Board of Aldermen Meeting Agendas & Minutes
Every effort is made to ensure that the Agendas and Minutes provided on this and subsequent pages is timely and correct; however, users should keep in mind that this information is provided only as a public convenience. In any case where legal reliance on information is required, the official records of the City of Ballwin should be consulted.
The Board of Aldermen meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7 p.m. in the Board Room of the Ballwin Government Center, 1 Government Ctr. Schedule and place subject to change. Meetings are open to the public. All citizens are urged to attend.
Board of Aldermen Meeting & Budget Work Session - Complete
CITY OF BALLWIN
300 Park Drive, Donald “Red” Loehr Police & Court Center
BUDGET WORK SESSION AGENDA
Minutes of the September 22, 2008 City of Ballwin Budget Work Session
The Budget Work Session for 2009 was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Young. In attendance were Aldermen Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Fleming, Lembke and Boerner. Also in attendance were City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Finance Officer Loehr, Chief of Police Schicker, Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer, City Engineer Kramer, and City Attorney Jones.
Alderman Lembke asked if this approach shows the source and allocation of dedicated taxes such as park sales tax. Finance Officer Loehr said this is done through coding in the accounting.
Alderman Lembke asked if this will increase the required reserve. City Administrator Kuntz said yes, because the Operating budget will be larger and the percentage based reserve will have to be bigger. He said that Ballwin is well ahead of its policy on minimum reserve.
Alderman Buermann asked if the TDD and TIF will be in the Capital or Operating Budget. Finance Officer Loehr said it will be held in a separate fund. She said that the new approach puts all maintenance and equipment expenses into the Operating Budget and will show only major capital facility expenditures in the Capital budget.
Finance Officer Loehr presented the projected revenues for 2009. She said that more annual revenue is coming from the pool than was the case in previous years. She reviewed the sales and utility taxes including new tax rates for utilities. Motor fuel taxes are down in 2008 and expected to continue down in 2009. She said the same is true of vehicle based fees. Recreation receipts look good for 2008 and 2009. She said the 2007 fund balance was 58.7%. She anticipates it to be equal or more than this amount at the end of 2008.
Alderman Buermann said he believes that sales tax revenue projections for 2009 may be overly optimistic. He does not think that 2009 will be even close to 2008 figures. Finance Officer Loehr said that pool revenues are trending upward. This is expected to offset losses in the point of sale portion of the sales tax revenues.
City Administrator Kuntz said that utilities, insurance, fuel, etc. will probably be going up dramatically. There is limited opportunity to curtail these increases.
City Administrator Kuntz said he would like to consider the establishment of enterprise funds in the future. The Pointe, North Pointe, and Golf Course could all be looked at this way. He said that no program pays its own way, including debt retirement; however, they cover their operating expenses. When the debt service is paid, the Parks Department will probably be in a revenue positive situation.
Alderman Suozzi asked what kind of subsidy recreation facilities usually require from other revenues. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said about 20% is needed. The Pointe is presently at about an 8% subsidy. Alderman Suozzi said that this goes back to the quality of life issues that drove the development of these facilities in the first place. These facilities were never expected to pay 100% of their operation, much less retire debt.
Alderman Lembke said that many new competing private facilities have come to the area because of the strong market for these services. The success of The Pointe may have demonstrated the strength of the market.
Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said that they have surveyed other facilities and Ballwin will be amending its programs to address the competition.
Alderman Fleming asked how much more will be spent on streets in 2009 over 2008. City Administrator Kuntz said that it will be the same amount as in 2008, but without the maintenance related costs. Finance Officer Loehr said it is protected to be about $1.3 million for road improvements. City Administrator Kuntz said this will be at least $400,000 more than in 2008.
Alderman Fleming asked how much of the new utility tax revenue will go to street repairs. City Administrator Kuntz said about 50% is planned, but the numbers are very tentative at this point and will be refined as September numbers come available.
Alderman Lembke said that in the past 5 years, salary adjustments have not kept pace with the CPI. He would like to get the salaries at least even with the CPI, or even higher. City Administrator Kuntz said that the lower salaries have caused a loss of talented employees, especially in the Parks and Police Departments.
Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 6:53 p.m.
Walter S. Young, Mayor
MINUTES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Young at 7:00 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the September 8 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. Alderman Fleming amended page 5, paragraph 12 to remove his statement that a motion can be made at any time. A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mike Reid, Chief of Staff for Senator John Loudon, said that the Homestead Preservation Tax Credit is a tax break that senior citizens can use to help mitigate their real estate taxes. He said that when they prepare their 2008 tax forms, they can compare their forms of 2006 and 2007 total tax bills. Since this is a non-assessment year, any increase over 2½% will entitle them to a credit on the 2009 taxes. There was a change made in Senate Bill 711 that will be advantageous to seniors. For anyone who has applied for the credit before, they can lock into 2006 as their base year when they fill out their forms in 2009, 2010, and 2011. If it is an assessment year, any increase over 5% will entitle them to a credit. If it is a non-assessment year, any increase over 2 ½ % will be a credit. For people who have never applied previously, between 2009 and 2011, one time they will be able to get 2006 as their base year. If they have had big tax increases since 2006, they will get a one-time benefit. The following year, the base year will be the year prior to the first time the application was approved. People who apply this year for the first time, will compare their 2006 and 2007 taxes, and calculate accordingly. Between 2009 and 2011, they will lock in 2007 as their base year. If anyone has substantial tax increases after 2007, the Homestead Preservation Credit will still be advantageous to them. People who are over age 65 or totally disabled are eligible. The income guidelines are mid $70,000 or below per household income. He said that people can contact his office at (314) 895-0007 or the Department of Revenue if they have questions. He said that October 15 is the deadline for submitting applications.
Mr. Reid said that the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit / Missouri Property Tax Credit, the income guidelines are less than $25,000 per year as a single person, or $27,000 as a couple. Up to $750 back on the real estate taxes or rent is possible. He said that people with a Medicaid bed qualify for this reimbursement, but if they are in a nursing home, and exceeded their asset limits, the refunds must be paid to the nursing home.
Mr. Reid said that next year for people who are homeowners, the income guideline will be around $30,000 per year and the tax credit will be up to $1,000. It is based on a sliding scale depending on the applicant’s income.
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. Signage (Pointe & Golf Course; contract award to ASI Modulex, $22,457.99)
Alderman Fleming asked about the cost to install an electronic message board. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said that an electronic message board will at least double the cost of the sign. Alderman Robinson said it would be more cost effective to have an electronic board and much safer. City Administrator Kuntz said that the proposed signage is much better than we currently have and is within our budget.
Alderman Fleming suggested investigating the price of an electronic message Board. Mayor Young suggested that a price that is more than double will not be considered and will proceed with the current proposed signage. If the price is less than double, this information can be resubmitted to the Board for approval. Alderman Pogue said that he prefers to see hard numbers before anything is approved. City Administrator Kuntz said that an electronic sign at The Pointe is not necessary.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Buermann to approve the proposed signage for The Pointe, and ask for pricing for an electronic sign at the Golf Course. A voice vote was taken with an affirmative result and the motion passed.
McAlister’s Deli, on September 30, 4:00 p.m. until close, will donate 15% of all receipts returned with the flier to Ballwin’s Old School House.
Ballot Issues: Mayor Young said that Proposition I is for the support of $120 million in bonds and will not require a tax increase. The money will be used to replace the Family Court facility, renovate the court building, replace public health lavatories and health department administrative offices etc. The St. Louis County warning siren system will also be upgraded.
Proposition M is regarding Metrolink. The ½ cent sales tax will be for services and expenses, and the other half will be to expand their route from Clayton to West Port. The next route will be from West Port to North County. Alderman Fleming said that on Thursday, September 25, at the Kirkwood train station, the Municipal League will vote to determine if they support Proposition M.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Use Tax: City Administrator Kuntz said Proposition H (HELP) is a division of funds into three sources. The primary one is for interoperable police emergency communications throughout the County. A portion of the revenues will come back to the cities. The low figure, if approved, will mean approximately $375,000 additional revenue for Ballwin. If all three taxes are approved, the total will be closer to $ ½ million per year. He said the County Municipal League has requested a contribution. Ballwin can have the most direct benefit if this passes than any other city. He said that, subject to clarification from our City Attorney, that this is worth the symbolic contribution from the contingency fund of approximately $6,200 to inform the residents.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson and seconded by Alderman Fleming to make the recommended contribution.
Alderman Suozzi asked about the ballot language for the Use Tax and how the $30 million was determined. City Administrator Kuntz said that there have been cities that have passed a local use tax. Based on the actual receipts, they estimate that 10% of the minimum gross sales within St. Louis County are generated from non brick and mortar sources. Using that projection outward is how the number was determined. Police Chief Schicker said that they are trying to fill in the loophole on the exception of out-of-state purchases. It is estimated that between that and internet sales, it will add a considerable boost to the revenue. Alderman Suozzi asked if this is regarding a purchase over a certain amount. City Administrator Kuntz said there is a $2,000 individual exemption. A lot is generated from business-to-business at the corporate level.
City Administrator Kuntz said that if the Board is in favor of supporting Proposition H (HELP), the Resolution is provided for approval.
Alderman Boerner asked how is the internet sales aspect enforceable? City Attorney Jones said that this is a voluntary disclosure. Alderman Robinson said that in order to complete the purchase, the purchaser must indicate if it is an in-state or out-of-state purchase. City Administrator Kuntz said that it’s indefinite at this time if this issue will be on the ballot because the deadline was missed for submission to the Election Board for the November ballot. The court will decide if it will be on the ballot. City Attorney Jones said that he is comfortable with this ballot issue. If used as intended, it will not offend any statutory mechanisms that will preclude the city from making this contribution. He said that all of the municipalities are being solicited and the contributions are going to the St. Louis County Municipal League and they will publish the information. If anyone has violated the statutory framework, it will be the St. Louis County Municipal League and not the contributing cities. He feels that this is perfectly acceptable.
Mayor Young asked if the motion is just for the money contribution or also for approval of the Resolution. Alderman Robinson said his motion was for both. Alderman Fleming said he seconded the motion because it was his understanding that it was just for the money contribution. Alderman Fleming said that he withdraws his second of the motion.
The motion was amended by Alderman Robinson for approval of the money contribution and approval of the Resolution. The motion was seconded by Alderman Terbrock. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Ayes: Pogue, Terbrock, Buermann, Suozzi, Robinson, Lembke, Boerner. Nay: Fleming. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Alderman Fleming said he will not vote in favor of a Resolution that he has not had time to read in its entirety.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Personnel Issue: Alderman Fleming asked if there is an update on the personnel matter that was recently briefly discussed. City Attorney Jones said that he and the City Administrator met with the staff members who comprised the court testimony of staff. He said the issues were discussed and there is a better understanding of the need to communicate. They put into place some mechanisms for consulting prior to court dates and dealing with housing code violations. He said this will help dramatically to take care of those types of issues. City Administrator Kuntz said that it will take a few months to make sure that it works. Alderman Fleming asked if attendance was discussed. City Administrator Kuntz said yes. City Attorney Jones said that there was disagreement over how many meetings or sessions had been missed. Attendance records will be kept in the future.
Meadowbrook Country Club Estates: Alderman Boerner asked if there has been any requests for permits or has there been any progress. City Engineer Kramer said there has been dead silence.
Sewer Backups: Alderman Terbrock asked how is it possible that due to the amount of rain, a sewer would back up into a basement? City Engineer Kramer said that either the sewer line that goes into the house or the sewer main line, or both, have leaking joints. MSD ran a new sewer line along Brookside and Country Creek. Those replaced lines that were either undersized or the joints were leaking due to age. When it rains, the water penetrates into the ground and goes into the sanitary sewer. The sanitary sewer was not designed to handle water that is coming through the ground from the sky. The water has to go somewhere, so it usually goes to the basement floor. He said the sanitary sewer does not usually leak out of the sewer. The water leaks in because the water comes from the top. When there is heavy rain, it relieves itself by going into the path of least resistance, which is a hole in the joint. When it doesn’t rain, the pipe runs normal capacity, which is the waste from homes and businesses. When the rain water is added, this is more than the pipe can handle and it backs up.
Alderman Terbrock said that MSD has proposed to raise rates to repair their storm sewers. The sanitary system is a bigger problem. City Engineer Kramer said that MSD is mandated a lot by the federal government. There are a lot if edicts that are directed to sanitary issues and some to storm. They don’t intermix the regulations and funding. City Administrator Kuntz indicated that he was impressed with City Engineer Kramer’s knowledge of the issue. City Engineer Kramer said that he knows his stuff, he knows a lot about sewage.
Tree Limb Pick Up: Alderman Pogue said that the pick up after Hurricane Ike on September 14 has ended. He said that some people did not know that they had to call for pick up. They thought that our trucks would automatically come by and pick up the limbs. He suggested more resident notification of this service after a storm. City Administrator Kuntz said that there were 110 calls for tree limb pick up. The pick up runs 7 days from the date of the storm to the end. Restating the information in the Resident Newsletter has not solved the problem. Alderman Pogue said that a lot of the brush piles were at the curb during the first week after the storm. City Administrator Kuntz said that we are now more sensitive regarding vehicle gasoline which eliminates the constant neighborhood drive-through looking for brush piles. When people call, the pickups can be grouped in neighborhoods making the service more efficient. He said that he will discuss the issue with staff.
Alderman Terbrock asked if e-mail reminders could be sent to the residents of the service. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said that this could be done, but this is not a comprehensive list of e-mail addresses.
Alderman Lembke said that there is duplication of service with the leaf collection program and brush pickup. If people put the leaves and brush at the curb and complain long enough to someone, it will get picked up. If e-mail notification is used, there will be a good percentage of well-meaning Ballwin residents who will take advantage of the program and put out a pile of brush that will actually be their entire yard cleanup and not just limbs that have come down as a result of the storm. He said that this is a problem that will continue. He said that residents are getting the free service from the City and paying for it once through Allied Waste. This is duplication. He said that residents should be told that the duplication is not going to continue. That’s the only way to solve the problem. He said the other solution is to continue implementing rules, and sending the crews to pick up leaves and brush at the addresses that ignore the rules. He said that if this is the method to be used, more money should be appropriated to the program. It will be over-funded in order to continue giving the residents what they demand. City Administrator Kuntz said that if the storm tree debris is localized instead of city-wide, the crews do not pick up.
Alderman Robinson said that the brush and leaf pickup should be stopped altogether. We cannot afford the high cost of fuel. It’s an aldermen’s nightmare because people are calling to complain and asking the police to ticket people whose debris is on the sidewalks. He said the solution is simple because Ballwin does not have enough money to continue offering this service.
Alderman Suozzi said that she has not had any complaints about the brush pick up program. No one can pick where the storm is going to hit. She said that people knew how to play the game and that’s why their limbs were picked up.
Alderman Boerner asked what happens when a tree blows over in someone’s yard. Alderman Robinson said that they pay a company to cut up the limbs, but they are not paying the company the haul-away fee because they know that Ballwin will remove the limbs for free. He said that this happened in his subdivision. The subdivision trustees were cleaning out the common ground and dragging it to the curb. He said there were homes that dumped two truck loads of debris at the curb, which was not storm damage.
Ballot Issues: Alderman Fleming asked Mayor Young if he is going to attend the Municipal League meeting regarding cities that support the ballot initiatives. Mayor Young said he will attend. Alderman Fleming said that only Proposition H (HELP) has been endorsed by the Board based on the approval of the Resolution. He said the Mayor should not take a position at the Municipal League meeting on the other two initiatives since the Board has not authorized approval in advance. Mayor Young said that Metro has been wanting to attend our Board meeting, but this is not the position of the Board to allow such presentations.
Alderman Robinson said that when the Mayor goes to a meeting and a commitment is asked for anything, and the Mayor is put in a position where he should vote, he has to decide how to vote without any feedback from this Board. He suggested a policy that if the Mayor is expected to vote representing the City, he can only vote if the matter has had suitable guidance and approval from the Board. Alderman Fleming agreed. He said that Proposition I is somewhat related to Proposition H, but he is sure there is a difference of opinion on this Board on Proposition M. He said that Proposition H is the only item that has been authorized by the Board for a definite opinion.
Alderman Robinson asked if it is appropriate for a motion to be made that before the Mayor can vote on a position for Ballwin, he first must obtain suitable guidance and approval from the Board.
Mayor Young said that it is not always known ahead of time what will be discussed at the Municipal League meetings. He said that sometimes there is a Mayor’s discussion on an issue with a vote. He said that he understands the Board’s feelings on Propositions I and M, and he will not make a comment on these issues at the meeting. He said that as an individual, he will not support Proposition M because residents have stated that we should not spend money on what will never be seen in this area or in South County. He said he agrees with them.
A motion was made by Alderman Robinson that before the Mayor can vote at a St. Louis County Municipal League meeting, on any proposition or resolution, he must first obtain suitable guidance and approval from the Board of Aldermen.
Alderman Terbrock asked will this will be limited to attendance at the St. Louis County Municipal League meeting?
Alderman Lembke said that the Mayor’s vote can be determined as a commitment made for the City of Ballwin, not just by the Mayors in general. He said that a policy can eliminate the uncertainty of the city’s position by the Mayor indicating that the issue can be presented to the Board for discussion, and then brought back to the Municipal League at the next meeting. If this is not acceptable to the Municipal League, the Mayor can abstain from the vote, or not vote.
Mayor Young said that if this policy is approved, the Board will need to read the St. Louis County Municipal League newsletter. He said that most of the time, the newsletter is received before their monthly meeting, which is the last Thursday of the month. He said he will need Board guidance on the issues in the Newsletter that will be discussed at the Municipal League meeting, in case a vote is required. He said that most of the time, the discussion items are presented in the Newsletter and not sprung on the attendees.
Alderman Fleming said that this is information that can be included in the “Mayor’s Report” in the Board Meeting newsletter.
Alderman Robinson said that he is in favor of expansion of Metro Link, therefore, he would not like to hear that Mayor Young voted against Proposition M representing the City. He said that we are not going to get Metro Link here unless it is expanded. City Administrator Kuntz said that there is no official position of the City on this issue. Mayor Young said that since the Board has not made a formal decision on Proposition M, he will not comment on this at the Municipal League meeting. He said he can only comment on Proposition H.
Alderman Lembke said that there has been a motion made without a second at this time. He said that all of this discussion was inappropriate. Either the motion fails or a second needs to be made. There were no further comments.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Buermann and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 8:06 p.m.
WALTER S. YOUNG, MAYOR