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
BUDGET HEARING NOTICE
The Board of Aldermen of the City of Ballwin will consider the proposed Capital
The Board of Aldermen of the City of Ballwin will consider the proposed Operating
Meeting Agenda click here
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:03 p.m.
The flag was presented by Boy Scout Pack 621 from Salem Methodist Church. The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the November 23, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
City Attorney Jones said that it appears that the road was not built to Ballwin standards and Ballwin does not have any obligation to maintain it. He said that annexation does not automatically mean that Ballwin will accept the street for maintenance. Mr. Drury said that he is requesting that the city bring this section up to Ballwin standards. City Attorney Jones said that it is Ballwin’s practice that a private road must be improved to city standards before the City will accept it for maintenance. He said that this will have to be researched to determine if the request can be granted. City Administrator Kuntz asked if Mr. Drury would be interested in having the driveway vacated back to him as private property. Mr. Drury said yes. City Administrator Kuntz said that this would be a legal procedure, and is more plausible when the property owner is in agreement.
Joseph Hagan, 209 Cool Meadows Drive: Mr. Hagan said he does not understand how the budget can be cut 5% while a 2% salary increase is also proposed. He said a there will have to be a 6 ½ % cut in the budget in order to maintain it. There has been a 9% reduction in the sales tax revenue, which is the primary revenue for the city. He asked what services are going to be cut? The condition of the streets is the biggest complaint in the City of Ballwin. He said the City should put a property tax on the ballot again. He believes if this is communicated properly to the citizens, it would pass. This is required to maintain the basic foundations and infrastructure of the city. He said he does not want damage to his vehicle because of the poor road conditions and a reduction in services, which will happen if more revenue is not received.
Jim Nelson, 15961 Downall Green Drive: Mr. Nelson said that the City of Ballwin is in violation of its Code of Ordinances and Missouri Statutes in consenting to the establishment of a Transportation Development District (TDD) at the corner of Clarkson and Kehrs Mill Roads. He said this TDD allows for up to an additional 1% sales tax on purchases at the proposed Schnucks at that intersection. The tax revenues for up to a forty-year period would pay for road improvements that Schnucks promised to finance. Mr. Nelson said that City Attorney Jones directed the City to consent to the formation of the TDD. No vote was taken and no minutes were prepared. Mr. Nelson said that this was done in closed session and the citizens of Ballwin were not told of these actions, yet Ballwin claimed in court documents that it represented the interest of its residents, residents who never knew this was happening. Mr. Nelson said that Ballwin decided in closed session to consent to this TDD allowing for a tax increase in violation of applicable statutes and ordinances; failed to give any notice of the closed session; failed to raise this issue in open meeting as the law requires; failed to vote as required by law; and failed to make a record of what happened as required by law. He said that the Board of Aldermen should publicly refute these charges or, if unable to do so, promptly declare null and void the illegal consent to the TDD in question.
City Attorney Jones said that the TDD case is on appeal because of a number of citizens and adjoining property owners attempted to intervene in the action, claiming that a public hearing should have been held. The Circuit Court ruled that no public hearing was required. These interveners appealed the action to the Court of Appeals. He said this issue is before the court. There was no requirement for a public hearing at the time. Like any other case that has been filed and is pending, he said he delivers reports to the Board of Aldermen about the status of litigation, answers questions, and often receives direction. He said this is proper in a closed session when the City is a party to the litigation. If recorded minutes was required of such discussions, there would never be any way the City of Ballwin could, in confidence, discuss litigation strategy. He said that Mr. Nelson is wrong in everything that he said.
Mr. Nelson said that he can contradict everything that City Attorney Jones has said. This is not accurate information. City Attorney Jones said that since this is a matter of litigation that is before the court, he advised that there be no further discussion on this issue.
Ron Markland, 15908 Wetherburn Rd.: Mr. Markland said that in reading the audit report presented at the last meeting, the initial comment indicates that while the City appears to be violating the ordinances, they were at least somewhat following their own published policies. He stated that City Administrator Kuntz has authorized expenses in violation of the city’s ordinances; has denied public access to documentation related to this and other big-ticket purchases in the current fiscal year; and has chosen an impartial third party to review only those documents that he selected. He said a clean report from the CPA firm was not obtained. Mr. Markland said that the citizens of Ballwin have the right to have all purchases examined to assure that they comply with both Ballwin and State laws. He said the Board should take this audit seriously. Potential violations may be placing the entire Board in an unattractive legal position.
Our 2010 budgets reflect the City’s conservative fiscal policy. Ballwin will not be offering anything new or additional in terms of programs or services. In fact, it will be a challenge to maintain 2009 service levels.
In some respects, Ballwin is better prepared than most communities to deal with this current economic crisis. The gradual decline in the retail sales tax base over the past several years has forced the adoption of numerous cost cutting measures and created a much more efficient work environment. Finally, frugal spending, coupled with an increase in the utility tax rate in 2008, has enabled Ballwin to amass a healthy reserve fund balance which will be tapped once again to achieve a balanced budget in 2010.
The current unrestricted reserves are expected to exceed $9 million at year end. $276,577 will be applied in 2010, but this does not necessarily mean that the balance will be reduced proportionately when this fiscal period ends. If economic conditions improve over forecast, Ballwin could actually end up increasing the “rainy day” fund.
The 2010 Operating plan calls for expenditures totaling $14,904,586. This is $515,781 less than the original appropriation for 2009. It reflects expected increases for pension, insurance, and utilities. Once again, no new positions will be added and vacancies will only be filled on an “as needed” basis. Overall, current full-time staffing level is at 142. This is where Ballwin was in 1999, and down by 3 from 2009 authorized strength.
The 2010 Capital Improvement Plan totals $2,750,926. $1,738,874 will be applied toward bond debt retirement for payments on the general obligation bonds from 1992 and the certificate of participation notes from 2002. $825,900 has been set aside for street improvements, while $95,000 has been earmarked for a Parks project, subject to an offsetting grant award. No Capital expenditures are budgeted for the Police or Administration Departments.
In summary, Ballwin will (like you) continue to live within our means as we struggle to cope with these uncertain economic times. Although no drastic changes are anticipated, service levels will undoubtedly be affected. 71% of our budget costs are personnel related. This is down from where we were just 4 years ago when personnel related expenses equated to 75% of the total budget.
Mayor Pogue declared the public hearing open. He asked if anyone would like to speak in favor of the 2010 Capital Improvement Plan or Operating Budget. There were no comments.
Mayor Pogue asked if anyone would like to speak against the 2010 Capital Improvement Plan or Operating Budget. Mr. Robert Klein, Williamsburg Green Subdivision, said that when the Reserve Account is considered, throughout the last 10 years, this amount has increased several hundred percent. He asked what are the goals of the Board regarding the Reserve account and what is the purpose of the Reserve account? He asked if the Reserve account is in place to protect the residents and city in downturns of the economy? He asked what is the ideal amount to be held in the Reserve account?
There were no other comments. Mayor Pogue declared the public hearing closed.
BILL # 3602 - AN ORDINANCE APPROVING AND ADOPTING A BUDGET OF ANTICIPATED CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2010, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2010, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a first reading of Bill No. 3602. A voice vote was taken with 7 Aye votes, and Alderman Schmer voting Nay. The motion passed. Bill No. 3602 was read for the first time.
Alderman Fleming suggested subsidizing the street improvement budget in an amount equal to the proposed Operating budget subsidy. Consultants have advised that the City spend $2 million per year on streets to maintain an adequate program. He said the street program should be funded from reserves. It is his understanding that the street program cannot legally be funded up to $2 million.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy to include $300,000 from reserves to be applied to capital street improvements in 2010.
Alderman Schmer stated that this would be taking additional money out of reserves and not transferring funds from somewhere else in the budget to be applied to streets. An additional $300,000 will be added to the budget so that $600,000 from reserves is part of this proposal. Alderman Fleming said up to $600,000.
Alderman Boerner said that this is the purpose of having reserves. He supports the use of reserves in this manner, to be able to provide services that the residents expect. The infrastructure is important, and the streets are part of the infrastructure.
Alderman Schmer said that there has been discussion previously about putting the property tax on the ballot again. He said if more money is taken out of reserves, there will be other issues such as leaf removal becoming more expensive, snow removal, more money will be taken out of reserves. He asked why would any resident vote for a property tax because Ballwin will bail them out every time? The citizens of Ballwin spoke very clearly that they were not going to vote for a property tax. He said this was turned down soundly. If the citizens don’t want to pay for these services with new revenues, and the City continues to pay for the increasing costs out of reserves, at some point, the reserves will be gone. The current Board is fortunate to have a large reserve because of the efforts of the preceding Board. He said that this Board is taking money out of reserves.
City Attorney Jones said that if this motion passes, the public hearing will have to be reopened at this meeting, but the matter will not need to go back to the Planning & Zoning Commission. The Planning & Zoning Commission suggested that additional funds be added to the Capital budget.
A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Boerner, Leahy, Fleming. Nay: Schmer, Suozzi, Terbrock, McDowell, Mellow. The motion failed by a vote of 3-5.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman McDowell for a second reading of Bill No. 3602. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3602 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3602 with the following results:
BILL # 3603 - 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, 2010, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2010, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman McDowell for a first reading of Bill No. 3603. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3603 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDowell said the budget information has been discussed in depth. There is not going to be a perfect budget in these economic times. There has been a lot of hard work from the Board and staff. The Board and staff have done a good job to insure that the quality of life at this time in Ballwin is maintained as much as possible.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3603. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3603 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3603 with the following results:
BILL # 3604 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2009 BUDGET OF CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE OPERATING AND CAPITAL REVENUE FUNDS OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURE REVISIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING RE-APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a first reading of Bill No. 3604. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3604 was read for the first time.
Alderman Fleming asked Finance Officer Loehr for an explanation of this legislation. Finance Officer Loehr said that according to the budget policy adopted by the Board, no program within the budget is supposed to have expenditures in excess of the budgeted amount. There were 2 programs in the administration budget, (legal and legislation) which were over budget due to unanticipated legal expenses, and the unanticipated increase in credit card charges for Parks & Recreation services. The Public Works budget was over budget on two programs. One was because of the temporary labor expense for leaf pickup, and the other was for unexpected vehicle repairs due to the age of the vehicles. The total expenditures of the budget is not changed. She said that this is moving funds from program to program to balance within the departments’ budget.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3604. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3604 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3604 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3596. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3596 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a second reading of Bill No. 3596. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3596 was read for the second time.
Findings: A vote in favor of the bill finds that the Petition, as submitted, would not substantially increase traffic hazards or congestion; would not adversely affect the character of the neighborhood; would not adversely affect the general welfare of the community; would not over-tax public utilities; would not adversely affect public safety and health; is consistent with good planning practice; can be operated in a manner that is not detrimental to the permitted developments and uses in the District; and can be developed and operated in a manner that is visually compatible with the permitted uses in the surrounding area. A vote against the bill means that one or more of these findings are absent.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3596 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a first reading of Bill No. 3605. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3605 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDowell said that he believes the side yard setback variance that allows the reconfiguration of this plat solely for economic purposes is not a justification for reconfiguration. There is no undue structure of this lot. He said there is no undue stress or anything of that nature. His concern is regarding the Board of Adjustment that they should take a closer look at the petitions for variance set backs and make sure that they are approved in an appropriate way. A petitioner should not be able to reconfigure without showing just cause. He said in this case, it does not reflect just cause.
Alderman Terbrock said that he does not see any detriment in this request. If it enhances the ability to sell the property, he does not want to stand in the way of this approach. Alderman McDowell said that in a regular configuration, an undue hardship as to where the property is located is acceptable, not because the market has changed. He said there must be justification for the change and not just to make an easier sale.
City Attorney Jones said that the Board of Adjustment found an undue hardship and/or practical difficulty, and determined that the petitioner met his burden. He said the Planning & Zoning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Aldermen who then adopts, if appropriate, an ordinance. The Board of Adjustment acts as an administrative body, and its decision is only subject to appeal to the Circuit Court within 30 days. That decision is now final. He said that an affected party, including the City, could appeal the decision if appropriate. At this point, the decision is final.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a second reading of Bill No. 3605. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3605 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3605 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a first reading of Bill No. 3606. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3606 was read for the first time.
Alderman Terbrock said that the re-appropriation was approved partly due to credit card fees being higher. He asked if the higher credit card fees were taken into consideration and included in the recommended fee increases. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that the convenience of credit card use breeds additional transactions. City Administrator Kuntz said that this will be considered either to consolidate or reduce the fee. Alderman Schmer said that the credit card rate can be shopped and other charges can be higher. He said that the city is doing the right thing by encouraging residents to use credit cards as much as possible. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that membership sales are up due to credit card use.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Schmer for a second reading of Bill No. 3606. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3606 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3606 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3607. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3607 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDowell said that in the Federal guidelines are the individuals who can be selected to do the project. He asked do the guidelines give any option to the City of Ballwin that the contract that is awarded that the individual workers be American citizens and not foreign individuals that are working for that particular company. He said that he would like to see Missouri citizens working on these projects and the revenues being distributed back into the Missouri economy, as opposed to a vendor getting a portion of the contract and then subcontracting it out to labor that may not be citizens of either Missouri or the United States.
City Attorney Jones said that this is required with regard to United States citizens. He said the bid specifications have been changed to comply with State law, which requires Ballwin to participate in an electronic program, and also requires the contractors to certify that their workers have taken certain training. Between the two programs, most are American citizens that are performing these contracts. He said there is no provision for Missouri citizens at this time.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3607. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3607 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3607 with the following results:
A. Clubhouse Carpet
Alderman Fleming requested that Item “A” be removed for further discussion.
Alderman Suozzi asked if Walgreens is moving toward liquor sales in all of its stores? City Administrator Kuntz said that this is similar to the Target stores now selling liquor in their stores. This appears to be a new direction for the chain. He said that approximately 50% of the CVS drug stores have alcoholic sales.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to accept Consent Item “B”. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Future Meetings: Cancellation of the December 28 Board meeting: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to cancel the December 28 Board meeting due to the holidays. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Aldermanic Work Shop Retreat: Mayor Pogue asked that the Board give suggested January dates and topics for discussion to City Administrator Kuntz for consideration.
Appointments: Historical Commission: Mayor Pogue recommended re-appointment of Helen Pisarkiweicz, Alice Mertz, and Verna Arnold to 3-year terms.
Mayor Pogue said that there is a vacancy in the Historical Commission and recommended the appointment of Virginia Rogan. A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Leahy to appoint Virginia Rogan to the Historical Commission filling an unexpired term until December 31, 2011. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mayor Pogue recommended the appointment of Chris Graville to the position of Public Defender. City Administrator Kuntz said that the Public Defender position is rarely used in the Ballwin Municipal Court. The two individuals that were interviewed for this position were recommended by Judge Nye. Once in 3 – 5 years, there could be a situation that would require the Public Defender to be utilized by a plaintiff due to indigence.
Closed Session: Mayor Pogue asked for a closed session at the end of the Board meeting to conduct the annual review of the City Administrator.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Clubhouse Carpet: City Administrator Kuntz said this is for the Golf Course Clubhouse, which is frequently exposed to a variety of opportunities for spills and stains. This bid reflects the low bid. It is part of the business plan for the Clubhouse to change the look inside the building to make it more up to date and attractive for events.
Alderman Fleming asked if the carpet should be postponed until after walls are reconstructed. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that walls are not going to be reconstructed, but they will be painted. She said that she would like to order the carpet so that it can be installed in February.
Alderman Terbrock said that the quoted price includes installation. He asked if this could be installed by Ballwin personnel. Director of Bruer said that her crews could later on replace a few squares when needed, but it is best to have the vendor install the carpet at this low price. The Parks crews are not thoroughly skilled in carpet installation and are working on other projects.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Fleming to approve the purchase of carpet with installation for the Clubhouse from Tony Prince Company, in the amount of $17,919 . A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: McDowell, Schmer, Suozzi, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Terbrock. The motion passed by a vote of 7 – 1.
Snow Removal: City Administrator Kuntz said that three 8-hour shifts were used last winter. This allows for overtime savings and more driver rest that is not possible with the traditional two 12-hour shifts. The disadvantage is that there is a reduced number of trucks plowing snow simultaneously. It will take more time to get from start to finish of each route. He said that staff and employees recommend the 12-hour shifts. Not all employees live in the city of Ballwin, which makes the 8 hour shifts more difficult to travel in snow storms. City Engineer Kramer said that at this time, there are 30 drivers for snow plowing. He said that the most trucks on the road with the 12-hour shift is 15 trucks. The most with an 8-hour shift is 10.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Schmer to use the 12-hour snow removal shifts. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Schmer, Suozzi, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Terbrock & McDowell. The motion passed by a vote of 6-2.
Future Services: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding future funding for leaf collection, street lighting, snow removal, and street maintenance in the face of declining revenues.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Schmer to hold this discussion at the January Work Shop/Retreat or a date when more time can be given to review and discussion. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, McDowell, Schmer, Suozzi, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Fleming & Leahy. The motion passed by a vote of 6-2.
Police Equipment Grant: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a recommendation of a contract award to Ed Roehr Company for the purchase of Police vehicle light bar upgrades. This was not the lowest bid, but it was determined that this was the only bid that met the specifications that were outlined under the terms of the Federal grant which will pay for this equipment. He said that it is the Police Department’s recommendation that this is the low bid that best fits under the specifications. The Grant specifications calls for these qualifications and the grant cannot be used if these specifications are not met.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Schmer to award the purchase to Ed Rohr Company and acceptance of the grant specifications. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Pre-Meeting Information Dissemination: City Administrator Kuntz said the entire Board meeting packet is being included on the website. Board discussions frequently go in different directions than the original correspondence that was posted on the website. Purchases can also be determined by Board discussion that is different than the original documentation. He said that no other communities post the entire packet on their website. He recommended that commencing with the January 11 Board meeting that the agenda, newsletter, briefs, and legislation be posted on the website. The supplemental materials would be in the Board packet. Mayor Pogue said that other City Administrators that he has spoken to about this were astonished by the amount of information that Ballwin is putting on the website. No one else even comes close to the amount of information that has recently been published.
Alderman Schmer asked that if someone wanted to obtain the information and it wasn’t online, would there be packets that contained this information so that residents could be privy to the same information that has been provided to the Board? City Administrator Kuntz said that anyone can obtain the information, but extra packets in the lobby of the Government Center will not be done, since most of the copies would end up in the recycling cart. He said a document containing a recommendation for Board action does not insure that the Board decision will match the document. This could be misleading to the public.
Alderman Fleming said that this topic should be on the Work Shop agenda for further discussion. He said that he does not care what other City Administrators do in their municipalities. He said that he cares about what State Statute says. He is willing to temporarily approve this recommendation, but if he finds out that a different procedure should be used, the change should be made immediately. He said that this is more important for discussion than the property tax, which failed by a margin of 2-1. He believes that further discussion should take place on this issue.
Alderman Fleming said that from a citizen’s perspective, if they are going to be able to view the agenda, newsletter, briefs, and bills for consideration, not all specific information is contained in these documents. The goal is to be informative.
City Attorney Jones said that State Statute does not state that posting the legislation for consideration is required. This is done so that the legislation can be read by title only. If legislation is proposed without making it available to the public ahead of time, every word of the legislation would have to be read twice if the Board wants to pass the legislation at that meeting. The Board meetings would be lengthy if bills had to be entirely read twice.
Alderman Schmer asked what prompted the change. Mayor Pogue said that less information was posted in the past. One citizen asked if more information could be posted on the web, therefore, the whole packet was posted online. Now there is a track record, discussions were held with other cities, and Mayor Pogue raised the topic of the information on the website. Alderman Schmer asked if there is a good reason to not post the entire packet online. Mayor Pogue said that there is information in the documents that could be taken out of context or misread. Any documentation would be available to the public upon request.
Alderman Boerner asked if this packet is public record. City Attorney Jones said that there is nothing in this particular packet that would not be an open record. Alderman Boerner asked if a copy of the packet would be given to a resident who asked for it. Alderman Suozzi said it would be unless there was a confidential item enclosed. City Attorney Jones said that a document becomes a public record when it is generated, signed, e-mailed, or transmitted.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell go back to the previous method of publication of documents for Board meeting discussion and approval, which consists of the agenda, newsletter, draft minutes, and proposed legislation, with the notation that if further information is needed this can be requested. There was no second to the motion, therefore, the motion died for lack of a second.
Mayor Pogue said that since the motion died for lack of a second, the entire packet will continue to be posted online.
Sunshine Requests: City Administrator Kuntz said that a pre-authorization form will be developed for Board approval for Sunshine Law Requests. It will establish a process for establishing what is being requested, and outline the fee structure. It will be filled out by the applicant in advance of the request.
Alderman Fleming asked if State law gives guidance regarding such a form. City Attorney Jones said that the Statute, Chapter 610, provides for the process of alerting the requestor to the cost of retrieving copies and recover of research time. He said this will streamline the process. This will eliminate any surprises for the requestor after the research is complete. City Administrator Kuntz said that this can be discussed further at the Board Work Shop in January.
Mission Statement: City Administrator Kuntz said that this is a summary that the entire city staff are committed to apply all revenue resources in the most cost efficient manner to maintain this high standard. With Board approval, this is a guideline that would be provided to the public regarding the goals and mission. If further discussion is necessary, this could be added to the Work Shop agenda. Alderman Schmer suggested that this be discussed at the Work Shop. The Board agreed.
Traffic Issues: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding passing violations where there is a double yellow line and driving around stopped vehicles. Police Chief Schicker has recommended that an amendment to the traffic ordinance be adopted that should resolve that issue.
A motion was made by Alderman Schmer and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to draft this legislation for consideration at the next Board meeting in January. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Magnolia Trace: City Administrator Kuntz said that legislation is required to accept the streets for public maintenance. Every street taken for public maintenance must first be brought up to city standards, which includes, curbs, gutters, sidewalk, and pavement width. He said that private streets are not snow plowed.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Mellow to draft legislation to accept the Magnolia Trace streets for public maintenance. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Audit: City Administrator Kuntz said a revision was requested by the Board regarding the disclaimer.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept the report of the auditor. A voice vote was taken with 7 Aye votes, and Alderman Terbrock voting Nay. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Mayor Pogue asked that the final report be posted on the City’s website.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Purchasing Policies: City Attorney Jones said that he was asked to review the City ordinances, particularly Section 2.4 regarding approval for expenditures and its consistency with State law. Section 2.4 was last amended in 2009, to add the local preference provision. Previously, subsection 3 contained the only provision in the ordinance requiring bidding. It uses the language, competitive price quotations. We have historically interpreted competitive price quotations to mean bids, and a procedure where the lowest and best bid is accepted. He said he reviewed the statutes that govern expenditures in 4th class cities. He also reviewed other statutes which are generally applicable to all cities and townships. He said his conclusion is that Missouri Law does not generally impose an obligation for 4th class cities to award contracts through a process of competitive bidding. He said a brief example is in Section 2.850 of the Missouri Revised Statutes. Through a series of revisions and a court case, it was determined that this only applied to cities with more than 500,000 residents, which tends to support his conclusion that there is no general obligation of 4th class cities to let contracts through competitive bidding.
City Attorney Jones said that Ballwin’s ordinance contains requirements based on different levels of expenditures and authority. The Purchasing Policy incorporates the requirements in the ordinance and is in some respects is more specific, and in other respects, simply more expansive than the ordinance. He said that the first sentence of Section 50.660 does not apply to 4th class cities, particularly to Ballwin because this is a requirement placed on a township in a county with a township form of government. St. Louis County is not such a form of government, therefore, this does not apply to Ballwin. He said there are a number of specific statutes that apply to the City of Ballwin for particular products that the City may purchase. He said that the ordinance should have the flexibility to be able to deal with single-source purchases and professional services that is consistent with the policy. When Ballwin is going to procure architectural, engineering, or land surveying services, it has to use a qualification basis selection process. The bidding process for this is supposed to be based on qualifications and not just on the price of the service. As part of the ordinance, City Attorney Jones recommended that this position be clarified so that it is clear in the ordinance. He recommended deleting from the Policy Manual most, if not all, of the current purchasing policy. He said some of the sections could be in a separate section in the Policy Manual. He said legislation could be prepared for a new ordinance that incorporates the Purchasing Policy. It will take a super majority of the Board to delete the policy from the Manual. A motion will be needed to prepare draft legislation for consideration regarding a new ordinance which incorporates all of the desired provisions of a purchasing policy.
Alderman Schmer asked how long has the current purchasing policy be in effect. City Attorney Jones said it was adopted in 2007 and has been revised. City Administrator Kuntz said that Alderman Montgomery introduced the concept of a Board Policy Manual so that memories on such issues would not become distorted over time. The policies are reviewed incrementally more than comprehensively. Whenever there is a change in an established policy, it takes a super majority to change it or delete it. Part of the confusion is referring to the Policy Manual and the Ordinance at the same time. If there is a single source, it will be less confusing and become simple, clean, and more comprehensive.
Alderman Boerner said that there are situations when the State prescribes policies and procedures for State agencies etc. and the three-bid requirement is included. He said the current ordinance is vague. All policies should be documented. He said as long as he has been on the Board, he has not seen any inconsistencies in the application. He researched 6 municipalities including the City of St. Charles. He suggested that the City of Ladue ordinance be considered for adapting to Ballwin’s use.
Mayor Pogue asked the Board if it is interested in drafting new legislation. Alderman McDowell said that it is important to understand that in government, the revision of an ordinance is a natural process because as the city grows, revisions have to take place. This is a natural growing process of a city. He cautioned the ordinance-off-the-rack process for a particular city. He said there is a logical reason that there are differences. There is no ordinance from another city that is going to completely fit Ballwin. The current Ballwin purchasing process is not something that suddenly appeared as a result of another city’s legislation. He said that this is a slow gradual process that has matured over the years, based on the growth of the city and the demands of the city. There are some loose ends in the policy, but in any city, there is going to be vagueness and interpretation differences. He said he is opposed to completely using another city’s ordinance without thorough consideration to our own needs.
Alderman Boerner said that there are a limited number of types of transactions. He said there are similarities in municipalities, which will enable a city to use another city’s ordinance as a model. He said this would save money in the preparation process.
Alderman Fleming said he agrees with City Attorney Jones’ recommendation to remove purchasing from the Policy Manual. He said it doesn’t matter what the policy says. What matters is what is in the ordinance and State law. Having this information in the Policy Manual creates confusion. He is in agreement to draft new legislation for consideration and making sure everything is according to State law. He said he reviewed the City of Ladue legislation. It is a good document to consider. He said that the Ballwin ordinance should meet and exceed State law and make it more restrictive if the Board feels this is beneficial.
City Attorney Jones said that the Board prescribes competitive bidding in the situations the existing ordinance encompasses. Ballwin is exceeding what is required by State law. Alderman Fleming said that the Board should not default to just what State law says. He asked if the Public Defender position is a professional service. The Municipal Code states that the Board of Aldermen shall set the compensation for the Public Defender. Could the Public Defender appear one time and submit bill for $6,000? He said the Board should anticipate different scenarios and have guidance in place. He suggested that the City Attorney’s prescribed course of action be followed, and use the City of Ladue ordinance as a starting point for consideration.
Alderman Schmer said that many times the Board is inconsistent. When something is convenient for the City, we say, who cares what everybody else is doing. Ten minutes later, the Board talks about another topic and says this is what another city is doing so that will be good enough for our use. He said this is inconsistent thinking. Alderman Schmer said that the Purchasing Policy would not be reviewed at this time if it had not been brought to the attention of the Board. He said that improvements can be made in the purchasing procedures.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Schmer to draft legislation for consideration to rewrite the Purchasing Policy and ordinance in accordance with State law and Board directives. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Procurement: Alderman Boerner said that due to the discussion in this meeting, he does not have further aldermanic comments at this time.
Street Lights: Alderman Fleming said that the affected residents on Clayton Road are appreciative that the street lights have been turned back on. He thanked the Board for reconsidering this issue. It is substantially better to drive in this area since the lights have been turn on.
Street Repairs: Alderman Fleming said that he is disappointed in the street repair decision that was made at this meeting not to use some of the reserves for this purpose. He said he made a fair and reasonable request based on previous discussions and information that was provided by city staff. There was a petition sent by residents on Mount View Court asking for street improvements.
Closed Session: Alderman Fleming requested a closed session to discuss pending litigation. The Board agreed.
City Reserves: Alderman Terbrock asked what is the dollar amount that most cities have in the reserve fund and what is the city’s philosophy on this. City Administrator Kuntz said that this Board does not have a reserve fund policy. There is a minimum threshold. He said that typically, this is a “rainy day” fund. Many cities are balancing their 2010 budget by the application of their accumulated reserve fund balance. This is money that was set aside for unexpected financial times to avoid service and program interruption for as long as possible. He said this Board should be commended for providing a balanced 2010 budget. It does not eliminate any programs or services and draws down $267,000 in reserves. The reserve fund balance currently exceeds $9.1 million. $267,000 is good compared to other communities that have not anticipated this financial situation or at least not reacted to it that are going with layoffs, reductions and eliminations. He said it’s the fiscal management despite the current discussion of the policy makers and staff that has kept the City in relatively stable condition when others are frantically trying to figure out what to do next. He said 20% seems to be the across the board standard. The Ballwin budget is not being balanced on the back of the reserve fund balance.
Alderman Terbrock said that the reserve fund balance should be for a catastrophic event. The streets are not in catastrophic failure while the economy certainly is in poor condition. Since Ballwin is a sales tax based city, he believes that as much money as possible should be in the reserve fund.
Alderman Suozzi said that because Ballwin is sales tax dependent, and the revenues are not diversified, as has been recommended by the bond rating company and the investment company, she agreed with Alderman Terbrock that the reserve balance is a concern. It needs to be high because of the nature of the revenue stream. The bond rating is also important. This is looked at if a city does not have a diversified revenue stream but there is a strong reserve balance that can boost the rating. If there is not a diversified revenue stream and Ballwin does not have a reserve balance which is also a “rainy day” fund, the bond rating will be hurt.
Alderman Boerner said the city roads should be a higher priority. Alderman Schmer said that he is not against street improvements, they should be a priority. He said he thinks that the Board did not work hard enough to trim some of the fat out of the budget.
Alderman McDowell said that there has always been a philosophy of the reserve funds as what if something happened that was out of line. Would the city of Ballwin be able to operate and still carry on the daily duties without any hesitation. It has proven true that the reserve is still strong. Ballwin has an adequate safety net and this has always been the process.
Adjourn to Closed Session: A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Mellow to adjourn to closed session to discuss personnel and potential litigation. A roll call vote was taken with the following results:
Ayes: Aldermen Boerner, Mellow, Fleming, Leahy, Suozzi, Schmer, Terbrock, McDowell.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adjourn the closed session. A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned at 10:50 p.m.
The Board reconvened in open session at 10:55 p.m.
Mayor Pogue stated that the Board met in closed session to discuss the annual review of the City Administrator and potential litigation.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR