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
Meeting Agenda click here
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:01 p.m.
Mayor Pogue introduced Cub Scout Troop 792 from Parkway South High School and Troop 751 from St. Joseph’s School. Pack 357 from Woerther, Dens 1 and 3 presented the colors and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the October 26 Budget Work Session were submitted for approval. Alderman McDowell amended page 1, to change “performance” based organizational budget to “service” based organizational budget. A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Minutes of the October 26, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session were submitted for approval. Alderman Fleming amended the closed session section of the Minutes as follows: “Alderman Fleming suggested that the Historical Commission be formally recognized for their efforts. City Administrator Kuntz agreed and suggested that all individuals and donors also be recognized who made a contribution.” A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock 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.
Janel Jackson, 935 Westrun Drive: Ms. Jackson said there is an over population of deer in Deer Creek Subdivision, and she asked what can be done about this. She said the deer are damaging property and were on her front porch recently eating the pumpkins. City Administrator Kuntz said that this subdivision is in a prime geographical location with the State park to the south and the wooded common ground surrounding the homes. He said that it is against the law to discharge firearms in the city limits, therefore, this is not an option. He said that the city is working with the Conservation Department on this issue and he will have Code Enforcement Supervisor Klein talk with her.
Walt Young, 634 Lemonwood Drive: Mr. Young said that the Historical Commission’s used book sale was very successful with $1,039 in sales, the best in four years. He said that the Historical Commission will receive 10% of the sales at Genghis Grill, at the Fountain Plaza at Clayton and Clarkson, on Nov. 10 and 11 from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mr. Young also mentioned that he did not receive e-mail regarding the Board meeting announcement and supporting paperwork. He said that this has happened twice in the last two months.
Ron Markland, 15908 Wetherburn Road: Mr. Markland said that after finding that his Sunshine Law request and those of 105 other Ballwin residents, requires payment of $500 to review the records, he reviewed the reasons for the original request. He said that he received an e-mail on July 31, 2009 from City Administrator Kuntz stating that to the best of his knowledge, the only purchases authorized without benefit of formal bidding have been a few emergency change orders on roadway projects. Mr. Markland said that this is the issue that caused his request since the partial records provided by the Finance Officer indicate many apparent violations of the Ballwin Code of Ordinances, and are not in the roadway project category. Mr. Markland expressed his belief that the City’s response would be that they have not denied information, they just want $500 to view it. He said that the City Administrator has the right to waive the charges.
Bill Dees, 15216 Clayton Road: Mr. Dees said he has been a Ballwin resident since 1983. He said that at that time, the street lights were paid for by the residents. The City of Ballwin sent out a notice that if the majority of the residents wanted the lights, the city would pay for the lights. He collected signatures on a petition from property owners along Clayton Road from Kehrs Mill to Londondary. Everyone wanted lights except for one person. At that point, the City agreed to pay for the lights. Union Electric agreed to pay for the maintenance of the lights. As of three weeks ago, the lights have been turned off. He asked why the lights have been turned off on Clayton Road which is a heavily traveled street, and why is Ballwin now not paying for the lights.
Mayor Pogue said that by ordinance Ballwin does not pay for lights in a State right-of-way. This is the same as Manchester Road. City Administrator Kuntz said that when Clayton Road was reconstructed, part of the roadway surface was actually aligned and some of the poles are now back in a residential area. He said that there are no street lights on Clayton Road in the area that is in Chesterfield. Mr. Kuntz said that Ballwin provides street lights in the subdivision streets, but is not currently providing lights on the State routes, which are Clayton Road and Manchester Road.
Alderman Fleming said that it was voted to turn these lights off at a meeting when he was not present. He asked City Attorney Jones if it would be appropriate for him to re-open the question under Aldermanic Comments even though he was not present for the original vote. City Attorney Jones said this can be done by motion. Alderman Fleming said that under Aldermanic Comments, he will make the motion to turn the lights back on. He said the lights should not have been turned off. He asked the Board to have an open mind to consider this. This is too important of a road to be dark.
Jim Nelson, 15961 Downall Green, Williamsburg Green Subdivision: Mr. Nelson said he is presenting an additional 7 Sunshine Law requests to the Board. Mr. Nelson said that at the last Board of Aldermen meeting, Alderman Boerner said that the City’s auditing firm conducts an evaluation and examination of the transactions. They check to see that the transactions are in compliance with State laws and the City’s ordinances. Mr. Nelson said that if that were the case, the auditors would have pointed out that Ballwin’s purchasing policy is in direct conflict with the Code of Ordinances. He said the limited records made available to Mr. Markland raise more questions than answers. Mr. Nelson said that the proposed change to the purchasing policy was tabled at the last two Board meetings due to the absence of an alderman in each case. He asked why the purchasing policy changes are not on this agenda.
Jeff Gidday, 15963 Cypress Trace Drive: Mr. Gidday said that the first mention of the Board reviewing and revising the City’s purchasing policy was at the Board meeting on September 14. This was the meeting following Mr. Markland’s request for some of these records. He said the Board voted 5-4 to have the City Attorney revise the purchasing policy. At the next meeting, it was discussed but no action was taken. He said that at the next two meetings, the purchasing policy discussion was postponed due to the absence of an alderman. He said it is not on tonight’s agenda and he asked why. He asked if the revisions are being conducted behind closed doors.
Mr. Gidday said that at the last Board meeting, he presented 105 signed Sunshine Law petitions from Ballwin residents requesting that the City Administrator and Board of Aldermen release the documents. Later in the meeting, Alderman McDowell said that the two individuals requesting 20 hours of information from the City to be reviewed by themselves is not in the public interest. Mr. Gidday said that submission of 105 signed Sunshine Law petitions is in the best interest of the public. He said that he can bring all 105 petition signers to come into this room to review the documents. He said that Mr. Kuntz said that he will waive the fee if the Board approves it. He said that Mr. Kuntz already has the authority to waive the fee by himself and does not need Board approval.
BILL # 3598 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDNG ORDINANCE 09-28 WHICH APPOINTED VIRGINIA NYE AS MUNICIPAL JUDGE FOR THE CITY OF BALLWIN.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3598. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3598 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a second reading of Bill No. 3598. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3598 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3598 with the following results:
BILL # 3599 - AN ORDINANCE PROVIDING FOR A SPEED LIMIT OF 20 MPH ON RICHLAND MEADOWS DRIVE AND ALVERSTON COURT.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Mellow for a first reading of Bill No. 3599. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3599 was read for the first time.
Alderman Schmer asked why the 20 mph speed was enacted on these streets. Mayor Pogue said that this was a petition by the residents. Alderman Schmer asked if Police Chief Schicker had the same opinion then as he has now. Chief Schicker said yes he did. He was opposed to the change one year ago and is stilled opposed. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is the only residential street in Ballwin with this speed limit. The concern is that this is also a double-fine zone. Alderman Schmer asked if the residents were in favor of a double-fine zone and a speed limit reduction. City Administrator Kuntz said that residents did not express their opinions regarding the double-fine zones when they were enacted.
Alderman Schmer said that according to Chief Schicker’s memorandum, he noted that this is criminal-izing behavior that is not a ticket on many other similarly situated streets, but on this street it is.
Alderman Leahy said that since the speed limit is lowered to 20 mph, why is this also a double-fine zone. Alderman Terbrock said that the double fine was enacted about a month before the lower speed limit was requested. The residents did not feel that the double fine was sufficient to solve the speeding problem on their street. Alderman Terbrock said the design of Richland Meadows is curved, the houses are close to the street and there is a lot of on-street parking. He said that it is appropriate to have the speed limit that low. He said that he also agrees with Chief Schicker that the 20 mph speed limit is inconsistent with the speed limit on other residential streets, but the lower speed limit appears to be working because he is not aware of any complaints.
Alderman McDowell said that this was a request by the residents on that street. The residents were told that they would be most susceptible to the fine, and they were okay with that. Alderman Suozzi said that she remembered the signed petition contained about 50% of the residents on Richland Meadows. Many Board policies state that the petition percentages must be higher than 50% to justify the request.
Alderman Boerner said that most of the people who signed the petition were directly along that street. The speed limit reduction received wide support from the residents. He said this is a safety issue and he supports the residents in their request for the 20 mph speed limit. Alderman Terbrock said that this is a cut-through street and has more traffic than just that of the residents.
Alderman Suozzi said that the cars parked on the street is an effective means of traffic calming. It narrows the roadway and causes people to slow down. She said that children can dart between the cars with any posted speed limit. She said she still has a problem with the lower speed limit as she did a year ago.
Alderman Schmer asked if the residents on Richland Meadows and Alverston Court know this item is on the agenda at this meeting. Mayor Pogue said that the residents knew that when the speed limit reduction was approved last year, there was a one-year trial period. Alderman Schmer asked if it would be appropriate for someone with the city to speak to the subdivision president for current input. City Attorney Jones said that it has been the Board’s policy that if any alderman votes against a second reading at the same meeting at which the first reading was held, it is automatically held over to the next meeting. He said that this particular ordinance will expire if it is not extended at this meeting, the speed limit will go back to 25 mph. A new ordinance will be needed to re-instate the 20 mph speed limit.
Alderman Boerner said he believes that the residents were unequivocal about their request and it was intended to be permanent.
Alderman McDowell said that if there have not been any complaints from the citizens, and the citizens have adapted to the 20 mph speed limit, and the residents petitioned with an overwhelming affirmative request, it is right to extend the legislation for another year. This seems to be working for that particular area.
Alderman Suozzi said that the petitions were not turned over to the Board for examination.
Alderman Mellow said that he has received complaints about the 20 mph speed limit on Richland Meadows. He said there are people who are not happy with this.
Alderman Schmer asked if the people that are unhappy are opposed to both the 20 mph speed limit and the double-fine zone. Alderman Mellow said that he has been told that the residents get the majority of the tickets.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3599. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3599 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3599 with the following results:
CONSENT ITEMS: (Budgeted items which are low bid and do not exceed expenditure estimates and/or items which have been previously approved in concept.)
Commission Vacancy: Mayor Pogue said there is still a need for a Ward 2 representative for the Planning & Zoning Commission and the alternate position for the Board of Adjustment. He said he has received a recommendation for the Public Defender position.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Audit: City Administrator Kuntz said that at the last meeting Alderman Boerner pointed out the role of the auditor regarding financial records. As a result of that suggestion, he said he contacted the City’s auditors. He said he has a letter dated September 29 to Alderman McDowell and Alderman Fleming listing 5 specific areas of question with respect to the City’s purchasing policy. This and all of the related documentation were forwarded to the auditing firm of Hochschild, Bloom & Company, who has been retained by the City as the independent outside auditors. The firm was provided with a copy of the current purchasing policy and the purchasing ordinance and the proposed changes that had been under Board consideration. He said the independent assessment is being conducted with full cooperation from Staff. There is no involvement from staff other than to answer questions and make the report available to this body. He said for that reason, he took it upon himself not to prolong the discussion either on the purchasing policy or the surplus property policy until the auditors’ report had been submitted. He said that in the interest of transparency and full disclosure, the report from the auditor will be provided upon completion.
Alderman Boerner asked if the examination that will be conducted by the auditors is partially in response to the comments that have been made to the Board. City Administrator Kuntz said yes and in response to the Board’s motion to deny the fee waiver, and acknowledgement of the idea with respect to the qualified relationship of an independent examination board. He said that turning over more information will be subject to more questions and criticism and will not serve any public purpose. He said that the best way to resolve the issue is through the auditor. Alderman Boerner asked if a copy of the audit analysis will be made available to Mr. Markland, Mr. Nelson, and Mr. Gidday. City Administrator Kuntz said that he will give the report to the Board. At that time, Ballwin will comply with all requests for copies pursuant to the Sunshine Law.
Alderman Schmer said that this audit is in response to the most recent requests for documents, however, there is an independent audit every year. City Administrator said that this current audit is related to specific questions that were raised by specific members of the audience.
Alderman McDowell said this is an uncommon situation that is being addressed. This procedure is not a precedent that will be standard for future situations of this nature. In the future, requests of this nature will be dealt with in the appropriate manner through the City Attorney.
Street Lighting: City Administrator Kuntz said the Board has a policy with respect to providing residential street lighting by petition. The policy specifically excludes illumination of State rights-of-way that are within the city’s jurisdiction. He said that Clayton Road and Manchester Road are within that category. State monies were used to construct the roadways, the sidewalks, and the islands. The street lights should be included. He said that in the absence of a change in the policy and rescinding the current policy, he asked if the discussion of this issue should be held over pursuant to a discussion of a more comprehensive revision. He said the Board direction was that Ballwin is not going to continue to accept petitions and continue to allow AmerenUE to install inefficient energy consuming fixtures that are not state of the art and to move toward a greener environment.
Alderman McDowell said that a clarification from City Administrator Kuntz is needed. He believes that City Administrator Kuntz stated that the Board acted in a fashion to move into compliance since the ordinance states that we will not support lights on state-run roads. City Administrator Kuntz said this is not an ordinance; it is the Board’s Policy Manual. He said the policy states, “The city will not accept additional financial responsibility”, he said this can include new lights, “or street installation or maintenance on any roadway that is not under municipal control or jurisdiction.” He said that the lights that were turned off on Clayton Road were being paid for by Ballwin even though they were in the State right-of-way.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to adopt the street light policy as presented. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Claymont Court: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding accepting Claymont Court for City maintenance. He said all of the public improvements have been completed. The reason for the motion is so that this street can be included in public maintenance for snow removal.
Mayor Pogue asked if the remaining escrow amount will be enough if it is necessary to fulfill storm drainage issues. City Administrator Kuntz said that the amount is sufficient.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to prepare legislation to adopt Claymont Court for public maintenance, subject to the escrow requirement for the drainage. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Leaf Collection: City Administrator Kuntz said that the leaf collection program is being conducted with four fewer full-time Public Works employees. That equals one full crew. The weather conditions were such that until 2 weeks ago, there were few leaves on the ground. Spot collection was done. Within the last 2 weeks, the leaves have fallen. As of Wednesday, November 4, voluntary overtime was authorized, which extends the work day to 5:00. Working beyond 5:00 is not safe due to visibility. Crews also vacuumed leaves on Saturday. He said the schedule is approximately 3 – 4 days behind schedule. He said there are a lot of phone calls. All available resources are being used and we are living within our financial means. He said that with 90% of the leaves on the ground, once caught up, the operation will be completed in a timely fashion. He said that this is reality and not excuses. The crews are doing the best they can.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Clayton Road Street Lights: Alderman Fleming asked the Board to reconsider the turning off of the lights on Clayton Road. He said this is not a tremendous expense. It is approximately $1,400 annually. He said he was not in attendance at the Board meeting when this vote was taken. He said these lights are important on this major roadway. He said a few weeks ago, the Board discussed how a new subdivision with street lights would be handled. He said he suggested that if the petitions were going to be stopped, new street lights should not be accepted. He said that the Board decided that this would not be fair because every subdivision accepted in the past, the city paid for the street lights. The lights were on Clayton Road, the residents petitioned for the lights, and the lights have been on for years. He asked that the Board reconsider turning the street lights back on.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman McDowell to re-establish the street lights that have been turned off on Clayton Road.
Alderman Suozzi said that she cautioned the Board at the time the vote was taken that Alderman Fleming was out of town. She said she was able to convince the Board that Kehrs Mill Road, while under St. Louis County maintenance, is also an important road to be lit. She said that we do not maintain the State road. She does not think it is asking too much for Ballwin to provide the lights. She said we have saved money on Kehrs Mill because St. Louis County is maintaining the roadway even though it is a State road.
A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: McDowell, Terbrock, Suozzi, Schmer, Fleming, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: Leahy. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Streets: Alderman Fleming distributed to the Board a chart from City Engineer Kramer. This shows Ballwin’s total commitment to streets since the year 2000. It is projected to drop substantially in 2010 to just over $1 million. He said that last year it was $1.7 million. He believes it will be worthwhile to apply some reserves to the street budget in 2010. Independent consultants have advised that $2 million per year should be spent to have an adequate street program. He said we cannot commit to only half of what should be spent on streets. If we are going to be willing to subsidize operations with reserves, we should be willing to subsidize the street budget with reserves as well. He said that street conditions affect property values.
Addressing The Board: Alderman McDowell said it is stated policy that when an individual is allowed to address the Board and the Mayor, the comments should be addressed to the Mayor. It is not a forum to address individual aldermen or to throw out snide remarks or things of that nature. He said that is out of order and out of decorum. He said when an individual addresses the Board, they address the chair, address the issue. It has nothing to do with individual aldermen. If they are not doing that, the individual should be cut off from debate. He said that this is the proper procedure. Mayor Pogue said that he respectfully disagrees with Alderman McDowell’s interpretation.
Policy Changes: Alderman Suozzi said that Finance Officer Loehr suggested the Purchasing Policy changes and the requested documents were given to those making the request. At this time, the same accusations are being made toward this Board. She said this was totally a staff decision and had nothing to do with not being clear or transparent.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR