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
Board of Aldermen Meeting Agenda click here
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
November 23, 2009
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:03 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the November 9, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Jim Robinson, 203 Wildbriar, complimented the Board for their hard work in running the City in a financially responsible manner. He said that the critics have a right to be heard and the Board listens to their statements. He said there are people who disagree with the Board’s decision to allow the new Schnuck’s at the corner of Kehrs Mill and Clarkson. He reminded the Board to stay focused on the business of running the City. Don’t be distracted by the voice of a disgruntled few. The approval of the Schnuck’s development was in the best interest of the City of Ballwin. It should generate tax revenues that are sorely needed. The same complaints were expressed when the Lowe’s development was proposed. The people said that there would be a reduction in property values, traffic congestion and an increase in accidents. He said that none of this has occurred. The tax revenue from this development is vital. He said that the City is run well and encouraged the Board not to be distracted.
Jim Nelson, 15961 Downall Green Drive: Mr. Nelson said that at the last Board meeting, he submitted a number of Sunshine Law requests. The first was all Sunshine Law requests made by any current Aldermen or current Mayor during the period of January 1, 2008 to the present, and all subsequent correspondence related to such requests. He said the response was, the City of Ballwin has no such records. He said that Alderman Boerner said he made a request for records and he had to pay for this. The response he received was that there was no such record. Mr. Nelson said the articles in the current issue of the “West Newsmagazine” on pages 16, 18 and 19 makes some very stunning revelations. He said that he is introducing these articles into the record of this meeting. (“West Newsmagazine”, November 18, 2009, Page 16 “Were Sunshine Laws broken on proposed Schnucks-related TDD?”; Pages 18 and 19 “Residents ask Ballwin officials for documents, invoke Sunshine Law”)
Ron Markland, 15908 Wetherburn: Mr. Markland said that at the last board meeting, City Administrator Kuntz advised that the questions that he raised were going to be reviewed by the City’s auditing firm. He said he was questioning the purchased for 2009 to date, which included 42 major purchases totaling more than $1,900,000.00. The City’s auditor indicated in his November 18 letter that he had only been asked to review 5 of the 42 items. Mr. Markland said that he was hoping for a full review of these purchases. There still remains many unanswered questions.
BILL # 3600 - AN ORDINANCE GRANTING A SPECIAL USE EXCEPTION TO U-HAUL OF ST. LOUIS FOR A SITE PLAN AMENDMENT.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3600. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3600 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3600. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3600 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3600 with the following results:
BILL # 3601 - AN ORDINANCE ACCEPTING CLAYMONT COURT FOR PUBLIC MAINTENANCE AS PROVIDED FOR IN THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN.
A motion was made by Alderman Boerner and seconded by Alderman Suozzi for a first reading of Bill No. 3601. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3601 was read for the first time.
Alderman McDowell asked if the retention for storm water drainage resolution has been addressed. City Administrator Kuntz said that yes and funds are being retained in an escrow account to cover the improvements which should be started within the next few weeks.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a second reading of Bill No. 3601. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3601 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3601 with the following results:
A. Mail Server Replacement
Alderman McDowell requested that Item “B” be removed for further discussion.
Commission Vacancies: Ballwin Days Committee: Mayor Pogue recommended that Tim Vincent be re-appointed as Co-Chairman of the Ballwin Days Committee. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman McDowell to re-appoint Tim Vincent Co-Chairman of the Ballwin Days Committee for a 3-year term, expiring December 31, 2012. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Planning & Zoning Commission: Mayor Pogue recommended the appointment of Sue Theodore, Ward 2, to fill the Planning & Zoning vacancy. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy for the appointment of Sue Theodore to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a 4-year term. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Major Expenditure Audit: City Administrator Kuntz said this was a review of certain 2009 purchases that were questioned by Mr. Ronald Markland in his September 29 letter to Alderman McDowell and Alderman Fleming. He said this was not intended to be a comprehensive audit or a supplement to the regularly scheduled annual audit which will be conducted early next year on an annual basis. He said this audit was intended to address five particular contracts that were awarded in 2009 that were over $5,000. The current purchasing policy was provided to the auditing firm, Hochschild, Bloom & Company, along with the administrative changes to the policy that have been pending before the Board.
City Administrator Kuntz said that Mike Williams with Hochschild, Bloom & Company performed the requested audit. Alderman McDowell said there are some areas in the policy that need to be tightened. He said the intent is to make sure Ballwin is in compliance with the State statutes. City Attorney Jones said that in a situation where the City’s policy is inconsistent with the City’s ordinance, the ordinance should be followed. He said the City imposes upon itself more restrictive guidelines in the ordinances than the State requires. There are numerous situations where the State requires competitive bidding under special categories of contracts. Most do not apply to this audit. He said this will give an opportunity to determine if, how, and where the ordinances need to be brought into compliance with State statutes. Policies and ordinances can then be amended or adopted so that all are consistent.
Alderman Terbrock said the word “appears” is used in each of the findings in the audit instead of a definitive yes or know. Mr. Williams said that if something appears to be a certain way, the auditing firm then believes that it is that way. He said the wording can be changed. Alderman Terbrock said that the word “appears” leaves some doubt. Alderman Boerner asked that the word “appears” be changed to make a definite statement. Mr. Williams agreed that this will be changed.
Alderman Fleming said that in every transaction that comes to the Board for approval, there is an honest and good faith effort to make sure everything is done correctly. He said that if a procedural mistake is being made, it will be corrected. Alderman McDowell said that he is asking for clarification and asked that the clarification include any requests for documents so that it is very clear.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Fleming for the City Attorney to provide clarification on the vague policy and ordinance language, and outline a clear process for any types of information.
City Attorney Jones said that the city’s ordinances are more restrictive than the State statutes. He said he can give a report on what the State law says, what the city’s ordinances state, describe the differences, and make suggestions to make it more consistent.
A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mayor Pogue said that the report will become public record after it is accepted by the Board.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Leahy to authorize Mr. Williams to present a revised report. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
ELCO Special Use Exception Transfer: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a transfer of an existing Special Use Exception. The proposal is to transfer the use of a lot which is behind the Toyota dealership from Royal Gate Dodge to ELCO Chevrolet. This would be for the same use to ELCO through its real estate holding company.
Alderman McDowell said that when this discussion was held with Royal Gate, this was an off-site storage facility for Royal Gate. That dealership is not located in Ballwin but had its storage site for vehicles in Ballwin. He said this is a non-conforming parcel of land that the Board is being asked to transfer to someone else. He believes that the storage should be at the same location as the dealership.
City Administrator Kuntz said that this is a transfer of an existing Special Use Exception and not a new Special Use Exception. If that were the case, it would not be allowed.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the ELCO transfer from Royal Gate Dodge. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Mail Server: City Administrator Kuntz said this is an upgrade for the replacing of a piece of equipment that is 6 years old. This upgrade is required to maintain Microsoft Exchange server compatibility. The State bid was utilized. It is recommended the award go to Worldwide Technology, the State vendor, under their state-wide contract in an amount that is within the budget for this equipment.
Alderman Fleming asked if it is recommended that purchases be made from the State contract. City Administrator Kuntz said yes, that for most items, the State bid is the best deal. The State bid tests the private market. Because of their volume and also because of their ability on a broader scale to write the bid specifications and engage more competition, it obtains the best bids. Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that the State bid is usually substantially a better deal. He said the State bid was so much better that it didn’t make sense to go to the expense of the sealed bid process. There is a 3-year guarantee. The equipment will be maintained in-house after that.
City Administrator Kuntz said that there is a minimum cost of $500 - $700 to advertise in the newspaper. The State bid give assurance that the equipment has been bid and scrutinized on a larger agency basis that specializes in purchasing.
Alderman Schmer asked if accepting a State bid, under our current ordinances, comply with our purchasing practices to accept a State bid without obtaining two other competitive bids. City Attorney Jones said probably. He is assuming that the State followed all of the guidelines in Chapter 34, which deals with State purchasing, and the requirements for bidding, advertising, and determining the merits of the bid they received. He said in that case, we are adopting their process and assuming that they did what they were supposed to do under the guidelines in Chapter 34. He said this would comply with Ballwin ordinances. He said he has no independent knowledge of what the State did.
Alderman Fleming asked if the State bid follows the Ballwin Purchasing Policy. City Attorney Jones said that the Ballwin Policy refers to Chapter 34. City Administrator Kuntz said that prices are occasionally verified with local informal source quotes for a comparison. He said that it has never happened where a local quote could beat a State bid. We could get so involved in processing that nothing would get done and lots of money would be spent putting ads in the newspaper. Alderman Fleming suggested advertising several items in one ad in the future.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to accept the bid from Worldwide on the State bid as submitted by Staff. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Towing Contract: City Administrator Kuntz explained that one of the two towing contracts has been suspended pending a broader investigation of policies that affected the ownership of the St. Louis City company that was operating under a different name in Ballwin. He said that it was determined that we should maintain an arms length relationship until we have the issue resolved and not spill back onto the City of Ballwin. Alderman McDowell said that the reason there were two towing companies under contract is that if an accident took place and one company did not respond, there was a second company to call to insure the service was provided. He suggested that the two companies should be maintained for efficiency purposes.
City Administrator Kuntz said that the recommendation is that at any time, the other company, either the one that chose not to bid or the one that we are maintaining an arms-length relationship can meet this renewal proposal and we can come back with a motion to add them as the secondary company. He said there is a third company that was qualified, but due to some personal situations was not able at this time to submit a proposal. He recommended that this matter be open ended so it can be subject to supplemental agreements that meet the same terms. When that happens, it will be presented to the Board. He said that right now, if no action is taken, the contract expires at the end of November. To continue with an expired contract is not an option. Alderman McDowell said that as long as this is open ended at this time, he agrees. City Attorney Jones said that we do not have an ordinance for adopting a contractual relationship with a towing company. City Administrator Kuntz said that this is a renewal of the current terms for an additional 3-year term. This can be extended to another company without legislation.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept the towing contract as presented by staff. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Street Lights: City Administrator Kuntz said a proposal was received from AmerenUE to sell the 15 fixtures in a test area to Ballwin; however, supplemental information was received that states a large number of meters would be necessary in addition to the monthly energy charge that would have to be factored into the payback. This will be longer than 26 months. He said he will be attending a meeting on Nov. 24 with the attorneys that are representing the St. Louis County Municipal League. They filed an amicus to oppose the AmerenUE utility rate hike and to specifically attempt to get Ameren to be more forthright in their disclosure of costs relative to municipal purchase of street lights and energy fee increases that also apply to street light fixtures. He said we pay $18.41 for each pole that is on a cul-de-sac, $2.71 is the energy charge. He said the rate hike that would be implemented in April will take the percentage that Ameren receives and put it on the $18.41 instead of the $2.71. He said that attempts are being made to determine what the cost of a depreciating asset should be.
Alderman Fleming asked if AmerenUE has given a timetable when the Clayton Road lights will be turned back on. He said that there is no Ameren work order to turn the lights back on at this time.
Alderman Boerner said that the 15 light purchase proposal for Danbury Subdivision could be used as a test case. It would be easy to do a cost analysis of the 15 lamps. He asked if this includes the cost of electricity. City Administrator Kuntz said yes, and in addition, 13 meters must be installed for a price. Mayor Pogue said that it does not make sense how the circuitry can run in a single subdivision for 15 lights with 14 meters. City Administrator Kuntz said that one meter times the number of fixtures should indicate the cost of energy for the 15 lights. Alderman McDowell said that Ameren makes it clear that we are moving from underneath their franchise and moving individually, so they are pricing not under the franchise rate for public utilities, but are pricing as an individual vendor per kilowatt hour with a meter to ascertain how much electricity is being used. This is moving to a different grade.
Alderman Suozzi asked if the people that are meeting with the Municipal League are some from the consortium from University City. City Administrator Kuntz said yes and now the Municipal League is involved.
Alderman Boerner asked if there will be an opportunity to use induction lighting. City Administrator Kuntz said no, if induction lighting is installed, everything will be changed again. Alderman Boerner said that induction lights are supposed to last at least 10 or 11 years, which is approximately 100,000 hours. City Administrator Kuntz said that Ameren is doing all they can to prevent this from happening. He said that he is doing everything he can to open the doors so that it can happen. There is also the issue of what it is going to cost to make it happen in between the change.
2010 Budget: City Administrator Kuntz said a motion is necessary to draft legislation and conduct the Public Hearings for the 2010 budget at the December 14 Board meeting. He said that the situation now is such that when the budgeting process started in July, there was a need to apply an additional $600,000 - $800,000 from the reserve funds to balance the 2010 budget. That number, as a result of the AT&T Land Line Settlement, coupled with some other favorable developments in terms of cost savings and revenue, is now estimated as just over $250,000. He said the $614,000 that was budgeted for reserves to balance this year’s budget will not be spent. The reserves will not go down by that amount. He said a slight increase in the reserve is anticipated when the books are closed on December 31. The Planning & Zoning Commission will review the 2010 Capital Plan on December 7 meeting.
Alderman McDowell said that Alderman Boerner did an analysis of Ballwin’s financial picture and it was not as bleak as anticipated. There was a 2% salary increase to be considered in March or April. He said it would only cost $26,000 to implement the increase in January, and he recommended that this be implemented.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell that the draft budget be submitted in final form to reflect a supplemental $26,000 to address a 2% salary adjustment starting in January1, 2010.
Alderman Schmer said that it was decided previously that this would be on hold until March or April. He said that we can only spend money if we have it. There are not a lot of businesses that are giving raises right now. Alderman McDowell said that if the Board is not in agreement with the January implementation, he recommends that this take place in March. He said the staff does a fantastic job and should be rewarded.
The motion died for lack of a second.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to draft legislation for submission of the 2010 budget on December 14. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
City Administrator Kuntz said that due to the land line telephone settlement, Ballwin will receive $446,700. This is money that had not been budgeted for 2009 because the associated lawsuit was pending. Since the action has been signed off and approved by all parties the auditors have advised that this amount be recorded as revenue in 2009. He said a re-appropriation is needed by legislation for this and a few internal adjustments where there are overages and shortages.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to draft legislation to make re-appropriations to certain accounts and programs in the 2009 City of Ballwin Operating and Capital budgets to reflect year-end conditions as necessary to be presented at the next meeting.
Alderman McDowell said that cash will be coming in from the settlement. Instead of putting the cash into reserves, the suggestion is to make a blanket redistribution for where it is needed. City Administrator Kuntz explained that it started with approximately $626,000 that was earmarked to balance the 2009 budget to come out of reserves. With the settlement and the money that was budgeted but not expended we can now accurately estimate the year-end revenue number. We will close the year without touching the $626,000 that was originally authorized. He said we will end on December 31 by putting approximately an extra $200,000 into the reserves. Next year, we will propose a budget that takes about $250,000 in reserves to balance. It is a healthy reserve fund balance at this time.
A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Schmer, Suozzi, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner, Mellow. Nay: McDowell. The motion passed by a vote of 7-1.
Fee Adjustments: City Administrator Kuntz said this is a recommendation from Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer to adjust the Golf Club and pavilion rental fees, and the schedule with the proposal reflected in the memo of November 12. If this is consistent with Board direction, a motion to draft legislation is needed with the goal being that this would be effective on January 1, 2010.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Schmer to draft this legislation. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
City Attorney Jones said consistent with City Administrator Kuntz’s memo about the T-Mobil case, he will be attending the mediation session on December 3 and 4. He anticipates being able to report to the Board about the status of settlement negotiations in that case.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Leahy to adjourn. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 8:28 p.m.
ROBERT A. KUNTZ, CITY ADMINISTRATOR