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 - Complete
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
December 10, 2007
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:00 p.m.
Cub Scout Den 4, Pack 792 from Oakbrook Elementary School posted the colors. The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the November 26, 2007 Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Pogue to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
BILL # 3505 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2007 BUDGET OF CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE 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 Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3505. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3505 was read for the first time.
Explanation: Alderman Lembke explained to the audience that Bill # 3505 and 3506 are regarding the 2007 budget. At the end of the year, sometimes there are funds that were budgeted and not fully utilized, and other line items where the budget wasn’t quite enough. Re-appropriation ordinances authorizes an accounting procedure that adjusts the line items so that the budget that was approved remains balanced. City Administrator Kuntz said that adjusting the funds does not frequently happen. This specifically relates to the cleanup from the January ice storm.
BILL # 3506 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2007 BUDGET OF CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE OPERATING 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 Robinson and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a first reading of Bill No. 3506. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3506 was read for the first time.
Our capital spending plan calls for expenditures totaling $4,264,271. This is a $369,738 decrease from 2007. This is primarily due to the fact that no major capital grants are expected and sales tax revenues are projected to be less than the 2007 budget. Further declines in capital spending are expected in future years unless there is a significant change in our revenues.
Of the total $3,589,600 in budgeted 2008 Capital revenues, $1,244,600 is legally earmarked to Parks capital and debt. The remaining revenue will be available to offset expenditures for the Administration, Police and Public Works departments, $818,609 of which will be applied to bond debt and TIF funding.
$1,022,662 of the 2008 Capital Budget is allocated toward street improvements. A lion’s share of the remainder will go for patrol car and truck replacements in the Police and Public Works Departments. $550,000 has been set aside for access-related requirements to the Government Center and there is $106,000 budgeted for contingency purposes.
Our 2008 Operating Budget of $14,423,501 reflects an increase of only $64,907 above 2007 appropriation levels. Since overall revenues are expected to decline slightly ($213,735) from 2007 budgeted revenues, the only way we were able to achieve balance was by applying carryover funds from 2007. This outcome was made possible thanks in large part to diligent staff efforts to secure significant disaster aid reimbursement for the January ice storm as well as a recent cell phone tax settlement.
Our 12/31/07 Operating Fund cash reserves (unencumbered fund balance) is expected to be $5.8 million or 40.7% of projected year-end expenditures.
Mayor Young said overall, we continue to make ends meet without significantly affecting programs or services or raising taxes. Longer term, the forecast is not optimistic unless we can garner public support to increase and diversify our revenue stream.
BILL # 3507 - 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, 2008, AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2008, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURES IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGET AND MAKING APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3507. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3507 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Pogue for a first reading of Bill No. 3508. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3508 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3509. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3509 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3510. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3510 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Robinson for a first reading of Bill No. 3511. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3511 was read for the first time.
Findings: Mayor Young said 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 is absent.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3511 with the following results:
CONSENT ITEMS: (Budgeted items which are low bid and do not exceed expenditure estimates and/or items which have been previously approved in concept.)
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann to approve the Liquor License for the Discount Smoke Shop. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result. The motion passed.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Leaf Collection: City Administrator Kuntz said a year ago, the Board adopted a Leaf Collection policy to attempt to limit the program and the service to single family residential, as opposed to multi-family units. He said the purpose was that most of the multi-family units are provided with waste collection different from the single-family program with the City. The yard waste pickup is part of the monthly trash bill. The current policy excludes the units that participate in the residential collection program.
City Administrator Kuntz said that if an Allied Waste bill can be produced, there would be no dispute in the City providing leaf collection.
Alderman Pogue asked if any of the developments reached an agreement with Allied Waste that they would pay the same share that the single-family residents pay, would leaf collection be provided if they could provide proof that they are paying for the removal of the waste? City Administrator Kuntz said this could be discussed with Allied Waste. He said that if the complex had the large dumpsters instead of individual cans, this would be more difficult. He said that if Allied Waste is the provider and yard waste is part of the bill, the large containers for city-wide leaf removal is included in this charge and leaf collection should be provided.
Alderman Terbrock asked if this will cause more back up for the leaf collection crews. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is a matter of equitability. If the yard waste collection is on the bill, they should also receive the leaf collection.
City Administrator Kuntz said this is the second year the overtime budget and the temporary rakers have been cut. He said we can get caught up with this program if we have the supplement and diversified revenue stream to do the job right. The leaves are being picked up the best way possible with the resources that are available. At this time, the trucks have been converted to carry salt due to the approaching ice storm. It’s not possible to quickly switch the trucks back and forth for leaf pickup and salt. When the leaves are wet, the vacuum clogs and cannot be used until it is completely cleared. He said that if $25,000 - $30,000 was back in the budget, the leaves would have all been picked up and the program complete for 2007.
Alderman Robinson asked what it means to increase and diversify our revenue stream? Mayor Young said that Ballwin is committed to the sales tax as the main revenue source. Diversification includes a property tax.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Lembke to approve the replacement the Leaf Collection policy that was adopted on December 11, 2006 with the proposed policy. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Lembke asked if leaves have been transported from common ground areas in subdivisions for pickup. City Engineer Kramer said he has not heard of this happening.
Alderman Robinson asked if a restriction on the flexibility on amending the parameters can be made to the Prosecutor and Municipal Judge. City Attorney Jones said that this could be done but the charge might be written differently. He recommended against this, and suggested enhancing the findings that are in the introductory paragraph of the ordinance to stress the importance of adhering to the policy when the case appears in municipal court.
Alderman Robinson feels that double fines will not slow down the traffic on Wildwood Parkway, and that the only solution is a parked patrol car. City Attorney Jones said that the ordinance could contain a statement that in excess of a certain number of miles per hour over and above the speed limit would garner a larger fine. Charges should not be dismissed if the prosecutor and defense council can’t reach a disposition.
Alderman Lembke said that the whole point is stopping drivers from speeding and making the fine more painful. He said the most complaints about speeders are in the subdivisions and school zones.
Police Chief Biederman said that traffic calming is expensive and not feasible unless there is a cost-sharing program between the city and the people who want this on their streets. The Police cannot be on every subdivision street. The majority of complaints come from the neighborhoods. Stop signs are not the answer to slowing traffic. He said that public safety is the main concern. People living in the subdivisions are violating the speed limit laws.
Alderman Pogue asked if negotiating the fine will be a lesser amount than if they paid the fine in the double fine zone? City Attorney Jones said that this does not usually happen. If there is a sign stating that this is a double fine zone, this will be a deterrent.
Police Chief Biederman said that this does not take away the ability of the prosecutor to negotiate.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Lembke to draft legislation for consideration to implement double fine zones on all Ballwin streets that have a 25 mph speed limit or less. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Gov Deals: City Administrator Kuntz said that the website Gov Deals is being used as an alternative to an auction to dispose of excess city property. A Ballwin truck recently received a bid of over $5,000. The purchasing procedures are that anything costing more than $5,000 must be approved by the Board. Anything that might be a higher value, advanced authorization should be received from the Board. City Attorney Jones suggested that any item for sale that has a suggested value of under $5,000 be authorized to be handled administratively based on the highest bid.
Finance Officer Loehr said that the Purchasing Policy says that whenever we get rid of a surplus capital item, initially this must be approved by the Board to sell it.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to sell a 1993 GMC K3500 dump truck. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Police Chief Jim Biederman: City Administrator Kuntz said that this is Chief Biederman’s last Board meeting because he is moving on to the private sector. He expressed good wishes to Chief Biederman in the future. Police Chief Biederman expressed appreciation to the Board and the City of Ballwin.
Closed Session: City Administrator Kuntz said that a closed session will be necessary to discuss personnel.
Pay Day Loan Business in the City of Ballwin: City Attorney Jones said he has been asked to investigate restricting the proximity of one or more of these businesses within the City of Ballwin. There are 2.1 miles of Manchester Road in the city limits, and there are seven pay day loan businesses. The City of Gladstone has legislation that has a distance regulation between this type of business. He asked if the Board is interested in considering this type of legislation.
Alderman Pogue asked if this legislation has been challenged in court. City Attorney Jones said not that he is aware of. City Administrator Kuntz said that the Gladstone model is not one that other cities are clamoring for. It’s 5,280 feet from one pay day loan business to another. This won’t affect any current businesses in Ballwin, but only for the future.
Mayor Young said that Florissant has a model ordinance that could be considered and has not been challenged. There are more pay day loan businesses in Ballwin than in Florissant, and Florissant is a larger city in retail miles.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Lembke to draft legislation for consideration restricting pay day loan businesses in Ballwin. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Lembke, Kerlagon. Nay: Terbrock, Fleming, Pogue. The motion passed by a vote of 5-3.
Meadowbrook Streets: Alderman Robinson requested the Board to consider accepting the offer from the Meadowbrook Country Club Estates Subdivision to share in the cost of improving their streets. If the Board does not agree to this, the subdivision needs the City’s cooperation to enforce the use of the public street so that the subdivision can get the street repaired. The trustees cannot enforce the closing of the street. He said that he has previously suggested that the property owners share the cost of getting the streets into acceptable condition which should have been when the City originally accepted the streets.
Jack Hanley, Trustee, stated that the homeowners in this subdivision, including the country club and the villas, have committed to sharing the cost of repairing the streets based on a bid received from Krupp Construction. He said that 74 % of the homeowners were in attendance to vote. The proposition needed 66% for approval. The issue passed by 81% approval. He said that they want to have the streets repaired next spring. The assessments for this will be due by the end of March. He asked if Ballwin will help with the repair of the streets, and what do the residents need to do to make the repairs themselves?
Alderman Fleming asked if the process is simple if the Meadowbrook homeowners make the repairs themselves. City Administrator Kuntz said that the problem with this is that this would be making a private invested improvement to a public infrastructure. If the streets were private by the City vacating the streets back, they could do anything to the streets without the City’s control or input. Because these are public streets, private invested improvement without monitoring and inspections will contribute to the potential of a liability in creating an exposure on public property from a private source.
City Attorney Jones said that the only way this can be done is for the Trustees to give the money to Ballwin, who will then oversee the bidding process and repairs in accordance with law and established procedures. Jack Hanley said that previously, the Board of Aldermen said that if the subdivision wants its streets fixed quickly, it will have to do so itself. He said that is what the Trustees are prepared to do, but now are being told that this is inappropriate.
City Attorney Jones said that monetarily, they would be fixing the streets themselves, but Ballwin owns the streets and they need to be repaired by Ballwin. If there is a monetary contribution from Meadowbrook in order to fund all or part of this, that is acceptable, but the City of Ballwin has to make the repairs. Mr. Hanley said that he was given a number of $160,000 more for the City to make the repairs than the Krupp bid.
Alderman Fleming asked if the streets could be vacated back to Meadowbrook Subdivision, they make the repairs, and then Ballwin take the streets back. City Attorney Jones said that it would be appropriate for the City to vacate the streets, but legislation cannot be passed in this budget year and bind the Board after the April election to take the streets back. He said there cannot be a contract entered into by the City that the City will ever take the streets back. Mr. Hanley said that if the City doesn’t take the streets back, that Meadowbrook Subdivision be given the right to leave the City. City Attorney Jones said that this cannot be done because there are various legal mechanisms that must be used to get another city to annex or disincorporate. He said that Ballwin cannot make any of the proposals contingent upon action taken later on by the City. The City would have to do the repairs with a monetary contribution of some or all of the money from the Meadowbrook Trustees. City Administrator Kuntz said that Krupp Construction would have to be subject to the formal bid process.
Alderman Robinson asked if Ballwin has a street policy that if a subdivision with private streets asks the City to accept the streets, and if the streets meet the guidelines, that Ballwin will accept them? City Administrator Kuntz said that the policy says that Ballwin may possibly accept them. Alderman Robinson asked if there are streets that have not been accepted in the past? City Administrator Kuntz said no.
Alderman Robinson said that the State government, not this Board, limits Ballwin’s ability to institute some options. City Attorney Jones said this is true and a future Board cannot be bound to take the streets back. It could happen but not an absolute promise. Mr. Hanley said that it’s possible that Ballwin may not choose to take the streets back even though repairs have been made. Alderman Robinson asked if there may be a problem that the streets may not be the standard width. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is possible. City Engineer Kramer said the width of the Meadowbrook streets is 20 feet, and standard is 26 feet. Alderman Suozzi said that the bid from Krupp Construction is to repair the street as it is. Mr. Hanley agreed.
Alderman Buermann said that if the Meadowbrook streets were vacated and became private, they would not be entitled to any snow plowing.
Mr. Hanley said that the Meadowbrook Trustees have a valid 2008, 30-day bid from Krupp in the amount of $389,000. If Ballwin receives new bids and the lowest is $540,000, the Trustees cannot prevent this from happening. Alderman Pogue said that if Ballwin does the bid process, the prevailing wage set by the State is required. This could produce a higher bid. He suggested that Mr. Henley ask Krupp if their bid includes the prevailing wage.
Mayor Young asked if there is any interest by the Board to vacate the Meadowbrook streets to the subdivision. Alderman Robinson said yes. Alderman Lembke said that if the Aldermen in Ward 3 are in favor of vacating the streets, he also will support the vacation. City Attorney Jones said that if the Meadowbrook residents are interested in the vacation of the streets, a petition from the Trustees, signed by the residents, will be required before legislation can be presented to the Board.
Alderman Pogue said that the Trustees should understand that if the Board vacates the streets to make them private, so that the repairs can be made with the Krupp bid to the Trustees, this does not bind the City to provide services on the Meadowbrook private streets. Mr. Hanley said they understand this.
Paul Morgan, Meadowbrook Trustee, asked if a full inspection of the curbs and sewers can be made prior to the streets being vacated to Meadowbrook. The purpose of this is so that if Ballwin as asked to take the streets back, any MSD work will not have to be paid for by Meadowbrook. City Engineer Kramer said that Ballwin does not inspect MSD work. This would be deferred to MSD. Mr. Morgan asked who would be responsible for sewer lateral work. City Engineer Kramer said that it is his understanding that MSD does not maintain storm sewers on private streets. Since these streets were private, became public, and then private again, he doesn’t know what MSD’s position will be.
Alderman Lembke said that if he gets a report back from staff stating that the work meets Ballwin’s standards, he will have no problem accepting the streets back. Next year, there is potential that four aldermanic seats could change. By State statute, a promise cannot be made by the Board that if the streets are vacated to Meadowbrook, repairs made, then Ballwin will take the streets back. This would be illegal.
Alderman Robinson said that the Board is doing all that can legally be done. Mr. Hanley said that this requires further discussion because the liability of keeping the streets long term was not discussed. Alderman Fleming said that the streets cannot be vacated for a period of one calendar year because this would be viewed as trying to go around the law. City Attorney Jones said that the only options are vacating the streets with no promise of accepting the streets back in the future, or making a contribution and Ballwin doing the work, subject to all of the bidding procedures and restrictions, including prevailing wage, bonding, etc.
Alderman Pogue said that the entrance street off of Clayton Road was repaired this year. If vacating the streets takes place, is it possible to keep out of the vacation the streets that have already been repaired? City Administrator Kuntz said that every vacation is subject to a legal meets and bounds description. City Attorney Jones said that this could be done, assuming that a distinct legal description could be written. City Engineer Kramer said that this will create a dead-end public street.
Alderman Terbrock asked why would the Meadowbrook residents want their streets returned back to Ballwin. Mr. Hanley said that other services would be lost. Alderman Lembke said the utility tax is the same as if they were located in St. Louis County unincorporated. Alderman Terbrock said that it seems that Meadowbrook is willing to forego the process that all other Ballwin residents are subject to, and want all of the services. Mr. Hanley said that the Meadowbrook residents are willing to pay $389,000 to do this. Alderman Terbrock said that not many people have the ability to do that.
Mayor Young said that the Board is either willing to vacate the streets to the Trustees and look into legislation, or not vacate the streets and receive the funds and make the repairs.
Mr. Hanley said that he asked the Board what do the Trustees need to do to get the streets fixed. This question has not been answered. City Attorney Jones said that from a legal standpoint, there are two options: The City can vacate the streets, Meadowbrook takes the streets back, and does whatever they wish. The other option is to ask the City to utilize the Meadowbrook contribution to fix the streets. He said that these are the only two legal options to get the Meadowbrook streets repaired.
Alderman Suozzi said that she has a problem with the City possibly agreeing to add money to the Meadowbrook budget if this was not a project that would have been done if there were more serious street repairs to be made elsewhere. She said that she is leaning toward the street vacation so that Ballwin doesn’t get criticized for not fixing other streets. She said that when Ballwin initially accepted the Meadowbrook streets, if she was asked to make that initial decision again, she would have pushed harder for the streets to be in better shape before Ballwin accepted them. The reason it is now costing close to $400,000 to repair the Meadowbrook streets is that they were not up to standard when Ballwin did what Meadowbrook wanted by taking over the streets for maintenance. She said that she is willing to let Meadowbrook fund the repairs and is in favor of the vacation.
Alderman Lembke suggested that Mr. Hanley ask Krupp Construction if the bid they received is the same amount that would be offered to Ballwin under Ballwin’s bidding regulations. Mr. Hanley said he will do this.
Alderman Robinson said that the Board should focus on what is known, not what may or may not happen. This will delay the process. The Trustees have a bid and are ready to proceed. The process can be implemented if the streets are vacated. He asked the Trustees to let the residents know what the City is willing to do, get their approval to accept the vacation of the streets, which gives the Trustees the green light to move forward. The City will then have to re-examine the situation whether or not to accept the streets back. Mr. Hanley said he is willing to do this.
Alderman Robinson and Alderman Fleming agreed to come to a Meadowbrook Subdivision meeting if necessary. Alderman Fleming said that he supports vacating the streets. If the residents do not want the streets vacated, he also is in favor of the subdivision giving the $389,000 to the City for the repairs, and Krupp restating their bid, or allowing a bid for the entire subdivision street repairs which is approximately $550,000, which could be contributed by the subdivision.
Mr. Hanley asked what is the vote of the Board on vacating the streets. A poll of the Board indicated that those in favor of vacating the streets are Aldermen Kerlagon, Lembke, Robinson, Fleming, Suozzi, Buermann, Pogue, and Terbrock.
Internet Harassment: Alderman Terbrock asked if the Board is in favor adopting a similar Resolution that has been adopted in the City of Florissant. Mayor Young said that Senator Loudon requested that this Resolution be approved in the various cities, and sent to Jefferson City to promote state-wide acceptance.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Pogue to draft a Resolution regarding internet harassment becoming State law.
Alderman Suozzi said that it is frustrating that one situation has created such a furor. She said the City of St. Louis has legislation regarding harassment as it is. They are going to re-work their legislation to include the internet. She asked if there is a Ballwin ordinance that addresses harassment. Police Chief Biederman said that the Ballwin ordinance addresses telephone harassment but not the internet. Alderman Suozzi said that she is opposed to enacting legislation just within the City of Ballwin. She is in favor of a Resolution to encourage the State to enact legislation. She also suggested that the State consider the Clean Air Ordinance to enforce statewide.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Finance & Administration Committee Minutes: Alderman Fleming submitted Minutes of the Finance & Administration Committee meeting on November 19. A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Pogue to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Property Tax: Alderman Fleming said the Finance & Administration Committee recommended that the Property Tax, residential and commercial only, without the Personal Property Tax, be put on the ballot and asked that the Board decide how and when do they want to do this if meets with their approval. The most appropriate time to put this issue on the ballot is April 8, 2008 for a simple majority. An election other than April or November, passage would have a 4/7th majority requirement. Alderman Fleming suggested that the voters decide on a Property Tax. The budget message is very clear that additional revenue is necessary.
City Administrator Kuntz said that the proposal from the Finance & Administration Committee was a 40¢ property tax, excluding personal property. This would be real estate only, 40¢ rate.
Alderman Fleming said that the discussion at the Finance & Administration Committee meeting started with the goal of generating $3 million, with approximately $500,000 of that amount expected to be allocated towards operations, and $2.5 million allocated toward street repair. A rate of 40¢ at the current assessed value will generate approximately $2.6 million in annual revenue. $2 million is from residential, and $300,000 is for commercial. On a $250,000 house, the cost to the homeowner would be approximately $190. If the City services are to remain as they are now, $190 seems to be a reasonable amount to pay. He said that in 1987, the property tax was rolled back to zero. For over 20 years, a high level of services has been provided without over taxing the residents. He said that $190 is reasonable to keep the police service good, the snow plows and leaf collection, maintaining the Ballwin parks, and have competitive employee compensation. Ballwin is barely keeping up with the cost of inflation and insurance.
Alderman Suozzi said that in the past when Alderman Buermann asked for support of a real estate initiative, she agreed. She has no problem placing this on the April ballot. It won’t cost the city more money to place this on the April ballot. She said her St. Louis County property evaluation has increased 25%, and believes that Ballwin should not be punished for the County’s assessment woes. If anybody deserves a real estate tax, it is Ballwin to pay for the police, street repair that we haven’t been able to do. She said she is in support of this.
Alderman Fleming said that it was also discussed at the Committee meeting that in order for Ballwin to assess and collect the funds in 2008 and use in 2009, it must be on the ballot prior to August. April 8 is the only economical option that meets the time limits.
Alderman Buermann said that street light services is also important. He said that A.G. Edwards reported that the Moody Bond Rating could be at risk if Ballwin remains solely reliant on sales tax revenue. A real property tax will strengthen that position and maintain the bond rating. If the good bond rating is lost, it would be a long and potentially impossible road to follow. He said he supports an April 8 ballot initiative for the voters to decide.
Alderman Buermann said that the meeting that will be hosted by himself and Alderman Lembke is to get a grass roots campaign started. Alderman Kerlagon said that a property tax is going to be a tough sell because of other issues. He said that approval of the property tax is important.
Alderman Terbrock said that he agrees that this issue should be on the April 8 ballot, and passage to maintain the standard of living in Ballwin.
Alderman Pogue said that he voted against raising the utility tax from 5% to 7%. He said he supports placing the property tax on the April 8 ballot. Any tax increase should be the voters’ choice. The voters should be aware of the plans for the funds. He said that two consultants have stated that Ballwin needs to triple the amount of money that is currently being spent on roads just to maintain an overall “C” rating.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to draft legislation to place the issue on the April 8 ballot. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Board convened in closed session at 8:55 p.m.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn the closed session. A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned.
The Board reconvened in open session and Mayor Young announced that the Board met in closed session to discuss personnel. No votes were taken.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Pogue to adjourn the open session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned.
WALTER S. YOUNG, MAYOR