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
To view the Meeting Agenda click here
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:02 p.m.
Boy Scout Troop 357, chartered out of the VFW Post 6274 in Ballwin, presented the Flag and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mr. LeComb said, “As you may or may not be aware, we have over 400 overflows that during heavy to moderate rain storms, discharge a combination of rain water and sewage in area creeks and streams. That’s in addition to basement backups that we have during any rain storm. Those overflow points are the result of the way the system was built in 1850s. This is our issue to deal with today. In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency sued MSD over these overflows. There’s no argument that work needs to be done. Over the last 20 years, we spent over $2.3 billion to address these overflows. We mediated with the federal and state governments for five years. We reached an agreement this past summer where we committed to appending $4.7 billion over the next 23 years. $4.7 billion is not a trivial amount of money. When we were first sued, we projected the work to be around $6 billion, and would probably be required to do the work in 15 – 18 years. During the 5 years of mediation, we have negotiated the best deal possible, relative to other major metropolitan areas across the country. It is a very fair deal and a very good agreement. The bonding and financing communities view our consent decree as a plan for going forward. We have issued close to $1 billion in bonds to finance this work over the last 8 years. This year, we plan to go to the voters for approval of almost another billion dollars in bonds. These bonds are utilized to keep the user rate increases as low as possible as we go into this program. The bonding agencies look at this consent decree as bringing a great deal of stability assurance to our rates. Currently, MSD enjoys a AAA bond rating and two AA+ bond ratings, which allows us to access financing at a very low cost for our repairs.”
Mr. LeComb said, “Outside of the potential damage to the bond rating, reopening the agreement would delay providing relief for hundreds of customers who have basement backups during moderate to heavy rain storms. Whenever it rains in the St. Louis area, many customers have sewage back up into their basements. The solution to overflows is the same solution as basement backups. You have to increase treatment capacity, and that’s what we propose doing with our program. If we delay our program, it will delay corrective problems for hundreds of families throughout our area. In addition, inflation will march on and our program will increase in cost.”
“MSD has been working with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the last two years to develop legislation that would compel EPA to take a look at the financial obligations they are placing on cities. Right now, EPA doesn’t really care that much about the cost. What it’s concerned about are the environmental impacts. We are working with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies and the U.S. Conference of Mayors to have the Clean Water Act changed so that EPA is compelled to take financial considerations into account in imposing these agreements. That is the way that would encourage the council if you feel very strongly at this point to make your voice be heard.”
Mayor Pogue said, “This Board has already taken action on that resolution and passed it. We did that in December.” Mr. LeComb said, “I am asking the Board to consider repealing that resolution. MSD was unaware that this resolution was being sent out to municipalities. The resolution was not developed in concert with MSD.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The Board can consider this.” Alderman Finley asked City Attorney Jones for his input on this issue. City Attorney Jones said, “The Resolution is not a law, therefore, it doesn’t have to be repealed. The Board could adopt a Resolution that took a different position, if that is its preference, or do nothing at all.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The information Ballwin received from the Municipal League indicated that the settlement would result in the expenditure of millions of dollars, with nothing being accomplished.” Mr. LeComb said, “That is correct. When you look in terms of the impact…..” Mayor Pogue said, “Why would we want to spend the tax payers money, when your own report said nothing would be accomplished?” Mr. LeComb said, “That is a flaw in the Clean Water Act, which was written 40 years ago. It’s a viewpoint that waste water treatment operations were polluters by default.” Mayor Pogue said, “Our resolution basically said that we would like for you to go back and re-evaluate your plan to give us something that’s going to be more of substance and relief to these people.” Mr. LeComb said, “We have. It’s items that the Municipal League mentioned in their resolution, we’ve already negotiated into our program. When we were first sued, this was going to cost $6 billion, we negotiated it down to $4.7 billion. We’ll get 23 years instead of 15 – 18 years at the time we were sued. The length of years impacts how quickly rates go up. It is the best deal possible. There are no alternatives, as the Municipal League expresses in their resolution. We have negotiated the best deal possible.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “The emphasis on the negotiation of the cost and the better deal is what concerns me. I’m not so much worried about what the costs are as I am about making it right. I want a better future for our streams and rivers. To me, that’s the most important part.”
BILL # 3727 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING PROVISIONS RELATING TO SOLICITING, PEDDLING OR HAWKING IN THE CITY OF BALLWIN.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3727. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3727 was read for the first time.
Mayor Pogue said, “I noticed on the first page of Section 1, subsection B, that a clause was changed. This was discussion about not-for-profit organizations. This ordinance will cover those organizations as long as they are soliciting as volunteers in unpaid positions, and that they are members of that organization, such as the Scouts.”
Alderman Harder said, “That section will cover Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, selling wrapping paper etc., by kids from the schools or etc..” City Attorney Jones said this is correct.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a second reading of Bill No. 3727. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3727 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3727 with the following results:
BILL # 3728 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE ORGANIZATION AND DUTIES OF THE BALLWIN DAYS COMMITTEE.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3728. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3728 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a second reading of Bill No. 3728. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3728 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3728 with the following results:
BILL # 3729 - AN ORDINANCE ESTABLISHING A ONE-YEAR MORATORIUM ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF SECTION R501.3 OF THE 2012 INTERNATIONAL BUILDING CODE WITH RESPECT TO FIRE PROTECTION OF FLOORS.
A motion was made by Alderman Kerlagon and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a first reading of Bill No. 3729. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3729 was read for the first time.
Mayor Pogue said, “There are a couple of amendments. In Section 1, should read 2012 International Residential Building Code, and the ordinance reference should be 11-55 for the residential code.”
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Leahy to amend Bill 3729 as recommended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Fleming said, “We’ve been contacted by a couple of people who are members of the Home Builders Association. They say that this section isn’t specific enough. I don’t think they are arguing against the validity of the section, they’re just saying that it’s not specific enough. They are actively reviewing it and going to provide input on modifications that they intend to make. They think they will be on track to complete their review in March. Perhaps in April and May, we can wait for them to make the modification, and then hopefully adopt the new section. I don’t want to let the moratorium go for a year. I want to move up the timeline pretty aggressively to June1 or July 1 so that they are forced to review it, give suggestions, make modifications, and move forward with it. If we leave the moratorium in place for a year, essentially what you’re saying is anybody who builds a house this year doesn’t have to comply with it.”
Alderman Fleming asked Assistant City Administrator Aiken, “Is the new code is effective when the permit is submitted, or when the inspections are made?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “The code is effective when the permit application is submitted and inspections are made pursuant to the code that the permit was approved under.” Alderman Fleming said, “If we put the moratorium in place now, anything that comes in between now and when the moratorium ends does not have to comply with this section.” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “That’s correct.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I had a discussion this week with a representative of the Home Builders Association regarding when he thought we could see their review and comments. The representative said they are hoping to be finished with their review by the end of February. They have a review session scheduled with Hazelwood at the end of February. Ours could be in March. They will schedule with us and meet with Code Enforcement Supervisor Jerry Klein and Mr. Aiken.”
Alderman Fleming said, “This is mainly regarding fire safety.” Mayor Pogue said, “ Yes. The concern is life safety in the event of a fire.” Alderman Fleming asked Assistant City Administrator Aiken if he feels this is specific enough at this point in time. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “I don’t know what their concerns are, so I can’t judge whether or not their concerns are valid. We don’t look to expand on the code. The way it’s written is how it will be enforced.” Mayor Pogue said, “Their concerns are that the code says you have to have a half inch sheet of drywall on the underside of the engineered joists. They wanted to know if this had to be fire taped.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “In the basement, the joist is running in a certain direction. Where the joints run parallel to the wall, there’s typically not a joist there to attach the drywall to and to make a good seal. There’s nothing in the 2012 code that addresses that.”
Alderman Harder said, “I talked with some builders about this. They were supportive that we are going to do this moratorium because of the cost increase in building a home. Currently, all of our homes were built without this. This is something new. If anybody wants to finish off their basement, in the future, they would have to pull all of this down and start over because of the way they are saying this should go back up. This would just be a window dressing to get past the code, and the cost is substantial. I think this moratorium is good to at least the end of the year.”
Alderman Fleming said, “I still don’t think we should let the moratorium go to the end of the year. It exempts every permit that is issued from now to the end of the year, from having to comply with this section of the code that deals with safety. I understand that builders are not going to like this because there is added cost. The intention is safety of the homeowners and firefighters. If they want it changed, then the Home Builders Association should review it quickly, tell us what they want changed, and we can consider if we want to accept their changes. I don’t think it should take the rest of the year to figure this out. It sounds like we’re also getting inquiries about other sections of the code.” Mayor Pogue said yes. Alderman Fleming said, “We should either adopt the code or not adopt it. I can support the moratorium for a little while, long enough for them to complete their review and offer suggestions on how to make this better. I can’t support the moratorium for the whole year. A lot of engineers, architects and building professionals looked at the code, and rewrote it with safety in mind. Maybe it still needs some work, but leaving it for the rest of the year is not the way to go.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to move up the moratorium to only be in effect until July 1, 2012. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Fleming, Terbrock, Kerlagon, Finley, Dogan, Leahy. Nay: Harder. The motion passed by a vote of 6-1.
Alderman Dogan said, “I share Alderman Fleming’s concern. If we pass a moratorium, and there is a fire issue in someone’s home, and the home wasn’t up to code, could Ballwin be liable?” City Attorney Jones said, “I don’t think so. The code compliance is something that’s a moving landscape. You adopt a code, and as a result of experience, you may decide to change the code. This one has been adopted but never implemented in the City of Ballwin. An organization has come forward and suggested that maybe it could have language that was easier to comply with. I don’t think any liability could be passed on to the City. Ballwin is ultimately charged with trying to be sure that it protects its residents by enforcing these kinds of codes. If it’s not clear, one could argue if the City could enforce it. I don’t think there is any liability on the City for this.”
Mayor Pogue said, “Right now, we’re looking at moratorium on one small section of the code. A builder asked what are the opportunities of rescinding the entire building code and going back to the previous code. I told him that this is not likely. There’s an issue of clarity and what is expected of builders. The engineered beams that are causing concern, how long have they been commonly used in residential practice?” Alderman Terbrock said, “We started using them in about 2001. By 2004, they were used pretty much everywhere.”
Alderman Harder said, “We jumped out ahead of everybody else in the St. Louis area, and maybe the State, in adopting this new code. It was done because of our certification process. I think we’re going to find more things like this in the review process on an item by item basis. I think this is not the end of this discussion. Ballwin is the only municipality that has adopted this. If a builder decides to construct a home in a municipality that does not have to comply with this code. I don’t want to put Ballwin at a disadvantage when it comes to growth of new homes in the area.”
Alderman Dogan said, “Because of the piece meal nature of this, if we end up changing the regulations again, adding some other new section in a month or so, what happens then? If someone has built in the intervening month, they are operating under different regulations than someone who built in the following month. I don’t like this kind of approach.” Mayor Pogue said, “I don’t see that at all. When the review is done with staff and they have the recommendations, in my opinion, that’s the code.” Alderman Dogan said, “So, this is the only part of the code that we will be repealing until……” Mayor Pogue said, “The HBA will complete their review of the entire code. They will meet with our staff and inspectors review their recommendations. Staff will then bring to the Board any recommendations that they have for the amendments, one time. That could also include clarity on the section that we’re setting a moratorium. If there’s any other sections for clarification, this would be presented to the Board at that time. Staff may say that the don’t accept any of the recommendations other than clarification of what will be expected on this section.”
Alderman Terbrock asked, “How often do amendments come out on the code?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said every three years.
Alderman Fleming said, “The recommendations are coming from the St. Louis Home Builders Association. This is different than the organization that actually creates the code.” Mayor Pogue said that’s correct. Alderman Fleming said, “Most likely, the ones who have the most interest in this at this time are the builders who have current or near term plans to build in the City of Ballwin. If you don’t like this piecemeal approach, I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything in Ballwin right now. If I was a builder, I would rush in and get the permits before the moratorium expired. I don’t think we’ve had a situation like this in the past, where we looked at the code and decided to make some selective amendments.” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said he doesn’t recall that we have done this in the past.
Alderman Terbrock said, “I doubt that there will be a rush to get permits considering the way the housing market is. They will get the permits as needed. This isn’t the time to be building spec houses just to beat the code.”
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a second reading of Bill No. 3729, as amended. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Dogan, Harder, Leahy. Nay: Fleming, Finley, Kerlagon. The motion for a second reading failed.
This bill will be held over for the next meeting.
Alderman Fleming said, “The purpose for my Nay vote was to give us more time to think about this and do research. If anyone else has questions or concerns, please get your questions to staff.”
A. Fund Balance Policy
Alderman Fleming asked, “Would the set aside fund that we talked about be considered a committed fund balance?” Finance Officer Loehr said, “I think it would be considered an assigned fund balance because the funds would not be set aside for a specific purpose. Alderman Fleming said, “In setting up our set-aside fund, we have to figure out which one it actually is because of the order of spending.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Planning & Zoning Appointment: Mayor Pogue asked for a motion to accept the recommendation to appoint Lynn Goetz to the Planning & Zoning Commission as a representative for Ward 3.
Alderman Finley said, “At the end of last year when we got into candidates paying municipal taxes and user fees, I suggested that a similar standard be put in place for members of our appointed Boards, including Planning & Zoning. I’ve had limited contact with Mr. Goetz, but he comes to our meetings and is informed. I would be inclined to vote in favor of Mr. Goetz, but I would like to know if he has paid his taxes.” Alderman Fleming said he will look it up if the Board wants him to do this. (At the request of Alderman Finley, Mayor Pogue checked the St. Louis County website, and noted that Mr. Goetz’s taxes were paid.)
A motion was made by Alderman Leahy and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the recommended appointment to the Planning & Zoning Commission. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Harder said, “I would also like to see recommended appointments in advance of the matter coming before the Board. I would also like appointees to come before the Board so that we can meet them. It would be nice instead of just throwing out a name that we don’t know.” Mayor Pogue said, “Because this is ward specific, I consult those aldermen first to see if they have a recommendation. In this case, I’ve known Lynn for a number of years from coming to the meetings and discussions with him. I talked to both of the aldermen and they were in agreement. I have a lot of faith in their recommendation, but I will definitely take these suggestions into consideration.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “We do not have a formal Board policy in place for those types of appointments. I would ask City Attorney Jones, if we are going to continue this in the future, it has to be voluntary on the applicant’s side as well. For someone to be called to address the Board unprepared, it wouldn’t be fair to an applicant. If there’s going to be more than the informal procedure, because it’s the Mayor’s appointment, and going to be structured through a process, I think any potential applicant needs to know what the process is going to be before they apply or agree to serve. I know that Mayor Pogue has communications with both the aldermen and tries to give advance notification. To do this incrementally or not systematically could not send the kind of message or signal that you want. Give some thought to this if that’s the direction you are going in.”
City Attorney Jones said, “The Mayor could just simply announce his appointment and ask for a vote to determine if there is a majority of the Board. He is extending a courtesy by asking for a motion. He doesn’t really need one. It’s his appointment. He can simply announce it and ask for approval of the majority of the Board. If you’re going to put a process in place, it probably needs to be done with an ordinance.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “I’m glad in retrospect that Mr. Goetz wasn’t here tonight, because if I was being recommended for appointment and the Board suddenly dropped that on me, that could be very uncomfortable even though the taxes are paid. The recommended candidate should have advance notice of this.”
Alderman Finley said, “Should this be in the Policy Manual?” City Attorney Jones said, “I think it would need to be in an ordinance, if you are going to put additional restrictions on the Mayor’s appointment. This is similar to the ones you did for the Prosecuting Attorney and the Municipal Judge, which are also the Mayor’s appointments.”
Alderman Finley said, “I look at this as advice and consent procedure.”
Solar Energy Grant: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a recommendation for an extension of the Management Service Contract with Heartland Alternative Energy to solicit for additional funding for an application of solar panels to be installed on The Pointe at Ballwin Commons, similar to what we’ve done on the Government Center with the initial grant. Jerry Klein has been our staff liaison on the project. It is a straight-forward process. From the first round, there were unspent dollars that they are now being freed up on a first come, first serve basis for re-application. We have the track record and the technology in place. Our website can be checked to see how well the first installation is doing. This is a more extensive application because of the bigger units. If we are going to move forward, the application should be submitted before the January 31 deadline.
Mayor Pogue said, “The City of Manchester has done a solar project, and Ellisville is also considering it. This is a great opportunity for us to continue to look at the savings potential in using green initiatives on all of our city projects.”
Alderman Harder said, “It was stated that there were extra funds from the Government Center project.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “No, these are funds left over from the grant that funded the Government Center.” Alderman Harder said, “The suggestion is to apply for another grant for The Pointe. Is that going to be enough to do anything there, or are we going to just be heating water?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “It will be more than that.” Staff Liaison Jerry Klein said, “We will be applying for a grant for a 40 Kw system that is about 5 times larger than the one we just put on the Government Center roof.” Eric Mueller, from Heartland Alternative Energy, added that “the system would generate a significant portion of the electrical energy, especially during the peak summer time electrical usage.”
Alderman Harder said, “If I’m understanding this right, you’re saying that with the original specs, this would pay for itself with a 10-year commitment, but with the Ameren contribution, it’s down to zero?” “Jerry Klein said that “with the grant money we hope to get from the State of around $150,000 and the $2.50/watt rebate from Ameren, the cost to the City will be very low and possibly will not cost the City anything.”
Alderman Harder said, “With the grant money and the rebates, it will cost us nothing to run it, or to install it and run it?” Jerry Klein said, “there should be no cost to install the system, and there should be very little cost to running the system.” Eric Mueller confirmed that the primary maintenance would be to periodically wash off the photovoltaic panels to maintain peak efficiency.”
Alderman Harder said, “What is the history on the Government Center so far? I know it’s only been in use for a few weeks. Are we at 10% capacity, 5% or what in our usage?” Jerry Klein said, “This is the worst time of the year for a photovoltaic solar panel system, because the sun is low in the sky and there are a lot of cloudy days. So far, we have not reached even 5% of the usage of the Government Center, but overall, we expect the panels to take care of about 10% of the Government Centers electrical usage.”
Alderman Harder said, “When I look at the graph online, it’s hard to tell if it’s meeting the demand of the building or not.” Jerry Klein said no it is not.
Mayor Pogue said, “I looked online at Manchester’s system about a week ago and at the history. Theirs appears to be a larger system. Eric Mueller responded by saying the Manchester system is approximately the same size, and has been in operation for just over 1 year.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “We have a perfect south orientation. Anything less affects the efficiency.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the staff recommendation of the proposal from Heartland Alternative Energy for grant application and project management services. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Police Cars: City Administrator Kuntz said, “The five police vehicles that were authorized for purchase in the 2012 budget slightly exceeded the original projections by $1,972 in aggregate. We are recommending that the contract be awarded to Don Brown Chevrolet.”
“The reason for the higher than budgeted price is the early introduction of a different engine, which was not anticipated. The flip side is that the change of the engine will give improved transmission function and life and better fuel efficiencies. Transmissions are the key cause of repairs in the second, third, and fourth years with the police cars compared to other maintenance issues. Having a better transmission with the new engine will more than justify the slight increase. We are prepared to absorb the excess through the contingency fund, which was established for these kinds of expenses. We are recommending the State bid with no trade. The vehicles are put out on a auction and we typically get four or five different fleet type of vendors that will bid on those, and will be awarded separately to the highest bidders. We’re looking for a motion to move forward with the State bid on the police vehicles.”
Alderman Kerlagon said, “It looks like this is a good time for this to happen in regard to being able to get the Impalas because the Impalas are not going to be available next year, and there is going to be a significant price increase of $4,000 - $5,000 by having to move to the Caprice or whatever is available at that time.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to accept staff recommendation for the purchase of the police cars. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Sales Tax Reform: City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is regarding the ongoing regional subject of sales tax reform. I have been representing the City for the past 4-6 months or longer with respect to the ongoing dialog involving the distribution formula for the county-wide sales tax. There’s two types of distribution benefactors, and that would be the point of sale communities and the pooled communities. Those that are in the point of sale receive their tax dollars based on the amount of sales generated from within the community, and the others are generated and put into a larger base and then redistributed on a population basis.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “There’s a movement by certain pool cities that would like the opportunity to become point of sale because they are actually generating within their community more sales tax than they are receiving from being part of the pool. That is what initiated this lengthy dialog of the haves and the have nots, and what’s fair and what’s not, what role, if any should St. Louis County play in that sharing of the distribution of sales tax.”
“The St. Louis County Municipal League has put together committees consisting of members on both sides. On Thursday evening at their monthly meeting, they will be asking the membership to take a position on which way they prefer to go to the State Legislature. Meanwhile, we have a bill, that’s been filed, I understand, called the Sales Tax Equity Act of 2012. I believe this was put together and filed by the City of Chesterfield, and it essentially accomplishes many of the changes, or is the cornerstone to give Chesterfield the ability to move into a point of sale, as opposed to a pool community. It makes other adjustments as to what the County can do and can’t do, what we share, and what we have to enact. If you want to know what our impact is, it would be extremely difficult for me to calculate with any direct certainty. If the Chesterfield bill was to be adopted with all of its provisions that are reflected in this draft that I gave you, in all probability, the City of Ballwin would slightly gain from a revenue standpoint. On the other hand, Ballwin is unique in the sense that it is a pure hybrid community. We receive almost exactly a 50% share from the pool and 50% from point of sale. The reason that’s true is because after 1988, any population base that becomes incorporated, automatically is part of the pool. Anything before 1988, had a choice of being pool or point of sale. Our core city is point of sale. Our surrounding area, made up primarily of residential uses, is pool. We got about $2.5 million from the point of sale, and about $2.5 million from the pool. The impact of going either all pool or with the option of the point of sale, would probably be not consequential enough to radically affect our budget. On the other hand, if the cities were to go all pool, we wouldn’t see a big windfall either. We’re probably in the best position as we can be.”
“My concern is that if certain of the provisions in this bill were to fall by the wayside and not stand in the final version, I think we would be more hurt by the change than if we stayed where we are and there’s no affect on the status quo. It’s difficult to have such a far sweeping piece of legislation. With the position I think we are in, it probably wouldn’t behoove this community to take a strong position in either camp. I’ve done everything I can to represent you to protect our interest. At this point, we’re probably going to be alright either way. I think there is a good chance that the status quo will be maintained, as opposed to one of the extreme positions being upheld. We have been asked to take a position. Chesterfield has asked for us and every other city to endorse the legislation. From a policy standpoint, this is up to the Board. From everything I’ve seen and heard, I wouldn’t be inclined to rush aggressively forward and take a leadership role in this.”
“The reason this is so hard to nail down is the legislation gives the cities every ten years the right to choose whether to be in the pool or as a point of sale. If a lot of cities were to get out of the pool, we would shrink. The pool amounts to about $110 per person today. If some of the big players that are pool today because they are required to be, were able to leave the pool, that per capita share could shrink from $110 down to about $75. Not knowing who will stay and who will leave, makes a moving target. The only way the pool stays in tact is if the other provision of this act is upheld, and that will be a battle, and that is to take the County out of the pool. This means that’s one less piece of pie has to be cut from the whole, and the rest of the pie is bigger for the remaining entities. St. Louis County is the only county in the State that I’m aware of that shares the municipal sales tax with the cities. It’s a very unique arrangement. There’s a lot to mitigate against anything happening, but I think we should be concerned and involved. It does need reform, and it’s been a very worthwhile exercise but frustrating at the same time.”
Mayor Pogue said, “There are two other House Bills that have been introduced. The Municipal League has their own recommendations on what should be done. This will be discussed this coming Thursday. The Municipal League will take a vote on this at that time.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “From our standpoint, I agree with City Administrator Kuntz to be reluctant to jump into anything. It may not have a substantial effect on us at this point, but it could affect us negatively later on.”
Alderman Harder said, “I agree with Alderman Terbrock that we shouldn’t take a position at this point. There are too many moving parts with other pieces of legislation and the details of this. When you jump out ahead of the parade, sometimes you get run over by the parade. I think we should sit back and see how this plays out in the months ahead or even a year. The bill that was filed last year was stuck in an ambulance bill for Jefferson County that nobody would have seen if it wasn’t brought to certain people’s attention, and it was to get Fenton out of the pool, and they couldn’t get out because it was voted down.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I want to thank our Municipal League for bringing this to everyone’s attention. They are definitely doing good work in Jefferson City with that in regards to looking out for the municipalities.”
Alderman Fleming said, “I’m also in agreement to not take a position because things could change several times and then all of a sudden Chesterfield could say that Ballwin supported this. Well, no, it’s not what we supported, but what we did do is we got out ahead of this. This is a request that’s happened before. Last year we started to think that sooner or later something is going to happen. Our City Administrator has been very influential and had a leadership role in trying to minimize the impact that this would have, not just on our municipality, but on a lot of municipalities. I appreciate all of his efforts, and I’m certainly going to follow his advice because he’s been on this as closely as anybody at this point.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “I also want to thank City Administrator Kuntz for being a leader in this and protecting us and our neighbors.”
Mayor Pogue said, “It’s the position of the Board that we take no stance at this time.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “An issue that was discussed was Pension Reform. It was decided at that time that the Finance & Administration Committee would take a look at this topic as it relates to our employee pension programs and try to come up with a recommendation to move forward. Alderman Fleming will schedule this meeting.”
Alderman Fleming said, “My preference would be to schedule this meeting for no later than 6:00 p.m. on February 13, prior to the 7:00 p.m. Board meeting, or sooner. This matter is of concern to all of the employees. City Administrator Kuntz suggested having this meeting on Monday, January 30.”
Wall Replacement: City Engineer Gary Kramer said, “This year’s budget includes the replacement of a retaining wall on Holly Green. There’s a potential opportunity to save money by using the excess blocks from a wall near the structure that was recently torn down at Ferris Park. Until the park plan is developed, it’s not known if the wall will be needed at that location or if they will have to be removed. The replacement wall is being designed so that we can use either the old blocks or new blocks. The blocks that are there now are not manufactured any longer. The blocks would be ideal for this wall if they are not going to be used at Ferris Park. It’s my understanding that the park plan will not be completed until later this year. Do we want to plan on building it this summer, which means a decision will have to be made about the availability of the blocks. The cost of using new blocks is about $1,700 for the wall. Another option would be to postpone this until late this year or next year.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I don’t want us to spend resources to move dirt and possibly cut down trees and eliminate our savings.” City Engineer Kramer said, “That’s why that is option #4 and not as a preferred option. The wall that we will be replacing is not holding up any structure.”
Alderman Fleming asked, “What is the total cost of the project was originally estimated to be for budget purposes?” City Engineer Kramer said, “Around $7,000 or $8,000, but this is a guess because I don’t have those figures here at this time. The budget was based on using new blocks. We could possibly save about $1,700 if we use the blocks that are at Ferris Park.”
Alderman Fleming said, “There were four railroad tie walls and I would hate to not replace one of those walls this year. The thought was to replace one wall per year so that they didn’t all fail in the same year and have a $40,000 bill to replace them all at the same time. I think one wall should be replaced this year. If we waited and found out we were not going to be able to use the blocks, could we still get it done this year?” City Engineer Kramer said, “It depends on when the park plan will be finished. I believe we can hold off until after Labor Day. The wall is being designed to use either new or old blocks. This isn’t holding up any of the design. There are not enough blocks for any of the other walls. This is the only wall small enough. The fourth wall, which is the Seven Trails wall, is planned to use the blocks from the wall near Rothman along Manchester Road when they become available.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “I agree with Alderman Fleming, and I don’t want the blocks going into the trash, because they can be used for a project.”
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
City Attorney Jones said, “I am not handling that litigation directly. The Class Council is John Mulligan, from the firm that handled the previous telecommunication case.”
Aging in Place Report: Alderman Harder said, “At our Workshop Retreat, we didn’t have time to discuss Aging in Place. I put together, with the help of City Administrator Kuntz, a report on some things that we gathered from the internet and other sources, as well as other municipalities, and about what cities are doing to talk about the issue of an aging population.”
“In this report, I put together a report about our aging population in general and what’s happening over all, and some information concerning housing in the Ballwin area and St. Louis County. There are two parts: Housing and aging in place report.”
“If you look at the population of Ballwin at a glance, we’ve lost a little population since 2,000, but we’re still at 30,404 people. If you look at the age group of 50 and above, that’s about 36% of our population as of 2010. The 65 and over batch is up to about 15% of our population the way we are right now. We’ve seen a slight increase in overall housing income, but when you factor in some inflation and other things in the last couple of years, it’s been flat. We have a substantial number of people that are 18 and over. About 75% of our population is in that category, which is good, but could be better to weigh out the two.”
“I found online that there is a problem with the aging population in a city like ours. Some things we see across the country, not just in Ballwin. As people get older, their budgets become limited, they are on a fixed income, and their dollars are spent on utilities, food, and other necessities. Housing maintenance, updates, and values decline over time in those properties. We also see that the need for healthcare increases for that population. Healthy eating declines. Are there things the City can do to help by using The Pointe, such as programs and other opportunities so that they can continue to live in their homes?”
“Families in today’s marketplace and today’s population tend to be more scattered, which puts an extra burden on people that are local that are helping out the local population. The adult children don’t always know what’s happening with their parents as they grow older in their home.”
“Older adults are more vulnerable to scams and fraud. There is a greater need for emergency services. The last report I saw from Metro West showed that ¾ of their calls are ambulance calls, as opposed to fire-related calls.”
“Older people become more isolate and their lifestyle changes. Sometimes unhealthy living conditions develop such as hoarding and homes falling into disrepair as they try to live in their homes and avoid moving to a nursing home or assisted living. There tends to be a greater dependency on city and government services as the population grows older.”
“The report shows what some cities have done across the country to prepare for this. One suggestion is to convert the large trash carts to a smaller container. Affordable senior housing with smaller homes is something to consider, such as property that could be made into a senior housing area or duplexes.”
“House sales have stayed month to month, quarter to quarter, at about a hundred, some higher, some lower, but there’s a huge number of homes that have not sold. We are in a decline when it comes to the number of units sold. Some are taken off the market and used as rental property for income.”
“In a St. Louis County report, they mention homes that are below 1,000 square feet tend to sell for less and become the homes that get rundown more. It’s a concern because we have a large population of these types of homes. Over the last ten years, the sale of houses of 1,000 square feet or less floor area, has declined to less than 20 per quarter from a high of about 80 per quarter back in 2000 – 2001. The population is being less attracted to those type of homes.”
“Ballwin is in the price range of $150,000 - $250,000 on average prices. We are in the middle of an average price in St. Louis County.”
“I think we need to take these items into consideration in the future with the laws and programs we produce, and how can we best help some of the people as we go forward.”
Alderman Fleming said, “We should all be aware of the information regarding infill. According to the chart, there are lots of infill developments inside the I-270 range. I see this heading in our direction. We haven’t had a lot of it here yet. As our houses start to get older, are we likely to start seeing requests to take down the old and build new?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “This trend has slowed down, but it was booming before the economy tanked. It’s possible that if the economy improves, there will be some pressure to do that in Ballwin. Mostly the tear downs we’ve had have been where there was a large parcel with a single dwelling. They tore the house down, subdivided the land, and put five or eight houses on the property. If the market for small houses is going away, this could be considered the way to go forward.”
Alderman Fleming said, “There’s not a lot of vacant land in Ballwin, so the next thing that could happen is people will want to take down the old and build something new.” Alderman Harder said, “If the economy was better, we will see more of this. There are older subdivisions that have half-acre lots with a house that’s 900 square feet with no garage or a basement. The value is in the lot.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “We’re not looking for anything at this meeting. This is an awareness topic. The data is undisputable. The trends are there. As we go through budget decisions, staff meetings, and talk about future goals and priorities, we’re going to be filtering this situation, just as we’re trying to do with heightened awareness on the green initiative. This is another global type of issue that there are a lot of opportunities and challenges. We need to be thinking about this on the application stage. Moving forward, we may want to ask the Board about a survey. Should we do a custom survey just to determine the needs in this community. Chesterfield launched a survey a couple of weeks ago to ask the questions of their residents. What do you need, what do you want, what can we do? This is a long term topic. At this time, this is just for awareness.”
Alderman Harder said, “We need to be sensitive to people with disabilities and the things that come with older age. The Police have gone through sensitivity training and how to deal with people, and we have the R-U-OK program.”
Alderman Finley suggested that Allied Waste contact the seniors and offer smaller trash carts. Alderman Terbrock agreed that Allied Waste should offer this to the senior residents.
New Resident Welcome Letters: Alderman Kerlagon said, “Previously letters were given to the Aldermen to sign to be sent to new residents who moved into Ballwin. I was wondering if this could be resumed.” City Administrator Kuntz said we will do this.
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 8:45 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR