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
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
April 28, 2008
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:00 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the April 14, 2008 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. Alderman Suozzi amended page 3, fourth line, “on” to “one”, and page 2, Buffalo Wild Wings sales increased and did not dip after the passage of the Clean Air Ordinance. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
OATH OF OFFICE
A second roll call was taken with all being present.
Kathy Kerlagon, 1146 Westrun Drive: Mrs. Kerlagon made the following statements regarding Proposition B:
I’m here to ask the Board to NOT present the proposition again this calendar year. You ask “Why?”
My observation working the polls on April 8th was voters were open to a recommendation to vote for a specific Alderman, but they already had decided how they would vote on the proposed property tax increase. They would not be swayed by facts on the specific points:
2) Their property value would decline negatively impacting the City’s ability to entice new business here as well as retain current businesses.
I’m asking you to HOLD presenting it again until voters actually see that their services are cut because declining Ballwin revenues won’t cover expenses. Their streets continue to decline because the additional $2 million a year isn’t available. I understand that leaf removal is a cost effective use of personnel and equipment in off seasons. Personally, the snow removal is much more important to me than leaf removal, but I understand they could both be eliminated due to insufficient funds to maintain the equipment and pay staff to operate it.
I do not want these things to happen, but I BELIEVE STRONGLY THAT VOTERS WILL NOT GET BEHIND THIS TAX INCREASE UNTIL THEY ACTUALLY SEE CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT REVENUES. If you put this proposition out to voters again this year when there will be significantly higher numbers voting, you will only antagonize them further. They already spoke by two-thirds against it—there is nothing changed to cause any of them or any other voter to change their vote to give it support.
Thank you for your time and no matter what your decision, be assured I will continue to keep each of you in my prayers as I know you all have a difficult task ahead of you.”
BILL # 3522 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING SECTION 15-137 TO MAKE THE FAILURE TO WEAR A SEAT BELT A PRIMARY VIOLATION.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3522. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3522 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3522. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3522 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3522 with the following results:
Alderman Lembke said that the reason for the seat belt law change is to put the Ballwin ordinance in line with the State of Missouri. We are not doing anything that the State of Missouri hasn’t already done.
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. Golf Course Water Tap (contract to MLS Plumbing, $30,445)
City Administrator Kuntz requested that Item A be removed for further discussion.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to accept Consent Item B. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Liquor Licenses: Mayor Young said that the Jaycees have submitted an application for a limited permit for Ballwin Days and the Barbecue Bash for on-premises consumption. The VFW application simply reflects a change in the name of the agent.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to renew the Liquor Licenses. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
May 26 Board Meeting: Mayor Young said it is recommended that the May 26 Board meeting be cancelled due to the Memorial Day holiday. A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Suozzi as proposed. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Work Session: It was agreed that the Board will meet on Monday, May 19, in a Work Session to discuss future income and expenses.
Mayor Young made the following statement: “The purpose of the work session is to review income and expenses so we will live within our means making reductions as needed. I want to remind everyone that this work session is open to our residents and these are brainstorming sessions. Many ideas will and should be discussed. Discussion of an item should not be viewed as an idea that will be a reality or that the person suggesting the idea would ultimately be in favor of the suggestion. Brainstorming is a means to stimulate creative thinking.
Also, I want everyone to understand that Ballwin is not the only municipality experiencing the need to cut back on expenses. These are challenging times for cities, businesses, and personal budgets as well.
In March, 2007, City Administrator Kuntz gave a figure for the shortfall in revenue for the 2008 Budget of $146,226. At the last Board Meeting on April 14, 2008, budget cuts were suggested in excess of $423,000. On June 14, 2007, Mr. Kuntz is quoted in saying, “I am reasonably confident that we will present a balanced budget for 2008 with no significant changes”, and he did so. On January 15, 2008, he stated that “the 2008 Operating budget was balanced by applying $410,618 from reserves.” It is my intention that the information gathered by staff will give us a clear understanding of just what the shortfall will be for the balance of this year as best we can.
I want to direct the Staff to gather the following information for the work session:
1. Past 3 years of revenues broken down by categories; such as sales tax, utility tax, gasoline tax, projected cell phone tax, and income from the population of pool areas of the city.
2. Report on current expenses vs. budgeted amounts to date listed by department.
3. Report of all budgeted items currently not expensed in order of importance, necessities listed first. (i.e. - Mark them essential vs. non-essential to be spent this year).
This information should be given to each Board member one week prior to the work session for their review and further clarification, if necessary. Each member should be prepared to come to the meeting with ideas for discussion.
Proposals from the work session should be written for review by the residents. I suggest that 4 public hearings be held: 2 in the Board room, (on Monday and Wednesday night), and 2 held at The Point (on Tuesday and Thursday night) so that each resident would have an opportunity to voice their opinion. Residents could also send their response to us by use of our web site, e-mail, or be available in paper form at all city locations and by mail. In all forms of response, I would ask that the resident give their name and address only to verify that they are Ballwin residents. This is the same information that we require when an individual speaks at a Board Meeting. Of course, we will need to decide on a deadline to compile the information sent by our residents before any final plans are made.
I have always welcomed and appreciated input by our residents. To make this process work efficiently we need our residents to participate.”
St. Louis County Municipal League: Mayor Young said the League has provided information regarding emergency communications. In 2013, radio changes will take place in all emergency vehicles. In St. Louis County, the cost will be $54 million to upgrade all of the equipment. He said the breakdown is $34,000,000 to upgrade the towers and equipment, $20 million is for the necessary equipment. The Municipal League has suggested a 6 cent property tax, or a 1/10 sales tax, which will allow them to acquire the bonds and have the revenue support. They also suggested a County use tax.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Golf Course Water Tap: City Administrator Kuntz said it is recommended that the bids be rejected and the project be re-bid in the Fall when conditions may be more favorable for a better price. This is a necessary upgrade regardless of the irrigation replacement, to provide adequate water supply to the golf course. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann to reject the bids and the project be re-bid in the Fall. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Future Finances: City Administrator Kuntz said as a supplement to the outreach efforts proposed by Mayor Young, he suggested professional and objective evaluation. It’s important to be sensitive to the public opinion preference, however, this may not always reflect what is best for the city. He said that cuts will be considered. Unless the revenue increases significantly, supplemental or additional street improvements cannot be made. He said that 80% of the $2.3 million was going to be for streets. He recommended professional input to guide the city politically through the process.
Alderman Suozzi agreed and suggested that the candidates for this analysis attend the May 19 Work Session.
Golf Fees: City Administrator Kuntz said costs are monitored. This is an initiative to keep the fees in line with the marketplace. He said that non-resident fees were adjusted 2 or 3 years ago. The city facilities should pay for themselves. When there was a lot of non-resident play, this subsidized the residents, keeping the resident rates low. He said the residents are going to have to pay their share if cost recovery is going to be successful. Alderman Buermann said that 2 or 3 years, the Ballwin Golf Course was rated the #1 9-hole public golf course in the St. Louis area. He said that maintaining the golf course is necessary.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to draft legislation for consideration to make the proposed adjustment on resident rates. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Tennis Reservations: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a proposal for tennis court reservations to accommodate group requests with compensation to the city. The reservation times should be limited to specific time periods to not deprive the casual user.
Alderman Buermann asked about the number of requests for the 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. time slots. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said not usually. City Administrator Kuntz said that evening and after 4:00 p.m. is usually for casual use. There will always be at least one court available.
Alderman Terbrock said that people come to the Ballwin courts from other areas.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to draft legislation for the tennis reservation fee. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Non-Resident Pool Usage: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding the use of the North Pointe pool by the City of Wildwood. They are asking for similar consideration to what was extended to Ellisville. He said that this is more cost effective on a regional basis. He said this can be offered for one season at a time with a review of the impact.
Alderman Suozzi asked about a membership cap. City Administrator Kuntz said that this was done with Ellisville. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that 31 memberships were sold last year to Ellisville. She suggested a cap of 75. She said that Wildwood has also approached Chesterfield with this proposal.
Alderman Pogue said that the North Pointe memberships were extended to Ellisville in their time of need and emergency. Their pool was unusable and their plan is to rebuild. He is concerned about offering the pool facility to other municipalities. Who’s next? Where does this stop? He said he is opposed to offering the pool memberships on a general basis. Why then is there a non-resident? Some non-residents must pay a non-resident rate and others don’t.
Alderman Buermann suggested limiting the memberships to Wildwood this year only. He said the pool is a big money maker. He suggested the cap of 75 and for just this year. If the cost can be regained and make money, he is in favor of the suggestion.
Alderman Lembke said this will give Wildwood the same lower rate that Ellisville is receiving. He said we offered the memberships to Ellisville in time of need and had assistance granted back to Ballwin with equipment in our time of needs. He is in favor of offering that type of assistance in neighboring municipalities. In this case, Wildwood is simply wanting to use our pool. He said that they should be charged the non-resident fee. The City of Wildwood can subsidize the memberships in an amount of their choice. He said that Ballwin should not subsidize pool memberships for Wildwood, while they are not giving anything back. He said that he is absolutely against this if it is anything other than a full non-resident rate.
Alderman Lembke said he is also concerned that Wildwood memberships will crowd out Ballwin residents from the swim team. He said that this is not acceptable. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that the swim teams are not based on season passes. They are Ballwin residents.
Alderman Terbrock said that this could have a snowball effect. He suggested that a regional concept be considered in the future. A regional rate could be agreed upon and people could choose which area pool to use.
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that it won’t hurt to try it for a year. She suggested that next year, the regional concept be evaluated. She explained that the Ellisville resident pays the Ballwin family rate. Their city subsidizes one-half the difference between resident and non-resident rate.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Lembke to reject the Wildwood proposal.
Alderman Fleming believes that the 75 passes should be offered this year. This doesn’t hurt anyone, it gives Ballwin more temporary revenue for this year, gives an opportunity to ask them for something when we are in need. He said that someone has to act first in the spirit of cooperation. If all that’s at stake is the difference in the rate on 75 passes, he is willing to offer that cooperation first.
Alderman Lembke said that selling the passes to Ellisville on the basis that North Pointe was taking care of itself, was twisted around by certain individuals in this community and thrown back at us saying that we built the large pool area and now have to subsidize it by bringing in another city. He said he explained why this was extended to Ellisville and that a partial reimbursement was received. More than a standard resident fee was being received. This enabled Ballwin to work with and cooperate with our neighbor. He said he cannot convince these Ballwin residents that extending the pool passes to Wildwood is a good thing. If we are going to discount this again, what is Ballwin getting back? He said Ballwin residents want to use their own pool without overcrowding. He said he is against doing this.
Alderman Fleming said that Ballwin could also reap from Wildwood residents making other purchases in Ballwin, which means sales tax. He said he has not heard the complaints that Alderman Lembke describes.
A voice vote was taken to reject the Wildwood proposal with the following results: Ayes: Lembke, Robinson, Pogue, Terbrock. Nays: Suozzi, Buermann, Fleming, Kerlagon. The vote was 4 – 4 . Mayor Young cast the deciding vote by voting Nay. The result of the vote was that Ballwin will extend to Wildwood the memberships for this year only with a cap of 75.
Sidewalks: City Administrator Kuntz said this involves the application of sidewalk escrow funds that were posted and paid by a developer in lieu of constructing sidewalks, in conjunction with a specific project. This is a fund that can only be used for sidewalks. He said this is an area that has two new major commercial developments that have installed sidewalks. One is the Dent Devil, and the other is the home/business on Ballpark Drive. The sidewalk dead ends at those properties. Both locations are within the core area of town that’s already connected through local money and a grant which is the Manchester Road corridor, plus the pedestrian activated buttons. It does complete a grid in an area that is close to being activity generating from Ballwin Days commutes from Target all the way through to trying to encourage people to use sidewalks. He said there was a motion to reject the bids. This is a contract and project with installed prices, significant runs. We don’t have the equipment to do this with city crews. These are good numbers, therefore, he is resubmitting the recommendation to award to the low bidder and construct the sidewalks as recommended.
City Administrator Kuntz said that the money cannot be used for the asphalt trail system. This is a sidewalk escrow fund. The action taken at the last Board meeting was rejecting the concrete part of the project. It will deplete the escrow funds in sidewalks if the Board does this.
Alderman Robinson said that there are gaps in the sidewalks. He said after reviewing this, he thinks it is a good idea to complete the project. Alderman Pogue suggested completing the sidewalk along the south side of Ballwin Commons Drive from The Pointe to Old Ballwin Road. City Administrator Kuntz said that the easements are an issue.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson to direct staff to proceed with the completion of the sidewalks that the Board recommends, and also begin the process to secure the easements for the Ballwin Commons Drive sidewalk.
Alderman Pogue asked about the amount in the escrow account. Finance Officer Loehr said slightly over $40,000. City Administrator Kuntz said that this can increase between now and then.
Alderman Fleming asked about the origin of the request. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is not generated by a resident because it affects commercial properties. It is a staff recommendation to complete a commitment that was made by this Board with the sidewalk construction along Manchester Road, and then take the small disjointed sections and fill in the gaps.
City Administrator Kuntz said that the sidewalk on Ballpark Drive runs from Manchester Road through Lions Choice, the new property, and then stops. He said that it is suggested that the sidewalk go up and around on Kehrs Mill about halfway, and then it will meet with the existing sidewalk in the middle of the block. Alderman Fleming said the houses in that area are older. They could cross the street for the sidewalk.
Alderman Robinson said that Alderman Fleming is asking to continue promoting jaywalking by having children that are wearing their helmets, walking their bicycles on that sidewalk, to then cross the street, to jaywalk, to get to the sidewalk. City Administrator Kuntz said that this issue is ready to be completed.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Robinson that since there are remaining funds in the account, he is in favor of the project to complete the loop, and also ask staff to attempt to obtain the easements to complete the Ballwin Commons Drive sidewalk. A voice vote was taken as follows: Ayes: Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Lembke, Kerlagon. Nay: Fleming. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Slab Replacements: City Administrator Kuntz said this work will be done within budget and asked for an amendment to the slab contract to Midwest Mudjacking & Construction Co. so that the slab work and overlays can be completed in a timely manner.
Alderman Robinson said that he has heard people say that they don’t care about Proposition B; they are getting their street fixed. He said the voters made it clear not to spend any more money. This sounds like the Board is being asked to spend more money. City Engineer Kramer said this is included in the budget. The contract needs to be increased with the slab contractor. City Administrator Kuntz said that there are some streets that were budgeted to overlay, that because so much concrete work is being done, that overlays will not be done right now. The overlay had to be cut back to get to the slabs. City Engineer Kramer said that this is a request to increase the contract to spend the appropriated money. He said he overestimated the bids for asphalt. It was not as high as expected. He is requesting that the excess be used for concrete since the asphalt bid was less.
City Administrator Kuntz said that if this is not approved at this meeting, the asphalt work won’t be done by July. After July, there will be a price increase. City Engineer Kramer said the current pricing is locked in until the end of July.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann to accept the change orders as requested. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Ayes: Pogue, Buermann, Suozzi, Fleming, Robinson, Lembke, Kerlagon. Nay: Terbrock. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Golf Course Bridge: City Administrator Kuntz said the options were considered. The only way to include a second bridge would have been to deplete the contingency fund in April. This is not recommended. The original recommendation was to replace one bridge and that will be done. The approval at the last Board meeting of the replacement of one bridge will proceed. This is under budget to replace one bridge, but not enough to replace two bridges. The Board agreed to proceed with the replacement of one bridge.
WI FI: City Administrator Kuntz said if the company meets the standards and applies for a franchise, denial may not be possible. A model including of 6 cities creates portability between the communities. If Ballwin is going to be involved in this, some conditions that we can live with should be established. It gives a level playing field with cable and other providers by charging the franchise fee, attachments, permits etc. that they have to do and this company would have to also meet. There is a contract with O’Fallon and Kirkwood, and are in discussions with other municipalities, including St. Louis County.
City Attorney Jones said that six cities have been working with an Attorney Carl Lumley, with the Curtis, Heinz, Garrett & O’Keefe firm, who specializes in telecommunications. He said that he has not yet reviewed the agreements. As long as this entity can be brought within our own ordinance requirements, he sees nothing wrong with this. They will probably do this regardless of any Ballwin agreements. This will promote a better product for Ballwin.
Alderman Suozzi said asked if the hardware is similar to AT&T. She said there are ugly boxes all over Ballwin in the middle of the rights-of-way where the sidewalks would be constructed, and said that this should be considered as part of the agreements and legislation. City Attorney Jones said that Mr. Lumley suggests that if the city is going to adopt this agreement, an ordinance should be enacted that is tailored to confront all of the issues that are specific to our own rights-of-way control mechanisms. City Administrator Kuntz said that the State of Missouri has limited local control. Alderman Suozzi said she has no problem with this if Ballwin requirements can be met.
Alderman Pogue asked Police Chief Schicker if the car computers are running off of a dial up service. Police Chief Schicker said they are running off of a card. It could give better service in the police cars, but there is an initial cost that would be deferred over a 3-year period. City Administrator Kuntz said that the enabling technology for both radio and computer communications is there. There will be 6 nearby cities that will have the same agreement with the same equipment. This is also being explored at the St. Louis County level in the next generation as an extension to communications and having a complete network. Without this, it’s fine if someone is in Vlasis Park, but at the Manchester city limits, depending on their coverage, connection would be lost. It could not be used everywhere. He said that some cities were so eager to get into this immediately, that they didn’t ask some of these questions that are being asked now and what is being proposed. This should be a county-wide blanket, but the cost is so expensive that they need customers or they won’t recover their investment. This is an attempt to provide a model that can be used as an example that these six cities offer this.
City Administrator Kuntz said that this is a concept like the cell tower. They have pole attachment agreements with Ameren and other utilities so that they can hang the equipment at intervals to prevent dead zones.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi to draft standard legislation, future consideration, for wireless providers.
Alderman Fleming asked if a meeting has been held with a representative from the company. City Administrator Kuntz said yes, many times. Alderman Fleming said it’s unusual to have a proposal of this magnitude without a presentation to the Board. City Administrator Kuntz said that he did not ask for that at this time until Board intent has been determined.
Alderman Fleming said he suggests postponing legislation preparation until a presentation has been made. He said he wants to hear a presentation before taking action. City Administrator Kuntz suggested that a presentation be made at the next meeting. Alderman Fleming asked if the purpose of the legislation would be to enable wireless providers to apply for a franchise in the city, or this specific one. City Administrator Kuntz said that the legislation will set a standard and a level playing field for a wireless provider within the city’s public right-of-way. The specific business plan and the franchise agreement is subject to the proposals that are received. If they met all of the terms and conditions, it would be difficult to keep them out of the city. Alderman Fleming again suggested that a presentation should be made before legislation is drafted.
Alderman Buermann said that draft legislation would not be on the agenda for an official reading. It could be an enclosure for future consideration. Alderman Fleming said that sometimes legislation is drafted before it is necessary. Once something is on that track, it becomes harder to stop. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is not the intent. He suggested that the city be prepared for new technology by dictating a standard and a threshold that everyone will have to adhere to. Draft legislation for discussion is to assure that they do business in the city under our rules, not their own.
The motion was seconded by Alderman Pogue. He said that the draft legislation can be amended or tabled if a presentation is needed. City Attorney Jones said that the legislation will be a generic ordinance similar to cable franchises and other providers who want to use the city’s rights-of-way and provide this service. It will not be directed to “network1”. It will state what has to be done to qualify for a franchise and what must be done to construct their facilities. They will come back to present an agreement. The Board will have to adopt the agreement by ordinance granting them the franchise. City Administrator Kuntz said that at that time, the presentation could be made.
Alderman Fleming asked how will the ordinance be based. Will it be the Municipal League information, what Kansas City or another city did? City Administrator Kuntz said that this is based on negotiations, discussions, and the cable TV franchise model. Alderman Fleming said that Ballwin’s ordinances are usually in sync with Missouri State law. He said there is no information available to base the draft legislation. City Administrator Kuntz said that samples have been provided. Alderman Fleming said he is not opposed to wireless in Ballwin. He is concerned that once the rules have been set, you have to abide by those rules. He feels that we cannot anticipate aspects of this since a lot of other cities are not doing this right now. He suggested going slow and steady.
A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Pogue, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Lembke, Kerlagon. Nay: Fleming. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
City Administrator Kuntz said that a presentation can be made at the next meeting. Alderman Fleming agreed.
Street Assessment: Alderman Robinson said that if the streets are not going to be fixed, there’s no need for an assessment. City Administrator Kuntz said that the streets will be fixed. The amount of revenue will not be supplemented to make more repairs. He recommended a local company for the assessment.
Alderman Buermann said that the Ohio bid will provide on-site training for MicroPaver. The local company will provide some formal training vs. extensive formal training with MicroPaver. He said he wants to hear that eventually, we want someone in-house to be able to do the assessment of the streets. He does not want to pay anyone outside of the city to do this.
Alderman Fleming said that at this time, he agrees with Alderman Robinson. He does not see the point in spending any money on this. The current data is not out of date.
Alderman Pogue said that the assessment can be deferred for every 3 years. He asked who is requiring the assessment at this time. City Engineer Kramer said GASB was requiring this, as a general accounting standard. Finance Officer Loehr said that is no longer a problem because of the depreciation issue. This is no longer a requirement every 3 years since a different methodology is used to account for the street improvements and infrastructure.
Alderman Pogue said he believes that an assessment is due since the last one was 3 years ago. City Engineer Kramer said he uses the assessment as a guide for repairs. Alderman Pogue suggested waiting to see which cities were being used by the two low bidders, based on the letters of reference.
Alderman Terbrock said that he agrees with Aldermen Robinson and Fleming. He said the current information is not outdated. There’s no reason to spend $50,000 on the assessment. City Engineer Kramer said there are 2 kinds of training; data collection / field training and how to access the data with the software that is provided. He said the trained person has to do this work frequently to stay proficient and accurate.
Alderman Suozzi said that we risk turning this into a political issue if we don’t do an outside assessment. The voting residents were told that the aldermen are not deciding which streets are going to be fixed. They have been told that a professional is assessing the streets. She said the Board members do not have the training to determine the condition of most streets. The assessment is necessary. She said it will be a bad move to not do this assessment by an outside company at this time.
City Engineer Kramer said that in the past, the MicroPaver program did not produce a suggested plan for 2006. We have the software. He said that there is $50,000 that we don’t have to spend. There’s no tangible benefit to spend this money. There is a good record of what has been done on the streets and a lot of data has not changed. He feels that this money should not be spent at this time. City Engineer Kramer also indicated that the street survey is no longer required by GASB.
Alderman Lembke said that an employee with in-house training will eventually leave and go to a bigger city that will pay more money, they will be able to do this full time. Unless we are able to sell some of this person’s time to other cities and we get into the consulting business and take on the additional responsibility and potential liability, this person is going to leave. We will be spending a lot of money on training someone who will not stay. He said we are falling behind on street repairs. We know what streets need repair. In the next few years, if more money comes in for roads, the streets will continue to deteriorate to a point that it will take $4 million or more to try to get the streets back where they were. He said he agrees with Aldermen Fleming and Robinson to not spend $50,000 on the assessment. He said that the voters said to do what we can with what we have.
Alderman Terbrock disagreed that this will become a political issue. He said that the Board is not going to start assessing the streets. Alderman Suozzi said that was the reason the suggestion was made to reconvene the Public Works committee. Alderman Terbrock said that he suggested an engineer determine the process. If $1 million is going to be spent on the streets, we currently have enough information for the next couple of years so that $50,000 does not have to be spent at this time.
Alderman Kerlagon said he agrees with Alderman Suozzi that an outside person should make the assessment. However, if an assessment was done right now, the same streets would rank the same. He said if we are telling the citizens that we need the money, he would hate to say that we spent $50,000 to find out that their streets are bad. We already know that without spending another $50,000 to hear it again. He does not want to spend this money right now.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to hold over this discussion until the next meeting so that a list of references can be provided from the two lowest bidders. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Suozzi, Pogue, Buermann. Nay: Robinson, Fleming, Lembke, Kerlagon, Terbrock. The motion failed by a vote of 5-3.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to reject the proposals and forego the assessment this year. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Fleming, Robinson, Buermann, Lembke, Kerlagon, Terbrock. Nay: Suozzi, Pogue. The motion passed by a vote of 6-2.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
BAA Closed Session: City Attorney Jones said that the Ballwin Athletic Association has indicated that it is willing to do as the city has asked, which is to pay an attorney to give the city an opinion regarding the legality of possibly selling some of the city’s real estate. He said they have waived any possible conflict of interest in allowing an attorney (himself) to render that opinion at their cost. He said if that is acceptable to the city, a closed session is not necessary. If further discussion is needed because it involves the potential sale of real estate, a closed session will be needed and he should not be present.
City Attorney Jones said that it should be decided if he will be the attorney or someone else who will be paid by the BAA. They have acknowledged their willingness to pay Ballwin’s City Attorney to give an opinion. Alderman Robinson said that the Board has to waive the conflict also, therefore a closed session is necessary. City Administrator Kuntz said that if this is not a big issue, it can be decided in open session with a motion to proceed. City Attorney Jones said that he will do the necessary research, and give an opinion to the Board about what circumstances it would be proper for the city to convey the property. He said he will not give any advice on the terms of the sale. This is a policy matter for the Board to consider.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Pogue to accept the conflict of interest potentiality and allow City Attorney Jones to work for the BAA on this issue.
Alderman Robinson said that an alderman has indicated that he wants more discussion, therefore, a closed session is necessary.
Alderman Lembke withdrew the motion, and Alderman Pogue withdrew the second.
City Administrator Kuntz asked that City Attorney Jones attend the Closed Session because another issue for discussion involves municipal courts. The Board agreed.
Meadowbrook Streets: City Attorney Jones corrected his statement made at the April 14 Board meeting. Under the Neighborhood Improvement District scenario, prevailing wage laws must be followed because this is a Public Works project done on behalf of a public body. Unless it is maintenance work instead of reconstruction, it will require the payment of prevailing wage. He said he forwarded this information in a letter to Attorney Epstein, at Gallop, Johnson & Newman, and to the resident who asked about how services will be changed if the streets were to be vacated and become private. Further direction from the subdivision is the next step.
Alderman Fleming said the letter that was sent addresses what services would be lost if the streets were returned to the subdivision. He asked for an update from Mr. Jack Hanley, a Meadowbrook Trustee. Mr. Hanley asked, regarding the NID and maintenance on the project, it was inferred that this could be resolved because the project is a maintenance project. To pay a maintenance fee on a maintenance project seems superfluous. City Attorney Jones said the NID statute has a provision for ongoing assessments for maintenance. The only other project that he is aware of in the city was regarding West Glen Village. It was front end loaded, no continuing maintenance obligation, and no assessments. He said he assumes that if this was going to be done, it would be done the same way.
Mr. Hanley commented on construction vs. maintenance: He said when he read the same statute, he reached a different conclusion. This is street repair. City Attorney Jones said that the city has not considered this to be maintenance. He said with the Dura Seal Paving contract, this was looked at extensively. The personnel at Wage & Hour believe that it is not strictly maintenance work. City Attorney Jones said that he believes the Meadowbrook subdivision is going to end up with a situation that is more expensive than they are willing to pay. City Attorney Jones said that when Meadowbrook has the money up front, the contract is let by the city, if there is a shortfall and a change order, the city is presumably going to make sure the job is completed, regardless of the Meadowbrook citizens being able to pay the difference.
Mr. Hanley asked how the Board feels about vacating the streets at this time. He said that they are willing to give the city $350,000 - $375,000 to repair their streets. He asked if the city is going to assist. Alderman Fleming said that it’s his understanding that it’s not possible to use the Neighborhood Improvement District with this project. If it was possible to use NID, the cost would be closer to $500,000. He said that he is willing to support vacating the streets for Meadowbrook to make the repairs.
Alderman Robinson said it is not wise for this Board to give an opinion that may be interpreted as circumventing the prevailing wage law. Mr. Hanley said that vacating the streets circumvents the prevailing wage law. Alderman Robinson said that if the Board vacates the streets and give a guarantee that we will take the back, that is a procedure that circumvents the prevailing wage law. It is allowing Meadowbrook to do something that the city could not do, and then take the streets back. He said it’s improper for the Board to give a guarantee at this time.
Alderman Robinson said that Meadowbrook Subdivision has an opportunity to fix their streets, and as a result of the failure of Proposition B, this won’t happen. The reconstructed streets will increase the value of the properties.
Alderman Pogue asked what are the requirements for a street to be taken over. City Engineer Kramer said the standard street is 26 feet wide. In the early 1990s, the Board waived that requirement. Alderman Pogue said he would like to see this project completed. By the time the entire project is completed, there could be different Board members. Mr. Hanley said that they are willing to meet the standards of the Ballwin repairs that were made last summer, not the 26-foot width sidewalk standard.
Mr. Hanley said they need answers from the three parties that are involved in the project.
Banners: City Attorney Jones said he spoke with Assistant City Administrator Aiken and it was determined that the only waiver for exception to the City’s ordinance, which requires on-site advertising, is one which is for a limited period not to extend beyond 120 days which will be authorized by the City Administrator for public purposes or when conditions cause a hardship that interferes with compliance. The banners on the street lights along Kehrs Mill Road do not meet either of those very limited exceptions. The fact that the college previously had the banners on the poles was a situation that was allowed to exist. The business making the request is located at the Barn At Lucerne. The request is for the banners to be on off-site poles, which is off-site advertising, much like a billboard. This has never been allowed in Ballwin.
City Attorney Jones said that Mr. Aiken will contact AmerenUE. His previous experience with the insurance committee gave him the pre-opinion that the indemnity provision that AmerenUE is going to expect from the City is going to be so onerous that the Board may choose not to pursue this issue. He said apparently AmerenUE wants a complete indemnity for anything that might happen. If a street light falls on a car, and the City has allowed a banner to be placed on that street light pole, Ballwin would then have to indemnify them for the damage it caused to the occupants of the automobile, which waives our sovereign immunity.
City Attorney Jones suggested that Mr. Aiken complete the discussions with AmerenUE, find out what indemnity is required, and report back to the Board. If this is something that is acceptable, we will notify Sky Bar that it will require a change in the Ballwin ordinance in order to place the banners on the pole.
Alderman Robinson asked if Sky Bar can assume the role as the indemnifying party instead of the City. City Attorney Jones said this will be in Mr. Aiken’s report, but his guess is no. AmerenUE is not going to let someone other than the property owner indemnify. Since the poles are in Ballwin’s right-of-way, we are responsible.
City Administrator Kuntz said that based on his discussions with City Attorney Jones and Assistant City Administrator Aiken, we are pursuing in tandem a proposal to amend the sign ordinance to permit this. Since other businesses have made similar requests, he suggested creating a standard or a new category within the sign code with the understanding that it be permitted by the city, meeting a certain standard on internal fixtures located within private property, subject to approval of the property owner and meeting the city’s requirements. He said we want to accommodate the concept, but it’s not as simple as it may seem. He said we cannot override AmerenUE. This would not be acting responsibly. He said this could possibly be allowed on the fixtures that are located within the Barn At Lucerne complex, with a category in Ballwin’s sign code, might be a better option.
Alderman Robinson asked who owns the lights. City Administrator Kuntz said that the only lights Ballwin own are in the park. If we buy more lights, Ameren won’t have to be paid for them and this won’t be an issue in the future.
Alderman Terbrock asked if someone put up banners again like the college had done, and a damage occurrence took place, would the city be liable? City Attorney Jones said that it’s not a good idea to render an opinion in an open meeting regarding the liability of the city.
Subdivision Meeting: Alderman Fleming said he attended the Brush Creek Subdivision meeting. It was attended by approximately 20 residents. Streets were of concern to these residents. They seemed to understand the value of Proposition B. When people were well informed about Proposition B, they supported it. They did not report any geese problems, but the geese are in the subdivision next to them. They pay $75 per year for maintenance of the common grounds, which is grass cutting. $200 per year was what Proposition B was asking for the average house.
Cost Reduction: Alderman Fleming said citizens have made suggestions to him regarding cost reductions. One resident suggestion was that snow plowing should not start until there are 2 inches on the ground. The resident said this is how it is done in New England and people manage quite well. Alderman Fleming said that if there are 6 snow storm per season with snow falling at a rate of 1 inch per hour, with 8 snow plow drivers making $50 per hour with salary benefits and other costs, that would be a maximum savings of about $4,800 per year. He said that $2 million is needed to improve the streets. He said that at the rate of $5,000 per idea, four hundred more ideas are needed. He encouraged residents to submit their cost reduction ideas, however, we cannot nickel and dime our way out of this problem. This has been done for the past several years.
Sales Tax Opt Out: Alderman Fleming on some of the sales tax measures, there is an opt out available. City Administrator Kuntz said that he did not send the letter. He worked it through the telephone system and brought it up at the Lafayette Area Mayors meeting. He said he was told that there wasn’t enough time to send a letter. He said he called Jefferson City and the local Municipal League. Alderman Fleming said that we still have to opt out of the Green Holiday if it is passed. City Administrator Kuntz said that as soon as it is signed, we can opt out.
Senate Bill No. 858 – Immigration Regulations: Alderman Fleming said it sounds like the municipalities are successfully lobbying so that none of this ends up hanging on the local government. He said that this bill says that “municipal police officers have to check immigration status of anyone arrested or detained, report to the feds if there is probable cause to believe he or she is an illegal, and detain them for the feds at the expense of local taxpayers.” He asked how long do we have to hold them? There are 4 cells at the Ballwin Police Station with a maximum of 7-8 detainees. Should any action be taken on this. City Administrator Kuntz said, with two weeks to go, no.
Alderman Fleming asked if there are any other bills being considered that would impose cost or take revenue from Ballwin. City Administrator Kuntz said none that have a serious chance of making it to the Governor’s desk. Alderman Fleming said that it doesn’t hurt to send our complaints every time because they are not considering the local municipality when legislation is written. Police Chief Schicker said that the department checks with Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding immigration violation issues. If a retainer is requested, this is done. He said the department’s policy is that they have 24 – 48 hours to pick up the detainee. The reason is that this is based on the time frame in which the detainee is in custody. A weekend causes a need for more time, which is the reason for 24 – 48 hours. There has never been a delay to go beyond the stipulated hours.
Alderman Suozzi said it’s the same result with the red light camera issue. The State has superseded Ballwin’s ability to conduct business locally.
Alderman Robinson said that the Representatives at this time in Jefferson City, Representative Portwood, St. Onge, and Senator Loudon, make it an absolute complete waste of time for us to lobby our position as a local government. He said he believes that those three politicians don’t care anything about the needs of the local municipalities. He spent a considerable amount of time trying to lobby them and to get them to consider the needs of this community. The bottom line was that it came down to a situation of personal conflict and personality conflicts. He said if a Senator or State Representative didn’t like an Alderman, they refused to support that Alderman’s agenda. He said that nothing has changed in the climate in Jefferson City.
Alderman Pogue said that he disagrees. He believes that the State Representatives and Senators are more than willing to listen to Aldermen’s comments. Alderman Terbrock said that if Alderman Robinson’s comments are true, lobbying the legislators regularly gives us reason to stand up and say that they are not listening to the local officials. Alderman Robinson said that our representatives continue to present State legislation that hurts the City of Ballwin.
Alderman Fleming said that State legislation should continue to be on the Board meeting agendas for communication. Alderman Robinson said that we have not been able to effectively speak with our representatives with one voice. He said before Proposition B was put on the ballot, it was agreed that the Board would all be pulling in the same direction. He said we did not all pull in the same direction. The Mayor did not support or put a sign in his yard and did not campaign for Proposition B. Our lobbying efforts will die if the Board is not united.
Alderman Fleming said that Ballwin citizens are not aware that the State Representatives and Senators have been promoting legislation that hurts the local cities. He said the citizens need to know that the State can take away Ballwin revenues and can force some of the costs on the city. We don’t have enough money to provide the services, and the State legislators make the situation worse.
Alderman Fleming asked Mayor Young if he attended the “Meet The Chamber” meeting on April 22. Mayor Young said the meeting was cancelled. Alderman Fleming asked if the Mayor attended any other meetings to provide updates to the Board. Mayor Young said no. Alderman Fleming asked Mayor Young for future meeting updates.
Election Results: Alderman Suozzi said that when Ward 3 voters learned about Proposition B, they responded with the highest percentage of yes votes because they understood. Only 26.23% of the Ballwin population voted. She said most of the people who voted were 50 years and older. Very few younger people voted in the April 8 election. Alderman Buermann said that in elections when there is not a school bond issue or Proposition B, the voting numbers are worse. At that time, there may be only 18% - 20% of the citizens voting.
Oakwood Farms & Reinke Road parking: Alderman Suozzi said a resident is experience a problem. The trucks are getting on the right-of-way and sinking into the mud. She asked for a creative way to correct this. She said that no-parking signs will not solve this. This also should be addressed with MSD. They have changed the grade substantially at that corner and is impacting a lot of the homeowners. She said that mold spores are being created by the standing water.
The Board convened in closed session at 9:45 p.m.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson 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 10:22 p.m.
The Board reconvened in open session at 10:24 p.m.
Mayor Young announced that the Board met in closed session to discuss a potential legal conflict. No votes were taken.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn the open session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 10:26 p.m.
WALTER S. YOUNG, MAYOR
April 28, 2008