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.
Finance & Administration Committee & Public Information Session and Aldermen Meeting
Meeting AgendaCity of Ballwin Board of Aldermen Meeting Agenda and Briefs
Agendas and Briefs are available before a meeting takes place.
Minutes of a meeting are reviewed at the following meeting and are available after approval by the Aldermen.
Finance & Administration Committee & Public Information Session
PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITY SESSION AGENDA
SEPTEMBER 25, 2006 -- 6:30 p.m.
300 Park Drive - Donald “Red” Loehr Police & Court Center
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
City of Ballwin
300 Park Drive
Minutes of the September 25, 2006 Board of Aldermen Meeting
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:45 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the September 11, 2006 Finance & Administration committee meeting, Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman Pogue and seconded by Alderman Robinson to amend the minutes to include the Mayor’s apology to the four Aldermen for a comment made in the closed session, to state “The Mayor apologized for an outburst made after a vote during the closed session.” A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Buermann to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Lynn Goetz, 504 Kenilworth, questioned the proposed Bill # 3445 regarding administrative search warrants. He asked what circumstances might include seizure of articles. City Attorney Lucchesi said that if trash is all over the inside of a structure, picking up some of the trash to show the judge the violation of the unsafe and unsanitary condition of the house is one example. Mr. Goetz asked if a picture would be adequate. City Attorney Lucchesi said maybe or maybe not. City Attorney Lucchesi said that the Circuit Court requires a higher level of proof than is provided with a photograph. Alderman Robinson cited dead animals as another possible example. If there are dead animals in a house, Ballwin officials cannot go into the house without a search warrant. There are no procedures in place to deal with situations like this.
Alderman Lembke cited the example of a neighbor’s report that another neighbor is hooking up their water heater with a garden hose. This is dangerous and can blow up the house and surrounding houses. He said that Ballwin officials currently have no means to get into the house to investigate the reported code violation. Additional evidence would have to be presented to a judge. If the required evidence cannot be presented, a search warrant would not be issued. The purpose of this legislation is to make sure that the health and safety of the entire community is secure.
Jim Keefe, 924 Dutch Mill, Woodsmill Subdivision Trustee: Mr. Keefe raised the issue of building permits being issued to non-residents in the City of Ballwin without property ownership verification. He said this is a mistake and should be corrected. He also requested that Ballwin require subdivision trustee approval before any permits are issued. City Attorney Lucchesi said that an item on the application form states that they may have to obtain approval from the trustees. If the applicant does not do this, the City does not check on this. If there is a subdivision indenture, the City always recommends trustee approval. He said we don’t enforce the indentures, but approval is requested. Mr. Keefe said that written approval should be required.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that all plans that are approved are stamped with the statement that the applicant may have to get permission of the subdivision trustees. The permit is issued subject to the plans containing that stamped statement and it is their responsibility to obtain permission from the subdivision trustees, if necessary.
Mr. Keefe said that before a permit is issued, the City should require and confirm that the applicant is a property owner or an authorized agent of the property owner, and that subdivision trustee approval should be required. He said that there are several instances where swimming pools and fences were approved without subdivision approval. He said it’s better to stay out of trouble than get out of trouble.
Alderman Fleming said that perhaps he and Mr. Keefe can work together to find out how other cities are doing this.
Lynn Nance, 413 Melanie Meadows, Ballwin Baptist Church Building Committee Chairman: Mr. Nance asked for permission to keep the existing Ballwin Baptist Church sign which is non-conforming. A sign permit has been submitted to relocate the existing pole sign, 16 feet tall, with a message board of 30 square feet, from the west side of the property to the east side due to the new construction taking place. A rejection notice was received indicating that relocation of the existing sign would require the sign to be brought within limitation of current ordinances. The ordinances states that the sign would have to be a ground sign no more than 6 feet high. Church signs are limited to no more than 20 square feet in area as opposed to a maximum of 100 square feet for other establishments, and 1,500 square feet for car dealerships or malls. The estimated cost of a new ground sign would cost the church approximately $20,000.
Mr. Nance said that the Ballwin Baptist Church is community minded. They perform services for the Ballwin Police Department such as lending support to transient individuals, abused women, and others in the community. He said they provide parking for neighboring businesses. The sign is used to communicate community events such as the July 4th fireworks, Ballwin Days parade, etc. He said that McDonald’s was allowed to relocate their pole sign after renovation. He asked the Board to authorize city staff to permit the church to relocate the sign with no major changes.
City Attorney Lucchesi said that unless there is a change in the ordinance, the ordinance requires that any new signs conform to the city ordinance. He said the requirement is that when a sign is non-conforming and is going to be moved, it has to be brought into conformance. The Board does not have the power to grant permission. Alderman Lembke asked if this can be appealed to the Board of Adjustment. City Administrator Kuntz said that a sign code issue cannot be appealed to the Board of Adjustment.
Alderman Pogue said that as soon as we start allowing variances on the sign ordinance, there are going to be more requests. Alderman Lembke asked how the McDonald’s sign request was approved. Mayor Young said that they came before the Board, made the request, and the Board made a decision to allow it, which overruled the sign ordinance for that particular issue. Alderman Suozzi said that Salem Methodist had previously requested to change their sign to make it taller. The Board did not grant permission for this. Alderman Lembke said that the Ballwin Baptist Church request is to move the same sign with no change.
Mayor Young said that cross access for all properties has been requested by the City. The Fire District is supportive of the cross access on the Ballwin Baptist Church plan. The issue with the sign was not noticed at the time the improvements were approved several months ago. Staff became aware of the non-conforming issue when the request was made to move the sign.
Alderman Lembke asked if a storm blew the sign down, would they be able to replace the sign as it is, or would they have to come into compliance? Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that they would have to come into compliance. The French Quarter recently re-erected their sign, however, the sign was in the same location and was not a non-conforming sign.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Fleming that legislation be drafted for consideration to modify the existing sign ordinance that a non-profit organization be allowed to relocate on site an unchanged non-conforming sign.
Alderman Buermann said that two months ago the Board decided that the Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee will review the sign ordinances.
Alderman Kerlagon said that he is refraining from comments and voting on this issue since he is a member of the Ballwin Baptist Church.
A voice vote was taken with the following results: Ayes: Lembke, Robinson, Fleming, Suozzi. Nays: Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann. Alderman Kerlagon abstained from voting. The motion passed by a vote of 4-3.
John Krebs, 846 Claymont Drive: Mr. Krebs asked the Board to adopt ordinances such as those adopted by Valley Park and Hazelton, Pennsylvania regarding illegal immigration. He asked what steps need to be taken for the Board to consider such legislation. Alderman Buermann said that the Board decided to wait until after the budget preparation is complete before discussing this legislation, which will be in January. Alderman Kerlagon said that Valley Park’s ordinance has been declared illegal and will most likely go to court. Mr. Krebs said it is better to be pro-active rather than wait until the situation changes. He said it makes sense to prepare now. He said he has offered his assistance to be on a committee for this. City Attorney Lucchesi said that he does not recommend taking action similar to that of this ordinance since it has been declared invalid until the court procedure is finished. We don’t want to get involved in unnecessary litigation. Alderman Lembke said that he has not heard any other concerns about this and asked what problem needs to be addressed. Mr. Krebs said that he does not know of specific problems in Ballwin, but thinks this needs to be discussed.
BILL # 3445 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 16 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BY ESTABLISHING PROCEDURES AND REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE SEARCH WARRANTS.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Buermann for a first reading of Bill No. 3445. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3445 was read for the first time.
Alderman Fleming asked if there is a motion for a second reading and if he votes nay, will that table the bill until the next meeting? Mayor Young said yes.
City Attorney Lucchesi said that this is an ordinance that is becoming prevalent throughout Missouri based on court cases which enables the city to enforce housing code violations which cannot be done at this time because it is impossible to get evidence on some of the violations. It is routine that there are certain structures in violation of the housing code. This gives the city the tool to investigate and acquire the necessary evidence. This cannot be used for criminal prosecution or any number of things, but it can be used to find violations of the housing codes. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is prevalent and almost every city in the St. Louis area has responded that they have adopted this legislation or are in the process.
Alderman Fleming questioned Section 1, Part A, C-1-b, C-(3)-4 and C-(3)-5 and said this legislation gives too much leniency to the judge to enter people’s property. He said he does not agree with some of the language. City Administrator Kuntz said that a search can only be reasonable. City Attorney Lucchesi said this is a standard ordinance that has been adopted by all of the cities that have been contacted in St. Louis County. He said this is prepared on a different basis than search warrants for criminal activity. Alderman Fleming said that in general, this legislation is written too harshly to clean up housing violations. Alderman Lembke said that this legislation does not give authority to knock down doors and run inside. He said that he would rather have a judge require the city to produce enough evidence to support the issuance of a warrant for a housing violation than to allow a housing violation to get to such an extreme that it impairs the health and safety of the community, neighbors, and perhaps the individual that’s involved in this.
Alderman Fleming said that there should be proof that this legislation is justified. If there are only a couple of instances when this legislation could be used, the potential for misuse to clear up those situations is greater than the problem solved.
Alderman Suozzi asked what model legislation was used to prepare this. City Attorney Lucchesi said this is a Municipal League model. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is the model that the Municipal League cities have adopted.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Lembke for a second reading of Bill No. 3445. A voice vote was taken with Alderman Fleming voting Nay. The motion failed.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to place this matter on the October 23 Board meeting agenda for further consideration, since Alderman Fleming will not be attending the October 9 meeting. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
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 Robinson and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to accept the Consent Items. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Policy Manual: A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Robinson to hold over the Policy Manual review. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Golf Course Bunker Renovations: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a specialized type of work. The vendor that chose to bid has done work for the city in the past. We were not able to get a variety of competitive bids. This is within budget.
A motion was made by Alderman Lembke and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to approve the golf course bunker renovations. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
City Attorney Lucchesi said that a closed session will be held to discuss a personnel issue.
Survey: Alderman Fleming said that he and City Administrator Kuntz met with Dr. Warren regarding the city survey and questions that the Board suggested. Dr. Warren’s general sample size is 400 – 500 citizens. This gives a confidence level of + or – 4%. In order to reduce the margin of error to 3%, he would have to double the size of the survey which would double the cost of the survey. The tough questions can be asked so that he is able to get to the core of the issue better than in previous surveys. He recommended that Dr. Warren be invited to meet with the Board. City Administrator Kuntz said the survey would have to be authorized in January, 2007 for the survey to start in February.
Alderman Fleming said he will not be able to attend the October 9 Board meeting.
National League of Cities: Alderman Pogue suggested authorizing City Administrator Kuntz to attend the NLC session. The deadline for registration is September 28. The Board agreed.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn to closed session, according to the provision of the Missouri statutes for the purposes of discussing a personnel issue. A roll call vote was taken with the following results: Ayes: Buermann, Fleming, Pogue, Robinson, Kerlagon, Suozzi, Lembke, Terbrock. Nays: None. The motion passed to adjourn to closed session at 8:55 p.m.
The Board convened in closed session at 8:58 p.m.
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn the closed session. A roll call vote was taken with a unanimous result, and the closed session was adjourned at 9:34 p.m.
The Board reconvened in open session at 9:35 p.m.
Mayor Young announced that the Board met in closed session to discuss a personnel issue. No votes were taken during the closed session
A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Pogue to adjourn the open session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 9:37 p.m.
Walter S. Young, Mayor
Robert A. Kuntz, City Administrator
PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITY SESSION Minutes
The meeting was called to order at 6:34 p.m. by Mayor Young. Those in attendance were Mayor Young, Aldermen Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Fleming, Lembke, Kerlagon, City Administrator Kuntz, City Attorney Lucchesi, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer, Director of Public Works Kramer, and Police Captain Saulters.
Mayor Young made a brief overview statement about the structure of the budget and revenue sources.
City Administrator Kuntz introduced the senior staff and gave some general information about revenue sources and their utilization in the two budgets. He said revenues have been flat and expenditures are growing. He cited the dramatic increases in petroleum costs. There are few changes anticipated in manpower, programs, or overall operating budget expenditures in the 2007 budget.
Paul Morgan, 73 Meadowbrook Country Club Estates, subdivision trustee: Mr. Morgan read a prepared statement about roads, annexation, and the future cost of servicing the community. He said the city needs to reduce services, staff, or increase revenues. Non-essential services should be eliminated.
Alderman Lembke rebutted and commented on most of the points raised by Mr. Morgan. He believes that the choice facing Ballwin is to establish a property tax or cut critical services. He said the community needs to make this kind of decision.
Alderman Fleming spoke about the budget options that are available to Ballwin to address the problems. He said public input should be solicited on the best solutions. A Neighborhood Improve-ment District is one way to address street problems on a small area basis. City Administrator Kuntz expanded on this concept.
Alderman Suozzi said that Ballwin has not traditionally pursued annexations, but has responded to proposals from those wanting to be annexed into Ballwin. She said a thorough financial analysis has always been conducted before moving forward. Alderman Suozzi gave an explanation of the sales tax revenue and how it is calculated on a pool city. No annexation with a negative financial impact has been placed before the voters.
Dan Fox, spoke about street repairs. He recommended that an estimate of the true cost of upgrading deficient streets be prepared. Alderman Fleming asked what Ballwin can do with the micro-paver program to estimate costs. Director of Public Works Kramer said there are other provisions of the program that have not been utilized that can be explored.
Jim Keefe, 924 Dutch Mill, Woodsmill Subdivision Trustee: Mr. Keefe said that Ballwin should reduce costs to live within its means. He said that in his view, too much money is spent on payroll, and that more money needs to be spent on non-personnel items. He suggested a hiring freeze, do not fill vacancies, and increase the utility tax by 1% dedicated for street repairs. He asked if there is a long-range plan to repair Ballwin streets. Alderman Lembke said yes, but it is an annual expenditure pledge rather than a list of streets because it is difficult to do this within the current revenue and need situation. Mr. Keefe recommended a 40% figure for personnel expenditures.
Mayor Young said that the current street bond will be paid off in 2012. In the past, there was simply more money. Revenues were very good and the bond was a good approach. Times have changed and the future revenue picture does not look so good. There will be less revenue to pay for a bond. An increase in sales tax will set the rate too high. A proposal for the utility tax to be increased by 2% has not been acted on. He said the property tax question has not been addressed. He said he still supports the utility tax, but thinks a property tax is the ultimate solution. People believe that property tax is not equitable because of the way values are set. High St. Louis County property taxes are funding out-of-state school districts. He believes that a property tax does not stand much chance of support.
Alderman Fleming said that on October 23, at 5:30 p.m., the Board will discuss the Capital budget, and on November 13, at 5:30 p.m., the Operating budget will be discussed. The public is welcome to attend.
Alderman Kerlagon asked if the $1.2 million in current annual street expenditures can be used to pay for a bond issue.
John Krebs, 846 Claymont Drive, asked if the city can provide a budget summary prior to the meetings for public review. City Administrator Kuntz said this can be done and the summary is online.
Press McDowell, 298 Portwind: Mr. McDowell said the budget crunch has been coming for a long time and many cuts have been previously made. He said there used to be a long-term plan for repairing streets, but unfortunately, the declining revenue keeps pushing the time frame out. He said he does not support a property tax, and whatever is done will take a long time.
Alderman Fleming said he has never seen any previous plan for repairing streets. He said there is no such plan that he is aware of.
Dan Fox said a detailed cost estimate is needed to properly understand the parameters of the city-wide problem.
Alderman Buermann said that the leaf vacuuming program is very popular. People feel safe in Ballwin. He said these are important also. He said that fixed income people living in Ballwin will really be hurt with a new property tax.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the meeting adjourned at 7:36 p.m.
Mayor Walter S. Young
Robert Kuntz, City Administrator
Alderman Buermann said he would like to have a copy of the draft budget for review sooner than four days before the meeting. Finance Officer Loehr said we usually do not have good revenue and expenditure numbers before September. Mayor Young said he would like to have the draft budget two weekends before the Board meeting.
Chairman Fleming said the Board needs to come up with a list of suggested budget changes that could be used to put together a survey to guide the possible implementation of any acceptable recommendations. Alderman Buermann said that they need the survey results to be able to make budget recommendations.
Chairman Fleming said that Dr. Warren is willing to meet with the Board to assist with this process.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Kerlagon to adjourn. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the meeting adjourned at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Frank Fleming
Thomas Aiken, Assistant City Administrator