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
CITY OF BALLWIN
300 Park Drive, Donald “Red” Loehr Police & Court Center
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Minutes: June 22, 2009 Board of Aldermen Meeting
5. Presentation: METRO
6. Pending Issues: None.
7. Citizen Comments
9. Legislation NEXT ORDINANCE # 09-22
10. Consent Items
11. Mayor’s Report
12. City Administrator’s Report
13. City Attorney’s Report
14. Aldermanic Comments
BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING BRIEFS
If you wish to address the Board during this meeting, please fill out the “Citizen Comments: To Address the Board of Aldermen” form and place it in the tray on the table in the center of the Board Room before the meeting begins. Topics of a global nature, such as requests for ballot initiative endorsements, should be submitted in writing to the City Clerk at 14811 Manchester Road.
Please limit your comments to 3 minutes as an individual and 5 minutes representing a group. Please avoid repeating comments others have already made.
TELEPHONE SETTLEMENT (Bill 3579)
PROPERTY TAX RATE (Bill 3580)
FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE (Bill 3581)
LIGHTING CONVERSION PLAN
STREET LIGHT GRANT
STOP SIGN REQUEST
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:00 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the June 22, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman McDowell to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mr. Friem said that by restoring the bus route on Manchester Road, access is restored to a significant percentage of the disabled community in the Ballwin area. He said a 25% ridership loss was anticipated when the cuts were made. On Metro Link, it was 15%, Metro Bus was 20%, and on Call-A-Ride, the percentage was 30%. Trips that have been costing $35 one way, will be reinstated at the $4 transit cost. He said the express packages in the West County area have also been reinstated.
Mr. Freim cautioned that a reinstated route does not correlate to equal service . A reinstated route that previously provided a 15-minute pickup interval, may now be every 40 minutes. Express trips that previously were 10 trips in the morning, will now have 4.
Alderman Suozzi asked if there are plans to have the public vote on the permanent funding issue. Mr. Freim said that it has been discussed to have this on the ballot in April, 2010. Metro is not a taxing entity. The measure would have to be placed on the ballot by the County and City. Petitions from riders, communities, business, and in Chesterfield are being circulated to put this matter on the ballot.
Alderman Boerner asked if there is a net loss to the number of routes. Mr. Freim said that in service miles, the reduction was 35% of what the metro transportation system was prior to March 30. About 1/3 of this will be restored. He said that on the Manchester Road route, the bus will come half as much as it did prior to March 30. He said the new lines are funded under the Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Grant provided by the federal government. One of the rules of a CMAQ Grant is that it cannot be used to restore service that has been withdrawn because of local funding issues. The new routes had to be designed to serve corridors that met congestion issues, but they could not duplicate services that had been withdrawn. One of the new routes goes directly to the airport in north county and should have been done years ago.
Mr. Freim said there will be public information sessions toward late fall or early winter.
Alderman McDowell said that St. Louis County allows people to opt out of the spraying. He asked if this is possible in Ballwin. City Administrator Kuntz said that this was discussed by the Board in June, and the direction from the Board was to continue the present program in 2009, and discuss, for the 2010 budget, moving the program to a contract with St. Louis County. Alderman McDowell said that he is not suggesting getting out of mosquito spraying, only allowing residents on a street to opt out. City Administrator Kuntz said that a procedure would have to be developed and presented to the Board for its approval.
Alderman Boerner asked if a distinction has been made between the incorporated and unincorporated areas regarding the policy for mosquito spraying. Mrs. Bresnan said that she believes that the unincorporated areas and the 63 municipalities that are in the St. Louis County program are all handled the same or as the cities have requested.
BILL # 3579 - AN ORDINANCE APPROVING A SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH AT&T/SBC LANDLINE.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3579. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3579 was read for the first time.
City Administrator Kuntz said that this legislation does not include the requested 5% contribution of a portion of this settlement to the local or state Municipal Leagues. Given Ballwin’s financial situation, he does not recommend such a contribution.
Alderman McDowell suggested that a letter be sent to the Missouri Municipal League expressing gratitude for their efforts in lobbying this issue. He believes that the 5% contribution is needed for city expenses at this time.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a second reading of Bill No. 3579. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3579 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3579 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3580. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3580 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDowell said that Ballwin is in a fiscal situation where costs are continuously going up. The citizens vote for the aldermen to be financially sound stewards of City funds by putting all revenues to the needs of the residents. City Attorney Jones said that the previous property tax rate was 27¢ per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Since 1987, it has been rolled back to a zero tax rate. He said some portion of the tax rate could be restored. The question is what number could be restored legislatively without having to seek voter approval. He said that property values have changed due to inflation since 1987; there are areas that have been annexed into the city which have affected the base. Without having to go to the voters under the Hancock Amendment, Ballwin would have to go through a calculation to determine a tax rate that would yield no more revenue than what had been previously received. He said this would not be known for sure if this is accurate. It could be restored legislatively to some level.
Alderman McDowell said that this should be discussed in a Finance Committee meeting. He said that not taking consideration of full stewardship duty that the Board has and not acting due to political expediency is doing a disservice to the citizens. If the Board knows there is going to be increased demands for funds in the future, the right legislation should be enacted so that the citizens can enjoy the same rights and benefits that they have in the past.
City Attorney Jones said that the statutes in place in Missouri require the cities to set the tax rate based upon reassessments every year, and cannot get a windfall from rising property values. There is an opportunity to increase the tax rate when property values are falling. He said the Hancock part deals with what has already been approved and if it must go back to the voters. He suggested investigating what 27¢ yielded to Ballwin in 1987 so that the numbers will not exceed what was already approved.
Alderman Boerner asked City Attorney Jones for documentation of the Hancock Amendment for consideration at the Finance Committee meeting. City Administrator Kuntz said that in 1987, the 27¢ real estate tax generated approximately $200,000.
Alderman Suozzi said it is her understanding that the annexed areas do not have to pay a property tax because they were annexed after the tax was rolled back to zero. City Attorney Jones said that this is possible. He recommended that the base not be exceeded.
Alderman Leahy said that the residents voted the property tax issue down by 2-1. He asked if all of this is worth going through again for only $200,000.
Since there was no second reading of Bill 3580, Alderman McDowell asked that this be held over until the next meeting. The Board agreed.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3581. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3581 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3581. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3581 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3581 with the following results:
A. Surplus Vehicles (3 police cars $9,946.00)
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Commission Vacancies: Mayor Pogue asked for a nomination for the Board of Adjustment alternate position in Ward 3.
Mayor Pogue nominated Mark Weaver to fill the vacant Planning & Zoning position. Ward 3 Aldermen Fleming and Leahy are in agreement.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Leahy to approve the appointment of Mark Weaver to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a 4-year term expiration on 5/13/13. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Joint Meeting: Mayor Pogue said that the joint meeting with the City of Ellisville will be held on August 11 at 5:00 p.m. at Bluebird Park.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Texting: City Administrator Kuntz said this policy prohibits reading or sending text messages while operating a city vehicle or equipment.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the addition to the Employee Personnel Manual.
Alderman McDowell asked if this includes cell phone use. City Administrator Kuntz said that there is a cell phone usage policy, and this is a supplement to that policy.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Audit: City Administrator Kuntz said this is an annual audit by an independent accounting firm. It assures that we are following established accounting practices, as well as accuracy.
Motor Fuel Usage Policy: City Administrator Kuntz said the auditors suggested that we need a procedure for gasoline card monitoring, in addition to the current card issuance and log procedure. He said the Fuel Usage Policy will be included in the Policy Manual if approved.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Mellow to adopt the Motor Fuel Usage Policy as proposed. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
2010 Budget: City Administrator Kuntz said the budget reflects a 12% reduction in sales tax receipts. He said that staff is doing a good job of containing expenses. There is no control over incoming revenue. He asked the Board to review the first draft for upcoming budget work sessions. He said that there was a change in budget format in 2009. To free up more money in the capital budget, it was agreed that all vehicles in capital would be debt service and projects. Formerly, vehicle acquisitions was treated as a capital expense. This was shifted to operations.
Alderman McDowell said that he is concerned that if the quality of police officers to be based on pay, it could take quite some time to maintain that particular level. He said there should be a base line for the police department. If the police services dip and there is a lower quality of officers, it can take a long time to bring the department back up to an appropriate level.
Lighting Conversion Plan: City Administrator Kuntz said Lighting Resources has submitted a proposal to convert the city-owned lighting fixtures that are not owned by AmerenUE to a more energy efficient system. The purpose is to bring down the energy consumption costs. Ballwin owns 31 fixtures. An extensive analysis was conducted evaluating the current high pressure sodium, LED induction, and pulse start technologies. Lighting Resources recommended that pulse start has the best payback in terms of cost to benefit. He said that the cost to convert a 400-watt rated light is $144 per unit. If we accept the proposal, including labor and installation and materials, the city would be authorizing $6,120 to Lighting Resources to create a more energy efficient environment on a limited basis. There is sufficient funds in the street light account to cover this cost. This is based on current rates. Ameren has filed for a 12% increase starting in April, 2010.
City Administrator Kuntz said that electric bills will be compared after the installation with bills from before the installation. He said the cost will be $144 for the 400 watt rated, and $216 for the 1,000 watt rated fixtures in the proposal. The mean lumens currently are 26k for 400 watt, and 74k for 1,000 watt. The new fixtures will be 25k for 400 watt, and 80k for the 1,000 watt. The lamps will last twice as long in some cases. Lighting Resources is wanting to give a proposal if the Board is interested, to buy out the street lights from Ameren and use an energy efficient technology. The city would pay that instead of Ameren. When the payback is done, we will own the lights and pay for energy only. There should be a savings of approximately $2,000 per year.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Mellow to proceed with the proposal. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Street Lights: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding the street lights on Clayton Road. This issue was previously tabled because when lights were identified that could be eliminated from the bill, the State was reconstructing Clayton Road. On Clayton Road, there are no lights in the City of Chesterfield. The only lights are in Ballwin. Since this is a State highway, this does not fit into the plan and should be a State responsibility. This could be a savings of approximately $1,800 per year.
Alderman Suozzi said that this area on Clayton Road would be very dark without the lights.
Alderman Leahy asked about turning the lights over to Claymont Subdivision. Mayor Pogue said that the Claymont Subdivision would have to agree to this. Alderman Leahy said that he does not have any problem with getting rid of those lights. City Administrator Kuntz said that one subdivision should not be singled out. If this is going to be done, it should be done city-wide. The residential street lights, which are glorified porch lights, are spaced every 250 feet in cul-de-sacs and side streets. These are not the safety lights at intersections. These could be eliminated incrementally by meeting with the subdivisions, gaining their acceptance, turning off the lights for a trial period, and monitoring any issues. The Board previously was not comfortable with this.
Alderman McDowell said that there is a safety aspect to the residential street lights. He said that if the residents of a community are in agreement to the lights being eliminated, he does not have a problem with this. If they are dependent upon the lights for safety, he is opposed to eliminating the lights. He said it would be very dark on his own street if the lights were turned off.
City Administrator Kuntz said that his proposal is an alternative to turning off all of the lights, rather than continuing to write a check for $440,000 per year, look for redundancy and eliminate it. The street light eliminations on the maps provided to the Board are with the concurrence of the police department. He suggested eliminating lights that won’t punish anyone, take what’s left, buy them from Ameren, and put in energy efficient fixtures that provides safety, preserves the environment, and saves money. This will eliminate the payment to Ameren of $18.24 per pole for 30 years for a street light that they amortized the cost of 20 years ago.
Alderman Suozzi asked in which areas has redundancy already been eliminated. City Administrator Kuntz said this has been done in Danbury subdivision, two lights across the street from each other on Ball Park Drive, two or three that were subdivision lights, and on Ballwin Manor, which is a private street. He said the midblock lights could be eliminated, but keep the intersection lights.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner to eliminate the 14 redundant lights identified on the maps that have been provided to the Board. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Leahy and seconded by Alderman Mellow to turn off the Clayton Road street lights. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Ayes: Boerner, Mellow, Leahy. Nays: Suozzi, McDowell. The motion was approved by a vote of 3-2.
Street Light Grant: City Administrator Kuntz described a grant pilot program to convert 10 of the light fixtures along Holloway Road to the LED technology. He said he asked if the agreement is signed, could the lights be taken off the bill during the 2-year test period. The decision could not be made, but we would get a lower rate. At the end of the 2-year pilot program, the lights would be turned over to Ballwin.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Mellow to authorize participation in this no-cost program. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Pending Litigation – Closed Session: City Attorney Jones requested a closed session to discuss pending litigation.
Stop Sign Request: Alderman Leahy said he will discuss this when a full Board is present.
Letter to the Missouri Municipal League: A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Leahy to send a letter of gratitude to the Missouri Municipal League, signed by the City Administrator, for its efforts in lobbying for the litigation that turned out favorable to the City of Ballwin in the landline settlement. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mosquito Spraying: Alderman McDowell suggested that a designated percentage of residents on a street should be able to opt out of mosquito spraying.
City Administrator Kuntz said that this should be reviewed yearly so that new property owners could voice their opinions on the issue. He said his recommendation is that the program be eliminated and contracted with St. Louis County. This could be a one-year trial.
Alderman Suozzi said that St. Louis County is only spraying based on test results, which is what types and number of mosquitoes they catch in the traps. She said they are not spraying when someone calls and complains. Alderman Boerner suggested that the Public Health & Safety Committee discuss this, since there are disease issues involved.
Public Health & Safety Committee Meeting: Alderman Suozzi and the committee agreed to conduct this meeting to discuss mosquito spraying on August 24 at 6:15 p.m., prior to the regularly scheduled Board meeting.
Adjourn to Closed Session: A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn to closed session to discuss pending litigation. A roll call vote was taken with the following results: Ayes: Aldermen Boerner, Mellow, Leahy, Suozzi, McDowell.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner to adjourn the closed session. A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned at 8:59 p.m.
The Board reconvened in open session at 9:00 p.m.
Mayor Pogue stated that the Board met in closed session to discuss pending litigation.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman McDowell to adjourn the open session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR