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
The Budget Work Session for 2010 was called to order at 6:00 p.m. by Mayor Pogue. In attendance were Aldermen Terbrock, McDowell, Suozzi, Schmer, Fleming, Leahy, and Mellow. Also in attendance were City Administrator Kuntz, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Finance Officer Loehr, Chief of Police Schicker, Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer, and City Engineer Kramer.
City Administrator Kuntz opened the meeting by presenting a brief explanation of the parameters that were used by each department head to prepare their preliminary 2010 budget. Of particular note is that a 2% salary increase was budgeted effective April 1, 2010. Additionally each department head was attempting to prepare a preliminary budget that reflected a 5% reduction from the 2009 budget that was approved effective January 1, 2009.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken presented a brief overview of the proposed 2010 Department of Administration budget. He briefly outlined each program, the cuts and expenditure that were projected for each program, as well as providing a brief description of the operations within each program.
Alderman McDowell asked about the ISO rating program. Mr. Aiken explained that ISO stands for Insurance Service Organization. It is a company that rates the effectiveness of organizations such as insurance companies and municipalities in the administration of activities. As this relates to the City of Ballwin, the ISO rates the building permit and inspection operation. Mr. Aiken explained that this grew out of the Florida hurricanes that did so much damage to properties that had supposedly been built to hurricane resistance standards. It was discovered that due to lax enforcement of the standards, the construction was not actually completed in accordance with those standards. The insurance agency then initiated the ISO inspection system to rate the quality of the building permitting and inspection programs of every governmental agency throughout the country. Mr. Aiken explained that if the City of Ballwin does not maintain a minimum funding for training of its inspectors or certifications of inspectors, it runs the risk of having a lower ISO rating. Alderman McDowell asked what impact a lower rating might have on the City of Ballwin. Mr. Aiken explained that unlike the fire departments whose lower rating could directly be reflected in the cost of fire insurance, there is no direct monetary impact on the residents of the City of Ballwin. The biggest negative would probably be reflected in publicity coming about as a result of having a lower rating.
Alderman Fleming recommended an analysis be conducted of the revenue sources that come as a result of the inspections operation. If there is reasonable expectation that those rates should be increased to offset expenses, such a recommendation should be presented to the Board of Aldermen for consideration.
Police Chief Schicker presented an overview of the Police Department operating budget proposal for 2010. Mr. Schicker outlined in detail the proposed expenditures and the nature of the operation, each police program, and an overview of the cost reductions that had been recommended.
Alderman McDowell asked about the cost of the proposed sally port garage. Chief Schicker stated that an analysis had been done several years ago, and it was estimated at that time that the structure would cost approximately $90,000. He noted that these costs have not been updated to account for increases in the cost of construction since the time of the original consideration. City Administrator Kuntz noted that there were issues with the location of the HVAC equipment compound that stands where the proposed sally port would have to be built. There are costs associated with the relocation of that equipment. Alderman McDowell noted that he would like to see if we could find a way to fund this improvement for the department.
Alderman McDowell noted that he has some concerns with the decision to cross-train police employees rather than have additional employees that have a higher degree of training in certain specified areas. He said that it has been his experience that cross-training is a stressful thing for employees and has a potential negative impact on the function of the department over the long haul because of the lack of specific expertise. Alderman McDowell also asked if there is a potential need to expand police personnel as a result of substantial commercial development that is taking place in the areas surrounding the City of Ballwin. He noted that commercial development frequently is accompanied by increased crime.
Police Chief Schicker said that Ballwin has done some sector realignment to account for these kinds of needs, but did not see a problem with current staffing levels.
Alderman Schmer asked about revenues the city receives from the court operation. Chief Schicker noted that the court is not actually in the police department operation. He said that in 2008, the court generated approximately $800,000 in revenues. Alderman Schmer asked how this relates to revenues from previous years. City Administrator Kuntz said that 2008 was up slightly from previous years, but it is difficult to predict future revenues in the court operation. Much depends on the nature of the cases that come before the court, as well as the perspective of the judge and prosecutor on those cases.
Alderman Schmer noted that approximately 97% of the police budget is directly related to personnel expenditures. He said this limits the ability to cut the budget without having a negative impact on overall services provided by the department.
Alderman Suozzi asked if the City of Ballwin will benefit from the purchase of new communications equipment if the E911 ballot measure passes. Chief Schicker stated that Ballwin pretty much has state of the art communications equipment, but will not experience future costs for new equipment or maintenance if the E911 ballot measure passes.
Alderman Fleming said that vehicle maintenance over the course of 2010 would amount to approximately $3,900 per car. He said this seems quite high. City Administrator Kuntz said that taking good care of the cars not only keeps them useful and functional, but provides a higher level of value upon resale. Chief Schicker added that the $3,900 cost covers all parts and materials installed and utilized by Ballwin’s mechanics and also covers all outside service that is conducted on the vehicles. City Administrator Kuntz said that part of this is the reflection of the hard use that the police patrol vehicles undergo. He noted that most of these vehicles are operated at least two shifts virtually everyday, and there is a lot of maintenance associated with that kind of use.
Alderman Fleming raised a concern about the need to have the computer room in the police station adequately cooled and provided with proper security. He asked if this should be moved up in importance on the budget. Chief Schicker said that security was not an issue as it relates to people not in the police department having access to this space, but he noted that because of limited storage in the police station, it was not unusual to have unauthorized storage placed in this room. The CALEA certification would probably require that the computer equipment and related police communications equipment in this space be more thoroughly secured from the balance of the building.
Mayor Pogue said that it was 7:12 p.m. and recommended that the meeting be adjourned and reconvened following the regular Board meeting.
Adjourn/Reconvene: A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Suozzi to adjourn the budget meeting and reconvene following the regular Board meeting. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the meeting adjourned at 7:12 p.m. The Board reconvened the 2010 Budget Work Session at 8:45 p.m.
PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT
City Administrator Kuntz provided a brief introduction regarding the nature of the 2010 Public Works budget proposal. Public Works, more so than any other department, has a large element of unpredictability in its budgeting constraints. Issues such as snow removal and leaf vacuuming are unpredictably subject to the weather, and can require more man hours, vehicles, time, fuel, etc. This has to be reflected in the budget amounts.
City Engineer Kramer provided an overview of the 2010 Public Works budget proposal. Several openings have occurred in the department due to retirements and one employee serving in the armed forces. These vacancies have not been filled with full-time employees, but he has utilized temporary labor over the course of the Summer and intends to continue to do so throughout the leaf vacuuming season in an attempt to fill these positions at less cost. He noted that all work performed by the Public Works Department is critically dependent on the size of the work force. Losing people means doing less work.
Alderman Fleming asked if a list of the proposed roadway improvements could be provided by ward. City Engineer Kramer said that this will be provided.
Alderman Fleming asked if the Public Works Department had done an analysis of salt brine for snow removal. This had been discussed during the preparation of the 2009 budget. City Engineer Kramer said they had looked into this in detail, but the equipment necessary for spreading the salt brine is very expensive, high maintenance, and is dedicated to a particular piece of equipment. Since the brine is only useable in limited circumstances, it means that the equipment would not be available for other conventional snow plowing operations. As a result of these cost complications, it was determined that salt brine was probably not well suited to Ballwin’s snow removal applications.
Alderman Fleming stated that he believes that more money needs to be spent on street improvements. He suggested that perhaps this would be an appropriate utilization of reserve funds. He also said that he believes it was the spirit of the decision to increase the utility tax that the funds were to be dedicated to future street repairs. Alderman Leahy agreed with this sentiment even if it was not specifically stated in any formal motions made by the Board of Aldermen. Alderman McDowell also agreed with this sentiment. Alderman Suozzi disagreed stating that it was intended to utilize half of the money in 2009 for street work, but it was her understanding that the application of funds would be evaluated annually and they would be used where it is most appropriate for that expenditure in that years.
Alderman Fleming suggested that drawing on reserves in 2010 might be well advised due to the apparent downturn in the cost of petroleum based products. Drawing reserves at this time might provide an opportunity to maximize return on those dollars.
City Administrator Kuntz said there is no one right answer to the issue of whether or not reserves should be drawn for capital improvements, whether or not a draw should be included in the budget at this time or if the budget should be re-evaluated in the Spring of 2010 depending upon revenues and cost of petroleum based products. Ultimately, the Board of Aldermen can make the determination to spend the funds as it sees fit. He suggested the possibility of considering a budget amendment in April, 2010 if petroleum prices are low and Ballwin gets good bids on construction work at that time.
Mayor Pogue asked what an additional $250,000 draw on reserves would probably buy the city in terms of street repairs. City Engineer Kramer said he could put together a list outlining the expenditure of these additional funds.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to adjourn. The Board voted unanimously to adjourn and the meeting was adjourned at 9:32 p.m.
Tim Pogue, Mayor
MINUTES OF THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING
The meeting was called to order by Mayor Pogue at 7:00 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the September 28 Budget Work Session were submitted for approval. Alderman Fleming amended page 2 paragraph 11 to remove politically unpopular and replace with unpopular with residents. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Minutes of the September 28, 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting were submitted for approval. Alderman McDowell asked if the street lights would be entirely removed and replaced, or only the top of the fixture. Alderman Suozzi said this would only be the fixture. Alderman Suozzi said the 4th paragraph page 6, states “recoat and straighten the poles and warrant the system for 10 years.” She said the poles will remain and only the fixture would be replaced. A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to approve the Minutes. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Jim Nelson, 15961 Downall Green Drive, Williamsburg Green Subdivision: Mr. Nelson said that a request was made for purchasing records dating to the first of this year. He said that the documents have not been received and the city is requesting a payment of $500. He said that Ballwin has the right to require reasonable payment, however the ordinance cited provides for a waiver of fees when the request is in the public interest and will contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations of the public government, according to Missouri Revised Statute Section 610-026. He said that Ballwin’s ordinances provides for the same waiver. He said that Ballwin is now changing their purchasing policy, which he believes is an admission that Ballwin has been in violation of its own ordinances. He said that accountability has not been provided to respond to his request.
Ronald Markland, 15908 Wetherburn: Mr. Markland said that in July, he asked for a copy of Ballwin’s purchasing policy which was never received. He said that the policy does not agree with the Code of Ordinances of the city. He believes that numerous purchases have been made that did not comply with the purchasing policy or the Code of Ordinances. He asked the Aldermen if they believe that releasing information that will verify whether or not the City is following their policies are against the public good.
Walt Young, 634 Lemonwood Drive: Mr. Young thanked the Board for looking into the social hosting ordinance and the minors in possession. He spoke in support of the students of the Rockwood School District for formulating a partnership with the drug and alcohol coalition to promote safe schools, neighborhoods, and our children. He said poster will be prepared with signatures of supporters, and posted in the schools.
Mr. Young asked Police Chief Schicker about the progress of the prescription drug program. Chief Schicker said that meetings are being conducted with other municipalities to formulate the program.
Mr. Young asked that if sandwich board signs are problematic with the city, as indicated by the Cutting Edge Salon, why are other businesses such as cash businesses allowed to have the sandwich board signs. He said that the ordinance should be enforced for everyone. He suggested a sunset provision that would allow flexibility so that the businesses will stay in Ballwin.
A RESOLUTION URGING VOTERS TO BECOME KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT PROPOSITION E911, NOVEMBER 3, 2009, BALLOT ISSUE RELATING TO FUNDING FOR A COUNTYWIDE EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Fleming to adopt the Resolution. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
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 Vacancies: Mayor Pogue said there is still a vacancy on the Board of Adjustment for Ward 3 and the Planning & Zoning Commission for Ward 2. He also asked if the Board had any suggestions or comments on the Public Defender position.
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
City Administrator Kuntz said that at the close of this meeting, the Board will continue discussion of the 2010 Budget proposal.
Alderman Terbrock said that at this location, water runs over the curb and into a resident’s front yard. The resident created a dam out of vinyl siding to stop the water from running into his yard. Pervious pavement could be used to reduce the amount of water running into the yards. City Administrator Kuntz said the cost would be between $16,000 - $20,000. He said that the material is not a standard asphalt mix. It is a special blend and it requires a 12 inch clean gravel base. The cost is double what a standard asphalt application would be, therefore, this technology could not be used for the whole city.
Alderman Schmer asked if there are lots of contractors who do this kind of work. City Administrator Kuntz said no. The three major contractors in the region that do this work were contacted. Special equipment is necessary, therefore, Ballwin crews could not take on this project. This is an emerging technology that is not widespread at this time. It is being used on new parking lots. The advantage is that the infrastructure does not have to be built with the storm drains, grates, and pipes. The water flows naturally and is recharged into the ground water on site. Mayor Pogue said that there is a parking lot in Chesterfield that has used this new technology pavement. The City of Wildwood will be using this on the new walking paths.
City Administrator Kuntz said that MSD has switched to an impervious pavement surcharge for their storm water formula. The more water that is contained on site and doesn’t run off, the less will be paid in storm water fees.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Mellow to include the porous pavement in the 2010 budget. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Suozzi, Terbrock, McDowell, Fleming, Mellow. Nay: Aldermen Leahy and Schmer. The motion passed by a vote of 5-2.
Game Room Renovation: City Administrator Kuntz said this is regarding upgrading the game room at The Pointe. He said this is important because if the activities are not kept fresh with new features of interest, it becomes a less attractive environment for the users and generates less revenue. He said a St. Louis County grant has been received to create the game room environment. It is for a skywall from Motion Fitness in the amount of $13,400 and a sportwall from Xer Games for $13,041. He said the Motion Fitness proposal is not the low bid, but was the only bid that was responsive to the specifications that were provided. This is an example of a vendor submitting the lowest price, but not being the best choice. The second low bid is the one recommended for award. Alderman Suozzi said that the grant proceeds will offset 70% of the cost.
Alderman Terbrock asked if the climbing walls will require more supervisory personnel. Director of Parks and Recreation Bruer said during peak times, a staff person will be in the room because there will be a lot of activity. She said the grant was approved for the game room sport wall and skywall and cannot be used for anything else.
A motion was made by Alderman McDowell and seconded by Alderman Mellow to upgrade the game room at The Pointe with the sport wall and sky wall, utilizing the St. Louis County grant. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Social Hosting and Minors in Possession: City Administrator Kuntz said that Police Chief Schicker has review both issues and has recommended amending the minor in possession legislation to conform with current State statute.
Alderman McDowell asked which statute is more restrictive, the State or Ballwin ordinance. City Attorney Jones said the State statute is more restrictive because it includes a minor in possession by consumption, as opposed to merely in possession or purchasing.
A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to authorize City Attorney Jones to draft legislation for consideration. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Street Lighting Policy and Purchasing Policy: City Administrator Kuntz said when a policy is adopted and put into the Board Policy Manual, it is not a law. Policies of this governing body can only be changed by a super majority vote of the Board. He said the street lighting policy that deals with resident petitions, signatures, number of feet from each fixture, cost, etc. The Board agreed at the last meeting in concept to change the policy. Since one Alderman is absent from this meeting, he asked the Board if they prefer to hold over the Street Lighting Policy and Purchasing Policy until the next meeting.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Schmer to hold over the Street Lighting Policy and Purchasing Policy for discussion until there is a full Board. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Surplus Property: City Administrator Kuntz said this policy deals with disposing of surplus property through Gov Deals auction website, which is the typical means of disposal. On-site auctions are no longer necessary. He said that when an item is listed on the Gov Deals website, and it sells, you have signed a contract and the product must be delivered. The timing of Aldermanic approvals can be challenging. This policy addresses that issue on a more formal basis. Alderman Terbrock recommended that this be held until the next meeting with a full Board. The Board agreed.
Budget Work Session: The Board was in agreement to continue with the next Budget Work Session at 5:30 p.m. on October 26 in the Board room.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
Purchasing Policy: Alderman McDowell asked if there have been more than two people who have asked for information on the Purchasing Policy. City Attorney Jones said he is only aware of two individuals. He said he has responded several times and at the last Board meeting.
Sign Ordinance: Alderman Schmer said that the sign policy may be somewhat restrictive or inconsistent in the enforcement. He asked if it is proper to review the ordinances due to the complaint by the Cutting Edge Salon. He asked if our sign code is the same as other municipalities.
City Attorney Jones said that a sandwich board sign that is outside may be on leased property, but the common area would be off-premise advertising and would be a violation. He said that our sign ordinances are consistent with surrounding municipalities. Alderman Mellow said that the sandwich board sign in question is only 24 inches by 30 inches. There are two pillars there that are almost 40 inches. There can’t be a safety issue at this location. City Administrator Kuntz said that adjusting the code to benefit the salon is not the only issue. This will affect all other businesses that want to use outdoor signs and could create other problems. He said that 2 or 3 aldermen to review the sign code could be beneficial with final review by the city attorney.
Assistant City Administrator Aiken said that temporary signs generate the most controversy with the business community. The sign at the salon was intended to be a permanent sign. The present code only allows this sign to be a temporary sign which is limited to two thirty-day periods per year. A permanent sign is permanently fixed in place. Bringing the sign inside every evening is a temporary sign.
Alderman Schmer said that baskets of flowers can be set out in front of one store, but a barbecue grill cannot be in front of another store. Barbecue grills can be outside in front of Lowe’s, but not in front of St. Louis Home Fires. He said that this is not consistent and recommended that the code be reviewed. Aldermen Schmer, Terbrock, and Mellow agreed to review the sign code. Assistant City Administrator Aiken and Code Enforcement Supervisor Klein will assist the committee.
Bus Stops: Alderman Terbrock said that he has seen trash outside one of the bus stops along Manchester Road. City Attorney Jones said that if this is a recurring problem, we should notify MoDOT. Wall USA, who is the franchisor, is in charge of the bus stop shelters under contract with MoDOT.
Purchasing Policy: Alderman Schmer said he understands that the report that was requested by Mr. Nelson and Mr. Markland is complete and ready to be picked up. Because the $500 has not been paid, it has not been picked up. He said that it is the height of hypocrisy that Mr. Nelson and Mr. Markland are asking for this information because they are concerned about the purchasing policies of Ballwin and they are not willing to pay for the information that they requested. He said that if they truly want to save money and are truly concerned about the City of Ballwin, they should obtain the information and follow the established rules. This is what they are accusing Ballwin officials of not doing.
Police Department: Alderman McDowell thanked Police Chief Schicker for the good job the department is doing for the City of Ballwin.
Adjourn: A motion was made by Alderman Suozzi and seconded by Alderman Schmer to adjourn to continue with the Budget Work Session. The motion passed unanimously and the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR