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Board of Aldermen Meeting Agendas & Minutes

 

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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.

Aldermanic Workshop/Retreat Minutes

Meeting Agenda

Meeting Minutes

August 22, 2005 Aldermanic Workshop/Retreat Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:54 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 Young, Aldermen Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Fleming, Gatton, Lembke, City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, City Attorney Lucchesi, Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer, City Engineer Kramer, Finance Officer Loehr, and Chief of Police Biederman.

Financial Issues

Finance Officer Loehr:  “Our main source of revenue is the sales tax.  I did the report differently because it’s very confusing when you get the financial reports because of the way it’s accounted for because of the two months lag on sales tax and it only shows up from March revenues forward until the year is closed out.  I took the years 2003, 2004, and 2005 the same time period and the actual cash that came in during that month of January.  So, we posted it that way, but that’s the way it came in.  That way you can see in a direct comparison of how money has been coming in.  If I had presented this a couple of months ago, perhaps April, I would have told you that right now sales tax revenues are up, maybe 3%.  Right now we are barely less than 1% above where we were last year at this same time.  This can be due to a lot of different things.  I can kind of judge the receipts monthly by the years before, but then every once in a while there’s a big radical influx.  The quarter months are usually our best months, due to a lot of smaller businesses report their sales tax on a quarterly basis, so we only report this quarterly instead of monthly.  Supposedly, these reflect two months lag, however, March is always one of the bigger months.  A lot of this is Christmas sales, even though a lot of them came in February.  We had a really good March this time, which tells me that we probably had a good Christmas season.  Since then, some of the months might be down from last year or up from last year.  It’s hard to say.  I think part of the lag we have had recently is when Ultimate Electronics went through the bankruptcy and reorganized, they didn’t pay sales tax for a couple of months to catch up, and then when they did, it was reported incorrectly to the State.  It has not been going to TIF, and going to different codes.  We’re getting that straightened out but it does show up.”

Utility Gross Receipts

Finance Officer Loehr:  “Regarding utility gross receipts tax, when there is a hot dry summer, the utilities from AmerenUE and Missouri American Water are going to be higher.  We haven’t seen those numbers yet, but we will see those in September and October.  People may wonder about the gasoline motor fuel tax.  Since the prices have been up so high, you would think there would be more revenue, it doesn’t work that way.  It’s a pool revenue based on population shared by the State.  It’s an excise tax and not a sales tax, therefore, it’s based on number of gallons of gasoline, not price.  It may hurt us if people start buying less gasoline.”

Business Licenses

Finance Officer Lorhr:  “Business licenses came in a little less than we anticipated.  Some business may have gone out of business, or less gross receipts.  On the other side, because interest rates have gone up, we have earned more interest than we anticipated.  That offsets the deficit we have in business licenses.” 

Recreational Revenues

Finance Officer Loehr:  “The factors again are the hot dry summer.  The pool has already surpassed budget figures of revenue coming in, and there are still two more weekends to go.  The golf course has done pretty well too.  Ballwin Days was 90% of budget with very low crowds because of the weather.  You have these better than normal revenues and we have to be careful and not use that as a place to budget for next year.  The bad side of the hot dry summer has been that we have higher utility bills.” 

Summary

Finance Officer Loehr:  “At this point in time, I think we will meet budget unless something unforeseen happens.  We’ve had some turnover in personnel, which is our top cost.  We have some savings there.  We budgeted less for sales tax revenues this year, so we will come close to meeting that goal because we budgeted less.  I think that we will at least maintain the 10% reserve if not go a little higher because of the way things are coming in.”

Mayor Young:  “I didn’t see anything on The Pointe.  Is that segregated into a separate section so that we know how we are doing on our budget.”

Finance Officer Loehr:  “Yes.  Each one of the programs is segregated on the financial report.”

Director or Parks & Recreation Bruer:  “The Pointe right now at the end of July was in the black.  It wasn’t astounding and I hope it stays that way.  I think the sale of the Pointe Plus memberships has helped The Pointe.  As people buy their memberships to North Pointe, they are adding The Pointe.  We’re getting some rollover from North Pointe for The Pointe.  This will be a key in the future for stabilizing that membership phase for The Pointe.”

Mayor Young:  “Did I understand correctly that we haven’t closed down the pool part of The Pointe yet?”

Director Bruer:  “It was closed on the first of August.  It won’t be open until the middle of September at the latest.  We’re on schedule so it may be open sooner.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “One of the things that all of you asked for in your interviews about information was a little bit less number orientation and a little bit more emphasis on analysis.  This is our first effort on a snap shot to give you one page or less in just an overview of the highlights and a little bit of insight on some of the trends.  When we budget, because there is so much of a pendulum affect, this year particularly, we will go back two years and give blended revenue numbers because there was such an extreme between the two summers.  Last summer was cold and rainy, but because North Pointe was a new facility, the novelty carried us, where it didn’t carry a lot of the other pools.  A lot of our weather sensitive receipts were as good this year as they were bad last year.  To get kind of an average, when we do budget, you can’t ask why are we lowering that next year.  We’re lowering it because we want to make our targets and we want to be realistic.  We can’t just take an extension of 2006 and assume that we will have the same fortune, good or bad.  Alderman Fleming had asked about the controversial telecommunications legislation, which would be expanded to include cell phones, and is being touted in some quarters as just a boom for cities.  The fact of the matter is that part of that legislation requires a roll back in rates so there’s a state standard of 3%.  We are currently imposing 5%, and some cities are imposing as much as 9% and 11% on their utility gross receipts.  We will see on our basic gross receipts a roll back of 2%, which in theory, will be offset and maybe a little more than offset by the expansion to include cell phones and other services that are currently not being paid or being paid by protest.  The bigger concern that I have about that legislation, if it hold up, is the domino effect that every other utility will go to the legislature and say what about me.  If Southwestern Bell only has to pay 3% on their phones, why should Charter pay 5%, why can’t we have 3%, or Ameren, or Laclede Gas?  If it becomes statewide and it’s a lower base, we’re already not carrying the budget on utility gross receipts.  This will even be a further detriment to us.  Secondly, it’s probably not a done deal.  There’s litigation out there that I’m sure is moving forward, and I would not count on that additional base until the telecommunications tax.  We’re going to budget just like we always have, which in fact is a declining revenue source since 2001.  We’ve seen the numbers go down gradually every year.  The way that they have made cell phone rates so inexpensive, I’m not so sure there is enough there to make it a windfall for us.  We stay up on all of that legislation at the state level and local level so that any trends that are coming or anything that looks like it could impact us, we try to be on top of that.  Glenda did a good job to paint the picture.  We’re treading water, we’re not sinking, but we’re not exactly cash rich either.  If that 1% hold us compared to the 3, 4, and 5% and the fuel costs, our utility costs, and our insurance cost, the revenue is not keeping pace with our expenditures.  You’ve seen that.  The trend is continuing.”

Alderman Buermann:  “The only thing on an operating budget that is something that we have to play with is I think our personnel costs are running about 76%.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “That’s right, the same as they were within a percent since 2005.  It all depends on the philosophy.  You heard Alderman Pogue, we don’t get 20 people to go out and pick up tree limbs, unless we have 20 people that are employed.  There’s a cost to everything we do.  We could be a contract city.  Wildwood has got much lower costs.  City of Chesterfield has a totally different position, philosophy when it comes to recreation.  If it’s provided in the private sector, they are not going to provide it at the municipal level.  This isn’t right or wrong, but they are philosophies.  When we’ve talked about different options, such as privatizing something and putting it under a contract, this Board has always consistently held firm in their position of top quality service and control for the residents.  To send it out, lowers the standard and was never acceptable to this Board.  Town & Country contracts out their snow plowing.  You can contract out anything.  Wildwood doesn’t have a police department.  We could do anything, but this Board traditionally has been a full service city to the extent that if its done on the municipal level, it’s done by City of Ballwin employees.”

Alderman Buermann:  “I’m wondering if each department through attrition would not hire back one person.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “That’s one of the things the Board has discussed.  We can do anything but there are consequences.  We can’t have it both ways.  I can’t give a response time in all instances.  Do we have too many?  Alderman Terbrock and I have had this discussion that maybe there should be more things done in-house.  Maybe the City should be doing slab replacements.  To do slab replacements, you need concrete, crews, equipment.  Some cities do that.  We’ll look at this.  We have a Public Works Department that has a lot of seniority.  You’re going to see more time down in terns of work related injuries, vacations, sick days, etc.  There’s nothing that’s without a price.  In Linda’s case, that’s very labor intensive.  But if you lower your standard once on something that somebody has a contractual obligation that is giving you money in exchange for a benefit or program, it better be top class or they’re not going to come back.”

Alderman Buermann:  “We never approached this question in 10 years.  In ten years, we never approached a personnel type situation of what it would mean.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “In terms of budget preparations, I have challenged each of the department heads to look at the option of manpower reduction through attrition as a means to fund pay raises, or at least to supplement pay raises because if there are fewer people to pay checks out to, there should be more money.”

Alderman Buermann:  “If we do away with the Christmas tree recycling program, we’re still going to pay the salary, but we won’t provide that particular service.  That’s a service that is continually on a downward slope, and the residents also pay for this on their trash hauling bill.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “They pay on their trash hauling bill for everything we’ve done in the past week, in terms of all the men, trucks, equipment rental to pick up all of the tree limbs at the curb.  We could say no, we’re sorry, but we don’t do that.  Your phones are going to ring too.  I can deliver whatever standard you want delivered, but there are consequences.”

Alderman Buermann:  “If we are going to look at the whole broad picture and talk about what we’re going to do in the future, then we are going to have to back up our words with some sort of action.  If this Board decides to reinstate or go to the voters for property tax, the residents are going to want to know what have we done, or on the positive side, here are the services we supply.  When a storm comes through 3 or 4 times per year, we have a limb pick up, we have the brush pickup, leaf pick up.  70% of the residents use the leaf pick up.  That’s a valuable service.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “That’s the problem with the citizens survey.  They tell you everything that they want and everything that people rank highly, and it gives you no roadmap as to what they are willing to support financially.”

Alderman Buermann:  “That’s where our job becomes very tough because we have a decision to make of what we are going to do in the future.  As we were told last time by the representative from Pace, that revenues are pretty flat.  We probably should be more proactive than reactive when the time comes.  We’ve got a lot to sell for the City of Ballwin.  That’s only if we can get a consensus among the Board of where we want to go.  Everybody is going to have to be on board and agreeable if we are thinking about raising taxes.  We will have to sell this to the residents.”

Alderman Robinson:  “Is there anyone on this Board right now that has some other viable option for us to consider, other than a real property tax?  I don’t want to be in a situation where eight months down the road and we have legislation that somebody complains about that we haven’t done this or that, or we need to spend more time looking at this or that.  Now’s the time to speak.  You are either philosophically against it, or politically against it, or you are just going to see which way the wind is blowing, and then decide down the road.  I don’t appreciate that because you are going to waste a lot of time of your fellow aldermen and staff.  That’s not the right thing to do.”

Alderman Terbrock:  “I don’t have all of the ideas currently out there.  I’d hate to see a tax.  In speaking with Bob Kuntz about this, we as a Board are going to have to come up with some consistency on our spending habits.  The tax levy issues for schools are being shot down right and left by the elderly people because they don’t want to pay any more taxes.  I don’t know all of the things that’s going on with this.  Once we start working on the budget, I will.  If that’s waiting to see how the wind blows, that’s what I am going to have to do at this point.”

City Attorney Lucchesi:  “Unless gasoline prices come down, you’re not going to pay us anything.”

Alderman Robinson:  “A waste of time would be generating more revenue, but let’s get to the really hard stuff of what are we going to cut.  Before we waste time, I would like to philosophically see what way the wind is blowing with this Board.  Are we going to be talking about one or the other.  I don’t think we can talk about both.”

Alderman Lembke:  “I’m on record as saying that I would have a hard time supporting a property tax increase, given that we have, in my opinion, that we have not taken a look at maximizing the opportunity to bring in top dollar per-square-foot sales tax businesses into this community.  With all due respect to the gentleman from Pace, using developers to help us bring in businesses, they have a separate agenda, and that agenda is to make the project work, and not necessarily to maximize the sales tax income from the businesses that we could bring in.  We are just as likely to get a mixture of services and good sales tax producing businesses as opposed to the best and getting the most sales tax out of every square foot of retail point of sale tax opportunity that we have in the City of Ballwin.  We have gone out twice now with two requests for proposals on the old TIF 2b area, and neither one were acceptable.  One wasn’t acceptable, and the other was withdrawn before we could get into consideration of it.  This is telling me that the market place is not looking for Ballwin.  We know that we are in a transition in the City of Ballwin.  Our residents are perceiving that simply from noticing different businesses that have gone out and similar businesses not coming back in or spaces staying vacant longer than what they recall they have ever stayed vacant.  The Mobile station that is now a dentless paint shop doesn’t bring as much in the way of sales tax revenue.  It’s labor intensive, so we have lost that opportunity in that corner.  The Hummer dealer that sold no cars, out of the City of Ballwin for the entire period of time which generated us no sales tax.  There are other similar situations.  Some of you are absolutely against paying now to get the kind of information that we need, but at this point, I’d have a hard time moving tonight to go on and say that I was in favor of a property tax because I don’t believe that we have done everything we can to insure that, I can’t look at my constituents and say that we did everything in our power with technology, information, and the companies that are out there to insure that we are putting together this kind of effort to maximize our sales tax per square foot.”

Alderman Fleming:  “I appreciate your point but I don’t necessarily agree with it.  I think what happened at the Mobile site was a piece of property became available, somebody decided they wanted it, and wanted to open a business there.  They followed the proper procedures, and there’s nothing you could have done to stop them.  If someone had asked XYZ company that would have generated more tax to come in, XYZ company may not have wanted to come.  As far as the property tax goes, you mentioned the school districts.  People pay that tax and they may not send anybody to school or get anything out of it.  People pay a property tax to a fire protection district and they might not ever call a fire truck or ambulance.  They are necessary to be there.  The same thing here – our residents get the benefit of that sales tax.  There are people from outside our community who pay the sales tax.  They don’t really invest in the community through a property tax.  I think that’s something we have to ask the voters if that’s something they would like to do.  They made it pretty clear that they want to see streets improved.  If it’s tied to a specific street improvement project, maybe it’s something that the voters would choose to do.  I think it’s something we should talk about.”

Mayor Young:  “During the campaign, the majority of the older people all said, do not raise taxes because they heard what was going on.  They said if you raise it $10 or $15 per month, we don’t have this to add to it.  That was before gas prices went up.  I think we are going to find in this next year, people changing a lot of their habits that they have been doing in the past.  People are already starting to say they used to go out to dinner three times per week, now I’ll go once; I used to go to the Valley, but now I’ll go to Target here instead.  They are realizing that $3 or $4 per gallon gas is close to happening.  We have a lot of people in our community that don’t make a ton of money and have to reorganize and look at it.  In the meantime, we have a survey that said they love the leaf pick up, but I have a real problem with the leaf pick up in the fact that everyone does not use it.  A lot of people put the leave at the curb because they don’t want to take the time to pick them up themselves.  They should be told that they are paying for it in a double way because it’s in their monthly yard waste pickup of trash, and they we are going out and spending money on the big dumpsters, plus we don’t have the time to put in for street maintenance because we are spending six weeks picking up leaves.  Perhaps Lowe’s could sell yard waste bags to people at a discount because they have their Ballwin resident card.  All of the kids who do lawn mowing and snow plowing, this will give them an opportunity to pick up leaves.  When people are paying for it twice, and we as a city are looking at what we can adjust, maybe that’s something we need to look at.  Would the people rather have us put in time of the street work instead of picking up leaves.”

Mayor Young:  “I’m also working on something else at a much higher level.  I don’t know how much to tell you right at the moment, but right here right now I have worked with some of the state legislators and they are all in agreement with me that there needs to be a change.  I’m trying to get with a couple if the Mayors here in the area to get a buy in from them.  I plan on bringing this to the Lafayette Mayors Organization to see what kind of response is there.  It’s not something that would be a quick fix.  It would be a little while to go through, but I promise you I’ll try to put something in writing where you can understand what I am saying and not try to explain it here because it’s not fair to you, because I know you like to read what’s going on.  I’m sorry I don’t have something in writing at this point.  It’s been something we just talked about at the surface, but basically it has to do with the distribution of sales tax countywide.  Part of it is the fact that we are the only county that does it the way it’s being done in the State.  So far the legislators and senators have been real responsive to the idea of making some changes and adjustments that would be very beneficial for a lot of communities.  I’ll try to give you more information at the next meeting in writing so that you can understand where I’m going with this.  I think you’ll be pleased because I think countywide is going to go over real well when it’s presented.  I think there will be some people that won’t like it but the majority will.”

Alderman Fleming:  “Based on where that goes, would it potentially mean we would see a decrease in our sales tax revenue?”

Mayor Young:  “No.  There’s quite a magnitude that goes with this and I have to really write it out and explain to you so that you’re not thinking that, and I want you to understand where it’s going.  I’m trying to make sure that nothing happens to us in the long run.  I think it will be a benefit to us in the long run.”

Alderman Buermann:  “When do you think you will have that for us.”

Mayor Young:  “I’m going to try to have a rough draft for you at the next meeting.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “The fact of the matter is, what he is talking about faces a tremendous amount of political process; not that it shouldn’t be pursued.  We have to look under every rock.  If you were to ask the question, this is what we are doing that’s non-essential, this is what we could do with streets, what do you want us to do?  Do you want to pay for it or not?  You’d get an answer.  The other thing you do with a property tax is you have to set that rate every year.  If the economy improved, or a sales tax formula was adjusted, you don’t have to keep the property tax where it got approved; you could always lower it to reflect the current financial position.  If your position is good, this community and these aldermen had the forethought in 1987 to say that the economy was good and they rolled it back to zero.  There’s nothing that says a future Board couldn’t do the same thing or a different number if you didn’t need it.  You have that test every year.  The other thing it does, it says that this is what you’ve said you support; this is what we need to continue it.  It’s not a threat, we just want to know is it worth that $10 per month or not.  If not, let’s not keep talking about when are you going to get my street done because your street will get done at the same rate as it’s currently being funded because those are the funds we have to work with.  End of discussion.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s nothing to apologize for.  If you ask the question, you abide by the response you get, that creates the roadmap for this community for the next 5 – 10 years.  It tells you exactly where you should be allocating your resources and where you shouldn’t.”

Alderman Buermann:  “Ballwin is a more mature city now and there are a lot of elderly people in the City of Ballwin.  If we put something before the people in a vote, I’m pretty confident that it would fail no matter how hard we would try to sell it.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “I’m not so sure that that’s a bad thing, Ken.  You’ve made it sound like it’s a bad word, that it will just fail.  Won’t you know?  We won’t have to have these discussions every three months.”

Alderman Buermann:  “Where do we stand?  Do we need to wait until the street assessment comes in and then try to come back and gain some type of consensus among the Board?  What’s the difference between a 5-week leaf pickup or maybe a $25 sticker fee to have the leaves picked up?  We’re going to pay the biggest cost of the leaf pick up as labor.  You’re going to pay that one way or another.  You may get some of that back if you go with pay by the sticker.  All we’re trying to do is brainstorm and see if there are any ideas that we haven’t considered.  What would it save us by going to a 5-week schedule?  Maybe we wouldn’t have to hire temporary employees to come in and do that, or we go with 4 weeks.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “Maybe it would take people that don’t say my Alderman told me to call because you missed me.  Can you make an exception and get me this week?  It taxes some extra moxie on our part to say no means now and we’re not doing it.  When the mosquito fogger shoots craps and we don’t have anything in the budget, we’ll have to spend $7,000 or $8,000 in the next week because people are swatting mosquitoes.  We can’t do it both ways.”

Alderman Buermann:  “I’m not saying that we need to reduce labor costs.  All we are doing is discussing ideas of what possibly could be done in the future.”

Mayor Young:  “The Public Works people said that we could actually probably do two leaf pickups.  Have one for the first part of November, maybe a week or a couple of days, and one the first part of December.  That’s all.”

Alderman Lembke:  “I don’t want the impression left that we’ve got a 6or a 5-week leaf pickup schedule, which means that we pull our crews off of the streets for that 5 or 6 weeks.  This during the time of the year when typically we cannot utilize the Public Works personnel to be doing anything other than patching the streets, which hopefully in November, we haven’t seen a lot of the cold weather, snow and ice and the freeze-thaw cycles that are going to cause the roads to pop.  That all comes after the first of the year in January and February.  Yes we are going to pay them.  What are we going to do with them?  It becomes a fixed cost, a cost of the leaf pick up that if you want to do a true accounting of it, you have to take all of the hours, the hourly wages and benefits and put towards that.  You also have to keep in mind the depreciation of the trucks.  The only thing that really comes into it is the leaf blowers and boxes, fuel, and maintenance on the trucks until we can use them as snow plows.  When you get right down to it, how much does it cost us to do the leaf pick up, and it’s not as much as you might look at in the budget that we budget for because we are taking into consideration a lot of expenses that are being assigned to it that, if we don’t have leaf pickup, those fixed costs will have to be spread someplace in some other part of the budget.”

Mayor Young:  “Chief Biederman has said that their fuel costs have gone up tremendously in the last couple of months, and probably well in excess of what his budget is for the entire year because of it.  The fuel costs are tremendous on doing the leaf pickup.”

Alderman Fleming:  “I don’t necessarily agree that a property tax would fail.  I think it would only fair if people lacked the trust in us to do what’s right with the money.  The memo from City Administrator Kuntz includes suggestions for a sunset provision, that if people really wanted the streets fixed, we could use a 10-year program.  We leave it in place for 10 years, gets the street where everybody wants and then roll it back.  There are other ideas.  I think if people had the trust that we would do the right thing with the money, it wouldn’t necessarily fail.  I don’t think it’s an idea that we should scratch off the list right now and hope that cutting back a week of leaves here and there might help us.”

Alderman Buermann:  “Just as the half cent capital improvement, Jane and I signed a memo at that time that said if we drop the utility tax from 7% to 5%, at that point in time, that was a good idea and that helped pass that.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “The half cent capital improvement tax, you told them what you were going to build and you built it.  You had a half cent park tax, you told them what you were going to build, and you built it.”

Alderman Buermann:  “Where does everybody stand?  Is this something we want to approach, and say yes we want to go ahead with this and let’s see what we can do?  We could go to Gary and say if you had this much more money, how many more streets are we going to get, or what kind of street plan are we going to come up with?  If you come back to the people and tell them where the money is going to go, you’re going to have a much better chance than saying, because there have been some other taxing jurisdictions who just has taken for granted that this is going to pass.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “You have to be unanimous and you have to tell them what you are going to do and do what you tell them.”

Alderman Fleming:  “If they say no, then that pretty much tells us to tread water like we are, we’re fine with the way things are going.  At least we get an answer.”

Alderman Lembke:  “One more question that will have to be answered to their satisfaction is why do you need it, because there is a perception out there that the City of Ballwin has a vault someplace with lots of cash that we can hardly get the vault door closed.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “I think that’s the case, but there’s a lot of people driving up and down Manchester Road that aren’t saying that right now.”

Alderman Fleming:  “I saw a representative from Meadowbrook Country Club here tonight.  They have had a constant persistent request to have more improvements done in their area.  There are other areas that have done that as well.  You might find more support for the idea than you think if you limit it in some way and say this is what we are going to do.  You told us you want us to do this.  This is what we came up with.  What do you think?”

Alderman Robinson:  “If I was an older adult living in the city, I would be offended by some of the things we are saying that older people are going to vote no, older people don’t want to pay the taxes, older people are going to shut us down.  Ballwin is one of the best places in this country to live because of these people, these older adults, with the rest of the City, they approved the ½ cent sales tax, the ½ cent capital improvement tax.  They have a vested interest in this community.  They want it to remain one of the best places in the U.S. to live.  They want their house to sell for mother than other places in this county, and they are very smart and savvy.  They realize that by investing $114 per year now to keep it one of the best places, and to keep their average household value at $230,000, $114 is a drop in the bucket.  I think they will vote yes.  I think now is the time to strike because we’ve got the designation as the best city in Missouri to live.  We’ve got the best staff.  What we need to do is to make sure that as a Board, we are committed in that direction and we work together.  If three of us say no this is not the way to go, assuming that those three are right, we’re not going to pass it.  If we can come together after thoughtful deliberation and agree that this is the best thing for us and that we need it, not only just the best thing, but we need it to keep us the best, I think the people will say let’s do it.  We have been a leader in the County and State.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “I’ve outlined a plan.  It does not contradict with what the Mayor said.  It compliments it.  It provides an immediate insurance policy at the very most, at the very least, it provides you with a roadmap.  It’s fair and as reasonable and comprehensive as I have been able to come up with.  If somebody has a better idea, we certainly need to put it on the table.  This Board and the Finance & Administration Committee specifically has discussed this to the point of nausea.  We have turned every rock over.  We’ll do anything you want.  We’ll get any information that you need, but we need to make some action plan and go forward with it, whatever it is, because it’s not going to get any better by itself.  I wish I could say it was.  There’s no one little thing that you can eliminate or attract that is going to change the financial future so that we’ll never have to have this discussion again.”

Alderman Buermann:  “What we are trying to do tonight is to see where people stand.  Think about it until the next meeting and have a 5-minute discussion to see where everybody stands.  Basically, I don’t know if a Finance sub-committee of residents would come up with anything other, then probably what Bob has already come up with.  We probably need to have some public meetings and discuss things and try to sell it for sure.  I’m not sure we need a special committee.  At one time I was pretty much in favor of that, but at this point in time, if the Board is not committed to that, then if you have these people out here on a sub-committee coming back in and they give you the same recommendation that Bob is, we’re going to be asking ourselves the same question in 3 or 4 months.  We need to be pro-active rather than re-active.  Whenever that re-active time comes, I don’t know.  It could be two years down the road.  If gas goes up to $4 per gallon, it could be 6 months.  I think what we need to do is decide as a Board is it something that we want to go ahead with or without.  In the next few meetings, we need to decide this.  Maybe it’s after the street assessment.  There’s one single battle cry from the residents in Ballwin, they want better streets.”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “I propose an August, 2006 primary. ”

Mayor Young:  “Have you asked Gary to check and see what it would cost us additional to look at annexation areas of streets while the city streets are being reviewed, what the additional cost would be for an area that we were talking about annexing?”

City Administrator Kuntz:  “We’ve talked about it, but we didn’t go any further because they are not even accepting the list.  It would actually be the next street report.”

ANNEXATION

Mayor Young:  “I read in today’s paper that they are already starting to talk about next year’s annexation proposals being introduced, and they are looking at the first part of the year.  We are also going to have to talk about that as part of our process through the balance of this year and what we are going to do.  I know that you have had a wish list.  As the Mayor, I also have a wish list that I would like to present.  I think you have been too kind.  We went through this process a few years ago.  Going to Ellisville and asking them what they are going to do, didn’t pay off.  You got slapped in the face like they always do to you.  The next proposal, I think we should go right up to their borders on their east side and the Wildwood side, and move across.  Don’t try to negotiate.  Negotiations are over with.  All they are going to do is whatever they want to do.  They’ll tell you one thing and do another.  They have already proven that this last year.  The other part of it is, when we were working with the Boundary Commission before, one of the big things that the Boundary Commission was upset about with us when we wouldn’t propose it was that they wanted us to take Castlewood right up front.  They wanted it as part of the proposal.  I don’t know how this one approaches it, but let me tell you what I would like to see us think about doing.  It will all depend on a number of factors.  I want to take it from the east boundary of Wildwood/Ellisville, all the way across to the other side of the school past Ries Road, pick up Hollybrook Plat 2 that was never brought in to us, and go all the way to the Meramec, on the very first proposal in one swipe.  All those people want in here.  They have been telling us that they want this for 12 years.  The second proposal would come back in a couple of years after things settle down.  We would go all the way to Sulphur Springs to Manchester, eliminating the waste area, if we could out of that proposal.  The reason why the first one would be going to the east side of Oakbrook is that we would pick up Castlewood Park as part of it, and it would be a natural boundary line.  I brought this to your attention so that numbers can be run, and for you to think about this.  The only way we are going to do this is to do it right.  You’ll understand what I’m going to tell you about the sales tax proposal that I have next time and why this annexation is part of it and is a very important part of our final play on this.  I’ve taken the position that if I can get some other people to jump on board with my idea, which I think they will, I told them that I will be the leader on it and take the heat on whatever it takes.  I think it’s important enough that we stand up as a community and fight for this.  We can’t continue with the way we are going financially.  We are looking at a 5-year program.  The first year, you’re not going to get it through the legislature.  The second year, you possibly will, and then there’s a period of 3 years that I’m putting into the bill that will give a moratorium until everything gets work out.  I’ll explain that in more detail.  The annexation is a pretty big thing.  I want you to understand where I’d like to see us go.  I don’t like this piecemeal.  We tried it many years ago.  Hollybrook got screwed because originally they wouldn’t let us come out to perform things outside of our City by going into the County to get to their place.  So, we only took plat 1.  Plat 2 and Plat 1 are in confrontation every time they have a meeting because one charges more in trustee fees than the other one does.  One doesn’t have to pay the lighting bill and the other one does.  It’s kind of a three-ring circus.  I’ve already told them that we would try to get that taken care of even if we don’t go with the proposal, we could go with just that as a separate entity.  I’ve asked Bob, and he thinks they would probably go along with that if we did it on its own.”

Alderman Buermann:  “On the strategic plan, how long do you think it will take to formulate?”

Alderman Gatton: “A year.  That’s what was budgeted.  There’s quite a bit if citizen involvement in the process.  There’s no way to speed up the process.”

Adjourn:  The Workshop session was adjourned at 8:58 p.m.

Walter S. Young, Mayor

ATTEST:
Robert A. Kuntz, City Administrator 

MC