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
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:00 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the February 23, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Metro Service Cuts: Metro Link’s Chief Operating Transit Officer, Raymond Friem, gave an explanation of the pending service cuts. Mr. Friem said that today, the transportation system provides transit access to 97% of the jobs in St. Louis City and St. Louis County. On March 30, that will drop to about 74% of the entire region. He said that Metro is required by law to balance the budget. $14 million of annual federal aid has been removed, and sales tax receipts have been flat and have not grown against inflation. Metro Link is experiencing some of the same economic issues as everyone else.
Mr. Friem said that the busses that currently provide service on Manchester Road will not come this far west as of March 30. It will stop just west of I-270, and all express service for this area will also be removed.
The stimulus dollars for the St. Louis transportation system will be between $39 - $41.2 million for Metro and are for capital purposes. There are many worthy capital projects that will save the transit system a lot of money down the road. The Eads Bridge will be repaired. He said that Federal law does not permit Metro to use any of this money for operating. East-West Gateway is working with Metro and MoDOT to form an operating package of approximately $12 million for one year. This process requires Federal approval. The Federal Government is hesitant. The service cuts will be approximately $50 million. He said that they cannot simply reinstate existing routs if any of the funding becomes available. It must be new service and cannot be used to restore service at the local level.
Mr. Friem said that Metro is partnering with RideFinders to help provide information to citizens.
Alderman Pogue asked if there is any money available for MoDOT from the congestion reduction fund. Mr. Friem said that the State Constitution prohibits MoDOT from using any gas tax funds for anything but highways. The majority of the State money comes through the gas tax formula. There’s very little to maneuver to transit. Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) money is service transportation money that comes to the region and can be flexed to transit for operating purposes. This is what East-West Gateway is trying to broker at this time.
Alderman Terbrock asked about the cost of the routs that have been cut. Mr. Friem said that 24 routes are being completely eliminated, one-third of the rest of the system routes are being combined, and everything else will see the busses that ran every 15 minutes, will now be every 20 or 30 minutes. He said that Metro Link train routes cannot be eliminated, but the number of trains per hour can be limited. He said that Call-A-Ride will be dramatically impacted. Wherever a bus route exists today, the ADA mandate calls for complimentary transit service within ¾ of a mile. When the bus is removed, the complimentary transit system is removed. He said that unsubsidized Call-A-Ride service will be offered.
Mr. Friem said that the Federal Government changed its policy in the early 1990s. It ceased to provide operating money to transit systems anywhere in the country. It got out of the operating business and into the capital business. They told regions that the type of transportation is a local decision. The result was that Metro would have to pay operating costs and the federal government would assist with capital for construction. In 1997, Metro saw its operating dollars from the federal government reduced to zero. That money has never been replaced. The State of Missouri supplies about $1 per capita to the St. Louis region for the purpose of transit. This is one of the three lowest in the country and the lowest for a major metropolitan city.
Mr. Friem said that Metro is in a position that all of the resources that they have received are going to be questioned by the federal government. If it is not used for the purposes that they were donated to the region, the federal government will take the money back. He said that 80% of the cost of a bus is paid for by the federal government. When Metro receives this money, there is a contract to use the money for this purpose. The reduction in routes will put about half of the fleet in a mothball condition, which is something that the federal government will not tolerate very long.
Alderman Lembke said that since 1997, Metro has not had any operating money coming the federal government. Several years ago, Metro spent all of that money to put in the spur without a plan to be able to raise and maintain the operation of the entire system. Can it be justified how Metro can build stuff and ignore the operational side of the system. Now everyone west of I-270 is disenfranchised.
Mr. Friem said that none of those steps is a Metro decision. The decision to build it, how to fund it, where it goes, and the timing of construction, is all made by the local Council of Governments of East-West Gateway, and their counterparts on the Illinois side, making up a large Board. Those decisions are made entirely made by that executive council. Metro is not a taxing entity and collects no taxes. When money is appropriated to Metro, the service is provided for which it is appropriated. Every year, Metro goes before the County Council, the Board of Aldermen of the City of St. Louis, and the St. Clair County Transit District to present the service package and the associated cost. Their answer determines what is provided in terms of transit service for the region.
Alderman Lembke said that when the last branch in Shrewsbury was added, Metro Link had no say in the fact that this was going to be built. Mr. Friem said that Metro is not a member of the voting Board. Metro provided input, worked with the engineers, and has an excellent relationship with East-West Gateway. East-West Gateway is the regional planning body, not Metro. The actual decision of when and where to spend funds, such as ¼ cent Prop M Sales Tax, which was passed in 1994 for the purpose of a Metro Link extension, was made by that council of governments.
Mr. Lynn Goetz, 14706 Clayton Road, said it is his understanding that a portion of his property tax to St. Louis County goes to Metro. He asked if this is correct. Mr. Friem said no. Mr. Goetz asked where does Metro get their money. Mr. Friem said from sales tax. Mr. Goetz said that the average resident outside I-270 spends more than the average resident inside I-270. Mr. Goetz asked why is service being denied to the residents who are paying more money for Metro Link. Mr. Friem said that the instructions given to Metro by the regional governments was to service the maximum number of people, and provide the maximum amount of job access with the resources available. Considering population density and the routes with the highest ridership, those are the routes that will remain.
Mr. Goetz asked Mayor Young to meet with the Mayors outside of I-270 to attempt to influence the County Council to stop providing sales tax to Metro until the service routes are restored.
Mayor Young said that this morning, the Mayors from Manchester, Winchester, Ballwin, Ellisville and Wildwood met with County Executive Charlie Dooley to discuss Manchester Road. St. Louis County donates $80 million per year to help in the support and operation of Metro. The County has had to reduce payments because funds are low. Mayor Young asked if there is anything that can be done to help the disabled. Mr. Friem said that on the east side of the river, everyone pays the same ADA fare. He said Metro is willing to consider any level of subsidy to support either Call-A-Ride or Metro bus.
Mr. Friem said that a significant part of the ¼ cent sales tax doesn’t come directly to Metro. There were $650 million of bonds issued for Metro Link construction. He said a significant portion of that tax revenue goes to retire bond debt. Only what’s left after principle and interest are paid, comes back to Metro for operating. The $80 million is not all operating. One-third is capital.
Mr. Friem said that he had to cancel an order for 22 busses that were going to replace busses scheduled for retirement in January. In November, if the decision was made to reinstate the bus order, this could not be done. If new funding were found, it could take 3 years to completely restore everything and re-establish service.
Alderman Boerner asked if there are any routes inside I-270 that were less profitable than the routes outside of I-270. Mr. Friem said that all of the routes inside I-270 that fit into the high subsidy, low ridership criteria have been eliminated. Some of the routes don’t just run through Manchester and Ballwin. They go through other communities all the way to the river. When that route is eliminated, it’s eliminated for the entire corridor, not just outside I-270. What was retained is the highest use, lowest subsidy routes that provide the maximum amount of county ridership for the tax revenue that’s being provided by the county. When a bus route is an express route, there’s no more fare activity on that bus all the way to its terminus point. It dead heads basically empty back to do it again. A similar north and south route on Grand Avenue, has five times as much fare box activity. This helps to under cut the cost of the route.
Mr. Friem said that Metro’s annual financial report is on line at www.MetroStLouis.org .
Alderman Suozzi said that she is a rider on the Metro bus line. She said that RideFinders is very helpful. She said there were 15 trips that were leaving the 141/44 lot. Some of the busses had 2 passengers. Her bus was full. She asked why there is a total elimination of the route. Mr. Friem said that in the Public Hearings, this question was asked. Plan B that kept some of that service was considered, but it did not solve the $7.5 million shortfall. Alderman Suozzi said that bus ridding has been a good experience. The busses are on time. She said there was only one Public Hearing in West County. Mr. Friem said that Public Hearing were held in Ellisville, Maryland Heights, a Saturday meeting at UMSL, three evening meetings downtown, and a hot line phone number. He said that they tried to design a plan to fit both the economics and public comments. In the end, it wasn’t cost effective to keep any service to west county.
Mayor Young said that the Great Streets Program was approved for funding. One of the things that contributed to this was that we have the Manchester Road bus line. He asked if that will make any impact on Metro as it is handled through East-West Gateway.
Mr. Friem said that at this time, the discussion is regarding the cuts that will go into effect on March 30. In the future, January 1 will be discussed. He said that Metro is trying to coordinate with all of the Mayors and council people for meetings to discuss the transit needs for their regions, have a discussion and design the program from the ground up. This information can then be taken to East-West Gateway with the service recommendations.
Alderman Lembke asked Mr. Friem to provide a vision of what Metro Link is to become. There should be a plan for the next 75 years. Mr. Friem said that this should be a community by community look at the future. Alderman Lembke said that a vision plan for the community will help people understand that this is an investment in the future and continue to be a major metropolitan area.
Alderman Lembke said that he surveyed 927 constituents. He said that 614 indicated that their perception is that top Metro management wasted $150 million on the Shrewsbury project. $135 million was lost in overruns that were not constrained. Their vision is that Metro lost control of this, sued, and ended up being embarrassed by losing the lawsuit which was another $9.5 - $10 million plus several million of their own legal fees. The $150 million should have been used to overcome the $50 million per year operating loss. He said now he understands that the $150 million may not have been able to be spend on operating, but that is the perception. Closing of the lines west of I-270 is punitive to those living in West County. Their current feeling is that they are not willing to support Metro. He said that sometimes perception becomes reality. Since 614 people out of 927 feel that way at this time, Metro has a huge public relations problem.
Mr. Friem said that there has been a complete accounting of the project. He said that he wouldn’t be making this presentation to the Ballwin Board of Aldermen if closing the lines west of I-270 was punitive. He said he will return at a future meeting to discuss how to fix the situation.
Alderman Terbrock asked how the problem can be fixed. Mr. Friem said that any transit system needs a revenue stream that is growing at the rate of inflation. Metro gets a little bit from the State, and the majority of the revenues come from St. Louis City and St. Louis County. The rest comes from the fare box. The only revenue stream that Metro had that kept up with inflation, going back 20 years, is fare box. The fare box percentage has risen from 16% to about 23% before this year. He said that a large fare increased was passed in January. That will generate enough revenue to save two routes. If it had not saved two routes, the rate increase would not have been implemented. He said that what is required is a stable revenue source. The sales tax rate growth in St. Louis City for 25 years is about 2½%, and inflation is 3%. Every year there is a loss of 2.75%. In the same 25 year period, the County froze its contribution and then rolled it back. Today, Metro receives about the same amount of money in taxes that was received 20 years ago. There has been no growth in the money applied to transit in St. Louis over the last 20 years. Additional taxes have gone toward capital expansion. In that timeframe Metro has built about $1.6 billion worth of Metro Link and paid for it. There has been nothing applied to operating.
Mr. Friem said the St. Clair County Transit District in Illinois does not appropriate money. They review with Metro every route, every mile of service, every hour of service, every Metro Link and every van and a contract is signed to provide the service. If we miss a buss, they don’t pay for it. If a train doesn’t go out, they don’t pay for it. Whatever service is provided, all the money from the fair box, all the money collected from the system, subtract it from the base cost, and they write a check for the difference. He said that Metro balances up to the penny every year. This is a service they want and they are willing to pay for it. They also allow free rides for senior citizens. He said the St. Louis area is paying $66 per capita for transit. Pittsburgh is paying $135 per capita, and Denver far more. The result is you get what you pay for. St. Louis has fallen way behind. He said we have a ½ cent sales tax that goes back to 1977. That amount is split 50/50 between road and bridges. What’s missing is the State of Missouri. The State of Illinois will underwrite 65% of St. Clair County’s transit costs. They will provide the small county of 250,000 people or less, approximately $26 or $27 million next year. For an operating area of 1.3 million people, Metro will get $1 million from Missouri. This was reduced from $1.3 million. There were service cuts in 1998, 2001, and 2004. Every year the transit system has been shrinking. This time the cuts are big because the County did a roll back and the federal grants expired.
PENDING ISSUES – LEGISLATION
BILL # 3565 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 2-4 OF ARTICLE I OF CHAPTER 2 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN WITH RESPECT TO APPROVAL FOR EXPENDITURES.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Robinson for a first reading of Bill No. 3565. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3565 was read for the first time.
City Attorney Jones said that this ordinance provides for a 2% adjustment with a $5,000 cap. This only applies to purchases of products which would be taxable and does not apply to services.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Lembke for a second reading of Bill No. 3565. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3565 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3565 with the following results:
BILL # 3566 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 7, SECTION 7-86 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN FEES.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Lembke for a first reading of Bill No. 3566. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3566 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Robinson for a second reading of Bill No. 3566. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3566 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3566 with the following results:
BILL # 3567 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 16, ARTICLE II OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN WITH RESPECT TO THE MUNICIPAL JUDGE.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Lembke for a first reading of Bill No. 3567. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3567 was read for the first time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3567 with the following results:
CONSENT ITEMS: (Budgeted items which are low bid and do not exceed expenditure estimates and/or items which have been previously approved in concept.)
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Pogue to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Historical Commission: The Historical Commission had a book sale and bake sale on March 6 and 7 at The Pointe, from which $687 was raised from the sale of books, and $80 was raised from the bake sale. Forty people signed up on the mailing list for the next book sale.
School House: McAlister’s will donate 15% of the sales with the flyers for the School House on March 10. Alderman Lembke suggested a jar be placed for extra contributions. This was done at the Historical Commission book sale.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Refuse Collection: City Administrator Kuntz said that Allied Waste provided three options for extension of the residential refuse collection contract which expired December 31, 2007. He asked if the Board has any conceptual interest in one option over another. He said that Option 2 eliminates the leaf collection service. This should be the Board’s decision and not predicated on the trash contract. He recommended Option 2 not be considered. He said that the discussion could be referred to committee or decide which option is favored, and then present the information at a Public Hearing on April 13. He said that it is not in final form for a final decision.
Alderman Lembke asked about the change to five days per week. City Administrator Kuntz said that the routes would include five days instead of four. Alderman Lembke asked if twice per week pickup would be eliminated. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is proposed.
Mayor Young suggested that since there will be new Board members in April, the service should go out for bid. He believes that the dollar amount in the proposed contract options are not as good as some of the contracts provided to other cities, according to the newspaper articles.
Alderman Lembke said that some of the other cities do not have yard waste collection. Complete information was not provided by the press. He said that there are good reasons to extend the contract with Allied Waste. There are not a lot of complaints regarding service. He said that this service has great value. The prices that Allied has presented may not be presented by other companies and may be substantially higher.
Alderman Terbrock believes that a Public Hearing is necessary. He would like to hear input from the residents.
Alderman Robinson said that a decision should be made now. This matter has been discussed throughout the first quarter of this year and longer. He believes that difficult decisions should not be held over and passed on to the next Board. Under Option 1, the change is $1.25 per month. This is very reasonable. Allied provides good service and predictability. He does not get many complaints. Mr. Lamantia has been responsive to any complaints. He said he prefers providing the same good service with the same company, and extending the contract, which will avoid long negotiations and explanations. We can’t compare our service with other cities because we include the leaf collection in the program. He suggested that the Board vote and approve Option 1.
Alderman Lembke said that he is not ready to do this because he sees good features in all three options. Automation should be included. He asked about the notification to other companies. City Attorney Jones said that if we are going to have an exclusive arrangement, all current providers must be notified, so that they can account for the fact that they will lose whatever Ballwin business they currently have.
City Administrator Kuntz said that this notifies other vendors that if they are not currently providing service, these are Allied’s rates, and they may want to come in and undercut the rates. The law requires this 2-year notification before an exclusive contract can be given to Allied. This is for single family residential. Dumpsters are outside the scope of this contract proposal.
Alderman Terbrock said that he does not get a lot of complaints about Allied’s service. The Public Hearing will probably reveal how bad the service was before Allied. This will boost confidence in staying with Allied for as long as we have.
Alderman Suozzi asked if the 90-gallon container the only one that will work with the automated service, and can they use the 65-gallon container? She feels that the large container is not needed for trash since recycling is so successful. Mr. Lamantia said the 65-gallon containers will be available and will work with the automated system. He said that if the 65-gallon container fits better in garages, that can be used. He said the best option is 65-gallon trash carts and 65-gallon recycling carts.
Alderman Pogue said asked about automation for the 65-gallon recycling containers. Mr. Lamantia said that automation can be used for both trash and recycling with the 65-gallon containers.
Alderman Lembke asked if there is going to be an additional charge over the yard waste for leaf collection and can residents get leaf collection without subscribing to yard waste? Mr. Lamantia said that it is preferred that leaf collection be a separate item for billing. This would be a negotiated price to cover all costs.
Alderman Terbrock said that bulky trash pickup and construction waste is not mentioned in the options. Alderman Robinson said that if we continue with the current contract, residents just call. Alderman Lembke said that in the past, anything that didn’t fit into the 90-gallon container was considered bulk.
Mayor Young asked the Board if it wants to have a Public Hearing on April 13. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Ayes: Terbrock, Pogue, Suozzi, Lembke, Boerner. Nay: Robinson. The Public Hearing on April 13 was approved by a vote of 5-1.
City Administrator Kuntz suggested that the Board e-mail their questions to him and include which option they prefer and other suggestions.
Recycling Carts: City Administrator Kuntz said that the Allied Waste proposal for the 65-gallon recycling carts is the highest of all the bids. He recommended that this be tabled to give more time for review. He said the first recommendation was for the second lowest bid because it was a far superior quality cart. Now the Allied recommendation is for the highest bid with the most time to get the carts delivered. He said that we would never take 4 bids and award the contract to the highest bidder. He recommended that the discussion be tabled or award the contract to Rehrig.
Alderman Robinson asked Mr. Lamantia for his recommendation. Mr. Lamantia recommended awarding the contract to Otto Engineering, the highest bidder. Otto is Allied’s national provider. Allied carries all of the spare parts to make repairs. He said that Ballwin does not have to pay extra for the carts.
Alderman Lembke said that the grant is for $125,000. Regardless of which carts Allied buys, it will not cost the City any extra money and Allied will maintain the carts. Mr. Lamantia said that is correct. Alderman Lembke asked why this is being discussed since there is no additional cost to the City. City Administrator Kuntz said we have to award the contract, it’s not being awarded to the lowest bidder, and he felt that the Board would like to have additional time to review the proposal. He said that only cities can award the contract under the terms of the grant.
Alderman Terbrock said that other cities getting new recycling carts are Creve Coeur, Chesterfield, and Manchester. He asked if the same carts are being provided. Mr. Lamantia said the 65-gallon carts are the same with automation and are made in the United States.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Pogue to accept the bid from Otto Engineering for the 65-gallon recycling carts. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Suozzi expressed her concern about the 90-day delivery time.
Pool Passes: City Administrator Kuntz said that Wildwood has again requested that Ballwin offer a discounted pool pass. The proposal is that Wildwood would pay $85 above the resident family rate. Chesterfield and Ellisville are considering the same reciprocal agreements. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said that last year Wildwood paid half the difference between resident and non-resident rates. This year, it is a flat rate of $85. Last year, we were getting $80, which was half the difference between resident and non-resident rates. Because of the new rate structure, this formula would only be $55 this year, so, the $85 rate is recommended. It is still a break from the full non-resident rate.
City Administrator Kuntz said that if Ballwin does not negotiate these kinds of deals, another facility may be built which will further dilute the market. He said there will probably be more impact on Ellisville because their pool is new. Taking small steps to open a wide range of recreation on a regional basis makes us more effective. Another facility will mean competition for both customers and the pool of labor in terms of hiring lifeguards etc. Keeping this on a regional basis is beneficial.
Alderman Suozzi said that in the past there were limits on the number of passes. Are there limits for the upcoming season. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that last year, about 75 passes were sold to Wildwood, which was more than was sold to Ellisville. She doesn’t anticipate that many being sold this year because many Wildwood residents will use the Ellisville pool.
City Administrator Kuntz said that it is still hoped to develop a multi-city pool pass that can be used at any of the municipal pools in the area.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to authorize staff to enter into the agreement for the pool passes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
In-Car Computers: City Administrator Kuntz said this is the second phase of replacement of the in-car computers. The Data 911 units are recommended as they were last year. Alderman Lembke said that he is very impressed with these computers for the police cars.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Robinson to approve the purchase of the Data 911 in-car computers. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Lembke said that he requested that this issue be discussed at this time. In each of the last several years, we have put $8,000 towards the dogs in an attempt to follow the program as best we could with GeesePeace. He said that GeesePeace assured us that if we worked in a certain direction with the dogs and addling, that we would see changes over a number of years in the goose population and the mess that they create. It’s time for this to be reviewed. He suggested the Parks & Recreation Department provide input, perhaps contacting GeesePeace, and offering information about the results of the program so far. Has the goose population been reduced in our parks or have we created problems for other places in the Ballwin area where there are ponds? Is the addling program sufficient? He said that we or GeesePeace have not done an adequate job of contacting the Ballwin businesses. There are geese on the roof at Target and chasing people on the ground. Target management said that the geese are aggressive and there’s nothing that can be done because they are protected. He reminded them that we will addle the eggs with Target’s permission. He said that they didn’t know this program existed. He told them to contact GeesePeace.
Alderman Lembke said that if GeesePeace is not helping as they promised to go to businesses and sites where the geese are nesting and try to work with the people, he doesn’t know what should be done, and he is not suggesting a roundup at this time. He said he doesn’t want to see our residents being chased off of parking lots and away from stores. He asked Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer to check on this and bring back a report for the Parks & Recreation Committee to discuss for appropriate action. He said that we can’t get a permit before April 1 for a roundup for this year, but since the $8,000 has been eliminated from the budget, a Public Hearing may be helpful. If people are adamant about wanting the geese, perhaps we can set up a program so that those people can collect money for the City to work with Geese Peace again, continue to hire the dog service, and expand the program. This group of people could be the ones to explain to the businesses what can be done humanely to help reduce this challenge.
Mayor Young said that when GeesePeace receives notices from John Hoffman, they go to those locations and take care of the problems. He said that Target will be taken care of.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Pogue to proceed with the application for a roundup. Mayor Young said it will be a big mistake if this happens.
A voice vote was taken with the following result. Ayes: Robinson, Pogue, Terbrock, Boerner. Nays: Lembke and Suozzi. The motion passed to apply for the roundup by a vote of 4 – 2. Mayor Young said he believes the Board will regret this decision.
Future Meeting: City Administrator Kuntz recommended that the March 23 Board meeting be cancelled due to there being no pressing issues.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Pogue to cancel the March 23 Board of Aldermen meeting. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Lembke asked how this occurred. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that perhaps the UMB representative is not accustomed to working with a government entity, or confused working with a business rather than government, and said that what he gave us was basically an estimate. Mayor Young said that UMB should take responsibility for the error.
Finance Officer Loehr said that when the submitted the numbers, they had just done an amortization on line to get the payment information. The UMB Bank representative said that this was just an estimate. When they sent the contract, it was way off base. She told them that the original is the correct amount. They gave a different amortization that is a few dollars higher and said this is the best they can do. She said she contacted UMB Bank today and was told that the representative was new.
Alderman Lembke suggested that UMB Bank be told that we will take the entire city business to a different bank if they are not going to deal with us on a good-faith basis. He said that this is their fault. Alderman Boerner asked about the interest rate on financing the equipment. Finance Officer Loehr said one was 3.94% and another was 4%. Director of Parks Bruer said that UMB originally waived their fee. The bids were close by only $50 over 3 years.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke to rescind the award to UMB Bank and instead award the contract to Commerce Bank.
An amendment was proposed by Alderman Pogue to offer the contract to UMB Bank at the negotiated term that was agreed. If not, it could then be given to Commerce Bank. Alderman Lembke agreed to the amendment.
City Attorney Jones said that this is acceptable in the manner that the motion has been made and the amendment.
The amended motion was seconded by Alderman Pogue. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Lembke suggested that the Finance & Administration Committee consider changing banks if UMB chooses not to back their first bid offer. Alderman Robinson agreed. The Finance & Administration Committee Chairman Suozzi agreed to place this issue on the committee’s next agenda.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Telephone Litigation Suit: City Attorney Jones said that he and City Administrator Kuntz met last week with Howard Pappiner, who is among a team of attorneys that have been representing a consortium of approximately 72 cities statewide. Their class action cases were the basis for the four settlements that this Board approved last year. Concurrently with those class actions, there were a series of lawsuits filed by the providers, which were in protest of the cities taxes. When the settlements were arrived at, it settled both the class action cases and the protest cases, leaving only T-Mobil, which is the current pending protest case. He said he defended that case in the same manner that he defended the other protest cases. There is also a class action suit pending against T-Mobil. City Attorney Jones said there is a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, which will determine if the cities are going to mediate the T-Mobil dispute.
City Attorney Jones said there is a third class of litigation which is aimed at the land line providers, the traditional pole to ground to house or business connection. This involves an action filed by the cities of Winchester, Wellston, and University City to force the land line providers to pay a gross receipts tax on the services that are provided and previously have not been taxed. He said an example of that is Call Notes, where you call remotely and get messages like an answering machine, but it’s not an answering machine. That is a telephone service and should be subject to the gross receipts tax. The class of cities has not been certified in that case. Right now it is still Winchester, Wellston, and University City and is under submission to Judge Edward Sweeny in the City of St. Louis. He said that these three cities seem to think that the providers are poised to make a settlement in the land line cases and have encouraged other cities to join with Winchester, Wellston, and University City in that litigation so that even if the class action cannot be certified, solidarity can be shown. He said he believes this is a good idea under the circumstances, particularly because this consortium, which formed in 2003 approximately, was requiring monetary contributions of $10,000 - $20,000 per city in order to join. They are willing to waive that fee in order to do it at this time.
City Attorney Jones recommended that Ballwin join with Winchester, Wellston, and University City in the land line litigation, but not join the consortium with regard to the T-Mobil cell phone case because we have already done everything we need to do in that case. If that is something the Board is interested in, an ordinance is needed to approve the retention of that group of attorneys representing the consortium who now represent Winchester, Wellston, and University City. At this time, Howard Pappiner, John Mulligan, and the Korein, Tillery firm from East St. Louis is handling the issue.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to draft legislation for consideration in the land line litigation, as deemed appropriate by the City Attorney. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mosquito Control: Alderman Terbrock said that the City of Manchester has bat houses in their parks. Bats eat bugs and mosquitos. He suggested that perhaps Cub Scouts or a similar group could build the bat houses as a project. City Administrator Kuntz said that mosquito fogging will be on the next agenda and this suggestion can also be discussed.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Lembke to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 9:09 p.m.
WALTER S. YOUNG, MAYOR