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
Meeting Agenda click here
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 November 22, 2010 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman McDermott to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
John Flowers, 465 Melanie Meadows: Mr. Flowers spoke in opposition to the Pointe trail connector to Remington Place. He said the trail may be useful to the community, but he believes that it will increase vandalism. A lawn chair has been found in a tree, there are parties and drinking by under-age people. It will take away the privacy to the adjoining property owners. He is concerned about the potential liability.
Kathy Flowers, 465 Melanie Meadows: Mrs. Flowers spoke in opposition to the Pointe trail connector. She said it will increase pedestrian traffic close to the residents’ back yards, and she is worried about vandalism that will most likely increase. She asked if the path will be police patrolled? Will privacy fences be constructed for the residents? She is concerned about child safety in the back yards with pedestrians cutting through on the trail. In the past kids drink beer in that area and then drop their beer cans in her back yard.
Bob Flowers, 465 Melanie Meadows: Mr. Flowers spoke in opposition to the Pointe trail connector. He said that in the past, the Police have chased youth into the common ground behind his property. He said that one time, the kids left their bikes at that location. There was also a fire set in the common ground area.
Pat Noland, 503 Wellshire: Ms. Noland spoke about door-to-door solicitation. She said that last week, after 8:00 p.m., a man was banging on her front door. She and her husband told the man to leave. His response was not polite. The man said that he paid $550 for the permit and he can do anything he wants to. The man left and then continued to bang on other people’s doors. She said that her neighbors are in their 80s. She asked that 1) the law be changed to prohibit for-profit solicitation; 2) the police should be able to detain potential illegal solicitors, 3) no solicitors after sundown. She said that if solicitation is going to continue, applicants should be notified of the law.
John McGuire, 112 Timka Drive: Mr. McGuire spoke about the U-Gas development. He said his property and several neighbors back directly to the proposed development. He has a problem with the two-story office building. From his back window this will be a problem due to loss of privacy and security. He is also concerned about rats from the dumpsters.
Glenn Koenen, Chairman of the West St. Louis Chamber of Commerce: Mr. Koenen spoke about the U-Gas development. He said that the Chamber is in favor of the U-Gas mixed use development. This is a great opportunity to improve the area, create more jobs, and also help Manchester Road build in the next 40 – 50 years.
Rob Triylzi, 300 Hill Trail: Mr. Triylzi said he is in favor of the U-Gas development. He said this will create jobs and tax dollars for the City. He said if this development doesn’t happen, will the Rothman building be vacant like the Red Lobster building?
Neal Van Gerpen, 431 Castle Glen Ct.: Mr. Van Gerpen spoke in favor of the U-Gas development. He said that we need to jump start the cycle of ageless property improvement in the Manchester Road corridor. The project will bring an increase in tax revenue for Ballwin. The project has local owners. He said the Board needs to show that they are pro-business by voting to approve this plan.
Mike Margiotta, 4 Berry Wood Drive, Glendale: Mr. Margiotta said that he operates a commercial property management company. He fully supports this plan. It is professionally developed and designed.
Sue Vincent, 236 W. Skyline: Ms. Vincent spoke in favor of the U-Gas development. She said that this will be good for the City of Ballwin.
Jim Robinson, 203 Wildbrier: Mr. Robinson spoke in opposition to the U-Gas development. He asked the Board to consider that this site is a prime location. Is this development consistent with the Great Streets Initiative. He said there was a lot of time spent in the last 5 – 10 years talking about changing the type of development for Manchester Road. This type of development is the same thing that we have been seeing up and down Manchester Road for the last 20 or 30 years. He said that Rothman is not closing down and are not going out of business. They are still in business and generating sales and sales tax. If we are going to talk about tax revenue, Ballwin does not have a real property tax. We are not going to have any new property tax generated no mater who owns the property. The current owner is still going to pay the property tax. That will not come to Ballwin. It will go to the school district regardless who owns it. He said there’s no tax benefit to approve this development. He said this will cannibalize existing businesses. We have enough gas stations and quick shops and fast food restaurants in Ballwin. There’s only so much money in the pool. He said we are just shifting income from one account to another. He does not believe there will be any increase in sales tax revenue for Ballwin. We will probably hurt existing businesses. Are we merely building one space, which will lead to another space closing down in the near future? Have we taken the steps necessary to confirm that this development is properly capitalized. What’s going to happen if there is a blip in the development. The development that was approved 4 or 5 years ago in his subdivision was undercapitalized and was considered a timely development. He said that development has stopped. Now half of the site is empty with no development at all and no plans for any development going forward because the project was undercapitalized. Mr. Robinson asked does this development give Ballwin any secondary benefit, meaning, will people using this site travel to other businesses in Ballwin. He said he thinks not. People will get their gas or fast food and then leave. They are not going to stop at other businesses along the way that will give a secondary benefit. He said the gentleman from the Chamber of Commerce indicated that they are committed to real economic progress – progress that is market driven. He asked the Board to consider, is another gas station in Ballwin and another fast food restaurant real economic progress? Is this really market driven, or is this another situation where someone is going to come in, the developer will make money, the property may change hands two or three times over the next ten years, and will Ballwin really receive any long lasting benefit? He said he thinks not. The statement was made that this project will create jobs. This will be temporary. The builder may be an out of town company that has the U-Gas contract for construction. This development will establish minimum wage jobs. This is not real economic progress. The prospect of having an office building in Ballwin – we already have an excess of office space in West St. Louis County. There will be no tax benefit to the City of Ballwin because we do not have a real property tax. An office building will generate zero sales tax. He said that he is confident that this Board will do the right thing for Ballwin.
Mark Kornfeld, 120 S. Central, Sansone Group: Mr. Kornfeld spoke on favor of the U-Gas development. He said that the City of Ballwin will not only be getting a good retailer, U-Gas, but there are 2 other lots that will be developed. The acre lot adjacent to U-Gas will most likely be filled by Wendy’s. He said that Wendy’s will be one of several users that will want to be on this site. Mr. Kornfeld said that the statement was made that we don’t need another vacant building in Ballwin. Throwing another 42,000 square foot of vacancy is the opposite of economic progress. He said he there is a space adjacent to the Galleria that is 42,000 square feet. As far as retail space, that is more attractive than the Rothman furniture location. That property has been vacant for 2 ½ years. He said that give the fact of the economic climate that we are in, and all the doom and gloom, all of the businesses closing, and retailers leaving cities, U-Gas has agreed to the requirements for this development. He does not see how the Board can look at this development and say we are better off to have a 42,000 square foot vacant facility rather than two multi-million dollar investments in the city.
Prudent fiscal management over the past several years, coupled with an increase in the utility tax rate in 2008, and a hard fought settlement to include cell phone charges under the local tax umbrella, have enabled Ballwin to amass a healthy reserve fund balance. As the economic climate begins to show signs of improvement for Ballwin and debt reduction is within reach with a $1 million per year debt obligation scheduled to end in 2012, the Board felt confident in its commitment to further invest and improve the street infrastructure.
This decision will result in an anticipated unrestricted Operating reserve fund balance of $8,783,985 moving forward. This amount represents 55% of Ballwin’s proposed Operating budget, which is a very healthy position to be in during these uncertain economic times.
On the Operating side, no programs or services will be added or deleted. It is expected that the full-time staffing level will remain at 142, which is where it was in 1999. Budget costs are 67% personnel related. Ballwin will continue to evaluate vacancy replacement on an “as needed” basis, with an emphasis on technology upgrades and job consolidation as options whenever possible.
Of the 2011 Capital budget, 47% will be applied toward bond debt retirement, and $1,203,154 will be applied towards street improvements. This compares to $792,258, which was allocated in 2010. $464,000 has been earmarked for the Parks Department for potential land acquisition and trail construction, subject to receipt of offsetting grant awards. An energy efficient upgrade is planned for the Government Center with installation of replacement windows, subject to approval of a zero interest State loan.
The Police Department has been allocated $80,000 for a basement remodel to enhance climate control and security for the computer/phone equipment.
In summary, the 2011 plan reflects continued commitment to live “within our means” without sacrificing the programs and services that you deserve and expect from the City of Ballwin.
Mayor Pogue asked if anyone would like to speak in against the acceptance of the 2011 budget. There were none.
Mayor Pogue asked if there is anyone who would like to speak in favor of the 2011 budget. There were none. Mayor Pogue declared the Public Hearing closed.
BILL # 3654 - 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, 2011, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2011, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3654. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Finley, McDermott, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Markland. The motion passed with a vote of 6-1. Bill No. 3654 was read for the first time.
Alderman Markland said, “I feel that we’re at a time when we see the other communities in our area cutting expenses, and we have chosen not to do so, which I can’t agree with. I also have seen instead of working to reduce our costs while providing the same level of service, I do not see anyplace where we have chosen to reduce our costs. We have ignored that possibility. A while back, I had a suggestion that we ask St. Louis County to provide Police services. At that time, the proposal was rejected. As I’m looking through the budget we have here today, the proposed budget has $688,000 for communications services, which happens to be costing the 32,000 residents of Ballwin about $21.50 per resident. At the same time, we are selling to the City of Manchester those services for $143,000, which is $7.38 per resident. I’m asking myself, if the value of that service is $7.38 to Manchester, why are the residents of Ballwin paying $21.50? It seems like we could find a way to sub-contract our services to someplace. If we did that, it looks like we would save $400,000 - $500,000 just in that area. The budget that we have in front of us is strictly an incremental budget. We take last year’s expenses and add to them whatever we feel is necessary. There is absolutely no incentive to develop new ideas. There is no incentive to reduce costs. The process we are using actually encourages spending up to the budget so that the budget is maintained the following year. Our current budget overview indicates that we have an excess of $384,444 in revenues over expenses this year. The savings that we have is really made up of a one-time $220,000 inflow from the telephone gross receipts. In the bill I got from AT&T last month, it shows that they are billing me $2.99 per month to pay for the $220,000. So, I’m paying $36 per year, perhaps 10,000 homeowners in Ballwin are paying $36 per year. We’re funding that, not AT&T. We have actually imposed a tax on the residents without them voting on it or even knowing what happened. In addition, I think there is another $102,000 reduction in costs because we voted to not buy salt. That’s not a savings. It gets us down to about $62,000 in savings. One of those items that is not shown is we cut back on some merit pay increases last year, which was another $5,000. We’re down to $57,000. Because of weather conditions in late 2009, we did not complete the crack sealing. The cost of the crack sealing that wasn’t done, I believe, trickled into last year’s budget. I was very concerned about it because one of the streets on the south side of my house, the cracks had been opened up and were going to be sealed. Because of the weather, this did not happen. We wasted the winter of 2009 – 2010 with the water running into the cracks that we had opened, and was freezing and thawing. I was promised that it was going to be completed this year. It was not. It isn’t completed as of yesterday. That’s worth another $20,000. What we really have is a $37,000 savings on the $15 million budget, which is ¼ of 1%. This means we are spending up to the limit and have no regard to what the savings are. In July of this year, I asked that we approach the budget for 2011 differently and start from scratch and justify the expenses. I was advised in September that we did not have either the funding or the training to perform that method. I see no reason that a 5% - 10% reduction in expenses could be found if we really go and look at it, and, at the same time, maintain the same level of services. This would give us a number of somewhere between $750,000 and $1.5 million which we could use to improve our streets without encroaching upon our reserves. To not explore cost reduction, while at the same time, taking funds from the reserves, just totally defies logic. I asked that staff be charged with the responsibility for the 2012 budget, and that adequate funds, if we cannot find them in the existing budget, be added so that at this time next year, we will be looking at a budget that has started from scratch; the inefficiencies that I believe so many people know are there, are eliminated; and we go into 2012 with the best budget we can have providing the best services to the community, and doing a better job with our finances. Since I believe that the budget that has been presented represents poor fiscal responsibility, I’m not able to support its adoption.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3654. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Finley, McDermott, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Markland.
Mayor Pogue said that since there was one Nay vote, Bill 3654 cannot be read a second time. City Attorney Jones said this is the aldermanic policy. Alderman Fleming asked if the policy is that this can happen one time and cannot happen the next time? At the next meeting, if someone votes Nay on the second reading, it won’t matter and the Board will proceed with the second reading. City Attorney Jones said this is correct. It can be held over for one meeting. Mayor Pogue said it takes a unanimous vote of the Board to approve a bill to be read twice in one night. Alderman Fleming said, “So, in order to pass this budget within this calendar year, we will need to meet on December 27.” Mayor Pogue said this is correct. Alderman Fleming said, “I just want to make sure everyone understands what just happened.”
City Administrator Kuntz asked where this is in print for public information. Alderman Boerner said that it’s included in the “Roberts Rules of Order”. Assistant City Administrator Aiken and City Attorney Jones said that this is also in the Board of Aldermen Policy Manual.
* (See below for final vote)
BILL # 3655 - 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, 2011, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2011, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3655. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3655 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDermott asked for an explanation of the statement that the Golf Course does not meet 100% recovery. He asked how close has it comes to meeting the 100% and what has been done to try to meet this goal? Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that this year, it would be close to a $70,000 - $75,000 deficit. In the past, the Board policy has been to avoid advertising on the golf course. Advertising is now being sold on the scorecards, which covers the cost of printing the scorecards. There is some advertising on the golf course, more electronic marketing with a newsletter, and different specials to encourage play. This year was a rough weather year with reduced play and the greens needed repair. It was a good summer for the pool, but bad for the golf course. Alderman McDermott said that it sounds like a valiant effort is being made to try to create a zero balance.
Alderman McDermott asked about the weather forecasting service related to the Public Works Department. City Engineer Kramer said that one part is a radar dish that is on top of the building. This is used in the summer months when rain is anticipated to help determine if concrete can be laid. The other is a six-month service with a company that provides forecasts that are specifically for this area. It is a co-op effort with the company. The company can be called at any time for more detailed information. This customized information cannot be obtained from the internet radar.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3655. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Finley, McDermott, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Markland. The motion failed.
** (See below for final vote)
Mayor Pogue said that Bill #s 3654 and 3655 will be held over until the next meeting.
Nay Votes Withdrawn: Alderman Markland said that he withdraws his Nay vote for the second readings on Bills 3654 and 3655 for the good of the Board. Mayor Pogue said that Alderman Markland is withdrawing his Nay votes on 3654 and 3655, and voting Aye for the second reading, is that correct? Alderman Markland said this is correct; he is voting Aye for second readings on both Bills 3654 and 3655.
* Second reading of Bill # 3654: Alderman Fleming read Bill 3654 a second time. A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3654 with the following results:
** Second reading of Bill # 3655: Alderman Fleming read Bill 3655 a second time. A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3655 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3649. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3649 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDermott said that there have been articles in the newspaper that Rothman Furniture store at this location is going to close. He said he called the store management and was told that they are not closing this store. In a previous newspaper article, there is a quote from Rothman Furniture C.E.O. Dale Steinbeck, that if the deal does not go through, Rothman will remain in its current location. Alderman McDermott said they indicated that they do not plan on closing this store until someone purchases the property and decided to do something else with the property.
Alderman McDermott said that the traffic study showed that there was inadequate parking on this development. He is concerned about the right turn in, but no right turn out allowed onto Manchester Road. He said the current elevation at 664 feet will be dropped to 657 feet where the store will be placed. At the property edge, the elevation is 656 feet. The Chamber of Commerce had the understanding that the retaining wall between the Rothman property and the Vista property would drop low enough to allow connecting the parking lots. He said that the developments that this Board votes for or against must consider the economic viability of the entire Manchester Road corridor. This piece of property, as the Great Streets Initiative is proposing is that we try to develop in larger parcels. With this development, leaving the retaining wall in place, will be having the same elevation difference that we have today. We will not be able to continue to the east and develop the property as the Great Streets plan is anticipating. The developer is proposing an additional curb cut. He said we want to reduce the number of curb cuts on Manchester Road. If we want to develop this property for long term, we need to take a good hard look at the entire parcel from Seven Trails Drive to Timka. If we take the one parcel and don’t continue it eastward, we are tying our hands. We really need to embrace a right turn in and right turn out to benefit the entire block, not just this parcel. He said we should look pro-actively at development. The developers should not have to go back and forth to our Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustment. He suggested that an economic development committee be formed so that we can map out what we want for our city and embrace the Great Streets plan and other ideas. A template could be created so that when Ballwin moves forward with the developers, they won’t have to try to figure out what the City wants. This will also consider the neighbors with adjacent properties, the current business owners, and the owners that will be there in 10 years, and the property owners.
Alderman Boerner asked if Mr. Biermann is aware of this concept for this development site. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that he was informed in a general sense, but no absolute template was provided. Alderman Boerner said that if U-Gas was not made aware of these concepts, their plan should not be denied based on a plan that has not been fully adopted. Alderman McDermott said that his concern is regarding the traffic issues. If Wendy’s is part of the development, at this time, they will not be open for breakfast, but that could change, which would affect traffic volume at that time of day. He said that this development should have a right in, right out. MoDOT has said that they will not grant this request because of the distance to the stop light.
Alderman Boerner asked if this issue is significant enough to vote against the ordinance as it is proposed? Alderman McDermott said that his concerns are the traffic flow. Alderman Boerner asked was this issue addressed at any time? Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that the traffic study was conducted and MoDOT will not grant the right out. This was discussed by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
Brian Ritzing, the traffic engineer, said that MoDOT denied the right out request because it is concerned about vehicles attempting to make left turns out of the parcel. The Great Streets Initiative wants to restrict left turns which are typically more dangerous on Manchester Road. He said he checked the parking at other Wendy’s at various times of day. There could be 40 spaces utilized, which is proposed, and there could be fluctuations, which would be included in the plan. MoDOT has also indicated that it does not want to provide any more green time to the side streets to serve the vehicles because it wants to keep the traffic flowing on Manchester Road. He is attempting to work with this restriction to a satisfactory resolution.
Mayor Pogue said that the way traffic flow is configured, all the cars exiting this development would exit onto Seven Trails Drive and then either go north or south on Seven Trails Dr. to either Manchester Road, or through Vlasis Park or through Seven Trails Apartments. They are anticipating 2,500 cars per day to be exited onto Seven Trails Drive. This is a residential street through Seven Trails Apartments and through Vlasis Park to Kehrs Mill Bend into the condo complex.
Alderman McDermott said that this is his concern. Having only a right turn in may not be the best scenario. He said that this should be done right so that the business can be successful.
Mr. Ritzing said that he very much wants a right in, right out, but MoDOT said absolutely not at this location.
Mr. Biermann said that the northern portion of Seven Trails Drive has a 25 mph speed limit and the configuration of the road does not lend to people cutting through. He said this is a great concern. No matter what is done with the Rothman site, road improvements will have to be made to Seven Trails Drive because MoDOT will not allow the right out. Mayor Pogue said that this was a concern in the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting because the 2,500 vehicles will be directed onto Seven Trails.
Mr. Biermann said that with making the proposed improvements to Seven Trails Drive, the waiting time at the light with the heavier volume of vehicles will be the same amount of time as it is today. He said that MoDOT will not give more green light time at this intersection to Seven Trails.
Mr. Craig Taylor, U-Gas C.E.O., said that as a result of an analysis by IMST Corporation of sales to obtain the bank loan, it was determined that 330,000 gallons per month of gasoline will be sold, and inside store sales will be roughly $250,000 per month. Alderman Boerner said that this will break down to 10,000 gallons per day. The traffic study may be high if 10,000 gallons per day is the estimate. Mayor Pogue said that 2,500 cars per day includes the fast food restaurant and the office building. It is not just the gas station.
Alderman Fleming asked the City Attorney about the retaining wall lease agreement. City Attorney Jones said that in the compliance paragraph on page 2, paragraph 4(d) requires U-Gas to make repairs, but if they don’t, the City can do this at U-Gas’s expense. When the City makes demand, U-Gas will be required to reimburse the City within 30 days. Since this is a perpetual and permanent easement, the obligations of U-Gas as the benefitting party in the easement will pass to any party to whom it might sell the property. If U-Gas is no longer the owner, whoever they transfer to will then take on the same responsibilities under a perpetual easement agreement.
Alderman Finley said asked if there is documentation from MoDOT that they are not going to approve the right out request. Mr. Ritzing said he does not have written documentation, but he can request this.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that, as a representative of the city, he attended the scoping meeting with MoDOT and the other agencies to decide what needed to be included in the traffic study. He said that MoDOT was unequivocal that this was the only curb cut alignment that it was willing to consider, as of that point, before it received the traffic analysis. The traditional way to do a right in, right out, would be to install a center median on Manchester Road like the one on the west side of the intersection. If a median was installed, it would prohibit left turn access to the apartments, the small strip center next to the apartments, and the AT&T parking lot on the opposite side of Manchester. That was an unacceptable scenario. The only fall back was to allow no access at all, or the right in only type of configuration.
Alderman Finley said that he agrees with Mr. Robinson’s statements and Alderman McDermott. He talked to a commercial real estate agent. His concern about the office building is that it’s hard to find office tenants and he doesn’t think this building will have tenants for a number of years. Alderman Finley said that he is concerned that this will be another Ballpark Village with nothing going into it. He also expressed concern that the city will be restricted to a traditional type of vehicle filling station. There are alternative fuels and electric cars. He asked if there has been any discussion about installing electric hookups for cars. Mr. Craig Taylor, U-Gas C.E.O., said that U-Gas is in the gasoline business, not electricity.
Alderman Finley said that on July 19, this Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the Manchester Road Corridor plan. He said the plan states, “We hereby commit that we will use the plan as a guide for future activities in the corridor and will work cooperatively with one another and with other interested parties.” He said we want to see good cohesive use of properties like this. We want U-Gas to succeed.
Alderman Finley said that the underlying concern is that perhaps this development is moving forward too swiftly. He asked is this development the right fit at this time?
Alderman Fleming said that all we can do as a local government is to create an environment that encourages the kind of growth that we hope for. We cannot mandate that a certain spot should be only one specific use or development. He said one of the speakers under Citizen Comments said that he hopes this development will cause contagious property improvement. This is a good thing for the City of Ballwin.
Alderman Fleming asked about Bill # 3649, item # 24 regarding the Ballwin sign that will have to be moved as the wall is constructed. It states that the sign will be relocated to accommodate the retaining wall, and will accommodate a 50% larger sign area than is presently utilized by the sign. He suggested amending this to say, “the sign will be relocated and upgraded to an electronic sign”. Mr. Taylor said they would be willing to do this.
Amendment: A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Leahy to amend Bill 3649 item #24 on the second line to state that “… and Seven Trails Drive, serving the Vlasis Park, Government Complex will be upgraded to an electronic sign and relocated to accommodate the retaining wall.” City Attorney Jones said that it would be sufficient to add the language that Alderman Fleming has proposed, as long as the petitioner indicates that he is willing to go along with this. Craig Taylor of U-Gas said he agrees to this change. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Finley said that this proposal has been weighed against the statement that said rezoning would not adversely affect the character of the immediate vicinity and is not inconsistent with good planning practices, would result in improved traffic and pedestrian improvements positively affecting the public safety, would not otherwise negatively affect the community’s health and safety, can be developed in a manner that is not detrimental, either operationally or visually, with existing land uses in the vicinity and would be beneficial to the City’s general welfare by providing significant employment and tax revenues necessary to support essential municipal services.
Mr. Biermann said that the permitted uses that are allowed in this district are to be taken from the underlying uses that are allowed as it sits today which would be the commercial zoning district. He said that these uses are allowed under the C-1 district or with the addition of a Special Use Exception. He said that all but a few businesses contacted have virtually no interest in moving to this location because it is mid-block. The big businesses all want to move to the connector roads, like Manchester and Hwy. 141, or Manchester and Clarkson. He asked the Board do they think the City of Ellisville for one second is considering the Great Streets program when they are talking about putting a Walmart at Clarkson. He asked the Board to consider this. He said Ellisville will be glad to have Walmart at that location. Some have the opinion that the proposed development at Manchester and Seven Trails Drive should be a bigger development encompassing more land. This is a very dangerous precedent to set. Are you going to tell someone who wants to develop the old Red Lobster site that he needs to also include the Preiss Cleaners, and other businesses adjacent to the site? Mr. Biermann said that he has talked to every owner adjacent to the proposed development for almost a year to get these property owners involved. Financially, this cannot be done. Other property owners have no interest or no equity. He has talked to U-Haul and they are not interested and he was told numerous times to go away. To take this development beyond the Rothman property, on paper that may sound great, and it may look nice and pretty, but it is not an economic reality in light of the circumstances involved. The owners of the Vista property want an exorbitant amount of money for the property and have refused to communicate. The U-Haul owners have no interest in participating at all in any re-development.
Mr. Biermann said that at this point, he is at a loss for what to do. He has tried from day one to expand the development without success. He said they have done a good job in leading the City in every step of this development. He asked what else is he supposed to do? He cannot control property when the owners have no interest in working with them. This is a very dangerous precedent to set. He said he does not know what to do at this point.
Alderman McDermott said that he commends Mr. Biermann on his efforts. The adjoining property owners have no interest in selling and he knew that from day one. U-Haul is interested in participating but not to sell their property. In the future this could change. He said he is not against a development at this location, but that the Board should look more into the future.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a second reading of Bill No. 3649. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3649 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3649 with the following results:
BILL # 3650 - AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR THE APPROVAL OF A SUBDIVISION PLAT FOR U-GAS BALLWIN SUBDIVISION AS PROVIDED IN CHAPTER 25 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, MISSOURI.
A motion was made by Alderman Leahy and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3650. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3650 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. 3650. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3650 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3650 with the following results:
BILL # 3656 - AN ORDINANCE EXTENDING THE 90-DAY MORATORIUM ON THE ADMINISTRATIVE OR LEGISLATIVE APPROVAL OF ANY NEW SIGNS WITH MESSAGES THAT CHANGE, SCROLL OR FLASH ELECTRONICALLY.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3656. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3656 was read for the first time.
Alderman Finley said that when he sees the blinking lights, it bothers him. He said that perhaps input from younger people should be considered. We are in a digital age. Down the road, we could be hindering ourselves if younger people like the blinking digital signs. He also suggested that the message sign legislation have a deadline of approximately 3 years, at which time, it will be reviewed.
City Attorney Jones said that a sunset provision can be included in the ordinance and then reconsidered at that time. City Administrator Kuntz said that we are proceeding off of the model ordinances of other municipalities. Alderman McDermott said that our sign ordinance should be compatible with neighboring cities so that as we move forward with the Great Streets program, we won’t have to re-write the ordinance in a few years. He said the City of Ellisville is reviewing their ordinance as a result of the McDonald’s issue.
Alderman Fleming asked if the moratorium date is sufficient. City Attorney Jones said that there will be a bill presented to the Board on the January 10 agenda.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a second reading of Bill No. 3656. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3656 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3656 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.)
Future Meetings: Mayor Pogue suggested canceling the December 27 Board meeting. A motion was made by Alderman McDermott and seconded by Alderman Boerner to cancel the December 27 Board of Aldermen meeting. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Aldermanic Committee Assignments: Mayor Pogue appointed Alderman McDermott to the Public Health & Safety Committee and the Parks & Recreation Committee. He also appointed Alderman Leahy to Chair the Parks & Recreation Committee.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Sole Source Purchases:
Alderman Finley asked if there is an overwhelming preference at the Golf Course for Anheuser Busch products? Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said yes, this is correct. She said that about 20 years ago, Miller and Coors were also sold at the Golf Course. There was a 10-case minimum that was purchased just to have it available. No one bought it and it became waste. Gray Eagle checks on the supply and gives a credit for what was not sold by a certain time as indicated by the expiration date.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that Anheuser Busch products cannot be bid out because Gray Eagle is the only distributor. There haven’t been any requests for any other brands. 75% to 80% of the beer sold is Bud Lite.
Alderman Markland asked if there been any other experience since 20 years ago? Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said no. Ballwin has sold only AB products in that time. Alderman Markland said that it seems that we have missed the step in trying to find out what else is available. We have arbitrarily said that it has to be this way. How can we hurt ourselves by asking the other suppliers for a proposal? If they say we have to purchase a minimum of 10 cases, we can compare 10 cases with Gray Eagle. This is not much difference than the police computers because we did not know that somebody else made the same product.
Alderman Fleming said that there may be a lot of cranky people if you take away their Anheuser Busch products. If the price is close with other vendors, then we probably should not make a change. Alderman Markland said that he agrees, but we should go through the steps.
City Attorney Jones said that sub-paragraph d, of Section 2.4.1 says that if the price is over $10,000, it must be advertised in a local newspaper and bids be received and opened. It is a formal bidding process. He said his concern is that is it going to be a year-long contract and are they going to honor the price for an entire year. If the price is going to change every couple of weeks, then this is not the way to go. You almost have to see the proposal first. City Administrator Kuntz said that will mean spending $400 - $500 to advertise so that we can see the proposal. City Attorney Jones suggested getting the proposal and present them to the Board for evaluation. Mayor Pogue said that after reviewing the proposals, we may decide to continue with Anheuser Busch, which would be a sole source and would not require a bid.
Alderman Boerner said that since there isn’t a lot of beer sold at the Golf Course, it makes sense to use the most popular brand in the United States. We don’t sell enough to justify having more than one brand because it will become stale. Ms. Bruer said this was correct in the past.
Alderman Finley asked if this purchase question comes up every year. Ms. Bruer said that it is now being discussed because the Purchasing policy has changed. The Purchasing policy requires Board approval for a sole source. The only source for Anheuser Busch products is Gray Eagle Distributors.
Alderman Markland said that it would be smart to have information that is less than 20 years old. City Administrator Kuntz said that we can request 3 proposals to compare the results.
Police Firearms: City Administrator Kuntz said that there is a Glock standard for the Police duty pistols. The recommendation from the department is to retain the current standard. The question is sole source, or competitive bids?
Alderman Markland said he does not understand why we are considering this to be a sole source. The Police Department has done a fantastic job of getting three proposals, with all of the details, and it turns out that the one they would like to use, Glock, is the best proposals. We’re not saying that the choice is Glock because it’s the high bidder. The total package is included in the proposal. Chief Schicker has a fantastic presentation. He does not see how it complies with sole source. It falls exactly under Section 2.4.1c, it’s in the $7,500 - $10,000 range. This should be approved by the Board. If this had been done with the computers, there would have been no problem.
A motion was made by Alderman McDermott and seconded by Alderman Markland to approve the Glock purchase. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Trail Connector: Alderman Fleming asked if there is any additional information that can be stated since some of the speakers on this subject are still in the audience at this time. City Administrator Kuntz said that there is a funding source specifically for trail enhancements. They accept applications for construction of municipal trails and projects on an annual basis. Ballwin is part of that pool that is eligible to submit. To get to the application phase, we had to do a survey, a cost estimate, and to review the area. We have engaged the services of a professional person to look at all of the plans from an objective standpoint, look at the issues with respect to the water conditions, bridges, flooding, impact on privacy, cost, etc. He said we would like to meet with the subdivisions and neighbors and have a discussion. Our goal is certainly not to create an intrusion on the neighborhood, but to discourage some of the negative activity that has been described. There was evidence of a smoke fire with a campsite. The residents do not want this behind their houses. It will be a challenge to patrol, because the police wouldn’t be walking there unless there is a complaint. He said that all of this will be taken into consideration. As soon as more information is obtained, there will be a meeting with the residents. Right now it is just a concept. Some work has to be done in order to answer the residents’ questions. The survey results should be obtained around the first of the year. None of this will be done without Board discussion and dialog.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Pending Litigation: City Attorney Jones said we are still expecting a brief in the sewer lateral case on December 27. Regarding the Greenburg case, he said he received today an amendment to the petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Supreme Court. The petitioner has now joined the Judge, which should have been done a long time ago. The City is still not a party, but by procedure, when the judge is joined in extraordinary writ, the prosecuting attorney would represent the judge and file a responsive plea on behalf of the judge. He said that since this particular motion requires a response from his firm and the prosecuting attorney, that he will speak with the judge about this and find out if he does want us to prepare the response.
Future Budget Focus: Alderman Fleming said that the Finance & Administration Committee will meet on January 10, at 6:00 p.m. to discuss the 2012 Budget Philosophy format. The committee members are Aldermen Fleming, Finley, Markland, and Boerner. Alderman Fleming said that the investment strategy can also be discussed at this meeting.
Door to Door Solicitation: Alderman Fleming said that there are some door-to-door solicitors who are not complying with the ordinance. City Attorney Jones said that it appears that from 1973 – 1994, Ballwin had a procedure for acquiring a permit, paying for it, and the use of the permit. The solicitation was restricted to particular hours. In 1994, there was an ordinance adopted that required a permit, fee, and hours of restricted solicitation. In 2002, a Supreme Court decision was handed down, which was Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York vs. the Village of Straton. This was a case where a not-for-profit entity challenged the Village’s ordinances that required a permit and restricted the solicitation. The Supreme Court held that those sorts of regulations were not the least intrusive way of achieving what is a very important public goal, which is to deter crime, protect the citizens, etc. The Watchtower case said specifically that other mechanisms like an ordinance that sets out the ability to post your property or restrict solicitors at the door, would be a less intrusive way to do this. In 2002, Ballwin adopted an ordinance in reaction to the Watchtower case and took out some of the permit requirements, particularly with regard to those who are not soliciting for a commercial purpose. Those who are passing out campaign literature, for example, a charitable organization that is soliciting funds, or the cub scouts or groups, who are handing out literature and not soliciting funds. Ballwin exempted those groups completely from the permitting requirements in the 2002 legislation. Ballwin put the requirement back on the property owner to post their property. If they do so, solicitors are not allowed to approach the property. If they are asked to leave and they don’t do so, they are guilty of trespassing. This is one response Ballwin can give to our citizens when they ask for help.
City Attorney Jones said that on the application form, the Police Department requires, in order to research the solicitation and the solicitor and issue the permit, has some restrictions for time, 7:00 p.m. This is not contained in the ordinance. This was eliminated when the code was amended in 2002. If the Board wants to include those kinds of restrictions, it can consider doing so, but can only do it concerning commercial solicitation. The Supreme Court case and Ballwin’s ordinance reflects a trend toward having the property owner post his property in order to avoid unwanted solicitations.
Alderman Fleming said that people can put a sticker on their door, but he does not believe that will deter anyone. Police Chief Schicker said that since the first of the year, there have been 75 complaints of this kind. Solicitors have mostly been selling firewood, mulch, and construction services. Summonses have been issued where appropriate. The fine is $100. Right now, they can knock on doors anytime they want with a permit.
City Administrator Kuntz suggested that a draft ordinance be presented to the Board for discussion.
Alderman Fleming requested that the City Attorney draft sample legislation for review by the Board to amend the time and reflect other relevant changes for consideration. This will be discussed at the January 10 meeting but he asked that it not be official legislation at that time. The Board agreed.
Board Room updates: Alderman Fleming asked if any consideration has been given to the Board room updates as a result of the rain beating on the metal roof and causing difficulty in hearing the speakers during the meeting. City Administrator Kuntz said that some conceptual discussions have been held about roof panels. Alderman Fleming said that even on a good night, people complain that they cannot hear the speakers.
U-Gas: Alderman Finley wished the best to U-Gas in its new development. He said he is skeptical about the Great Streets program and the Manchester Road corridor. He also suggested a survey of the golfers regarding the brand of beer that is served. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that they can conduct a survey and present the information to the Board. Alderman Leahy suggested that e-mails be sent to the regular golfers soliciting their input on the brands of beer at the Golf Course.
Economic Development: Alderman McDermott said that Ballwin definitely needs to look at an economic development committee to help steer the ship. Ellisville has done this regarding the Walmart development. There were too many times where developers came in and were steering the ship. He said he attended a meeting in Ellisville two weeks ago. Mayor Pirrello said that they have taken a new step and they are steering the ship. Ellisville is helping the developers know what it wants. Ellisville is using a template for Great Streets for the Walmart development. Alderman McDermott said that Ballwin needs to do this or it will be in the same predicament with the Red Lobster building. He said that developers have approached Assistant City Administrator Aiken about this location. The building proposals on that property were not going to be beneficial for future development or surrounding sites in the future. The City can continue this pattern as has been done for the last 60 years, or a pro-active approach like Ellisville’s can be used. Ballwin doesn’t need the developers to try to force neighbors to sell, as Mr. Biermann was doing with U-Haul; however, we should encourage some collaboration.
Light Bar Replacement: Mayor Pogue said that our Police Department has received a $9,000 grant for light bar replacement.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 10:10 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR