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
CITY OF BALLWIN
1. Call to Order
2. Roll Call
3. Pledge of Allegiance
4. Approval of Minutes: February 25, 2013 Board of Aldermen meeting
5. Presentation: For Pointe Employee
6. Pending Issues: None.
7. Citizen Comments
8. Public Hearing: None.
11. Mayor’s Report
13. Staff Reports
14. City Attorney’s Report
15. Aldermanic Comments
NOTE: Due to ongoing City business, all meeting agendas should be considered tentative. Additional issues may be introduced during the course of the meeting.
BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING BRIEFS
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.
PROPERTY TAX RATE
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
EMPLOYEE PAY PLAN
VLASIS PARK ELECTRIC
GOLF COURSE CHEMICALS
CVS FIRE LANE
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the February 25, 2013 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Harder to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Citation of Merit
On February 16, a busy Saturday morning at The Pointe, that training paid off, along with the courageous and thoughtful act of one of our youngest employees, Mike Kinealy.”
A Citation of Merit was presented to Lifeguard Michael Kinealy for distinguished service as follows:
“While on duty as a lifeguard for the City of Ballwin Parks and Recreation Department the morning of Saturday, February 16, 2013, you were summoned to the gymnasium of The Pointe at Ballwin Commons community recreation center to assist an individual that was having a seizure and soon after stopped breathing. In a calm and professional manner, you remembered your training and rendered life saving measures including the administration of an automated external defibrillator. When the individual left the facility in the care of Metro West emergency staff, he was breathing again. Paramedics later related to staff that if you had not done what you did, the individual would not have survived.
As a lifeguard you exhibited exemplary skills and professionalism. As an employee you responded to the situation with humility and maturity and stand as an outstanding example to others. As a staff we are proud of your actions and highly commend and recognize you for your efforts.”
Ms. Bruer introduced Mike’s parents Terri and Jim Kinealy and Suresh to the Board.
“On Saturday, February 16, 2013, Officer Amanda Maragni received a radio call for a sick case at The Pointe at Ballwin Commons. Ballwin Police Communications advised you that a male subject was possibly having a seizure. Upon your arrival, you immediately checked the subject for vital signs and was able to detect a pulse. You then began to administer Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). You started conducting chest compressions and attached the pads of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the subject. Once the AED indicated to begin CPR, you began chest compressions again until the defibrillator advised to “shock” the subject and continue life saving measures. You continued CPR until Metro West EMS arrived and assumed treatment of the subject. He was then transported to a local hospital where he is expected to survive. Your unwavering and quick response resulted in the preliminary life saving action that stabilized the victim so he could receive medical care. Your unparalleled dedication in this heroic effort truly made every second count to his surviving this medical emergency. Your actions are highly recognized and commended by the Ballwin Police Department. Officer Maragni is hereby awarded a Chief’s Commendation.”
BILL # 3777 - AN ORDINANCE SETTING THE REAL ESTATE TAX RATE OF ZERO (0%) PERCENT IN THE CITY OF BALLWIN FOR THE FISCAL PERIOD BEGINNING JANUARY 1, 2013 AND ENDING DECEMBER 31, 2013.
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3777. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result, the motion passed and Bill No. 3777 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Kerlagon and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3777. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3777 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3777 with the following results:
BILL # 3778 - AN ORDINANCE IN THE CITY OF BALLWIN, MISSOURI, TO READOPT ORDINANCE No. 11-14 WHICH ESTABLISHED A PROCEDURE TO DISCLOSE POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST AND SUBSTANTIAL INTEREST FOR CERTAIN MUNICIPAL OFFICIALS.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3778. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3778 was read for the first time.
Alderman Dogan said, “The Conflict of Interest ordinance was discussed in July, 2012. A vote was taken to change the amount of any transaction in excess of $500 is required to be reported. I feel strongly that $500 is too high. It’s in State law that’s set as the maximum required by all municipalities. Everyone has to make it at most $500, but municipalities are allowed to lower it or eliminate it entirely. I would like to propose an amendment to change the $500 amount to $100, in Section 3 a & b.”
City Attorney Jones said, “It will be a motion to amend the bill, and then to read it a second time as amended. This amount can be changed and we can be more restrictive.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “Ordinance #11-14 is the template for this ordinance. Bill 3778 is a re-adoption, not a revision or an amendment. It brings the term forward.”
Mayor Pogue said he would like to hold over Bill 3778 so that Ord. 11-14 can be reviewed. City Attorney Jones said, “It would be best to reference the codified version if we are going to amend it, instead of the ordinance number. We can provide the codified ordinance showing the change at the next meeting. It will be cleaner to reference the codified version of the ordinance.”
Alderman Dogan said, “In Section 5, it says when filed, the Financial Interest Statement shall be filed at the following times. No person is required to file more than one Financial Interest Statement in any calendar year. Does that mean that we, as a Board, could not require anyone to file more than one financial statement in a year? Can we change that at all, or is it set in stone?” City Attorney Jones said, “I believe that this is word-for-word out of the State statute. I will check on this, but I’m pretty sure it’s is word-for-word. If the State statute requires that you can’t require a person to file more than one per year, I don’t think we can be more restrictive. I will check on this for confirmation.”
Alderman Harder asked, “Is it one financial interest statement per entity that the person might be involved in, or is it their full statement for everything they are involved in that would be tied to the city? What do they mean by one financial interest statement?” City Attorney Jones said, “There are two different categories. It looks like if a person was appointed to office and also had a position as a member of the Board of Aldermen, but they still wouldn’t be required to file more than one in a calendar year. I’ll check the statute.”
Alderman Boerner said, “Even if a statement was not filed and during an interim period of term of office, it became a conflict of interest for the Board member, or acquired some asset that would cause to be a conflict of interest, that would not preclude that individual from disqualifying himself for voting for that particular bill or ordinance, right?” City Attorney Jones said, “I don’t want to answer a general question like that. I would have to see the set of circumstances.” Alderman Boerner said, “If it’s a conflict of interest, it’s a conflict of interest, right?” City Attorney Jones said, “I would agree with that statement.” Alderman Boerner said, “If I filed a conflict of interest, it is a conflict of interest regardless of whether I filed or not, since I’m only required once per year, and if it becomes a conflict during the year, are you saying that….” City Attorney Jones said, “I’m saying that without a set of specific circumstances, I cannot determine whether a conflict of interest exists, and if so, whether it disqualifies someone from voting. Some do, some don’t. The penalties are criminal, not civil, for this. It’s up to a prosecuting authority to bring an action for a breach of this kind of a statute.”
Alderman Dogan said, “Regarding the timing of the filing, in Section 5B, it says every other person required to file a financial interest statement shall file the statement annually, not later than May 1. Does that mean the date could be set earlier than May?” City Attorney Jones said, “No. I don’t think it does. It means that a person would have until May 1to file that statement. Again, I need to look at the statute.”
Alderman Boerner said, “If I think it’s a conflict of interest and I filed a statement, does that then make it a conflict of interest?” City Attorney Jones said, “Not necessarily.” Alderman Boerner said, “But if I say it’s a conflict of interest, doesn’t that obligate me not to vote?” City Attorney Jones said, “Not necessarily. There are certain conflicts that merely disclosing is sufficient. You can disclose and still vote.”
Alderman Fleming said, “I recall voting last July against the $100 that Alderman Dogan suggested. That seems low. I don’t think we did anything further last summer. I still feel that way, that $100 is too low. I don’t want to check out every single thing that a member of staff is doing. You think $500 is high, but $100 can generate a lot of disclosures, and I don’t see the value in this.” Alderman Leahy said, “I agree with that. I could vote for it at $250 or $300, otherwise I’ll vote against it.”
Alderman Finley said, “I’m a proponent of having our legislation match that of the State. I’ve not heard anything compelling to the City of Ballwin which would compel me to go along with changing this.” Alderman Fleming said, “You’re sticking with the State, Alderman Dogan is at $100, Alderman Leahy and I are at $250. It sounds like we’re not going to do anything tonight, right?” Mayor Pogue said that’s correct.
A motion was made by Alderman Dogan and seconded by Alderman Boerner to hold over this proposed legislation until the next meeting. A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3778 with the following results: Ayes – Dogan, Fleming, Terbrock, Harder, Leahy, Boerner, Kerlagon. Nays – Finley. Bill No. 3778 will be held over by a vote of 7-1.
BILL # 3779 - AN ORDINANCE PROHIBITING FUNERAL PROTESTS UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES WITHIN THE CITY OF BALLWIN.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3779. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3779 was read for the first time.
Alderman Finley asked, “In the first Whereas paragraph should ‘every citizen’ be changed to every United States citizen?” City Attorney Jones said, “I drafted the Whereas paragraphs. They are not part of another city’s ordinance. I feel it’s important to give some preamble for why we are doing this. I prefer not to vary from the City of Manchester model which has been upheld by the court, but that begins in Section 1. There Whereas clauses can be changed.”
Alderman Finley said, “In the third Whereas, ‘City Council’ should be changed to Board of Aldermen.” Alderman Finley asked if anyone else has any comment about ‘every citizen’, if not, he will leave it alone. Alderman Terbrock said, “I don’t see any need to have United States added. A citizen is a citizen of Ballwin, Missouri, or the United States.”
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to amend Bill 3779 changing the third paragraph from ‘City Council’ to “Board of Aldermen”. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a second reading of Bill No. 3779. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3779 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3779 with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a first reading of Bill No. 3780. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3780 was read for the first time.
Alderman Fleming said, “In item C, the first sentence states, ‘Unless otherwise determined by the Board of Aldermen, the ranges shall be automatically adjusted to the 70th percentile’. I know it’s subject to annual appropriation, but would it be better for the sentence to read ‘upon annual approval by the Board of Aldermen, the ranges shall be automatically adjusted’, rather than leaving it the way it is now, saying minus action by the Board of Aldermen it’s automatically going to happen? I think this is our intention.” City Attorney Jones said, “I thought it was the other way around. I thought this was to be the default unless the Board took action. I understood it differently.”
Alderman Fleming said, “The way this reads now is unless we say ‘don’t’, every year it gets automatically adjusted.” Mayor Pogue said, “This will be covered at budget time which will be prior to evaluations. It will be covered in the budget for the salary range adjustment for the following year.”
Alderman Fleming said, “This is just referring to the ranges in the pay plan, and not specifically taking any actions tied to it.” City Administrator Kuntz said that’s correct. Alderman Leahy said, “Are you saying that at budget time, we have a choice not to do this?” Mayor Pogue said, “The first consideration will be are we going to allow budgetary adjustments to be made to cover salary range adjustments.”
Alderman Harder said, “We definitely don’t want our hands tied that if we run into a lean time, we need to adjust this, to say that we’re not going to do this, and we’ll catch up in two years or until we get through the lean time. The automatic comes in if someone on the Board brings it up, that would be the only way it would keep it from being automatic, that it would just happen.”
Alderman Fleming said, “The automatic part is just adjusting the range in the pay plan. It doesn’t mean it follows through to the next step of actually putting salary adjustments into the budget and making that appropriation. This keeps the pay plan updated, and then each year we decide if we are going to budget funds to meet that number separately.” City Attorney Jones said, “Otherwise, you’ll have no information on which to make your decision.” Alderman Terbrock said, “It’s built on accountability too. Later on down the road if it gets skewed, you can automatically roll back and look to see where it got skewed and why.” Mayor Pogue said, “During budget preparation, the Board would look at it, calculate its salary range adjustments, and decide if it is going to implement any adjustments that would be necessary.”
Alderman Dogan said, “That’s not the case for the minimum salary. It says that any employee whose salary falls below the annual minimum, shall be raised to the minimum.” Mayor Pogue said, “Subject to the annual appropriation by the Board of Aldermen.”
Alderman Leahy said, “Why are we doing this? We’re going to have a choice not to do it every year.” Mayor Pogue said, “That’s how it’s always been in the past too. This establishes what our goals are in a pay plan and range.” Alderman Leahy said, “So it’s a goal, and not a mandate.” Mayor Pogue said, “It’s always up to budgetary constraint.” Alderman Terbrock said, “This forces us to look at where we’re at all the time so that we don’t get behind.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is exactly what reflects direction of the Board, nothing more or less.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3780. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3780 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3780 with the following results:
CONSENT ITEMS: (Budgeted items which are low bid and do not exceed expenditure estimates and/or items which have been previously approved in concept.)
A. Vlasis Park Electric: Staff recommended rejection of the 3 bids received due to all bids being over
A motion was made by Alderman Kerlagon and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Fleming said, “Regarding the Vlasis Park Electric, is there any way to do part this year and part a different year, or did it not make sense to do that? This is something that we want to do, it just didn’t meet the budget number.” Director of Parks & Recreation Linda Bruer said, “We could send it out again and scale the project back. We didn’t bid it that way because from the estimate, we didn’t think there would be a problem doing the whole thing.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The bidder that gave the budget estimate, didn’t submit a bid. What the Board did tonight is allow us to wipe the sheet clean and look at options such as scaling back and rebidding it. Our intention is to continue with the concept, but within the budget.”
Mayor Pogue said he was surprised that we only got three bids, since there are a lot of electrical contractors in the area. Perhaps on future bid sheets, we should ask how they found out about this bid so that we can find out where they are receiving the information.
Closed Session: Mayor Pogue said he would like to have a closed session at the end of this meeting for the annual performance review of the City Administrator, in accordance with State Statute 610.021 subsection 3.
Lafayette Area Mayors’ Meeting: This meeting was held on Friday, March 8 with three Senators present. Municipal interest bills were discussed, including cell towers HB 345, HB 601, and Senate Bill 241, regarding aesthetics, landscaping and buffering from neighborhoods. If these bills pass, there will be significant impact on the municipalities and residents.
Mayor Pogue said that Senator Sue Allen co-sponsored a bill asking for a committee to be formed to look into the pool sales tax, municipal city services, and TIF, to be completed by the end of the year.
Alderman Harder asked if anything was discussed about out-of-state car tax purchases? Mayor Pogue said there was discussion at this meeting. The Governor vetoed a similar bill last year. City Administrator Kuntz said the Missouri Municipal League considers this high priority. The Governor is still looking at it through the vision of a tax. We were questioned extensively by Representative Koenig about adopting the use tax. We very firmly advised him that this is easier said than done or explained to the public.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Pointe Partition: City Administrator Kuntz said this is the divider between the two meeting rooms at The Pointe. Two under budget bids were received. This is a specialized divider because it must run on a track across the full width of the room. It’s recommended that the low bid from Ravensberg, Inc. be accepted and the contract be authorized.
Mayor Pogue said, “I am currently working on two projects in which Ravensberg is another sub-contractor, along with the company that I work for but not directly under our supervision. I have no financial interest in this.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Finley to accept staff recommendation for the moveable wall bid. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Golf Course Chemicals: City Administrator Kuntz said this is an extensive listing that is driven by different vendors who offer better prices on certain products than other vendors. It’s recommended that for all of the chemicals to be purchased, that the contract be awarded on a unit basis to the lowest vendor, depending on need. There isn’t one company and one price. This is a unit award based on the low vendors providing each product.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to accept the recommendation by staff regarding golf course chemicals. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Utility Vehicle: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a vehicle that stays on the golf course and is necessary for the operation. The current vehicle is 29 years old. Because of its age, it’s on its third engine and has steering problems, it’s time to replace this utility vehicle. The recommendation is to accept the bid from MTI Equipment Company in the amount of $19,888. It’s not the lowest bid, but is the lowest responsive bid based on the qualifications for this equipment.
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept the bid from MTI Equipment. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CVS Fire Lane: City Administrator Kuntz said this has been thoroughly reviewed by the Police Department, the Board and the Fire Department. It is recommended that certain areas have restricted parking from a traffic flow and fire district operational response standpoint.
Police Chief Schicker said this is on the east side of the parking lot near the entrance that circles into CVS, and the west side of the building where the drive-through is located. There’s an existing no-parking area next to the restaurants and additional areas that are marked in which the fire marshal felt were obstructions because people are parking on the curbs outside of the marked parking areas. It’s becoming extremely difficult for them to maneuver vehicles, including a box ambulance.
Mayor Pogue said there’s a petition that will be reviewed at the Planning & Zoning Commission meeting regarding removal of islands. He asked if this was discussed with the interim fire marshal? Chief Schicker said no, the parking layout change had not been presented at the time it was being reviewed. The proposal of added parking spaces would not impact what’s needed under the recommendation.
City Administrator Kuntz said, the thought was that this would provide some relief, but it would not supersede nor change the recommendations for the areas in question. The area where there is limited parking, which is adjacent to the building, down as far as the building parallels the front to the back of the building, there is no parking now.
City Attorney Jones said there is a separate schedule in Section 15-482 for prohibited parking in certain areas, and a separate schedule for fire lanes. It will be a combination of those two.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken said there’s no interconnection between what’s proposed here and the parking change. If the parking change is approved, it wouldn’t impact if this was approved as presented tonight.
City Administrator Kuntz said if they are able to implement their expanded change, the impact of the fire lane would not be insignificant.
Alderman Leahy asked if the islands next to Clayton Road are now for parking. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said it’s nose-in parking all along the Clayton Road frontage. That change was done last Fall. They now want to remove the odd-shaped island in the middle of the parking lot and turn it into parking spaces.
City Attorney Jones said, since these fire lane and no parking schedules aren’t part of the Zoning Ordinance, we don’t have to send it to Planning & Zoning.
Police Chief Schicker said right now, there’s no enforcement mechanism, and complaints continue to come in, particularly on the weekend. A fire lane designation has to encroach on the operation and safety, as based on fire department regulations and requirements. They were requesting no parking on the islands because right now there are patrons visiting that plaza and parking on the corners where they shouldn’t be parking. This makes it extremely difficult for equipment to get through.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Harder to draft legislation, and if there hasn’t been communication with the plaza owner or CVS owner, that we let them know what’s happening.
Mayor Pogue said he and City Administrator Kuntz have talked to the owners of both restaurants. Police Chief Schicker said that Sgt. Marino has also had communication with them. Mayor Pogue said that he and Alderman Boerner would be happy to discuss this with them when they are here for the Planning & Zoning meeting on April 1.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Pool Lifts: City Administrator Kuntz said it is recommended that the current bid award to Pool & Electrical Supply be rescinded and that the contract be awarded to Lincoln Aquatics. There are issues related to shipping and handling, to which Pool & Electrical Supply was not responsive, when we attempted to execute the contract. In the interest of getting this equipment for the lowest price, prior to the start of the swim season, it’s recommended that the Pool & Electrical Supply bid be rejected, and the contract be awarded to Lincoln Aquatics.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said the budgeted amount for both locations was $18,500. These lifts will take care of The Pointe and North Pointe. This is well within the budget.
A motion was made by Alderman Leahy and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to rescind the original award to Pool & Electrical Supply. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Leahy and seconded by Alderman Fleming to accept the bid from Lincoln Aquatics, as recommended by Staff. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Legal Update: City Attorney Jones said, “Last Thursday, City Administrator Kuntz and I attended a meeting at the Des Peres City Hall with respect to Kimball vs. University City, Jefferson City, and 263 other cities in the AT&T Mobility class action. The purpose of this meeting was to see if the St. Louis County municipalities who had been orphaned, or declined coverage, by their insurance company could find some kind of a joint defense that would save money for all of those cities. My firm, Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe, had previously entered an appearance for ten such cities that were prior clients of the firm. The Missouri Municipal League had enlisted the help of an attorney from Jefferson City or Blue Springs, Allan Garner, to help organize an effort at the State level to pay for the defense of those cities who did not have insurance coverage. It was the opinion of the represented St. Louis County cities who were present at that meeting last Thursday, that they were not interested in being represented by a firm out of Jefferson City to be paid for by the Missouri Municipal League. Such a firm was, perhaps, out of touch with the needs of the St. Louis County municipalities, particularly those who had made contributions from the cell phone settlements to the war chest of St. Louis County Municipal League. We did do that. We contributed a portion of our cell phone settlements, approximately $40,000, to the war chest that St. Louis County has amassed.”
City Attorney Jones said, “The idea was to keep the representation here in St. Louis County. My law firm, particularly Carl Lumley and myself, and John Mulligan and Howard Pappin will work on the class action law suit. Perhaps some consulting from the Currin Tillery firm that helped with the class action suit would be representing these municipalities that had no insurance coverage. St. Louis County Municipal League would pay for that representation. That was presented to St. Louis County Municipal League Board on Friday evening, and that was approved. We have not submitted retainer agreements to the St. Louis County Municipal League. What I need from the Board tonight is an indication, by motion, that it’s acceptable for the St. Louis County Municipal League to pay the City’s defense costs in this particular case. We don’t have to pass an ordinance to retain my firm because you have already done that since I’m already the City Attorney. What we need is a motion to allow St. Louis County Municipal League to pay the bill. We don’t know exactly how long that will last, but at least in the interim, we will have the ten cities that we are already representing. Nine of them are St. Louis area insurance trust insureds. One is Sunset Hills, which is a Travelers insured, and there are four other cities that have already indicated that they were going to enlist in this representation. I suspect in the end, there will be twenty or more that will be handled in this way.”
City Attorney Jones said, “Our responsive pleading is due on May 1. We anticipate filing a motion rather than an answer. There will be a conference call on March 18 with the State League representatives and the Jefferson City law firm that’s handling a number of these other cities, as well as insurance defense council to try to coordinate the defense. “
City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is a big deal. It has to do with the application of the data portion of future mobile phone devices. While we have the land line and service provision in our utility ordinance structure, this particular company is taking exception to the data portion. We are escrowing and taking fees under protest currently, we’re moving forward. That date is expected to go from being a fraction of the bill to the bulk of the bill. It will make a significant shift in the revenue stream of telecommunications for cities such as Ballwin in the future. It’s not just the representation to defend ourselves about this tax, it’s the ability to move forward and to establish that position relative to their future business plan and our revenue stream.”
City Attorney Jones said, “In just ten years, we’ve seen the radical change from wired communications to wireless communications, to voice over internet. The intermediate steps, cable for example, all of those are going to fall by the wayside, and voice over internet will be out and people will communicate wirelessly in the very near future. We can’t afford to allow cities who have no insurance coverage to simply pay what has been requested of them in order to settle this case and give away this important revenue stream. This will be very important to us in the future. Some of the uninsured cities have potential losses that are less than $5,000. Some even less than $1,000. What we don’t want to have happen is for those cities simply write a check and close the book on this. For Ballwin, it’s $140,000. Creve Coeur is $500,000, and Sunset Hills about $140,000.”
Alderman Harder asked how long have we been collecting the tax? City Attorney Jones said, “The period of time that’s in dispute in this lawsuit is 2005 through 2010. In 2010, At&T Mobility stopped paying it, as a result of the gross receipts tax on the data portion of bills paid in northern Illinois. That issue is being litigated in the State courts right now by that team of class action lawyers, John Mulligan, Howard Papner, Corin Torey law firm.”
Alderman Leahy asked, “Was AT&T still collecting that tax and not passing it along?” City Attorney Jones said, “They say they never collected it. They did, clearly, for a period of time, otherwise there wouldn’t be the allegation and lawsuit.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The other carriers have been following the settlement. AT&T is the renegade here.” Mayor Pogue said, “I thought this was part of the settlement on the last…..” City Attorney Jones said, “It was, and the State court has already entered an order enforcing that settlement. Now they’re at the discovery stage to try to determine exactly how much money should have been paid and wasn’t. We haven’t received any funds from AT&T Mobility. We have from the other carriers. Charter has been paying under protest, sort of siting on the sidelines to wait and see what happens.”
Alderman Harder said, “If we win, we ask for our money back to 2010 to forward, and even though they haven’t been collecting it, they would have to pay out of their own funds.” City Attorney Jones said they would find a way to back charge the customers like they did the last time.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Fleming to let St. Louis County Municipal League pay the legal bills on this issue. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed by a vote of 7-0. Alderman Leahy abstained from voting because his brother is probably the lead attorney for AT&T.
Pay Plan Ordinance: Alderman Harder said, “After the long dialog we’ve had on this and tonight’s passage of the ordinance, we are approximately $250,000 out of budget on this. I want to find out from staff if there’s a way in the next month or so that staff can come up with a plan to figure out how we can still stay at a balanced budget and accommodate this pay.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder that staff come up with a plan that shows how we can either cut or move things around so that we’re not out of balance on our budget.
Mayor Pogue said, “We’ve spent quite a bit on salt and overtime. Is there an estimate on this?” Alderman Harder said, “If we’re going to make these things, we have to pay for them. We can’t print money like the Federal government. We need to figure out how we’re going to pay for these things if we’re going to vote for them. We’ve got some money from not doing the upgrade on LAGERS, maybe some salt money, somewhere we can cut $10,000 or $5,000. I’d like to see a plan from staff in April or the first part of May that shows where we can find $250,000 or $300,000 in the budget.”
City Administrator Kuntz asked for 6 months of experience which will give a better number. Alderman Harder suggested June. He said there may be some revenue that we haven’t tapped plus cuts. He said, “I want to see $300,000 found somewhere. A good thing to find out exactly what it’s going to cost this year, and then balance it against what we can find. We need two sides of the balance sheet on this analysis.”
Motion Amended: Alderman Harder amended the motion to give until June to provide this report. The motion was seconded by Alderman Leahy. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Finley, Harder, Dogan, Leahy, Boerner, Kerlagon. Nay: Fleming. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Ballwin Website: Alderman Dogan said this is a follow up about the Ballwin website. He said, “I followed up on this with the City Administrator to expand that to a more generic question about the website. I was looking at the website last week because I needed to get some bulky items removed. It was the first week of the month, and I couldn’t remember if they took it on the first week or the last week. I checked on the City’s website to see if there were any resources, and the information they had about our service from Allied Waste was really out of date. I found information in other areas that was from 2010 and 2011. In general, the website hasn’t been updated in some places in a while. We should look at doing an overhaul of the website, at the same time later this year , we’re going to be doing a physical upgrade of our facilities. It would be good timing to look at our web presence because that’s the way a lot of our citizens interact with our city. There’s lots of great opportunities to show people more services and to update information about current services and to show people what a great government that they’re getting in Ballwin. I look forward to seeing what the department heads come up with in terms of revisions and things they might like to see on the website that we don’t offer currently.”
Adjourn to Closed Session: A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to adjourn to closed session to discuss personnel in accordance with State Statute 610.021 subsection 3 A roll call vote was taken with the following results:
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Harder to obtain the City Administrator’s W-2. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Finley, Harder, Dogan, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner. Nay: Terbrock, Kerlagon. The motion passed by a vote of 6-2.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy to adjust the City Administrator’s annual compensation to $155,097. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Fleming to adjourn the closed session. A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned at 10:08 p.m.
The Board reconvened in open session at 10:10 p.m.
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adjourn the open session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 10:11 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR