Board of Aldermen Meeting
CITY OF BALLWIN
BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING AGENDA
February 25, 2013 - 7:00 p.m.
300 Park Drive, Donald “Red” Loehr Police & Court Center
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Minutes: February 11, 2013 Board of Aldermen meeting
5. Presentation: None.
6. Pending Issues: None.
7. Citizen Comments
8. Public Hearing: None.
10. Consent Items
A. Street Sweeping
B. Asphalt Overlay
C. Pavement Debris
D. Asphalt Hot Mix
E. Crushed Rock
F. Slabs and Sidewalks
G. Truck Bed Replacement
H. Pool Lifts
I. Grant Authorization
11. Mayor’s Report
A. Future Meetings
12. City Administrator’s Report
A. Employee Pay Plan
B. Shade Structures
C. Parks Vehicle
13. Staff Reports
A. Ready Mix Concrete – City Engineer Gary Kramer
14. City Attorney’s Report
A. Vehicle Signage
15. Aldermanic Comments
A. Funeral Protests – Alderman Mark Harder
NOTE: Due to ongoing City business, all meeting agendas should be considered tentative. Additional issues may be introduced during the course of the meeting.
CLOSED SESSION: Pursuant to Section 610.022 RSMo., The Board of Aldermen could, at any time during the meeting, vote to close the public meeting and move to closed session to discuss matters relating to litigation, legal actions, and/or communications from the City Attorney, as provided under Section 610.021(1) RSMo., and/or personnel matters under Section 610.021(13) RSMo., and/or employee matters under Section 610.021(3) RSMo., and/or real estate matters under Section 610.021(2) or other matters as permitted by Chapter 610.
BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING BRIEFS
February 25, 2013 - 7:00 p.m.
300 Park Drive – Donald “Red” Loehr Police & Court Center
This is a condensed summary of the action items which will be considered at tonight’s Board Meeting. It has been prepared to give you a greater understanding of the issues which will be discussed. If you have comments, questions, or concerns, please call (636) 227-8580. If you would like to know more about the programs or services which we provide, please dial our 24-Hour Information Line (636) 207-2300, or visit us on the web at www.ballwin.mo.us.
If you wish to address the Board during this meeting, please fill out the “Citizen Comments: To Address the Board of Aldermen” form and place it in the tray on the table in the center of the Board Room before the meeting begins. Topics of a global nature, such as requests for ballot initiative endorsements, should be submitted in writing to the City Clerk at 14811 Manchester Road, prior to the meeting.
Please limit your comments to 3 minutes as an individual and 5 minutes representing a group. Please avoid repeating comments others have already made.
Thank you for your cooperation.
The Minutes from the February 11 Board of Aldermen meeting are submitted for approval.
It is recommended that this contract be awarded to Crowns and Curbs, Inc., who submitted the low bid of $24,900.
It is recommended that this contract be awarded to NB West Contracting, who submitted the lowest of 5 bids, in the amount of $322,000.
The recommendation is that this contract be awarded to Simpson Materials, who submitted a bid of $2.50/ton for concrete debris disposal and $2.50/ton for asphalt disposal.
ASPHALT HOT MIX
This recommendation is that the contract be awarded to Simpson Materials, who submitted the lowest of 4 bids at a unit price of $43.75/ton.
It is recommended that this contract also be awarded to Simpson Materials, who submitted the low bid in the unit price amount of $9.00/ton.
SLABS AND SIDEWALKS
Contract award recommendation: M&H Concrete Contractors, who submitted the lowest of four aggregate bids in the amount of $954,455.24.
TRUCK BED REPLACEMENT
Contract award recommendation: Carlinville Truck Equipment, who submitted the low bid of $18,572, with spreader, less trade in.
Recommendation for contract award to purchase equipment: Pool and Electrical Products, who submitted the lowest of 12 bids, in the amount of $13,974.35.
A motion is required to authorize our continued participation in the Missouri Highway Safety Program.
This is regarding cancellation of the March 25 Board meeting in accordance with past practice.
EMPLOYEE PAY PLAN
In accordance with Board direction, economic impact analysis has been completed for the 59 employees who were not affected by the initial analysis.
It is recommended that 7 shade structures at our outdoor pool complex be replaced, and the contract be awarded to Lawrence Canvas Co., in the amount of $8,533.
It is proposed that a new Chrysler Minivan be purchased to replace the 1999 Plymouth van. If approved, this contract would be awarded to West Brothers Chrysler, who submitted the low bid of $20,271 (with no trade) under State contract.
READY MIX CONCRETE
The recommendation is to award this contract to Valley Material Co.
City Attorney Jones is seeking further guidance and direction regarding imposition of stricter standards to regulate this form of advertising.
Alderman Harder would like to propose that we change our ordinance to conform to the new municipal model.
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
CITY OF BALLWIN – 300 PARK DRIVE
February 25, 2013
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:00 p.m.
MAYOR TIM POGUE
ALDERMAN JIMMY TERBROCK
ALDERMAN MICHAEL FINLEY
ALDERMAN MARK HARDER
ALDERMAN SHAMED DOGAN
ALDERMAN FRANK FLEMING
ALDERMAN JIM LEAHY
ALDERMAN RICHARD BOERNER
ALDERMAN KATHY KERLAGON
CITY ADMINISTRATOR ROBERT KUNTZ
CITY ATTORNEY ROBERT E. JONES
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the February 11, 2013 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Dennis Goethe, 112 Mar-El Ct., Ellisville, Mo., Vice President of Schrader Funeral Home: Mr. Goethe said that families do not need the added stress and grief of a group protesting in the immediate area of their loved one’s funeral, and the likely counter protest that can accompany them and the associated media circus. He said there is an ordinance in effect in Manchester. It doesn’t prohibit funeral protesting; it limits such activity. This Ordinance was upheld in the 8th Circuit Court just a few months ago. He said that funeral protests aren’t limited to a specific group. Anyone can protest a funeral for any reason at any time. A particular group doesn’t just protest at military funeral. They have threatened to protest at other funerals, such as the Sandy Hook tragedy in December, and an Ohio Congresswoman’s funeral. When Gabby Giffords was injured in Arizona, they threatened to picket that funeral also.
Mr. Goethe said it may or may not have yet happened in Ballwin, but serious consideration and quick action is requested to make sure that it doesn’t happen in Ballwin. He said we need to protect the families who are mourning their loved ones. They don’t need that added stress and need protection that an ordinance would provide.
Alderman Terbrock said this situation was dealt with in Ballwin a couple of years ago. He asked if there was anything about the handling of that incident that should be changed. Mr. Goethe said that we have to limit their access. We can’t ignore them. The buffer zone, the time period before and after the funeral is the most effective, and what is able to be enforced without further legal action.
Michael Gollon, 272 Spring Oaks Drive, Ballwin, Commandant-Elect of the Ballwin Detachment of the Marine Corps League: Mr. Gollon said he is speaking in favor limiting protesting at funerals. He said he also works part-time for Schrader Funeral Home. He said there has been at least one funeral protest at St. Claire. It’s very discouraging and upsetting for the families of veterans who volunteered and served their country, and gave up their lives. He does not believe the right of free speech gives protesters the right to step on the religious freedom of the family who is about to have a religious service for their loved one.
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. Street Sweeping (Contract award to Crowns and Curbs, Inc., $24,900)
B. Asphalt Overlay (Contract award to NB West Contracting, $322,000)
C. Pavement Debris (Contract award to Simpson Materials, $2.50/ton for concrete debris disposal & $2.50/ton for asphalt disposal)
D. Asphalt Hot Mix (Contract award to Simpson Materials, $43.75/ton)
E. Crushed Rock (Contract award to Simpson Materials, $9.00/ton)
F. Slabs and Sidewalks (Contract award to M&H Concrete Contractors, $954,455.24)
G. Truck Bed Replacement (Contract award to Carlinville Truck Equipment, $18,572 with spreader, less trade in)
H. Pool Lifts (Contract award to Pool and Electrical Products, $13,974.35)
I. Grant Authorization (Continued participation in the MoDOT Missouri Highway Safety Program)
Alderman Harder asked about Consent Item C, Pavement Debris. He asked how does this bid tie in with the other bids. In looking at the bid, there is a budget of $20,000. Depending on what is being removed, it will cost between $6,200 and $5,500. Why is this so far away from the budget? City Engineer Kramer said the two figures should be added together to total the bid. For budgeting and comparing purposes, because this is a unit price contract, we put in an estimated amount so that we have something to compare. We also want to be sure not to exceed the budget. The quantity was based on last year’s quantity. We don’t know for sure what it will be this year. Last year, it was about $12,000. We may not spend it all, but may come close. We won’t know until after the construction season. This was a separate line item just for debris.
Mayor Pogue said that in the past we have had extra money available to do additional road projects. This will give additional funding to haul off the debris for those projects. City Administrator Kuntz said it is always a problem, because when we get started, we may have to take out more slabs than planned. That will generate more debris. We still expect to have significant remaining funds. All of those will be lumped together if we still are on track and have snow excess money from the salt purchases and manpower. We would ask for a re-appropriation as we have done in the past, to do additional roadwork, and with the unit prices in place, we won’t have to go back and can honor the price based on the award you are making.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Engagement Letter: Mayor Pogue said that the Engagement letter that the Board approved at the last meeting, was also signed by Ellisville, and Wildwood has it on the agenda this evening, with anticipated approval.
Future Meetings: Mayor Pogue suggested cancellation of the March 25 Board meeting, as has been done in the past.
Alderman Finley said his concern with canceling the March 25 meeting is the resolution of the pay issue. He said that Alderman Boerner has done a lot of study on this and he feels that this should be completed before Mr. Boerner’s term ends after the first meeting in April. City Administrator Kuntz said that it is his belief that this issue can be resolved at this meeting this evening. He said he doesn’t know what more information can be provided other than a determination by the Board what staff should do. He said he has provided everything to the Board that has been requested.
Alderman Boerner said that Finance Officer Denise Keller has responded quickly to his requests for information related to the debt. He said he believes that Ballwin has a strong justification for not including the debt in the financial statements. It’s based upon the GASB 6. He said he will discuss this further under Aldermanic Comments. This needs to be addressed before the auditors release their financial statements.
Mayor Pogue said that a vote on canceling the May 25 meeting can be delayed until the end of this meeting to determine the amount of progress on completion of the issues mentioned.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Employee Pay Plan: City Administrator Kuntz said our Finance Officer Denise Keller and Human Resource Coordinator Haley Morrison have reviewed Alderman Boerner’s request for the information regarding the impact of salary adjustment on the employees that are currently not affected by the range adjustment. We calculated the cost and provided an alternative strictly on compensation which addresses putting all employees in the 70th percentile range, which is where we agreed that the City should be relative to other cities. It was also suggested to add an extra percent as a merit potential, as opposed to dealing strictly with the ranges and the compression issue, and not addressing the merit. These are two alternate philosophies. The cost has been calculated for both. It is hoped to bring this to a logical conclusion by the Board, based on the fiscal impact and Board philosophy relative to employee compensation.
Alderman Boerner said, “$396,421 would be according to that methodology as far as the spread sheet that I submitted to staff?” Finance Officer Keller said, “It covers all these things.” Alderman Boerner said, “This includes the FICA tax, LAGERS, overtime pay, $396,421, right?” Finance Officer Keller said yes. Alderman Boerner said, “Does the $440,843 also include FICA, LAGERS and overtime?” Ms. Keller said yes. Alderman Boerner asked, “What would be these percentages increase net of FICA, LAGERS, and overtime pay, in other words, just a straight salary increase, that would be comparable to the 3%. You’re taking 3% and adding it on, what is the total salary that you take into consideration when figuring the 3%. When you say 3%, you multiply it by what number?” Ms. Keller said, “We don’t do it at that level. We do it at individual levels because some people are already at the top of grade and aren’t eligible for a salary increase. I don’t have a straight number of people who would be eligible for 3%.”
Alderman Boerner said, “I don’t ever recall that we had a salary increase that we ever came out with 2%. If we gave 2%, I always thought that we came out slightly above 2%. When I did an overall calculation, maybe I was missing some part-time people. It was always slightly above what we originally figured. This would suggest that it would be slightly below that.” Alderman Boerner said he will ask the question in a different way. He said, “If we take the $396,000 and take away the FICA, LAGERS, and overtime, what would be the percentage of increase? The assumption is when we say a salary increase, in other words, I say okay, we’ve got $8 million, $7.5 million, $7.8 million, whatever that amount might be, then we say, we multiple that number times 3%, is that the pool that we use in terms of the policy, does that create the pool of money for the merit increase. If we don’t do it that way, what is the underlying increase that gives rise to these other amounts that are added in, like FICA, LAGERS, etc.? If we have $8 million in salary, and multiply that times 3%, that’s about $240,000.” Finance Officer Keller said, “If we were just going to give 3% merit increase, that would be $156,000, exclusive of additional payroll taxes for LAGERS.” Mayor Pogue said that would be on the base salary, not on LAGERS or the rest of the add ons. Ms. Keller said that is correct. “It’s just for people who would be eligible for an increase that aren’t at the maximum range.”
Alderman Boerner asked, “How much is the total salary?” Finance Officer said she does not have that figure at this meeting. Alderman Boerner said, “That’s a pretty important number to know. I asked that question last time and the time before. This is the third meeting that I have asked this question.”
Alderman Fleming said, “My recollection is we did previously discuss what that number was in approximate terms. I separated out all of the packets since last April that dealt with compensation issues. I can find the number in the previous packets.” Alderman Terbrock said, “On the 2012 budget, it shows what’s estimated to be $8,074,511 in wages and salaries. This year for 2013, the projected amount is $8,328,975.” Alderman Boerner said, “$156,000 is less than 2%, if that number is correct.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “I thought we had attempted to provide the information Alderman Boerner asked for. Apparently we haven’t, so, maybe we shouldn’t have the discussion at this meeting. I don’t know what complete is ever going to be because this is a challenge to try to not get hung up on a different number for everybody.”
Mayor Pogue said, “We are looking for a philosophy to solve the issue of the pay plan. Our goal is to get what we feel is a fair salary for employees as compared to other cities.” Alderman Boerner said he agrees. Mayor Pogue said, “We have a suggestion by City Administrator Kuntz that involves a lot of methodology that you suggested regarding compression and a goal of the 70th percentile, as compared to a group of cities that this Board has agreed to use as a comparison to get the pay plan done.”
Alderman Fleming said, “This essentially represents no change in philosophy and we always leave ourselves the qualifier and subject to annual budget appropriation. Maybe the way to look at this is a set dollar amount, by stop trying to figure out if $440,000 is actually 2.7% instead of 3%. Maybe we should set a number and not try to figure out what 3% is.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I agree to a point that it follows a lot of the plan we’ve had in the past. The part that I appreciate on this one is that is makes us review it on an annual bases compared to the other 10 cities. There is a budgetary constraint as to whether we can do it, at least it’s something we’re bringing up every year, and won’t get caught 5 years from now and have to catch up. It will be smaller pieces and keep us trying to accomplish the goal of fair compared to the other 10 cities that we’ve agreed to.”
Alderman Fleming said, “We didn’t keep up with the percentage on an annual basis like we should have when there were a couple of years financially where we thought it wasn’t a good idea to do that. We can look at it every year like we always do.” Mayor Pogue said, “In the past, we didn’t look at the pay schedule as a comparison on an annual basis.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “We looked at what we could afford. Salary was always the last number, not the first number. We have a plan that we are now following. I admit we did not follow the plan. We’ve always had the disclaimer that Alderman Fleming mentioned, that funding is subject to budget appropriations. The budget has not allowed us to make appropriations. We could barely maintain existing programs and services without a reduction of staff with layoffs. We had a tough fiscal period, as other communities did. We didn’t have the resources to keep us where we would have liked to have been. As I started to see some light at the end of the tunnel, the first think I brought to the Board was the pay plan. We talked about this in August. If the issue is to be competitive with out neighboring market basket communities, we have something in place that’s not being followed, which establishes a 70th percentile based on 10 cities, which have been arguably comparable to us in terms of where our labor pool is. That’s one problem. The other problem is that if we bring that up to the 70th percentile, what will that do to the employees in place, in grade, what does it do about compression? That’s where the next analysis that Alderman Boerner asked for. What’s the impact on the 59 employees who are not affected by the grade change, but are affected by the compression? If you just deal with the 70th percentile, you will have employees who will be working side by side, as a brand new employee at the same pay, with someone who has been here 2 years, 3 years, 4 or 5 years. That’s going to cause some issues. Do you want to address that? If you do, you either have to keep everybody kind of in their relative position, or the alternative was to see if we could put more money into the merit system, and allow the performance to dictate by department head where those moneys are allocated, as long as they don’t exceed your authorization. I don’t have a preferred plan. I’m trying to bring a conclusion that everyone is comfortable with and can afford.”
Alderman Boerner said, “So, it doesn’t matter to certain Aldermen if we give a 2%, 3%, 4% as long as we settle this thing? Am I understanding this correctly?”
Alderman Fleming said, “Since we started this discussion last April with the Police pension issue, we talked through the summer, and we had a general plan that we budgeted for. We decided against the pension adjustment portion of that plan in January. I want to come to a resolution at some point in time. You’re only going to be on the Board until April, so I’m assuming that you would like to see a resolution in the near future, right?” Alderman Boerner said, “I asked a simple question that has not been answered.” Alderman Fleming said, “Staff has tried to meet those numbers, rather than whatever we discover as a result of your additional questions. You just asked for numbers that Alderman Terbrock had. You heard this too.”
Alderman Boerner said, “What I didn’t get is the net number.” Alderman Fleming said, “Tell us what you’d like to do and what the numbers are.” Alderman Boerner said, “I don’t know what the numbers are, that’s why I’m asking. I don’t understand this.” Alderman Fleming said, “We’re getting nowhere is my point.” Alderman Boerner said, “I used to report to a Board. One of the things I always did was to try to anticipate what the questions were going to be. That seems pretty fundamental. If the inflation rate over the last year, CPI, increased by 1.7%, it might be of interest to the citizens, some other people, and myself, as to what the actual increase in the salary is going to be. That seems to be fundamental. I’ve asked that question the last two meetings. I said ‘what is the total salary, the basis for these increases’. We still don’t have that answer. Is that my fault that we don’t have the answer?” Alderman Fleming said, “The numbers that Alderman Terbrock read weren’t acceptable to you?” Alderman Boerner said, “We don’t have the net number. We have a number that includes LAGERS, FICA, and overtime pay. It’s not a number that’s just a salary increase.”
Alderman Fleming said, “Do you think you could make a reasonable approximation of what that would be right now on the fly without having to know down to the penny? If you need to know exactly, we will have to send Denise back to the drawing board. This will take a couple more weeks. Don’t you think the employees would like some closure on the issue?” Alderman Boerner said, “Why are you putting the onus on me, when staff is the …..” Alderman Fleming said, “You seem to have the most questions. People are going out of their way to try to answer them, but they never seem to be able to provide an appropriate answer for you.” Alderman Boerner said, “Notwithstanding the fact that I’ve asked the same question for the third meeting?” Alderman Fleming said, “At the Retreat, this was discussed, and Alderman Terbrock just now read to you what he found. Full payroll, $7.9 million. You even calculated it on the fly at the Retreat.” Alderman Boerner said, “If everyone wants to vote for this without knowing what the numbers are; Bob Newhart, the comedian, was an accountant at one time. The reason he became a comedian was because he felt that close was good enough.”
Alderman Fleming said, “Later tonight, you’re going to tell us why the General Accounting Standards Board can’t be relied upon as far as preparing our financial documents. I shouldn’t have brought that up because we’re not on that subject.”
Alderman Fleming said, “We got the packet on Thursday. I sent a whole list of questions to Denise and Bob about various items in the packet. If you read that and still had questions since last Thursday, you should have sent something in. Maybe they could have had answer for you tonight. Now you’re asking them to do this on the fly. That’s not fair. Generally, my experience has been, if I put the question in writing, I get a response back. Generally don’t you?” Alderman Boerner said, “Sometimes”. Alderman Fleming said, “I’m frustrated. We’re not making progress. I don’t see how we’re going to reach a resolution unless we clearly identify what questions you need to have a final answer to, so you can decide what you want to do. Does anyone else have any questions other than Richard?” Alderman Boerner said, “You’re right, I’m one person. If no one else cares what the actual percentage is, then I’ll be outvoted. That’s the bottom line.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “I can tell you what the bottom line is. It’s reflected in the memo. It’s based on the calculations. Mr. Boerner requested a global impact analysis to take current relative position into account. Finance Officer Keller did that. The product is attached. The cost is calculated at $396,421. That’s her number. However, 33% of the staff will be left with no raise or less than a 3% increase, which is what the Board authorized with a merit. If you adjusted all of the employees, including the 33%, it would cost the City for 2013, $440,843 in additional money, in addition to what we had for 2012. An alternative plan, which is to bring every range to the 70th percentile, and everyone who’s not in that range, to that range, at the bottom, bring everybody into the 70th percentile for our pay plan, plus to provide a pot of 4% merit, as opposed to 3%, would cost the City for 2013, on a city-wide basis, $425,000. Those are numbers that have been calculated, verified, and re-calculated. How it’s done is on these two sheets. I don’t need to go back over these hundred sheets to say who said what, and what was when, and what is this. If you’re just looking at what’s it going to cost us, and don’t worry about percentages, those are the dollars as a maximum for 2013, in addition to what you spent for 2012. It’s the philosophy that’s going to drive the numbers. If you want compression to be totally adjusted, then basically you’re undoing some of the merit, which caused some of the spreads that are internal now because of evaluations and to pay. That’s okay. If you want more for merit to reward performance, go with 4% or 3%, or whatever percent you’re comfortable with. If you use 4%, that’s going to cost $425,000 in new money. This is the simplest way to explain it. There’s no information that is being withheld. We have bent over backwards to provide everything that was asked for. I want to get this done for the employees.”
Alderman Boerner said, “As this relates to the Police patrolmen, are they going to be adjusted individually to the average? Is the philosophy going to be 70th percentile, and are all of the patrolmen going to be adjusted to the 70th percentile? Is that part of the plan?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The plan is to take every position within the city, police patrol officer, to public works maintenance person, to finance officer. Whatever the ten cities that we’ve established, where is the 70th percentile? If there is an incumbent, a current employee, that is being paid less than the 70th percentile, they would have an adjustment under this one option of going up to the 70th percentile. They would not be eligible for an additional raise. It affects the people at the bottom. This does not address the 5-year employee, 10 year, 15 or 20. If you want to do that, it will be a different discussion. I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. The philosophy is that it addresses the market, which is the 70th percentile for all positions within the city. It does not single out police officers, public work, parks, over administration. It’s all the positions we have, 70th percentile for everybody. That’s our pay plan. Review it every year to make sure it stays within the plan, and make the adjustments accordingly. Everyone else that’s not affected has the opportunity under this option to receive a merit increase of up to, or actually in excess of 4%. You would take the total payroll for the department, multiply it by 4%, that would be the amount that each department head in the evaluation process would recommend for authorization for adjustment on an individual performance basis within that particular department. The total of that would be $425,000 in additional money.”
Mayor Pogue said, “If an employee is just barely under the 70th percentile, maybe 1%, they would still be eligible for …….” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The suggestion would be that employees would be eligible for the increment, or the difference, not to exceed the 4%. I’m not championing this as an alternative. It’s just a straight, simple, forward approach to get us from neutral into drive. It puts the onus on the Board to evaluate employee compensation on an annual basis at the start of every budget cycle, and see where we’re at and what we can afford at that time.”
Alderman Boerner asked, “Is that number on this memo? Is that the $440,000?” City Administrator Kuntz asked if Finance Officer Keller would like to add anything to the explanation. Finance Officer Keller said, “The $440,000 expands on Alderman Boerner’s plan to address the people that wouldn’t be eligible for an adjustment because of various reasons, or because they are currently at the top of their range. Some of the top pay levels under that plan would actually go down. That’s why most of them are not eligible for a raise.”
Mayor Pogue said, “We currently have two options. Alderman Boerner suggested one methodology and City Administrator Kuntz suggested a potentially different option. There’s less than 1/3 of a percentage difference between the two options. I think the Board is open to try to get this resolved. If we decline the options, we will have to go back to the drawing board.”
Alderman Boerner said, “My position was not just to bring all employees up to the 70th percentile. I would suggest that there is some merit element that is put into it, other than just to bring it up to the percentile ranking. That’s what staff has done.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “In light of pulling away of the pension increase which would have affected all employees, that’s why we came up with this suggestion. This was done in a meeting with the Mayor and Finance people. How can we explain this in the most simple basic terms and address the two issues? It does not address totally compression. There are people that are going to feel that they should receive a greater adjustment. This proposal is for 4%, where originally we were considering 3%. There isn’t a pension upgrade on the table. Without looking at any fringe benefit changes. It’s simply a 4% merit, coupled with an adjustment of all ranges to bring pay ranges to the 70th percentile. I’m not trying to sell this approach. I’m just presenting it for the Board to make the philosophical decision on which way you want to go.”
Alderman Boerner said, “So, the $425,000 is a straight salary increase, not including LAGERS, FICA, etc., right?” Finance Officer Keller said, “It does have LAGERS and FICA in it. You can’t give increases without increasing FICA and contributing more money to LAGERS. It goes hand in hand.” Alderman Boerner said, “So, it does have all of that in it?” Finance Officer Keller said, “It does.”
Alderman Harder said, “We budgeted $237,000 in 2013 for raises, is that correct?” City Administrator Kuntz said that is correct, which is a 3% merit, over and above the $8 million payroll.” Alderman Harder said, “You are proposing that we either go with the $440,000, which is an additional $203,000 added to the pool, or we go with the $425,000, which is an additional $188,000. We have to decide tonight which number we want to go with and bring this to a close. That will solve the problem.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “It will not make everybody in this room happy, I guarantee that. It will bring them into the 70th percentile and into consistency with the merit pay plan that you have adopted, which said that we will be at the 70th percentile of the ten cities for all ranges.”
Alderman Harder said, “In 2014, we’ll have to go back and revisit this and see if we need to make adjustments.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “As Mayor Pogue said, this is the painful one because it’s the catch up plan. By doing it every year instead of letting it slide, it shouldn’t be that much of an exercise. It’s a matter of staying relative.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The $237,000 did not include the amount we budgeted for a potential LAGERS increase. We have that money that the Board voted not to use.” Finance Officer Keller said, “It does include that.”
Alderman Boerner said, “One of the ranges that we had on our schedules that was originally done by staff, was the 50th percentile. Are we adjusting the ranges and then adjusting the salaries of employees within those ranges, or are we going to reserve that for future merit increases to make those kind of adjustments?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “That is the key difference. It adjusts the ranges. It does not adjust the relative position of the employees within the range. An offset of that is in the potential of an additional 4% merit adjustment, which in some cases, based on individual evaluations, could be 2% for one employee and 6% for another employee. In aggregate, these adjustments cannot exceed the cap of what new dollars are available. That puts the burden back on the department heads. It preserves, for better or worse, the merit pay plan system. Some would argue that the system is broke too, and we should use steps like the federal government or school system. This is the most painful issue in municipal government, treating people the way they think they should be treated in terms of compensation; what’s fair and what’s affordable. This is not a perfect system, but it brings all ranges to the 70th percentile. It does not affect internal compression. A 4% merit pay adjustment will potentially influence some of that compression. Again, it’s not a plan that everyone is going to be 100% happy about. I don’t think there is a plan that will make everyone happy.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “We tried the 50th percentile to address compression. Once you start to deal with the compression issue, if you’re 10% short, for example, on an entry level police officer, and then as you go up years of service, and everyone within the department gets to retain their proportionate position, that becomes a number that’s relatively high. That calculation was done. First, Finance Officer Keller did the 70th percentile. We came back and said we can’t afford that, so do the average to the 50th percentile and addressed compression. This was provided to the Board. Alderman Boerner said, ‘You’re not giving us the total picture. What about the 59 employees who were not affected by the range?’ That’s the analysis that Finance Officer Keller and Human Resource Coordinator Morrison did.”
Alderman Boerner said, “Would we be bringing all of the patrolmen up to the 70th percentile?’ Mayor Pogue said this would be all employees including patrolmen. Alderman Boerner said, “That would be a significant number.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “Let’s make sure everyone understands this. If our entry level pay, using an example, is $40,000 and the 70th percentile is $45,000 for entry level, starting out, as a police officer, anybody that’s less than $45,000 will be brought to $45,000. The person that’s two years in, that’s making $45,500 or $46,000, will be eligible for the merit, but will not receive the same proportionate bump, nor will the 5 or 6 year person. There’s going to be some unhappy employees. I can’t say that enough, but it’s a number that the City can use to move in the direction that the Board wants to go, which is to be competitive and to follow the pay plan.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The employee that’s barely over the $45,000, to be eligible for the 4% merit increase will help push off the compression, depending on performance and evaluation.”
Alderman Dogan said, “The total amount budgeted, $237,000, it was my impression that this only included the 3% increase.” Finance Officer Keller said, “That also includes the increase for LAGERS for half a year to L7.” He asked, “What is the breakdown? I thought 3% of $8 million was around that range. I thought LAGERS was more than that.” Finance Officer Keller said, “The LAGERS was about $80,000, and the 3% merit was about $156,000.” Alderman Dogan said, “With that number in mind, it’s my perspective that if our initial number going in was $237,000 and included LAGERS, and then we took the $80,000 off the table, for us to go from $156,000 pay increases to tripling that to $440,000, that’s going to raise a lot of eyebrows, including mine. A 4% pay increase for anybody in this environment with inflation is half that, when the private sector is not getting 4% increases. I would like to see this reduced back to 3%. I was under the impression that the LAGERS increase was more than that.”
Alderman Fleming said, “The $80,000 of LAGERS was 6 months. Next year, that would be $160,000.”
Alderman Leahy said, “I agree with Alderman Dogan. I came out of the Board Retreat agreeing to a 3% raise, which is $237,000. We also voted against upgrading LAGERS. I’m stuck at $237,000 at this point. That’s where I’m at. I’m not going to micro-manage the city. My number for the raise is $237,000.”
Alderman Finley said, “We had the $237,000 amount. Would the $440,000 be above that?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “No. Mr. Boerner’s plan, which was to, as we understood his analysis request, to adjust the staff to 3% and to change the ranges, taking into account, the impact on all employees, would result in a cost of $440,843 to implement, taking a 3% raise and the other factors into account.” Alderman Finley said, “That would take us about $200,000 over what we budgeted.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The alternate plan that’s presented, which is to bring all the ranges to the 70th percentile, and to go with a merit pot of 4% would cost on a city-wide basis $425,000. The numbers are $440,000 or $425,000. They do different things. If we stick with $237,000, the pay plan can’t be adjusted and a merit can’t be provided, at least to be where it’s stated to be, with that number. It’s going to take a supplement.” Alderman Finley said, “The first year will be difficult, but it has to be done at some point.”
Mayor Pogue said, “If we don’t adjust the pay plan and salaries to get up to the 70th percentile, we will continue to fall behind. I feel that this plan addresses it. It’s a significant jump. Are our employees worth it? Do they deserve to make a comparable salary to the neighboring cities? My opinion is yes. From now on, if we follow the plan, we’ll look better on an annual basis, make adjustments to those salary ranges, and it won’t be as much of a yearly impact as this is now.”
Alderman Finley asked, “Are we going to take the extra money out of reserves to do this?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “You will have to look at re-appropriation. Depending on the expenditures and revenues toward the end of the year, we may be able to make an internal adjustment from what we’ve got. The worst case scenario, it could require a supplemental appropriation, which means a hit on reserves. Historically, we’ve always ended the year in the black and with excess funds. This would have to be applied as opposed to carried forward, if that’s Board direction. You can’t write the check if the money isn’t in the bank.”
Alderman Kerlagon said, “Ballwin has been recognized several times as one of the best cities, and we all agree to that. This is a result of all of the employees that the city has. We need to follow an approach where maybe we stretch the budget this time slightly to get us into a track that we’re working on. I’m in full support of bringing everybody up the 70th percentile, and we go from there.”
Alderman Boerner asked, “Are these 9 month numbers or 12 months numbers?” Finance Officer Keller said, “Nine month numbers, the costs for 2013 only.” Alderman Boerner said, “I think we should reduce the percentage of the merit increase to 2% or 2.5% instead of 4%.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The budget stated 3% merit. Are you suggesting that we use 2% instead of 3%?” Alderman Boerner said, “The range will be adjusted to the 70th percentile. The adjustments to the salaries will be adjusted to the minimum without adjustments to the compression. The 4% merit increase was to take care of some of the compression and based on performance. Does Alderman Dogan want to present a motion to reduce the 4% to 3%?” Alderman Dogan said, “It’s my understanding that 3% is what’s baked into the cake now.” Alderman Boerner said, “I thought it is 4%.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “3%, but the pay range adjustments are not baked into the cake.” Alderman Dogan said, “My philosophy is to keep it at 3% as the merit pay adjustments. That will get us to $396,000.” Finance Officer Keller said, “That is an average salary, increasing people within their ranges. They will maintain their relative position within the ranges. That was the plan that Alderman Boerner proposed.”
Mayor Pogue said, “Would your recommendation be to follow the option that City Administrator Kuntz gave, but instead of using 4% to address the merit, that we use 3%?” Alderman Boerner said yes. Mayor Pogue said, “We would also bring all of the salary ranges to the 70th percentile. Basically, you’re following the suggestion of City Administrator Kuntz for merit adjustments, but instead of 4%, you’re suggesting 3%?” Alderman Boerner said that’s correct.
Alderman Terbrock said, “It looks like we are going to bring the pay scale to the 70th percentile, and then have a 3% merit increase for those not affected by the adjustment of the pay ranges to the 70th percentile level.”
Mayor Pogue said, “To break this down in steps, the first step is to bring everyone to the 70th percentile range with this plan.” Alderman Boerner said, “By saying that, you mean that we’re going to address the range, and then bring up the low end to the 70th percentile.” Mayor Pogue said, “Anybody that is not within the 70th percentile will come up to the 70th percentile. Is everyone in agreement with that first step?” The Board agreed. Alderman Fleming said, “Be clear about the dollar number, which is $396,000.”
Mayor Pogue said, “The next step is how do we want to address merit? The suggestions are 3% or 4%.” Alderman Terbrock said, “I want this to get accomplished because if we do not accomplish this tonight, and get this taken care of this year, what we’re doing is saying that we don’t want to deal with it, and to pass it along to the next Board. I feel that is what’s happened along the way. We’re stuck in this position to not make some happy by the decision that we’re going to have to make tonight. I don’t want to do that to the future Board. Let’s get this taken care of, implement a plan where we stay on track all the way through. This Board has done a lot of good things. This is another one to help the City to get back on track and continue to be what we are.”
Alderman Boerner said, “The question is whether we’re going to use 3% or 4%. Given what we just decided, the $440,000 is 3% and $425,000 is 4%. Is that correct?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “We don’t have those numbers right here. Those two plans were calculated differently. We have 3 options, and you gave a 4th option. The cost will be less than $425,000 because you’re going with 3% instead of 4%, but it’s not as significant as you might think. Finance Officer Keller said, “To be down 1% would be a little more than $50,000.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “I have a memo that you wrote that said it was $51,906. I asked what was 1% salary increase including LAGERS and FICA, and you responded in December that it was $51,906. Is it safe to say that you could take $425,000 and deduct $52,000, and that’s about what the City’s obligation would be under the 3% plan, which is a 9 month number?” Finance Officer Keller said, “I think so.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “If you go with 3% instead of 4%, you will save $52,000.” Alderman Boerner said, “So, the 4% number is less than the 3% number. Is that right? $425,000 is less than $440,000.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “$440,000 was the number to get to your plan.” Alderman Boerner said, “At the 70th percentile or what?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The alternate plan to adjust the ranges and does not correct internal compression is $425,000 based on a 4% merit pot. If you go with the 3% merit pot, you can take $52,000 away from that, and that’s what it will cost.”
Alderman Boerner said, “You’re taking $52,000 away from $425,000, which will be $375,000. We’re really voting on an annualized number, which is $500,000.” Alderman Harder said, “Using option 2, with 3%, and the other adjustment, which is $400,000 to 410,000.” Alderman Boerner said, “I came up with $375,000. If you take $50,000 from $425,000, that’s $375,000, annualize that, it’s $500,000. The $500,000 is what we’re really voting for. We’re not voting for 9 months, it’s for a 12-month increase. We’re voting for 9 months in 2013, but we’re really voting for a full year increase.”
Mayor Pogue said, “It appears that we’re all in agreement to go to the 70th percentile. Now it appears we’re split between 3% and 4%.”
A motion was made by Alderman Kerlagon “to go to 4%. This is a difference of $52,000, and we’re putting the employees in a situation where it sets their payroll in a turmoil during this period. We’re trying to get this straightened out. Is $52,000 going to cost the city all that much that we can’t do this?”
Mayor Pogue said, “I’d like to see a motion to set a plan, to either take the City Administrator’s suggestion of the 70th percentile with a 4% merit, or that it be another plan.”
A motion was made by Alderman Kerlagon “that this is to adopt the 70th percentile pay ranges, and then the $52,000 would be for the 4% merit increase, which is to follow the suggestion of the City Administrator.”
Alderman Fleming asked that the motion be restated. Alderman Kerlagon said, “to take the suggestion by the memo of the City Administrator to set a pay plan to bring all of our employees up to the 70th percentile pay ranges, and include a 4% potential merit adjustment, which would be $425,000 for 2013, on an annual basis would be $600,000.”
The motion was seconded by Alderman Fleming. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Kerlagon, Fleming, Terbrock. Nay: Boerner, Leahy, Harder, Dogan, Finley. The motion failed by a vote of 5-3.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Fleming with the same language, with the difference being a 3% merit. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Finley, Dogan, Harder, Fleming, Boerner. Nay: Leahy, Kerlagon. The motion passed by a vote of 6-2.
Mayor Pogue said this is authorization to draft legislation. City Attorney Jones asked, “Are we actually changing the ordinance? The pay plan is not in the ordinance.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “We’re adopting an ordinance with a pay plan attached. This will be the City’s pay plan as adopted by the Board.”
Alderman Harder said, “By the time the draft legislation is presented, can we have a better cost estimate?” City Administrator Kuntz said, “We won’t do a budget adjustment now. You will be provided with that number, but it’s not going to be much different than what you’ve got.” Alderman Harder said, “I want it in the legislation how much this is going to cost the City.” Mayor Pogue said, “A number like that is not usually put in an ordinance. We can provide supplemental information. This is just creating a pay plan by ordinance.” City Attorney Jones said, “The plan itself will be adjusted on an annual basis. The ordinance will just have the methodology for adopting it initially and adjusting it.” Alderman Harder said, “This is just a plan to get us through this year.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “No. It’s until otherwise amended. It’s to establish a pay plan.”
Shade Structures: City Administrator Kuntz said this is an annual replacement that is essential to the operation at the outdoor North Pointe Family Aquatic Center. There was only one bid received, which was from the Lawrence Canvas Company. A compatible material must be used to fit the structure. The bid was for $8,533.
Alderman Harder asked why is there only one bid. Director of Parks and Recreation Linda Bruer said the bid information was sent to six vendors. Lawrence Canvas Company makes the shades for Anchor Shade Structures, which is a national company. They are the local manufacturer of the shade component to those. Through the history of the shades, they have been ripped and re-sewn many times. The shades cannot be sewn anymore.
Alderman Leahy said he has done business with this company, and they are incredibly reasonably priced, which is usually 1/3 of what other company charge.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept staff recommendation to award Lawrence Canvas Company for the shade structure. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Parks Vehicle: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a recommendation to replace the 1999 Plymouth van with a similar type vehicle, under State bid, from West Brothers Chrysler, who submitted the low bid of $20,271. Since this is a State contract, we will dispose of the Plymouth van under Gov Deals or similar advertising to secure the best value possible. There’s no trade.
Alderman Harder asked what was the budget amount for this vehicle. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said the budget was $20,000, so this is about $200 over budget.
Alderman Dogan said there are many vendors outside our area. Why do none of our local car dealerships seem to be doing State bidding? Parks Director Bruer said she is assuming they submit a bid to the State, but are not awarded the contract.
City Administrator Kuntz said, we do contact local vendors and ask for bids. Most of the time their response is that they cannot compete with the State bid, because they have so much volume that they cannot meet that price.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said we checked locally to see what we could purchase with our budgeted amount. We didn’t budget for a new vehicle, other than off the State bid amount. We have purchased locally from Don Brown. She said that leasing has also been considered. Alderman Terbrock said this vehicle gets light use, perhaps a used vehicle would be appropriate.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept staff recommendation for the Parks vehicle. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Ready Mix Concrete: City Engineer Gary Kramer said, “The two bids are almost identical. One was low on slabs, and one was low on sidewalks. The gross total was almost the same. There are five items that occasionally come into play. The first one is most often used, which is unloading time. This will give a scheduled price. When a concrete truck arrives and it takes longer than five minutes, how much will we be charged? I did a comparison of both bidders based on quantities that we had last year. The winter was mild, we were able to pour concrete with hot water. When the temperature is below freezing, we don’t work with concrete. Valley Material Company, because of its no-charge on so many things, becomes the more cost effective price, considering the base bids are almost identical. I believe that Valley Material Company gives us the most for our money. Unloading is a big savings since they are not going to charge for the unloading times.”
City Engineer Kramer said, “If there is a long stretch of slabs or sidewalks and you have to move down the street and re-set up the truck and the operation, the time adds up.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “Valley Material Company does become the more attractive bid when there’s no charge for various items.”
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Boerner to award the contract to Valley Material Company. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Vehicle Signage: City Attorney Jones said, “I was speaking with Assistant City Administrator Tom Aiken to create legislation with respect to commercial vehicles with signage along Manchester Road, in particular. We can approach it from a couple of different directions. First is to change the definition of commercial vehicle so that it encompasses a smaller vehicle. The other method is to approach it from the sign aspect in terms of time, place, and manner restrictions which have been approved for signs. Each one has problems because if you make it difficult for a commercial enterprise that needs the truck for loading and unloading and moving equipment or stock, then there will be push back. On the other hand, there’s clearly some that don’t have the same use for those vehicles as others do. I would like to have direction so that we can come up with something that will help the Board to decide on appropriate legislation.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “In the absence of that, you’re going to get some legislation drafted that is going to attempt to address it from both standpoints, which will be more global and more comprehensive. It will come closer to providing a solution as opposed to a band aid. The one thing we want to do in staff discussions is to not only plug one hole, and let another one pop up three weeks later with another way to circumvent. It’s the advertising element that’s off premises that is the problem.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “Some of the businesses need these trucks, but is there a way to monitor the movement of the truck? They may need it but it’s not moved for 6 months.”
City Attorney Jones said, “We can try. A delivery vehicle is defined differently than a commercial motor vehicle, or at least the concept of delivery is included in our ordinances. A delivery vehicle means a motor vehicle designed and regularly used for delivering. That differs from a commercial vehicle, which is simply defined by its attributes, in excess of 20,000 pounds or exceeding 22 feet in length, and that it includes items such as tractors, backhoes, etc. The term regular use would need to be defined.”
Mayor Pogue said, “Another section in an ordinance is regarding parking delivery vehicles in which they are allowed in a shopping center in a designated area approved by the Board of Aldermen. This should also be considered, and not hinder the businesses that need the vehicles.”
Alderman Harder said, “A third approach is that there should be no parking of those vehicles within 100 feet of Manchester Road. If that’s the problem we want to solve, we should try to get them closer in the shopping center or behind the building.” City Attorney Jones said, “We can require that commercial vehicles be parked behind the building line except when they are loading and unloading.”
Alderman Harder said, “In Ballwin Plaza, there are trucks parked by the street, but the business is 300 yards away. There are also business that are close to Manchester Road, and the truck is parked in front of the business, and are 20 feet from Manchester Road. We need to find a middle ground for all of these areas.”
Alderman Fleming said, “I think we will be hard pressed to find a way to prohibit a business from parking their own truck in front of their business. Does everyone still want to pursue this? Are you so offended by the trucks parked close to Manchester Road that we need to address this? I’m personally not offended by this.”
Mayor Pogue said, “We already have the mechanism to allow delivery vehicles to park in areas approved by the Board. I’m not sure that has been enforced or utilized in the past.” Alderman Fleming said, “There’s a van for a telecommunications company. If we adjust this to call it a delivery vehicle, it may be said that it’s the personal vehicle of the store manager.” Mayor Pogue said, “That’s why we need to look at what’s the definition of a commercial vehicle and the parking limitations. In one case, there’s a vehicle that hasn’t been moved in at least a month.”
Alderman Fleming said, “A real estate agent may have a magnetic sign on the side of the car and parked in front of the real estate office on the corner.” Mayor Pogue said, “We already have the differential between a commercial vehicle not being a pick up truck. It should perhaps be designated by the length of the vehicle.” Alderman Fleming said, “I haven’t seen many trucks parked up and down Manchester Road. There aren’t so many that I consider this a blight upon the city. I’ve seen 3. If it’s a van, I don’t worry about it.” Alderman Terbrock said, “I agree with that, but how much more does it take to become that?” Alderman Kerlagon said, “I have seen 6 or 7.”
Alderman Boerner said, “I like the Mayor’s approach regarding the size of the vehicle and the size of the parking space. The truck at the AT&T store on Manchester Road takes up 2 or 3 parking spaces. We have a definition for parking on residential streets. This could be a good starting point.”
Mayor Pogue said any additional information can be forwarded to City Attorney Jones and Assistant City Administrator Aiken for preparation of draft legislation.
Candidate Withdrawal: City Attorney Jones said, “We received an e-mail from Alderman Dogan questioning the application of Section 115.361 of the Missouri Revised Statutes regarding withdrawal of candidates. It’s my opinion that this section does not apply to 4th class cities. By virtue of Section 115.305, it says that the entire sub-chapter does not apply to 4th class cities. We discussed this in the context of tax arrearages. That particular section, which is comprised of 115.305 to 115.405, deals with political parties and nomination of candidates. If you look at the sections that we were focusing on tonight, it refers to nominations and parties. It’s not the kind of situation that we have here. It does not apply to 4th class cities. The other questions, as far as the drop-dead date, this year it was January 22, in terms of the certification of the ballots. If no one filed, the office would be deemed vacant, and the appointment powers would apply to the Mayor with the approval of the Board until the next regular election.”
March 25 Board of Aldermen Meeting Cancellation: Mayor Pogue said that considering the outcome of the pay plan discussion, would anyone like to make a motion regarding the March 25 Board meeting?
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Harder to cancel the March 25 Board of Aldermen meeting as has been done in the past. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Funeral Protests: Alderman Harder said, “A few weeks ago, I brought up the issue of Ballwin joining with other municipalities across the state and across the country in adopting the Manchester Funeral Protest law. This law was upheld twice in U.S. District Court in the last few years.
Since that time, I have gotten a few calls and emails encouraging me to move this law along to the next level of approval for the City of Ballwin. Tonight, I am doing just that.
This evening we have heard from a number of Ballwin residents and business owners concerning the Manchester Funeral Protest law. We have heard why this law is important to the community and to the respect and dignity of families going through a very difficult time in their life, the funeral of a loved one.
Years ago, no one would have thought about creating a law that would deal with protests at a funeral. It was unthinkable to protest or do anything of the sort at a funeral or other sensitive occasion. It was at best considered rude and uncaring. But those were different times and today these protests have turned into a media circus of this group, protesting about that group, protesting about an issue or statement. Then other groups wanting to be helpful try to screen the families from the protesters with their own type of protest. The whole situation spins out of control while the media encourages the event by giving everyone their 15 minutes of fame. The whole spectacle is despicable and disrespectful in my opinion, plus takes the emphasis off what should be the main focus; the support and comfort of the grieving and suffering family of the deceased. We as a community can give that support. This law, if adopted by this Board, would give the families of the deceased some comfort knowing that their son or daughter’s funeral in Ballwin will not become a protest circus and they will be honored by a caring community with the dignity they deserve, whether it be at a funeral home, church, synagogue, cemetery, or other location.
The Ballwin area has honored, over the years, at least two fallen service personnel. Some of their funerals were protested or threatened to be protested. To refresh your memory, the handout I gave you has the names and photos of these fallen heroes. These men died for us. The least we can do is honor them and their families with this legislation, but at the same time not eliminate the right of free speech, for which they died for as well. And for those who want to make a fool of themselves before and after a funeral, go ahead, just not during the hour or so when the funeral is going on, as spelled out in the sample legislation.
I don’t want the memories of these fallen heroes or those of our sons and daughters that may come in the future to be tarnished by the inconsiderate, rude and downright malicious behavior of protesters at this most sensitive time for a family. We need to be leaders with this issue.
So, I would like to Make a Motion that this Board give direction to the City Attorney to draft legislation, based on the Manchester law, to limit protesting at funerals, and to be heard and voted on at the next Board of Alderman meeting. I hope I can get your unanimous support.”
The motion was seconded by Alderman Terbrock. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result, and the motion passed.
Candidate Withdrawal: Alderman Dogan gave to the Board copies of the Missouri Revised Statute regarding Candidate Withdrawal. He said, “The code says ‘Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, Sections 115.001 to 115.641 shall apply to all public elections in the State’, but if Mr. Jones says there’s another section that supersedes that, I’ll trust his judgment. The point being that if we don’t have any ordinance on our books, which I don’t think we do currently, I think this State law is a good guide to close a loophole what we have right now that was exposed in Ward 4 during this election cycle. We had two candidates who filed for the office, one of whom withdrew his Declaration of Candidacy the day that filing closed. I think in that kind of a situation, the voters deserve to have a choice. That’s what this State law is intended to do, to give voters a choice in cases when a candidate drops out at the last minute. People who may have decided they wanted to run, but because of other candidates in the race, or other situations that may have caused them to make their minds up a different way. If a circumstance changes when someone drops out, this law provides that people will have a few extra days until the Friday after filing closes, which in our case would have been three extra days. This is a very reasonable amount, given the fact that the ballots aren’t certified until at least a few weeks later. I think if we adopt this, we will avoid situations like this in the future where citizens may have thought they had a choice between two or more candidates, and changes to the ballot prohibit them from having a choice. I think this law applied to any kind of situation where we theoretically have only one candidate on the ballot and that candidate would drop out, and there would be a vacancy. In order to avoid that situation, we should give people extra time so that we can get someone interested on the ballot.”
City Attorney Jones said, “I don’t think we are permitted to extend the filing period. I don’ t think we can extend the filing period that’s set forth in the Statute. It specifically says the period of time of the filing period. It’s a specific number of Tuesdays, a specific date, before the election when filing opens, and a specific date when filing closes. Without enabling legislation, and I do not consider this information to give us the ability to enact an ordinance that would lengthen that period, I don’t think we can do it. I’m sure about the fact that those sections of Chapter 115 do not apply to 4th class cities. There is one notable exception that we have talked about before. That is Section 115.346 which deals with the tax arrearage. That section specifically says it applies to 4th class cities. It refers back to 71.005. The remainder of that section is all a sub-chapter that deals with parties and nominations. It just does not apply to 4th class cities.”
Alderman Dogan said, “Can you double check on that to get some sort of opinion.” City Attorney Jones said he can do that. Alderman Dogan said, “This provision, the scope of the act, kind of does say that it should apply to all public elections in the state.” City Attorney Jones said, “I understand that, but this is a topic that seems to come up every year. It was one of the topics on the Missouri Municipal Attorney’s Association list just 3 weeks ago. Everyone was in agreement that this sub-chapter does not apply to 4th class cities.”
City Attorney Jones said, “The specific question of whether or not we can extend the filing period, I can do some research on that, but I don’t think we can. I’ll confirm that.”
Alderman Finley asked, “What did 115.305 have to offer?” City Attorney Jones said, “It says, ‘this sub-chapter shall not apply to candidates for special district offices, township offices, and township organization counties, or city, town, and village offices.’ It does carve out an exception of cities of the 4th class, ‘except those in the county of the 1st class with a charter form of government which adjoins a city not within a county’, ‘may elect by ordinance to hold primary elections’. We don’t. We have not been determined to hold primary elections. It simply says that this sub-chapter, and when it says sub-chapter, they are talking about 115.305 to 115.405, which is the one that is titled Political and Nomination of Candidates.”
Alderman Finley said, “I think the law is pretty clear. I don’t think there’s a need to do research on this. Philosophically, the citizens know that there is a period of time in which the candidate filing is held, and they have until that last day that they can check to see who has filed or withdrawn. Everything is pretty well defined. I’m satisfied with this. I don’t see the need for the City to pay for our Attorney to do any more research on this.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I agree with Alderman Finley. What’s the difference between if a candidate files and withdraws or when only when a single candidate files? This is the case in two other wards in the upcoming election. Are we supposed to extend the deadline because only one candidate filed? How is there any difference, because someone withdrew, and then there is only one candidate?”
Alderman Dogan said, “This is to address the kind of issue about whether or not this should be intended to apply to cities. It strikes me as odd that there would be such a gap in the election law. Take the section, for example, where it deals with the death of an incumbent candidate. So, we have nothing on our books as a city saying what happens if someone dies and they are on the ballot? I find that odd that there’s not a provision either in State law that would cover that situation or in our own ordinances. The way the City Attorney is interpreting it, we couldn’t do anything to change our laws or to have a provision dealing with the death of an incumbent candidate on the ballot, because we can’t do anything above and beyond what’s provided in our own code. I question the fact that we can’t change our ordinance to be in line with what this section says. I think there’s a whole host of situations where an emergency comes up or death of a candidate. If someone withdrew again and there was no one on the ballot, I would rather have a vote of the people to be able to put someone on the ballot later on, rather than just have that go automatically to a vacancy.”
Mayor Pogue said, “If I recall correctly, it would be appointment by the Mayor with approval of the Board until the next regular municipal election. It would be a one-year term, and then go back to a 2-year term. This would be similar to what we had when Alderman Ken Mellow passed away. There would be two elections, one for the remaining one year, and one for the full two-year term.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “That’s happened. That’s how it’s been handled. This is with the guidance of the Election Board.”
City Attorney Jones said, “If you read Section 115.361, it’s talking about a candidate for nomination to an office. We don’t have any such thing in this city. I’m not aware of any 4th class city that does. There may be some, but none offhand. The majority of the attorneys that I’ve talked to about this particular section share my belief that this sub-section does not apply to this city.”
Alderman Dogan said, “Then there’s no similar sub-section dealing specifically with 4th class cities?” City Attorney Jones said no.
Mayor Pogue said “I don’t think that section is isolating 4th class cities.” City Attorney Jones said, “That’s right, or any city municipal election.”
Debt: Alderman Boerner said, “City Administrator Kuntz has said that we unequivocally are free of debt. If we are unequivocally free of debt, then there’s no reason TIF debt should appear on Ballwin’s balance sheet. Some auditors interpret things very conservatively or often times, incorrectly. I would like to look at the original pronouncement and see how I would interpret it.”
Alderman Boerner said, “I looked at the footnote for the long-term debt that’s part of our annual financial statements. I noticed an inconsistency between the bottom of page 32 that defines this debt, and page 34 which shows the schedule of the debt. On page 32, it says that we have annual installments that’s part of a bond issue. It says that the installments were through by October 1, 2013. There are term bonds due in 2015, 2017, and 2022. There was a different series bond of $3,450,000 at 2002 but that was due October 1, 2022. On page 34, the first section, it shows the future long term debt as follows: Maturities. It appears that there are installments that go beyond 2013. There’s a payment due in 2014, which is the principle payment; in 2016, and the amount that’s listed as being due in 2022, I don’t know where they came up with that number, because the $3,450,000 is apparently not included in that number.”
Alderman Boerner said, “When Finance Officer Keller questioned the auditor about this, he stated in his e-mail that it’s a special assessment debt, which should be included because a special assessment debt for which the government is obligated in some manner should be reported as debt of the government. That’s what the auditor said. There are two issues: 1) what is the definition of special assessment? Would that be a special assessment by definition when you have some, I didn’t know the answer to that because it’s not……” City Attorney Jones said, “I looked at the definition of special assessment, and it says a lien secured by real property. A real estate tax is a lien secured by real property. I’ve not seen that term before. I would not call it a special assessment. To that extent, I would say that it arguably falls into that definition. When I took it one step further and looked at obligated in some manner, under GASB Section 907.6, it talks about that it doesn’t apply to those cases where the government is prohibited by constitution, charter, statute, ordinance, or contract from assuming the special assessment debt in the event of default. We are clearly prohibited by that contract from assuming the debt in the event of default. Our obligation is capped.”
Alderman Boerner said, “This is also clearly defined in Section 907.6, it says, ‘required to cover deficiencies with its resource until foreclosure procedures is received’; ‘is obligated to honor deficiencies to the extent lien foreclosure proceeds are insufficient; ‘is required to purchase all properties not sold at auction for liquid assessment’, ‘is required to establish a reserve guarantee or single fund with its resources’; ‘is authorized to establish a reserve guarantee or sinking fund with its resources and establish such a fund’; ‘establish a separate fund with its resource to purchase or redeem special assessment debt and establish such a fund; ‘gives a special indication by contract, for example, bond agreement, offering statement, and it may cover delinquencies although it has no legal obligation to do so’. It doesn’t cover or fit any of these statements. Every item that fits what is considered to be some manner reported is not included here. One thing that's not included in the footnote is $250,000, the lesser of the 35% of the amount due. These don’t make sense. In footnote F, it doesn’t define that there’s $250,000. The lesser of the 35% is $250,000. What this says is that this pronouncement is that in the event that we have our situation, that it should not be included in the financial statements, but should be included in the footnote stating what our obligation is. That’s a contingent liability. It’s not a direct liability. That’s my conclusion. I think it’s incumbent upon the auditors to say it applies here, this is the reason, which one of these. They need to say it fits this definition; that’s why we need to put it on there. It’s incumbent upon them to do so.”
City Attorney Jones said, “Until they gave us the support from the GASB provisions, I didn’t know what they were relying on. We got that late this afternoon, and I agree with your conclusions. I think the thing to do would be for Finance Officer Keller and I to contact the auditor and see if we can get a clarification of this, and simply challenge the inclusion in the audit report.”
Alderman Boerner said, “That’s not saying we don’t have any liability. I did scenario one and two. I’m not sure if the debt schedule is correct. The language in the first part of the foot note is consistent with the language in the last part of the foot note in terms of the debt schedule. I wanted to look at the offering documents and see what they said. One of these is apparently wrong; either the first part or the last part of the footnote is not correct. If we allow that debt to be included on the balance sheet in our financial statements, that’s misleading to the people who are looking at the financial statements. They’re going to assume that is our obligation, when in fact, what GASB 6 suggests is that is not our obligation, and it should not be on the balance sheet. We could have some problems if we continue to let this be on the balance sheet.”
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner that Alderman Boerner, City Attorney Jones and Finance Officer Keller be part of the discussion with the auditors to determine what the proper treatment is of the debt.
City Administrator Kuntz said, “Now that we clearly understand the issue, and this is not a new issue; it goes back 10 years ago when City Attorney Jones was then Mayor. We philosophically are on your side with this. There’s no conflict between us. The question was at what level do we engage another professional service, and what authority do I have to insist that he come here. He sent the e-mail. We thought we answered the question, but with a deeper understanding, there’s almost an implied admission by having these year after year. I think in a relatively short period of time, with the issue on the table, we can either satisfy that issue, agree to disagree, or get it changed moving forward. We can do this in probably one sit-down session. I called to satisfy my own curiosity, two of my counterparts, the Des Peres City Administrator and Chesterfield City Administrator. Both have similar financial situations. They both told me, not on paper or in an e-mail, that yes, it’s reflected on their financial statement. They said it’s a GASB requirement; they don’t have a say on it.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “It doesn’t appear that we are being treated differently. Does it mean that we can’t get some satisfaction and resolution?” Alderman Boerner said, “We don’t know if they have satisfied one or more these.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “At the very least, I understand your concern about our limitation. I have the document which is about 800 pages long. We are capped in our legal liability. The TIF project is current. We believe there are sufficient revenues in reserve to make payment this year. Two months ago, Finance Officer Keller and I met with Stiffel Financial to discuss options and to find out what role, if any, the city could play with us eliminating our own debt. Could we influence the structure of this, could we get out from under the $250,000, and we were told that it would be investigated further. I received an e-mail late this afternoon from Stiffel Nicholas, giving their opinion. This will be shared with the Board. A meeting will be set up. In a relatively short period of time, we’ll get this resolved, if that’s what the Board wants to accomplish.”
The motion was seconded by Alderman Fleming. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Harder said, “Can we require that there are Minutes of that meeting and a written report provided to the Board. We need a written report so that when Richard is no longer on the Board, we’ve got something to fall back on.” Alderman Boerner said he will prepare Minutes in a written format for the Board.
City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is not new. We’ve had three auditing firms and this debt has repeatedly been there for the last 10 years. Perhaps we will be able to get this resolved.”
Alderman Boerner said, “We need to do this because we are acknowledging it’s on our statement while we don’t have that liability. It’s also not disclosed in the footnote. We don’t have any obligation going forward, but one of the things I’d like to look at is the last page of the analysis, the schedule.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “That’s going to involve the issuing agency more than the auditor, since it’s part of the repayment schedule, the debt service retirement?” Alderman Boerner said, “That’s true as long as the payment schedule is correct. I don’t know is if the 2000a and the 200b bonds have the same terms.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “They don’t. There is a balloon provision with higher interest rates toward the end of the issuance. That’s why I’m so obsessed about that particular plaza being 100% occupied and why we’ve retained such a close relationship with the owner, to insure that there’s sufficient, as much as we can, generation of revenue to meet the obligation.”
City Attorney Jones said, “All we can do is assume that our auditor placed numbers correctly.” Alderman Boerner said, “Can this be expected to be a trend going forward? Assuming that the repayment schedule is correct, it shows what the minimum amount transfers in, which I assume to be the sales tax revenues.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “I know it’s not the City’s obligation.” Alderman Boerner said, “We act as a conduit, we collect the money and pass it through.” City Attorney Jones said, “It’s an economic activity tax, not for the real estate tax. Fifty percent of the economic activity tax isn’t all of the real estate tax increment.”
City Attorney Jones said, “We can ask the auditor at the meeting what his source document was for the schedule.”
Engagement Letter: Mayor Pogue said he has just now received an update that Wildwood did sign the letter of engagement at their meeting tonight. All three cities have signed.
City Administrator Performance Review: Alderman Boerner asked if this review has been scheduled. Mayor Pogue stated that it will be after the next Board meeting on March 11.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.
ROBERT A. KUNTZ, CITY ADMINISTRATOR