterested to vote for it. He indicated that he and Mayor Pogue discussed that one terabyte of storage would house about a month’s worth of video and that we would not need to hold it any longer than that. He thinks that by jumping ahead and budgeting for these cameras it is like putting the cart before the horse. He suggested we think about policy on this and what’s going to guide all of this.
Chief Schicker referred to the article in the Board’s packet and said it gives recommendations and lessons learned by agencies that have implemented the body worn cameras. It offers policy guidelines about a lot of things you don’t think about. There are lots of privacy issues here. He said he’d be the first to push for this if we had a high level of citizen complaints.
Alderman Terbrock said that security came to his mind regarding juveniles. He indicated that he doesn’t know that law very well, but that kids can do no wrong and that we can’t video tape this stuff.
Chief Schicker indicated that it was an open door question with family court. They have already made decisions for certain aspects, but they are taking a wait and see type of response.
City Administrator Kuntz said that we are not taking this topic off the table. We’d like to have more discussions and present more information as it becomes available in the future.
Alderman Terbrock brought the conversation back to the vehicles. He asked if Ford had addressed the melting fuse boxes in a different manner than Chevrolet.
Police Chief Schicker said Chevrolet’s problems are unique to Chevrolet. Chevrolet took a midsize frame and tried to cram all of the PPV equipment into it. A mechanic showed him how they put a transmission cooling vent in front between the frame and the radiator housing bracket, which was within a micrometer of touching the radiator and causing it to leak. His shop has been grinding it off so there was less friction.
The question was asked if any of the Impalas in the fleet have been part of the GM recalls regarding the ignition or other issues.
Police Chief Schicker said we haven’t had any recalls with regard to the ignition. We have prompted GM to do a recall on the power steering unit racks and pumps. Most of the repairs in the past few years have been covered under warranty.
Alderman Harder asked if Ballwin switches over to Ford, are the electrical lights, radio, and computer compatible or are we going to have to start all over.
Police Chief Schicker said that everything is compatible except for the light racks that house the lights on top of the vehicle. It will cost approximately $23 per vehicle to purchase a conversion bracket.
Alderman Fleming said he supports the recommendation for upgrading the cameras and agrees about the body cameras and that we should wait for the technology to mature a bit. He said we will have to study it carefully. He asked if there are other equipment needs for those that are aging or need to be replaced.
Police Chief Schicker said no, that most of the changes needed are for the radar units. He is looking at a three-year replacement program for a few thousand dollars per year.
Alderman Boland said that early this year we looked at Impalas and Chargers; he likes the Chargers because they are cooler looking. He mentioned that one thing brought up at the time we were looking at vehicles is putting lots of equipment in the car. He asked if we get more equipment in the cars and they are getting smaller, do we have a fit issue for some of the officers. He asked if the Taurus would have the same kind of issue.
Police Chief Schicker said the Taurus is bigger than the Impalas used today. He indicated they did test drive the Taurus and put fairly big officers in it to make sure there was enough room.
Alderman Dogan asked about the moral in the department in the last year since the pay changes. Has there been any noticeable difference?
City Administrator Kuntz said we would address that during the Compression discussion under the Staff reports. He doesn’t think there is a pattern that we have more vacancies this year than last year.
Alderman Dogan asked with the dash cameras in place have there been any cases in which we needed that footage for evidence. He also asked if there has been a situation where we gave chase or were behind the car where the camera wasn’t able to capture it.
Police Chief Schicker said that yes, we do on a regular basis. The technology aids us in any police operation of the vehicle or when we are responding in emergency mode. It helps us document it in the event there is an accident that occurs or if an officer did a maneuver that caused the accident or if somebody ignored the emergency vehicle and failed to yield.
Alderman Dogan said the whole reason for the urgency around the body camera issue is the recent shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Even if a camera had been installed and was functioning, the incident was behind the car. There was another incident in Jennings where the person shooting gave chase and ran away from car and that would not have been captured. He thinks the reason for the urgency is that there are plenty of incidents that are going to happen that are not in the purvey of a dash camera and in these situations it is better to have the technology than to have some sort of a crisis happen first before you have to have it.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said she had two items for the Board’s consideration. The first one isn’t new, but is a continuation of a project that was started in 2013 with the Pointe renovation. Phase III is the final phase in which the slide stair tower is addressed. It needs to be replaced. We are working with Whitewater Industries and Westport Pools to come up with a better design. We are hoping to reuse the column or main support pole, which would be a big expense to take out and replace. The painting of the walls in the pool, the slide itself, the air ducts and the final piece would be to replace the lockers. The original lockers are metal and are rusting. We want to replace them with a durable material similar to a toilet partition that would last forever. We think all of the improvements in the final phase would be less than what we spent this year, probably in the area of $210,000.
The second project has to do with the St. Louis County Municipal Park Grant Program application. The limit on the grant application went up to $525,000 for a city our size. Earlier this year we discussed moving into Phase II of Ferris Park. Phase I was met with great appreciation and Phase II would be the expansion of the parking area and putting in an impervious surface and constructing walkways that would connect the new playground to the parking lot and to the pavilion. However, the other project that we talked about is the golf course irrigation system. The original system has gone downhill quickly. We have been spending $30,000 plus a year on parts and labor. This year it has gotten to the point that we can’t keep up with all that’s wrong with the system. There are parts of the system that were abandoned this summer that could not be repaired. She asked Grounds Keeper Crocker to come up with a list of everything that is wrong with the system and he came up with a five-page list. She said right now we have a single row system so irrigation runs right down the middle of the fairway. New systems are putting in double row systems to adequately cover the middle and the fringes. A new system for our golf course would be about $532,000. We are proposing to switch plans and go ahead and apply for a grant for the irrigation system this year. She feels we have a good chance at getting the grant this year and suggested we go ahead and get this project done. She will apply for a grant every year with the Board’s blessing.
Alderman Terbrock said he is glad to see the irrigation system on the list and asked about the timeline and impact to the golfers.
Grounds Keeper Crocker said the optimum time would be mid-March if there is no snow on the ground. The vendor claims they can get it done in 30 days.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said Ballwin would most likely be responsible for removing all the existing irrigation heads, but could use that as an in-kind match to the grant application because you get points if you have a match.
Alderman Leahy asked if there are other courses in the area that have used this system.
Grounds Keeper Crocker said yes. He indicated that he went to Westwood Golf Course about three months ago with the Rainbird representative. He saw all their heads, computers, iPads and they really like it. He mentioned that there are only two systems, to choose from, either Rainbird or Torro. He is leaning toward Rainbird because it is cheaper and is a good product. He said the new system is not just about how much greener or wetter we keep the course. He indicated that we are wasting an enormous amount of water with the leaks and estimates that 100,000 to 200,000 gallons of water is being wasted each year. He also said the water restrictions are always a possibility, but with the new system we would be able to maintain the golf course with no problem if that happened.
City Administrator Kuntz asked Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer what the deadline was for the grant application.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said the deadline is October 31, 2014.
City Administrator Kuntz said we will have to come back to this and ask for your official position so we can get our application in.
Public Works Presentation
City Engineer Kramer said he will first talk about streets. At the October 13, 2014 meeting, he will have a list of streets and the type of treatment he would recommend. We are are still in the mode of concentrating our efforts on streets that are not structurally sound. We have been reviewing New Ballwin Road at Manchester; it is pretty rutted. Ries Road near Manchester Road is also rutted, but not as bad. He indicated that one option is to use concrete. Depending on how thick the pavement is we have to be able to remove some of the asphalt and put concrete on top. Full depth concrete is also a possibility.
One item that we have been talking about for a long time is the purchasing of salt. We previously bought it for about $60 a ton. Mr. Kramer said the time is now for salt brine application and wants to put the equipment in the budget for next year.
City Engineer Kramer said he would also like to put in the budget for next year to solicit applications for federal funds. He would like to put in an application to replace the Ramsey Bridge. It would only be an application fee of $4,000 and if we don’t get it funded, then we get that money back. If we do get it funded, they keep the money and give use more money.
Mayor Pogue thanked Alderman Boland for sending out a nice presentation about salt brine. He learned a little bit and it answered some questions he had.
Alderman Harder ask if the $160,000 listed for the salt brine includes everything.
City Engineer Kramer said yes it did.
Alderman Terbrock said that we’ve discussed brine for a long time and he is totally on board with it. He indicated that the price of salt is not going to go down.
Alderman Boland asked if the salt brine was going to be less destructive on sealed concrete surfaces.
City Engineer Kramer said the mixture is composed of around 23% salt and the rest is water. He indicated that the less salt on the ground, the less corrosive it should be.
Mayor Pogue said he discussed the survey with City Engineer Kramer and City Administrator Kuntz. The last survey was done in 2010. He said hopefully it has been updated because it would be useful for the Board to see at budget time. He also hoped that we will reach a point soon where most of our streets are judged to be structurally sound and then maybe we could look at the aesthetics.
Administration Budget Presentation
City Administrator Tom Aiken said the first item on the list will be addressed later in the meeting and that is the future of the Government Center. The other thing that is on his list relates to staff cars. There are six cars in the administration fleet. At one time these cars were bought new off the state bid. They tended to last a long time. When those cars were no longer useful, they were replaced with old squad cars, which lasted about four years in the administration fleet before they ran into maintenance issues. What he has noticed in the last few years is that the cost of maintenance on these old squad cars has gone up dramatically. An alternative to consider is leasing. Enterprise Leasing approached the City of Ballwin about an open-ended lease program they are offering. This program would cost $5,330 a year to lease and maintain the car. When maintenance and fuel efficiency are factored in, the lease will be about $2,200 a year more than what we are paying to drive the old police cars. He isn’t promoting this concept, but thinks we are in an uphill curve of the maintenance on the vehicles.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adjourn the Budget Work Session. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result. Mayor Pogue declared the meeting adjourned at