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 Operating Budget Workshop and Meeting
City of Ballwin Board of Aldermen Meeting Agenda and Briefs
MINUTES OF THE NOVEMBER 13, 2006 OPERATING BUDGET WORK SESSION AND BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
City of Ballwin
300 Park Drive
Minutes of the 2007 Operating Budget Work Session
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 5:30 p.m. in the Board room at the Donald “Red” Loehr Police and Court Center at 300 Park Drive. The meeting was open to the public and notice was posted in the 24-hour lobby of Ballwin Police Department, the Government Center, and The Pointe on the Friday preceding the meeting. Those in attendance were Mayor Walt Young, Aldermen Tim Pogue, Jimmy Terbrock, Ken Buermann, Jane Suozzi, Jim Robinson, Frank Fleming, Ray Lembke and Ray Kerlagon. Also in attendance were City Administrator Robert Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Thomas Aiken, Finance Officer Glenda Loehr, Director of Parks and Recreation Linda Bruer, Public Works Deputy Director Karl Berger, Police Chief Jim Biederman, and City Attorney Lionel Lucchesi.
City Administrator Kuntz provided a brief overview of the budget. He said that there is no draw on reserves, there has been one full-time position reduction, a 3% salary increase, and insurance (health and dental) is capped at a 5% increase.
Finance Officer Loehr provided an overview of revenues with comparisons of 2007 with 2006 and 2005. She said that 2006 revenues were more than 2005 by about 5%, but only equal to 2004 in total dollars. Electricity was up due to the hot weather. Business licenses are down and recreation revenues are up slightly. She said there is hope for an increase of about $625,000. The fund balance will be approximately 40% of budget revenues of 2006.
Alderman Kerlagon said that it looks like the next few years will be marginally good, but asked how lean are we with these numbers. He asked what have we already cut that we should be doing?
Alderman Buermann said a report is needed on lost revenues from closed businesses, not by name but in aggregate.
City Administrator Kuntz said that sales tax revenues have really been flat since 2001.
Alderman Suozzi said a report is needed on increased cost of operations. City Administrator Kuntz said that costs for programs are not stand alone. The same people and equipment are assigned to several programs.
Deputy Director Berger presented an overview of the Public Works budget. He said that slab replacements will be done in-house again in 2007. In 2006, in-house slab replacement saved about $600 per slab, excluding labor and equipment costs. This is much less expensive but there will also be cut backs in the sidewalk crew’s production. In the leaf program, overtime and temporary employees have been eliminated. The summer seasonal employees have been reduced to 3, and there will be no new personnel or promotions. They will continue to install the no-outlet signs. Street sweeping will be 2 times per year, even though this will result in dirty streets.
City Administrator Kuntz said that a snow contingency fund has been added to the Public Works budget in 2007. This will allow for more flexibility.
Alderman Pogue asked how many slabs are usually done in a year. Deputy Director Berger said about 130. Alderman Pogue asked why is owning the street sweeper a good option? Deputy Director Berger said that it minimizes the number of complaints about debris, salt, etc. which can be cleared more quickly. Excess salt is hard on pavement. City Administrator Kuntz said that there is hope that the interest rates will come down in 2008 or 2009 to purchase this equipment in the future.
Alderman Buermann asked when is the street sweeping performed? Deputy Director Berger said the street sweeping is usually done in June, August, and December. Alderman Buermann asked if we use too much salt? Deputy Director Berger said he thinks we do, but there is an expectation for clear streets.
Mayor Young asked if the sweeper was not a good investment due to rapid deterioration. City Administrator Kuntz said that the life of the equipment is about 5 years and that is the term of loan. The sweeper begins to need lots of maintenance after 5 years. Alderman Pogue asked if a new sweeper would be used a lot? Less use would make it last longer.
Mayor Young said that salt is sometimes over-applied in some people’s views. He said we may need to rethink the policy on this. He suggested also reviewing the policy related to overtime for snow plowing. He suggested plow snow only from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Police Chief Biederman gave a brief overview of the Police Department budget. He said thee will be no new expenditures or new employees. A mobile dispatching system will be on a test vehicle. The new CAD system will be leased rather than purchased. This is widely used locally. A maintenance agreement will be acquired on the backup for equipment. The Rockwood School District has requested a second resource officer for Middle School. They have agreed to cover the cost.
Alderman Robinson asked if there is anything that the department needs that it doesn’t have. Police Chief Biederman said no. Alderman Robinson asked about department morale. Chief Biederman said it is a moving target and is hard to measure. There is always somebody looking around for other opportunities. City Administrator Kuntz said that the pay plan should be evaluated because the entry level salaries are slipping. We are not as competitive as we once were. Police Chief Biederman said this can impact morale.
Alderman Buermann asked what do we get from accreditation? Police Chief Biederman said recognition of a level of professionalism. This might lower insurance costs. Alderman Robinson said that this could help from a liability perspective. Alderman Buermann asked what is the long range recurring cost? Could we consider a different class of officer with lower pay for some duties like traffic enforcement? Police Chief Biederman said that we have traffic officers but full patrol people do this.
Alderman Terbrock said he would like to find a way to provide the school resource officer that the schools need. Police Chief Biederman said that he assumed that Ballwin could not fund this position. Crestview and Selvidge have each requested a resource officer.
Mayor Young asked if the new CAD is the St. Louis County system. Police Chief Biederman said no, this is a system provided through REGIS.
Parks & Recreation
Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer gave a brief overview of the Parks & Recreation budget. She said that overall, the budget is up about 3%. The programs are pretty much the same. The geese control program will continue in 2007. Some playground maintenance will be needed and some of the logs in the log house need replacement. She said a new bed is needed on the parks truck. We will have the Ellisville passes again in 2007. There were no problems with this program. There will be more communications via e-mail and less postage/printing costs. She recommended doing more TV advertising because this year’s experiment was positive.
Alderman Buermann asked if there are any sponsorship possibilities for the golf course? Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said there may be more opportunity for this. Alderman Terbrock asked about advertising on Charter. Ms. Bruer said perhaps this could be done 2 times in a year. Mayor Young said that he hopes that the recreation brochure will eventually go out over the internet, but this will take time.
Alderman Buermann asked about the creek erosion at the golf course at the #7 hole. Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that this is between the bridges and not near the box culvert under Holloway Road.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken gave a brief review of the Administration budget. Alderman Lembke asked if the fireworks change has been communicated to BAA? City Administrator Kuntz said that this is subject to aldermanic authorization. He said it may be best to do more fireworks at Ballwin Days. Mayor Young said that Ellisville might be interested in joining together on this in 2008. Manchester is concerned about the location if they participate. Alderman Lembke said that this should be discussed with the Ballwin Athletic Association because he believes that they would like to be removed from the fireworks program. City Administrator Kuntz said that we would have to put $15,000 more into contingency for this. He said he will talk to the BAA regarding the fireworks.
Alderman Pogue said that BAA representatives told him that Ballwin Days is a better time for the fireworks display and a better price can be obtained for that weekend. Mayor Young suggested that the Ballwin Days festival fund the fireworks display. Alderman Lembke said that this is a good idea, but to keep the July 4th option open.
City Administrator Kuntz went over the adjustments from the previous meeting. He said that more PCs need to be purchased, more dollars have been put into the zoning ordinance update, and there will be lower remodeling costs. There are no changes in the police department, no schoolhouse work, but planning and design have been kept in the budget. The street assessment is done every 3 years. The street plan has been amended and can be re-evaluated after the first of the year if situations change.
Alderman Buermann asked if more car computers can be purchased. Police Chief Biederman said that these computers can be purchased from the seized drug money. Alderman Pogue asked if the City can pursue a solar powered cross-walk sign. City Administrator Kuntz said that if one can be found, it can be acquired from contingency.
Alderman Buermann asked if the future of the remaining schoolhouse costs can be determined? Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said that $34,000 would cover the hired work and city crews can do the rest. She believes that about $75,000 is needed to do all of the work. Mayor Young asked about getting an IRS charitable not-for-profit / 513c organization status. Alderman Robinson said that they would be a partner in financing this. City Attorney Lucchesi said that this can be done. Alderman Buermann said this would help to finance this work.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn the Budget Work Session. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the meeting was adjourned at 7:22 p.m.
Walter S. Young, Mayor
Robert A. Kuntz, City Administrator
Minutes of the November 13, 2006 Board of Aldermen Meeting
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:32 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the October 23, 2006 Budget Work Session were submitted for approval. Alderman Buermann amended the Minutes on Page 2 to read: “Alderman Buermann asked if Allied Waste would donate trash cans and park benches or picnic tables.” A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Minutes of the October 23, 2006 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Lynn Nance, 413 Melanie Meadows, representing Ballwin Baptist Church: Mr. Nance said that it is not feasible to change the pole sign to a ground sign. The design and age of the sign prevents it from being made secure to prevent letters from being re-arranged on the sign. Plexiglas covering the sign is not an option. He asked the Board to consider this and to revise the sign ordinance to allow non-profit organizations to relocate their signs and not have to change to a ground sign.
Jim Keefe, 924 Dutch Mill Drive, Trustee representing Woodsmill Subdivision: Mr. Keefe said that he would like to see more work done on streets and for a long range plan to be put in place to identify street repairs. He believes that this should not be done on a ward basis. He said that some of the services that are provided with City personnel should be outsourced to the private sector. He said the cost of the leaf vacuuming program for 5 weeks is $352,900, which is $14,000 per day. He believes that Ballwin residents using the leaf vacuuming program would be willing to pay for it, which would be approximately $30 per household per season. He said that the Trustees of Woodsmill Subdivision would like the city to require subdivision approval in writing of all permits before being issued, especially fence permits.
Lynn Goetz, 504 Kenilworth Lane: Mr. Goetz said that he is very happy with the good job the city crews are doing on the leaf vacuuming program. He said that the bright lights used by road construction workers at night should be angled not to shine in the drivers’ eyes, since this is blinding to the drivers. He asked about the Term of Office on the agenda under aldermanic comments. What is this regarding? Alderman Robinson said that this is regarding the 2-year terms of aldermen and 4 years for mayor. Mr. Goetz said that the Mayor is supposed to be the visionary and guide the city. A short term could be a handicap, and a longer term could encourage laziness. He suggested aldermanic/mayor terms should be 2 years.
BILL # 3458 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 15, ARTICLE IV, BY THE ADDITION OF A DIVISION 6 ENTITLED “WORK ZONE SAFETY”.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3458. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3458 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Pogue for a second reading of Bill No. 3458. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion was declared passed. Bill No. 3458 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3458 with the following results:
Ayes – Fleming, Kerlagon, Suozzi, Robinson, Terbrock, Buermann, Pogue, Lembke. Nays – None. Whereupon Mayor Young declared Bill No. 3458 approved and it became Ordinance No. 06-66.
CONSENT ITEMS: (Budgeted items which are low bid and do not exceed expenditure estimates and/or items which have been previously approved in concept.)
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the Consent Item. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Municipal League Breakfast is Saturday, at 9:00 a.m. at the Sheraton Westport.
Manchester Road: Mayor Young said that he has been in contact with Ed Hassinger, District Engineer for MoDOT regarding the dangerous conditions on Manchester Road. He said that since this is a State road, Ballwin does not have control over the resurfacing project, but he has asked Mr. Hassinger for assistance. He said that Mr. Hassinger said the project was done poorly. Mr. Hassinger saw the terrible washboard surface that exists on Manchester Road at New Ballwin Road. He observed numerous areas where the surface is spotted, and the lack of lines. Mr. Hassinger said that the striping had to be brought in-house to do Clarkson Road, and the same will be done with Manchester Road. Mayor Young said that Mr. Hassinger’s plan is to complete the project as soon as possible and to completely redo Manchester Road in 2010 or 2012. Mayor Young said that Mr. Hassinger expressed that there are not enough funds to redo this project at this time. Mayor Young asked Mr. Hassinger to complete the resurfacing and striping as soon as possible. He said that MoDOT has applied some lines but the project is not complete. Alderman Terbrock said that Representative Neal St. Onge should also be contacted about the Manchester Road situation.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Government Center Study: City Administrator Kuntz suggested that a committee of 3 aldermen be formed to conduct this study regarding the future direction for the Government Center and were to allocate resources for renovation and repairs. Aldermen Fleming, Terbrock, and Kerlagon volunteered for this committee. City Administrator Kuntz suggested a possible meeting date at the Government Center on Friday, November 17, at 4:00 p.m.
Boundary Adjustment: City Administrator Kuntz said that this is regarding a request from Clarkson Valley to St. Louis County to take a narrow strip of roadway along Clarkson Road that was included in Ballwin’s map plan. This was not submitted in Clarkson Valley’s map plan. Mayor Young said the piece of land is just north of Clayton Road on the east side of Clarkson Road, approximately 150 feet long, and abuts Ballwin. He said that Clarkson Valley’s Mayor feels that this should not be in Ballwin’s map plan. Mayor Young said that pockets of land should not stand alone. This was an adjustment of Clarkson Road when it was built that caused the pocket strip of land. If this does not become part of Ballwin, city limit signage will be confusing. Mayor Young said that St. Louis County requires that we send to them a letter stating that we have opposition to the Clarkson Valley proposal, and request a simple boundary adjustment. The Boundary Commission agreed that it makes more sense for this piece to be in Ballwin than Clarkson Valley.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to send a letter to the Boundary Commission that Ballwin is requesting that this area be within the Ballwin city limits. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Suozzi asked if the southwest corner of Kehrs Mill and Clarkson has been part of the boundary adjustment discussion and if it is going to go to Clarkson Valley? Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that this boundary adjustment has not been done. Alderman Suozzi said it has been Ballwin’s intent to give that portion to Clarkson Valley for a long time. This was not in Ballwin before Clarkson Road was rebuilt. The alignment of Clarkson Road changed this. The zoning for that property is limited to its current use. It cannot be turned into a retail center. Alderman Buermann asked if the use for this property is limited to a bank. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that this is a limited commercial district. High traffic volume types of businesses are not allowed at that location at this time. Alderman Buermann asked that Assistant City Administrator Aiken check into this because even though it may become Clarkson Valley, our Ward 2 residents are also at that corner. City Attorney Lucchesi said that it is his recollection that Clarkson Valley asked for this property and the Ballwin Board refused because it was a potential commercial property. This was never formalized. Clarkson Valley is more restrictive than Ballwin.
Demolition: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding the demolition of the building at 14940 Manchester Road. He recommended award of the contract with the understanding that if the building is taken down within the next couple of days, Ballwin does not have to pay $14,000 and get reimbursed. The goal is to eliminate the public safety nuisance, not to be a demolition contractor.
A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to accept the Aalco Wrecking bid, with the contingency that staff be authorized to reject both bids in the event of compliance prior to start of the work. The low bid did not conform to the specs, which is the reason the lowest bid is not being accepted. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Capital Budget Legislation: City Administrator Kuntz said that budget meetings have been held regarding the 2007 proposed operating budget and the 2007 proposed capital improvement plan, which was revised and discussed in the budget meeting prior to this Board meeting. He requested a motion to draft legislation and to submit the 2007 capital plan to the Planning & Zoning Commission for their review and for aldermanic consideration at the December 11 Board meeting.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to draft legislation and to submit the 2007 capital plan to the Planning & Zoning Commission for its review and for aldermanic consideration at the December 11 Board meeting. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Operating Budget: Alderman Fleming spoke about the 3% employee pay raises, and asked if this is going to be based on merit or across the board. City Administrator Kuntz said that salary adjustments have never been across the board. He said that the budget is set for merit raises, as it has been for the past 18 years. The Board assigns a percentage of payroll based on a series of factors and the recommendation from staff. That amount of money is based on the payroll of each department. He explained that if the police department had a million dollar personnel budget and 3% is approved, a total amount of $30,000 is available to be allocated based on merit and performance evaluation among all of the people in that department. The total amount cannot be exceeded. He said that most of the time, the entire amount is not used. The total amount that is approved by the Board can be applied based on the performance of the employee. He said that theoretically, someone could get 0%, someone else could get 5%, but the total dollars are then put into each department and determined by evaluations what each individual receives based on their salary range and performance.
Alderman Fleming said that he believes that it has been stated in the past, that rather than make those decisions on who gets 1% vs. 5%, sometimes it has been given to everyone. Finance Officer Loehr said that separate evaluation forms are used for every employee.
Alderman Fleming said that a 4% raise across the board last year equated to $400,000. He asked what a 3% raise will equate to this year as total dollars in the budget? City Administrator Kuntz said this is not for the total budget; it is the percentage of payroll. He said that the 4% came off the year immediately prior when the amount was zero. Alderman Fleming said he is not going to shy away from discussing personnel costs every year. He said he is not suggesting that there are drastic changes needed. He asked for a review of staffing levels for all departments. He said if a head count becomes available in one department, we might decide as a group, city staff included, that it might be more applicable in another department.
City Administrator Kuntz said that if a purely objective study is needed, an independent staffing level audit should be made by an outside entity with a series of interviews and evaluations. Alderman Fleming said the police department has 54 police officers for our city of 32,000 plus Clarkson Valley. He asked if this is the correct number of officers and what should we do go get an independent answer? City Administrator Kuntz said an outside source would charge big bucks to do such a study. He has not found anyone in the public sector that does this type of audit. He said he would welcome this. Our auditor continues to say that the Finance Department should have more staff. He said that for the past five years, we have not increased the number of full-time personnel. Personnel is a cost that continues to grow. City-to-city comparison does not give an apple-to-apple result.
Alderman Fleming said that since personnel is one of the larger costs, it bears a closer look than it has typically been given. He asked if the start of the leaf pickup program was delayed another week, would that allow the crews to make street repairs? Would this be a benefit in that area but not really hurt anything because the leaves would either still be pick up or just stick with the designated time frame? He said that decisions like this are not wrestled with a lot. City Administrator Kuntz disagreed. He said that just this year, he recommended cutting the overtime for leaf pickup and the contractual labor to save $15,000; and Parks Director Bruer had said that since no one was using the pool, $14,000 could be saved by not opening it on weekdays after school begins. He said that if there’s something that can be evaluated, staff is willing to consider it and propose it to the Board. Mayor Young had previously suggested a change in the snow plowing policy. Personnel costs are a big part of what a city does.
Alderman Fleming said he is talking about trying to use money more efficiently. He asked if some suggestions are made knowing that the budget number had to be decreased, one suggestion is made, and then we stop looking for more cost cutting measures.
Alderman Fleming said that if comparisons are made to jobs in the private sector, our employees are not short on benefits, they’re not doing poorly in terms of salary compared to the private sector, there is more job security than in the private sector; therefore, sometimes less money is made when there is a good benefit package and more stability. He said that city salaries are not way out of line. City Administrator Kuntz said that we are not way overboard either. Alderman Fleming said that this is an issue that we typically don’t wrestle with to his satisfaction.
Alderman Lembke said that Alderman Fleming is not using concrete numbers and credible data to challenge what City Administrator Kuntz is saying. He said that if this is such a concern to Alderman Fleming, he should provide creditable data to support his statements. Alderman Fleming asked if we have too many police officers for the number of incidents that occur? Would it be better to have additional personnel in Public Works? He said it would probably be expensive to have an outside consultant evaluate personnel. He said that he does not have the expertise to do this but it should be looked at more closely. City Administrator Kuntz said he is willing to take this on as an assignment and he will do everything he can to present a proposal. He said that if this is going to be an exercise that has credibility, it must be done by an outside source.
Alderman Lembke said why do we need a Police department; do we really need a Public Works department, Parks department; is there a reason for Ballwin to exist?
Alderman Fleming said that he is not trying to prevent legislation to accept the Operating Budget. He said the whole Board should consider this and not just the Finance & Administration Committee once per year during budget preparation.
Alderman Kerlagon asked what the cost would be for an outside consultant to evaluate personnel? He said that this would be a good time for this study and would be pro-active.
Alderman Buermann suggested using the ten-city comparison. An outside consultant will be expensive. He said he would rather do this study in-house.
Alderman Robinson said that this is giving our staff mixed signals. Directives are for staff to keep work in-house and not to hire outside consultants and contractors. There are benefits by doing things in-house. He said that sending the job of personnel evaluation to an outside consultant is sending a different message to the staff. This is saying that we are going to hire someone outside to tell us how to manage inside. He said we have an excellent staff and have done a good job of looking at all of the details. We are a service business. Alderman Robinson said that while we are looking for every $5,000 to put into Meadowbrook Country Club streets, he’s not willing to spend $50,000 to hire an outside consultant to instruct how to manage the budget. He said we don’t need an outside consultant.
Alderman Terbrock asked if it would be possible to use the Finance & Administration Committee to study this instead of hiring an outside consultant. He said that our staff is capable without paying $50,000 for an outside consultant.
Alderman Fleming said that this will be evaluated by the Finance & Administration Committee. Alderman Lembke said that since there are questions about the budget, it should not be passed until there is agreement that it is the way it should be. Alderman Fleming said that this cannot be done in a timely fashion. Alderman Lembke said that the Board has had the budget information for over a month and another section for over two weeks. He said that this is the first time he has heard these concerns. It is not fair to the rest of the Board members and staff to bring up these questions without prior discussion to allow staff and the rest of the Board to be prepared. He said that he is not willing to approve the budget with these concerns on the table.
Alderman Lembke said that asking technical questions about 3% and 4% totals and expecting an answer during this meeting is unfair to spring this on the staff without proper notification. These questions could be forwarded to staff for input prior to the meeting and then presented during the meeting.
Alderman Buermann said that City Administrator Kuntz can provide the requested information. He said he does not agree that the budget should be given to the Finance & Administration Committee for evaluation. A financial retreat could be held in January or February for consideration. People need to be educated on where the budget is going because not everyone understands this. He said the budget is discussed almost all year long, as it should be and not just in October and November. He suggested that staff provide the information that has been requested. Questions can be directed to City Administrator Kuntz. He said he does not believe that we need to hire an outside consultant, and this should not be the responsibility of the Finance & Administration Committee. He said the whole Board should be involved in a financial retreat. Some hard decisions may have to be made. He said that the capital budget can be voted on at this meeting, and the operating budget can be voted on at the December 11 meeting without putting the City at risk.
City Administrator Kuntz said that he is hearing these budget concerns for the first time. He is willing to provide answers, but he needs to know what the questions are prior to the meeting so that accurate answers can be provided. He said that staff worked hard to provide a comprehensive report and to anticipate the inquiries on the 2007 budget. There is nothing radical or controversial in the proposed budget that wasn’t done in 2006 or 2005.
Alderman Fleming asked if it is reasonable to do a hiring freeze right now? If a manager in a department leaves, could this situation be brought to the Board and ask if the position should be replaced, or would it be better spent in another area? City Administrator Kuntz said that this cannot be done. Alderman Fleming asked if these decisions should be looked at on a case-by-case basis or have the City Administrator make this decision, or stay with the same number of personnel in the departments and try not to exceed it? Mayor Young said that City Administrator Kuntz does a good job. He has given the Board capital and operating budgets. Most cities don’t do what he has presented. Staff is dedicated to doing a good job.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to draft legislation to accept the proposed budget.
City Attorney Lucchesi said that the city needs revenue. No one on the Board wants to do anything regarding revenue. He said that Missouri passed a minimum wage law that is tied to the cost of living index which is at least 3.1%. This Board is questioning giving a 3% raise to our employees.
A voice vote was taken with 7 Ayes, and Alderman Lembke voting Nay. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Boundary Commission meeting: Alderman Buermann said that Ballwin’s annexation map was presented at the November 8 meeting. He said that there were three public speakers and all three had negative comments regarding annexation by the surrounding areas. The meeting went well and there were few questions asked regarding the Ballwin proposal. Mayor Young said that Ellisville’s Mayor was very supportive of Ballwin’s plan. The Boundary Commission was pleased about the unified approach.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Term of Office: Alderman Robinson removed this item until the next Board of Aldermen meeting.
Ordinance Review and Sign Ordinance: Alderman Fleming suggested that staff review the ordinances for inconsistencies. He said a resident pointed out that there is a section that addresses the building commissioner being able to enter a property for certain causes. He said we don’t have a building commissioner. City Administrator Kuntz said that Assistant City Administrator Aiken is the building commissioner. Alderman Fleming said that in Section 2-4, regarding purchase of transportation vehicles at prevailing market rates, amounts not to exceed $16,000. He said there a number of issues in the ordinances that should be reviewed. He said that the question regarding church sign has been addressed on several occasions and no action has been taken. Alderman Fleming said that he would like to see some accommodation made for this. Alderman Robinson said that the only accommodation would be to amend the sign ordinance. City Attorney Lucchesi said that there has previously been a strong consensus not to amend the sign ordinance.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming to amend the sign ordinance to create exceptions for relocation of existing signs.
Alderman Kerlagon asked if this could be limited to non-profit only. Alderman Fleming accepted the amendment. Alderman Suozzi asked if this is a motion to draft legislation for consideration? Alderman Fleming said this is a motion to amend the sign ordinance to allow non-profit organizations to relocate their existing sign on the property.
Alderman Pogue said that Alderman Kerlagon had previously abstained from voting on this matter. He asked if this is still in effect. City Attorney Lucchesi said that Alderman Kerlagon will have to state if the abstention is still in effect. Alderman Kerlagon said that he can vote and is not a violation. He said he is a member of the church, however, this motion will affect different organizations.
Alderman Buermann clarified that this motion is to prepare draft legislation for discussion at the next meeting. City Attorney Lucchesi agreed that this must be a motion to draft legislation for consideration.
The motion was seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to draft legislation for discussion to amend the sign code to allow non-profit organizations to relocate their existing sign on the property.
Alderman Robinson asked if two classes can be created, profit and not-for-profit, for the sign ordinance? City Attorney Lucchesi said that historically, every time a request was made to change the sign ordinance, this Board made the change. Ten years ago, the Board agreed not to do that anymore. If there is always an exception to the ordinance, you don’t have an ordinance; you have nothing but exceptions.
Alderman Kerlagon said that as a member of the West County Chamber of Commerce Planning Committee he feels that if a business wants to move an existing sign on its own property, this should be allowed without distinction of being profit or non-profit.
City Attorney Lucchesi said that the purpose of the change was that you will never get all ground signs if the signs are allowed to be moved. He said if the purpose was to get all ground signs, allowing exceptions will not make this happen.
Alderman Buermann said that in the last 12 years, the Board has held its ground on the signs to make them ground signs. There have been a couple of exceptions. He said the Board is trying to curtail the pole signs. There have been other non-profit organizations that have made this request and have been told no. He said that this issue is bigger than the church’s pole sign. The whole city has to be considered and the Board cannot make a specific ordinance for one business or non-profit organization. The Board previously determined that it is in the best interest of the city to get rid of the pole signs.
Alderman Fleming withdrew the portion of his motion dealing with non-profit. A revised motion was made by Alderman Fleming to allow an existing sign to be moved as long as there is no change in ownership of the property. Alderman Kerlagon withdrew his second to the first motion and seconded the revised motion.
Alderman Lembke said that a few years ago, Ellisville outlawed pole signs and forced everyone to install ground level signs. He asked why this was not done in Ballwin in the past. City Attorney Lucchesi said that the Board was trying to be accommodating. Mayor Young mentioned the exceptions that were given to Applebee’s and McDonald’s. City Attorney Lucchesi said that McDonald’s used the same sign in the same position. He said that granting the Applebee’s sign request may have been an error but not the general pattern. More requests are going to be made if exceptions continue to be granted.
Alderman Lembke asked what the advantages are of a ground sign rather than a pole sign? City Attorney Lucchesi said that ground signs are generally considered more attractive. Alderman Lembke said that a ground sign cannot be seen until you are on top of an establishment. A driver needs to prepare ahead to turn into a parking area and not have to slam on the breaks because the sign cannot be seen far enough down the road.
Alderman Terbrock said that the consultant that the Comprehensive Plan Committee hired, which cost $150,000, said that the signs should be ground signs. He said that it looks better in Ellisville than Ballwin because of the ground signs. He said that Ellisville paid attention to what we paid the money for and they are enacting it.
Alderman Suozzi said it is premature to make an amendment to the sign ordinance if we are going through an extensive Comprehensive Plan process.
Alderman Lembke said that if what we paid $150,000 for is true, and we need to get ground signs, we should deny this request as well as put a new ordinance in to effect that gives people 18 month or a year to get the pole signs down and install ground level signs. Alderman Pogue said that we currently have the same ordinance as Ellisville that any change in the sign brings it down to a ground sign. He said that they didn’t enact any legislation that made all signs to be changed. When the sign was changed, a ground sign had to be installed.
A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Aldermen Fleming and Kerlagon. Nay: Aldermen Buermann, Lembke, Pogue, Suozzi, Robinson, Terbrock. The motion failed by a vote of 6-2.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 9:05 p.m.
Walter S. Young, Mayor
ATTEST: Robert A. Kuntz, City Administrator