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 Winter Workshop - Complete

Meeting Agenda

MINUTES BOARD OF ALDERMEN WINTER WORKSHOP
        City of Ballwin             January 26, 2008

The Aldermanic Winter Workshop was called to order at 8:02 a.m. by Mayor Young.  In attendance were Aldermen Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Fleming, Lembke, Kerlagon, City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer, Finance Officer Loehr, Director of Public Works Kramer, Acting Police Chief / Captain Schicker, Human Resources Coordinator Morrison, and City Attorney Jones.

Residential Realtors’ Perspective
City Administrator Kuntz introduced Laura Rothe, a real estate agent with extensive background in residential real estate sales in Ballwin. 

Ms. Rothe spoke about the nature of the City and the life style it offers.  She said that people coming into Ballwin can see that the atmosphere is a home town feeling.  The city has great schools, great shopping and great parks.  She said that this type of community is not evident in the St. Charles city.  She said that Ballwin is a safe community with low crime rate, top quality snow removal, a leaf pickup program, the Ballwin Days festival, and many more good qualities.  She said Ballwin is a town of families.  People that buy their first house in Ballwin, many times they move up to a bigger house in the same community; however, it is also harder for a first time buyer to afford to buy a house in Ballwin. 

Ms. Rothe described situations where out-of-town buyers have looked in other municipalities, but chose Ballwin for their residential purchase.  Houses in Ballwin have always increased in value faster than in surrounding cities, including Chesterfield and Wildwood.

She stated that the proposed real estate tax is an investment in this community.  It will keep the City of Ballwin in top notch position among its peers.  The average homeowner will pay approximately $200 with the real estate tax.  If this keeps homes from slipping 1% in value, you save $2,500 on the value of your house.  Ballwin homes have always outperformed the area.  Individual losses are usually the result of issues with that particular house. 

She believes that the inspection program has been good for Ballwin.  It keeps property values high, makes marketing houses easier, and keeps the City looking well maintained.  The private inspectors find the same violations as the City inspectors.  Many other cities have adopted similar programs.

She believes that Ballwin needs to keep these amenities.  This will keep Ballwin a strong player in the residential market. 

Alderman Lembke asked what can Ballwin do to keep the City attractive to first-time buyers.  Ms. Rothe said that at this point, the least expensive houses in Ballwin are priced at the level for first-time buyers.  Keeping the current services sets Ballwin up as the place to buy.  She said that 80% of Ballwin residents buy their next house in Ballwin. 

Alderman Kerlagon said that it appears that Ballwin needs to market itself productively the amenities that it offers.  Ms. Rothe said that other cities are understanding this and are selling themselves in this way. 

Assistant City Administrator Aiken presented his concerns about the philosophy that Ballwin uses in enforcement of the codes.  Alderman Kerlagon believes that flexibility is important.  Alderman Lembke said that the Inspection Department should be as friendly as possible with first-time violators.  The choice of words is important.

Alderman Fleming said that he is satisfied with the current system.  He asked if the ordinance could be changed to allow a fine to be assessed against the business license renewal for businesses that violate sign, outdoor sales, and similar codes.

Alderman Terbrock said that sometimes people get used to seeing a certain situation and then don’t see the problems anymore.  Alderman Suozzi said that people could be told that an anonymous complaint cannot be responded to.


Parks & Recreation
Heddy Boone, Superintendent of Recreation, presented the Parks & Recreation report on the Department’s philosophy on revenue and services for the City.  She suggested new policies for the families and programs to allow more usage and perhaps increase revenues. 

Alderman Lembke suggested that the City pursue the sponsorship of facilities on the Golf Course with a break for Ballwin businesses.  Alderman Buermann agreed with this suggestion.

Alderman Fleming was complimentary of the operation and agreed with the idea of selling advertising to earn more dollars.  He said the city can do other things to encourage people to come to Ballwin facilities.  He suggested new ideas such as gymnastic events or a little kids baseball league, etc.  He said that Ballwin needs to stay competitive with private competitors and should try to develop an identity for activities and/or facilities that are not widely available.

Alderman Suozzi said there will be more competition for utilization from those living north of Manchester Road with the new facility at Clarkson and Clayton in Ellisville.  Manchester Road is a difficult barrier.  She suggested educating residents about how the pool is funded and paying its own way. 


Public Works
Director of Public Works / City Engineer Kramer said that the work of the Public Works Department is labor intensive.  He said that if Ballwin wants to keep the best snow removal program and other related programs that define the city, they cannot be done half way.  It is better to quit offering the program than to do it poorly.  A shortage of manpower is the basic issue.  It takes nine 4-men crews to keep up and finish the leaf program on time.  The curb-to-curb snow plowing policy is part of the good reputation that Ballwin has.  Doing less interferes with mail delivery and street parking.

He said the Public Works Department has a 20-truck fleet.  There is a need to replace 2 trucks per year, making the traded in trucks 10 years old.  Keeping them longer is expensive and they are subject to breaking down when they are most needed.  The plowing routes have dropped from 16 to 14 due to work force attrition..  This takes longer but there aren’t enough drivers to plow 16 routes. 

He said that some of the slab replacements have to be contracted out because there isn’t enough manpower available to do the number of slabs that they would like to do in the time available.

Director of Public Works Kramer said that this department has very little revenue generating opportunity.  A few permits and inspection fees is the only source.

Alderman Buermann asked if more effort can be applied to the north side of Manchester Road and reduce the effort on the south side during the leaf season.  Mr. Kramer said yes, but the shortage of crews is an issue that makes it difficult to keep on top of the workload during the biggest demand periods.

Alderman Robinson said he gets a lot of complaints about leaves blocking the street, but people don’t want them to kill the grass.  Alderman Buermann said the leaf vacuuming program is good and he understands the reluctance of people to bag the leaves. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that if the leaf vacuuming program cannot be done efficiently and in a timely manner, it should not be done at all.  Alderman Fleming believes that Ballwin can presently find the extra funds to perform the service properly, but he is concerned that the program cannot continue to grow without the needed funds and manpower.  Alderman Lembke agreed that the program needs to be done right or not at all.  City Engineer Kramer noted that the program is popular and the volume of leaves collected grows every year.

Mayor Young suggested using other employees to drive trucks for the leaf program.  Alderman Buermann asked if the City provided bags, would this reduce the leaf collection burden?.  Alderman Pogue said that an opportunity is being lost with extended program time that is preventing other work from being done. 


Police Department
Acting Chief of Police / Captain Schicker presented an overview of his report.  He raised the issue of costs to provide police services to some Ballwin businesses, especially for a recent armed robbery.  He suggested that perhaps special fees should be assessed for these kinds of situations.  He said that this is now being done by the St. Louis County Police.

He said it may be possible to take information on the phone for minor complaints rather than sending an officer and to collect a fee for some types of investigations.  He reviewed many other costs that Ballwin has been absorbing and will have to consider charging fees or ceasing to do some of these things.

Alderman Buermann said people feel safe in Ballwin.  He gave high praise for the Ballwin Police Department.  He said that finding ways to continue providing the same quality of service is important.

Alderman Lembke asked if Ballwin should collect a fee for the “Citizen Police Academy” and for police responding to an accident, if the law will allow this.

Mayor Young ask why do we not now charge custodial fees for outside area agencies?  Captain Schicker said this is only now becoming a common practice. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that most of these things are minor.  They are only substantial in their totality.  He said these are some of the things that are available to consider.

Alderman Kerlagon believes that the Police report is a good example of “Plan B” if the tax increase fails.  Captain Schicker said that the police will lose contact with the citizens, who will then lose their safe feeling if there is a lack of response to minor calls.

Alderman Terbrock said that police service cuts are a serious issues for this community. 


Dr. Ken Warren, political strategist, spoke regarding the proposed property tax.  Dr. Warren stated that the message to get out to the public was that the proposed tax was reasonable, fair and definitely needed.  When polled, a majority of residents usually say that they would rather see services cut than to pay property tax.

 

He said the citizens’ committee needs to:

1)  Develop an overall campaign strategy
 a)  Make certain that they are well organized
 b)  Make certain that they have enough financing for the campaign
 c)  Make certain that they have enough volunteers to work the campaign

2)  Brochures/Literature
 a)  Language needs to be simple
 b)  Emphasize the low % increase in the tax citizens now pay compared to other municipalities
     (i.e. even though our rate may be higher, housing is less expensive than some neighboring
     communities, therefore, lower tax).  $190 equals about 6.3% increase in property tax currently
     paid in Ballwin.  22% of personal income goes to property tax in Missouri – one of the lower
     states.
 c)  Emphasize the need for the tax and that services will need to be cut if not passed (without
 threatening language).

3)  Targeting
 a)  Don’t drop literature randomly.  Drop in targeted areas.
 b)  Don’t hit low-cost housing or seniors.
 c)  Target most affluent citizens, young people (30-45), citizens to get the most from the tax (use
      the most services), and renters (tax doesn’t cost them).

4)  Advertising
 a)  Use free media such as website (although proven a lot of people don’t use it).
 b)  Cable TV ads
 c)  Newspaper ads
 d)  Generate phone list and call only targeted citizens
 e)  Hold public meetings
 f)  Get out the vote drive

He suggested no advertising until 2 weeks before campaign.  Then media blitz with brochures in March, 2008.  Phone calls should be done the week before the election. 

Dr. Warren suggested that the committee needs a minimum of $50,000 to have a successful campaign.  Solicit money from businesses, economically elite people (residents, church people).  The best way to solicit donations is by personal contact.

Dr. Warren said that 39% of the residents consider a property tax the most feared tax.  He said 70% of the people see the economy as poor, therefore, support of more taxes is not strong.  Ballwin’s proposed 40 cent tax is not an exceptional high increase over the current real property taxes being collected. 

He said that April is the best time to have a property tax on the ballot.  Property taxes have grown at twice the rate of other taxes, such as sales and income.  A real estate tax hurts fixed income people the most.  People tend to prefer service cuts rather than a tax increase.

Dr. Warren noted the following pitfalls:
1. People vote in economic self-interest.
2. America is seen to be going into a recession.
3. Elderly people will not support the tax.
4. Elderly people do not see that they will benefit from this.
5. There is no sharing of the tax burden with non-residents as sales tax is shared. 
6. A low tax request does not offset the perception that taxes are high.
7. The tax is seen as unfair, with inaccurate assessments, and will never go down.

Dr. Warren noted why the tax is favored:
1. High income people have more disposable income.
2. Deductible, prospects of increasing salary is not an issue.
3. An investment in the community
4. Improves property values
5. Sees the value to the tax and understands inflation
6. Community pride.

The morning session adjourned at 12:03 p.m.

The Board reconvened in joint session with the City Council of the City of Ellisville at 12:47 p.m. in the Recreation Building in Bluebird Park in Ellisville. 


Richard Goldberg, of the Goldberg Group, facilitated the meeting.  Those attending the meeting included elected officials and senior staff members of both cities.  After conducting a brief introduction, the group discussed issues of common interest to the two cities and explored areas in which Ballwin and Ellisville could coordinate efforts toward a common outcome.  It was agreed that the professional staffs of each city would pursue cooperative efforts and that the Boards would meet jointly again to review accomplishments and explore additional areas of mutual interest.

The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

Walter S. Young, Mayor
ATTEST:
Robert Kuntz, City Administrator  
 

Meeting Minutes

MINUTES BOARD OF ALDERMEN WINTER WORKSHOP
January 26, 2008

The Aldermanic Winter Workshop was called to order at 8:02 a.m. by Mayor Young.  In attendance were Aldermen Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Fleming, Lembke, Kerlagon, City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer, Finance Officer Loehr, Director of Public Works Kramer, Acting Police Chief / Captain Schicker, Human Resources Coordinator Morrison, and City Attorney Jones.

Residential Realtors’ Perspective
City Administrator Kuntz introduced Laura Rothe, a real estate agent with extensive background in residential real estate sales in Ballwin. 

Ms. Rothe spoke about the nature of the City and the life style it offers.  She said that people coming into Ballwin can see that the atmosphere is a home town feeling.  The city has great schools, great shopping and great parks.  She said that this type of community is not evident in the St. Charles city.  She said that Ballwin is a safe community with low crime rate, top quality snow removal, a leaf pickup program, the Ballwin Days festival, and many more good qualities.  She said Ballwin is a town of families.  People that buy their first house in Ballwin, many times they move up to a bigger house in the same community; however, it is also harder for a first time buyer to afford to buy a house in Ballwin. 

Ms. Rothe described situations where out-of-town buyers have looked in other municipalities, but chose Ballwin for their residential purchase.  Houses in Ballwin have always increased in value faster than in surrounding cities, including Chesterfield and Wildwood.

She stated that the proposed real estate tax is an investment in this community.  It will keep the City of Ballwin in top notch position among its peers.  The average homeowner will pay approximately $200 with the real estate tax.  If this keeps homes from slipping 1% in value, you save $2,500 on the value of your house.  Ballwin homes have always outperformed the area.  Individual losses are usually the result of issues with that particular house. 

She believes that the inspection program has been good for Ballwin.  It keeps property values high, makes marketing houses easier, and keeps the City looking well maintained.  The private inspectors find the same violations as the City inspectors.  Many other cities have adopted similar programs.

She believes that Ballwin needs to keep these amenities.  This will keep Ballwin a strong player in the residential market. 

Alderman Lembke asked what can Ballwin do to keep the City attractive to first-time buyers.  Ms. Rothe said that at this point, the least expensive houses in Ballwin are priced at the level for first-time buyers.  Keeping the current services sets Ballwin up as the place to buy.  She said that 80% of Ballwin residents buy their next house in Ballwin. 

Alderman Kerlagon said that it appears that Ballwin needs to market itself productively the amenities that it offers.  Ms. Rothe said that other cities are understanding this and are selling themselves in this way. 

Assistant City Administrator Aiken presented his concerns about the philosophy that Ballwin uses in enforcement of the codes.  Alderman Kerlagon believes that flexibility is important.  Alderman Lembke said that the Inspection Department should be as friendly as possible with first-time violators.  The choice of words is important.

Alderman Fleming said that he is satisfied with the current system.  He asked if the ordinance could be changed to allow a fine to be assessed against the business license renewal for businesses that violate sign, outdoor sales, and similar codes.

Alderman Terbrock said that sometimes people get used to seeing a certain situation and then don’t see the problems anymore.  Alderman Suozzi said that people could be told that an anonymous complaint cannot be responded to.


Parks & Recreation
Heddy Boone, Superintendent of Recreation, presented the Parks & Recreation report on the Department’s philosophy on revenue and services for the City.  She suggested new policies for the families and programs to allow more usage and perhaps increase revenues. 

Alderman Lembke suggested that the City pursue the sponsorship of facilities on the Golf Course with a break for Ballwin businesses.  Alderman Buermann agreed with this suggestion.

Alderman Fleming was complimentary of the operation and agreed with the idea of selling advertising to earn more dollars.  He said the city can do other things to encourage people to come to Ballwin facilities.  He suggested new ideas such as gymnastic events or a little kids baseball league, etc.  He said that Ballwin needs to stay competitive with private competitors and should try to develop an identity for activities and/or facilities that are not widely available.

Alderman Suozzi said there will be more competition for utilization from those living north of Manchester Road with the new facility at Clarkson and Clayton in Ellisville.  Manchester Road is a difficult barrier.  She suggested educating residents about how the pool is funded and paying its own way. 


Public Works
Director of Public Works / City Engineer Kramer said that the work of the Public Works Department is labor intensive.  He said that if Ballwin wants to keep the best snow removal program and other related programs that define the city, they cannot be done half way.  It is better to quit offering the program than to do it poorly.  A shortage of manpower is the basic issue.  It takes nine 4-men crews to keep up and finish the leaf program on time.  The curb-to-curb snow plowing policy is part of the good reputation that Ballwin has.  Doing less interferes with mail delivery and street parking.

He said the Public Works Department has a 20-truck fleet.  There is a need to replace 2 trucks per year, making the traded in trucks 10 years old.  Keeping them longer is expensive and they are subject to breaking down when they are most needed.  The plowing routes have dropped from 16 to 14 due to work force attrition..  This takes longer but there aren’t enough drivers to plow 16 routes. 

He said that some of the slab replacements have to be contracted out because there isn’t enough manpower available to do the number of slabs that they would like to do in the time available.

Director of Public Works Kramer said that this department has very little revenue generating opportunity.  A few permits and inspection fees is the only source.

Alderman Buermann asked if more effort can be applied to the north side of Manchester Road and reduce the effort on the south side during the leaf season.  Mr. Kramer said yes, but the shortage of crews is an issue that makes it difficult to keep on top of the workload during the biggest demand periods.

Alderman Robinson said he gets a lot of complaints about leaves blocking the street, but people don’t want them to kill the grass.  Alderman Buermann said the leaf vacuuming program is good and he understands the reluctance of people to bag the leaves. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that if the leaf vacuuming program cannot be done efficiently and in a timely manner, it should not be done at all.  Alderman Fleming believes that Ballwin can presently find the extra funds to perform the service properly, but he is concerned that the program cannot continue to grow without the needed funds and manpower.  Alderman Lembke agreed that the program needs to be done right or not at all.  City Engineer Kramer noted that the program is popular and the volume of leaves collected grows every year.

Mayor Young suggested using other employees to drive trucks for the leaf program.  Alderman Buermann asked if the City provided bags, would this reduce the leaf collection burden?.  Alderman Pogue said that an opportunity is being lost with extended program time that is preventing other work from being done. 


Police Department
Acting Chief of Police / Captain Schicker presented an overview of his report.  He raised the issue of costs to provide police services to some Ballwin businesses, especially for a recent armed robbery.  He suggested that perhaps special fees should be assessed for these kinds of situations.  He said that this is now being done by the St. Louis County Police.

He said it may be possible to take information on the phone for minor complaints rather than sending an officer and to collect a fee for some types of investigations.  He reviewed many other costs that Ballwin has been absorbing and will have to consider charging fees or ceasing to do some of these things.

Alderman Buermann said people feel safe in Ballwin.  He gave high praise for the Ballwin Police Department.  He said that finding ways to continue providing the same quality of service is important.

Alderman Lembke asked if Ballwin should collect a fee for the “Citizen Police Academy” and for police responding to an accident, if the law will allow this.

Mayor Young ask why do we not now charge custodial fees for outside area agencies?  Captain Schicker said this is only now becoming a common practice. 

City Administrator Kuntz said that most of these things are minor.  They are only substantial in their totality.  He said these are some of the things that are available to consider.

Alderman Kerlagon believes that the Police report is a good example of “Plan B” if the tax increase fails.  Captain Schicker said that the police will lose contact with the citizens, who will then lose their safe feeling if there is a lack of response to minor calls.

Alderman Terbrock said that police service cuts are a serious issues for this community. 


Dr. Ken Warren, political strategist, spoke regarding the proposed property tax.  Dr. Warren stated that the message to get out to the public was that the proposed tax was reasonable, fair and definitely needed.  When polled, a majority of residents usually say that they would rather see services cut than to pay property tax.

 

He said the citizens’ committee needs to:

1)  Develop an overall campaign strategy
 a)  Make certain that they are well organized
 b)  Make certain that they have enough financing for the campaign
 c)  Make certain that they have enough volunteers to work the campaign

2)  Brochures/Literature
 a)  Language needs to be simple
 b)  Emphasize the low % increase in the tax citizens now pay compared to other municipalities
     (i.e. even though our rate may be higher, housing is less expensive than some neighboring
     communities, therefore, lower tax).  $190 equals about 6.3% increase in property tax currently
     paid in Ballwin.  22% of personal income goes to property tax in Missouri – one of the lower
     states.
 c)  Emphasize the need for the tax and that services will need to be cut if not passed (without
 threatening language).

3)  Targeting
 a)  Don’t drop literature randomly.  Drop in targeted areas.
 b)  Don’t hit low-cost housing or seniors.
 c)  Target most affluent citizens, young people (30-45), citizens to get the most from the tax (use
      the most services), and renters (tax doesn’t cost them).

4)  Advertising
 a)  Use free media such as website (although proven a lot of people don’t use it).
 b)  Cable TV ads
 c)  Newspaper ads
 d)  Generate phone list and call only targeted citizens
 e)  Hold public meetings
 f)  Get out the vote drive

He suggested no advertising until 2 weeks before campaign.  Then media blitz with brochures in March, 2008.  Phone calls should be done the week before the election. 

Dr. Warren suggested that the committee needs a minimum of $50,000 to have a successful campaign.  Solicit money from businesses, economically elite people (residents, church people).  The best way to solicit donations is by personal contact.

Dr. Warren said that 39% of the residents consider a property tax the most feared tax.  He said 70% of the people see the economy as poor, therefore, support of more taxes is not strong.  Ballwin’s proposed 40 cent tax is not an exceptional high increase over the current real property taxes being collected. 

He said that April is the best time to have a property tax on the ballot.  Property taxes have grown at twice the rate of other taxes, such as sales and income.  A real estate tax hurts fixed income people the most.  People tend to prefer service cuts rather than a tax increase.

Dr. Warren noted the following pitfalls:
1. People vote in economic self-interest.
2. America is seen to be going into a recession.
3. Elderly people will not support the tax.
4. Elderly people do not see that they will benefit from this.
5. There is no sharing of the tax burden with non-residents as sales tax is shared. 
6. A low tax request does not offset the perception that taxes are high.
7. The tax is seen as unfair, with inaccurate assessments, and will never go down.

Dr. Warren noted why the tax is favored:
1. High income people have more disposable income.
2. Deductible, prospects of increasing salary is not an issue.
3. An investment in the community
4. Improves property values
5. Sees the value to the tax and understands inflation
6. Community pride.

The morning session adjourned at 12:03 p.m.

The Board reconvened in joint session with the City Council of the City of Ellisville at 12:47 p.m. in the Recreation Building in Bluebird Park in Ellisville. 


Richard Goldberg, of the Goldberg Group, facilitated the meeting.  Those attending the meeting included elected officials and senior staff members of both cities.  After conducting a brief introduction, the group discussed issues of common interest to the two cities and explored areas in which Ballwin and Ellisville could coordinate efforts toward a common outcome.  It was agreed that the professional staffs of each city would pursue cooperative efforts and that the Boards would meet jointly again to review accomplishments and explore additional areas of mutual interest.

The meeting adjourned at 3:05 p.m.

Walter S. Young, Mayor

ATTEST:

Robert Kuntz, City Administrator