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 7:02 p.m.
The Pledge of Allegiance was given.
The Minutes of the May 23, 2011 Board of Aldermen meeting and closed session were submitted for approval. Alderman Finley amended page 1 to show his absence as recuperation from surgery. Alderman Boerner said the reference to 79250 should be 79.250 on page 13. A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Boerner to approve the Minutes as amended. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Prosecuting Attorney Selection: Mayor Pogue said interviews were conducted with the Board and the three finalists. He recommended that Chris Graville be appointed Prosecuting Attorney, and Stuart O’Brien as the Provisional Prosecuting Attorney.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Harder to accept Mayor Pogue’s recommendation for Prosecuting Attorney. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to accept Mayor Pogue’s recommendation for Provisional Prosecuting Attorney. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
The Oath of Office was administered to Mr. Chris Graville and Mr. Stuart O’Brien by Ballwin Municipal Judge Virginia Nye.
BILL # 3676 - AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE CONTINUED PARTICIPATION OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, MISSOURI, IN THE MULTI-JURISDICTIONAL DRUG TASK FORCE ORGANIZED BY ST. LOUIS COUNTY.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Fleming for a first reading of Bill No. 3676. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3676 was read for the first time.
Alderman Finley said for an update on heroin becoming more of a problem in St. Louis County. Police Chief Schicker said it’s not an inner city drug anymore. It is now in the suburbs.
Alderman Harder said in 2009, Ballwin took around $40,900 into this fund. Then it went to $58,000 in 2010, but only projected for about $30,000 for this year. He asked if this is a downturn and will we hit that goal. Police Chief Schicker said, “It’s not really a goal. It’s what the enforcement actions are. It will fluctuate depending on when Federal rulings have come down on the seizures. Some may have been 2 or 3 years old. There are several that are pending final disposition. We’re seeing a trend where we’re getting a higher forfeiture rate than what we have in the past.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a second reading of Bill No. 3676. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3676 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3676 with the following results:
BILL # 3677 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTERS 11 AND 25 OF THE CODE OF ORDINANCES OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN WITH RESPECT TO STORM WATER CONTROL.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3677. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3677 was read for the first time.
Alderman Fleming said, “The part in Section 11-35, the first sentence, MSD’s design standards as required in Section 11-34, shall apply to small development proposals that do not meet MSD’s threshold for applicability. What we were meaning to say was if it’s under MSD’s threshold, we will use MSD’s standards. The sentence is confusing.” City Attorney Jones said, “We want to make it clear that we still want MSD to conduct plan review.”
Alderman Terbrock said, “My question is about #4 under 11-36. Said improvements shall not be triggered by the replacement or enhancement of landscaping materials. Does this leave things open so that they can pile up mulch, or do other landscaping that changes flows? City Attorney Jones said, “It would have to be an existing or established landscaped area before they could do that. They couldn’t dodge it by doing that. They could enhance or increase a landscaped area.” Alderman Terbrock said, “That happens in residential areas and then the next thing is water flowing into someone’s yard.”
Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “If you had a large landscaped area and you wanted to change the direction of water, and if it’s inconsistent with the original site development plan, they couldn’t do that.” City Attorney Jones said, “I don’t think we want to get involved in a dispute between two property owners over whether their landscaping creates a surface water problem. There are a number of cases that deal with this in the context of civil litigation and I don’t think we want to be choosing sides.”
Alderman Harder asked, “If we adopt this legislation, what happens to everyone prior to this? Are they grandfathered or do they have to be brought up to a certain standard?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “They will continue to be grandfathered. If they chose to re-develop a portion of their site, they would be subject to the legislation.” Alderman Harder asked, “Everything we have right now would be frozen.” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “It would be legally non-conforming like it is today. This clarifies how changes are made on a small part of a big site.”
Alderman Harder asked, “If a small shopping center decides to tear it all down and put up a box store instead of a whole bunch of little stores. How will that comply?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “If it’s over an acre, it falls under the MSD standards. If less than that, it would still fall under MSD standards per 11-35. If they tear it all down, the would have to do the whole site and comply with the current standard.”
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a second reading of Bill No. 3677. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3677 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3677 with the following results:
BILL # 3678 - AN ORDINANCE AUTHORIZING THE APPROPRIATION OF NOT TO EXCEED $2,722,000 FOR THE PURPOSE OF DEFEASING AND PREPAYING PRIOR TO MATURITY A PORTION OF THE CITY’S CERTIFICATES OF PARTICIPATION (CITY OF BALLWIN, MISSOURI, LESSEE), SERIES 2002 AND AUTHORIZING CERTAIN OTHER DOCUMENTS AND ACTIONS IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.
A motion was made by Alderman Harder and seconded by Alderman Leahy for a first reading of Bill No. 3678. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3678 was read for the first time.
Alderman Boerner said, “Intuitively I agree with what we’re doing and it is going to save money. What I’d like to see for planning purposes for some of the significant expenditures that we’re going to be having with respect to the streets, perhaps the new software in accounting, and then perhaps also the trees in the right-of-way, to determine from a cash flow standpoint as to what kind of an impact that’s going to have, and dividing that up as between the reserves surplus and unreserved surplus, the debt fund, and what’s earmarked for the Parks & Recreation Department, that’s sales tax revenue, and do that on an annual basis, dividing that up between the general fund and also the Parks & Recreation, and perhaps even the debt service, if we need to do that, but divide that up between those three areas, and show a cash flow to show what we’re doing currently as a baseline, and showing that forward for the next five years. That’s when the debt will be paid off. It would be helpful for the Board to have that information to project out for five years for the next planning and budget process. I’m not saying that we need to delay the approval of this.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “I think that’s a worthwhile exercise prior to the budget. It would be very timely. This is a scenario that we didn’t anticipate. It takes more planning. This particular issuance is to retire a debt. We have two debt issues outstanding. This is a certificate of participation that would be expiring in 2017. We also have a second additional small amount of debt that is retiring in 2012. By taking the action tonight to pre-pay the years 2014 through 2017, we actually will have just the years 2012 and 2013 left on this debt. Within two years from 2013, the City of Ballwin will essentially be debt free, but not obligation free, which is a very enviable position. The reason the Board is taking this action at this time is because the coupon, or the interest rate on the debt, is slightly above 4%. The rate of return on the City’s investments is significantly lower. Think of it as pre-paying a mortgage. We will be putting the city in a more solid financial position for the future. The consensus at the last meeting was that we would dip into the reserve fund balance, which is going to take a second action by the Board to apply a portion of our reserve funds. That still will leave the Board with an excess reserve fund of over 30% of our annual operating budget. We’re not putting the City’s finances in jeopardy. We are taking a future obligation off the table to give the flexibility to do the planning that Alderman Boerner proposed that we do on a long-term standpoint. It’s conceptually what is happening this evening.”
Alderman Terbrock asked Alderman Boerner, “Were you implying that you want to change the ordinance to state these things?” Alderman Boerner said, “No. That information needs to be forthcoming at some point in time, but not necessary at this point in time to pass the ordinance. I’m in favor of it. I just meant that before we do the budgeting process.”
Alderman Fleming said, “I was the one that said I don’t know if we should take reserves down that far. As we got real numbers to work with this time around, there’s not a huge swing between paying it all off and paying off that part in terms of what the reserve number is taken down to. As it turns out, 34% is the right number. We will have left a difference of 34% - 36%. I can be talked into going all the way if anybody else wants to.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “There is a narrow window. If this isn’t done by July 15 to make this August and then the September 1 date, it cannot be accomplished in this period.”
Alderman Boerner said, “The reserve that we have in reserve surplus at the end of the year is $9.4 million or $9.2 million. The amount that we would pay off plus interest would be $4,385,000 plus the outstanding interest. The reserve would go down to about $4.7 million. Over the next two years, there’s not going to be any difference in our cash flow with respect to payment of the notes. It’s going to occur after that. We’re going to be coming down about $2.2 million between July and October. If we bring the balance down to $4.5 million and then take it down another $2 million, that leaves us $2.3 million at the low point. That was my concern. I’m uncomfortable with that.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “My other concern was that you may want to have the option to supplement the street improvements depending on the end of year financials. I like the idea of sequencing the debt elimination.”
Alderman Harder said, “For this evening’s purposes, we would be voting on the payment of 2014 – 2017.” City Administrator Kuntz said yes.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3678. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3678 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3678 with the following results:
BILL # 3679 - AN ORDINANCE AMENDING THE 2011 BUDGET OF CASH REVENUE AND CASH DISBURSEMENTS FOR THE OPERATING AND CAPITAL FUNDS OF THE CITY OF BALLWIN, ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MISSOURI, PROVIDING FOR EXPENDITURE REVISIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID BUDGETS AND MAKING RE-APPROPRIATIONS THEREOF.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Terbrock for a first reading of Bill No. 3679. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3679 was read for the first time.
A motion was made by Alderman Terbrock and seconded by Alderman Boerner for a second reading of Bill No. 3679. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed. Bill No. 3679 was read for the second time.
A roll call was taken for passage and approval of Bill No. 3679 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.)
A. Banking Services
Alderman Fleming requested that Item C be removed for further discussion.
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Boerner to accept the Consent Items A, B and D. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
New Businesses: Mayor Pogue welcomed the two new businesses in Ballwin: Pulasky Bank and Six North Café. They are at the corner of Henry and Clayton.
Closed Session – Personnel: Mayor Pogue requested a closed session to finish the City Administrator’s annual evaluation under State Statute 610.0213
CITY ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Pointe Slide Tower: City Administrator Kuntz said, “The issue of non-responses to bids was raised at the last Board meeting. We did the research as requested on the last two, and we are endeavoring to incorporate that in the write ups. I hope this satisfies the intent of the request.”
Alderman Fleming said, “Since the second low bidder suggested this procedure, we’ve seen evidence of their work at another facility, if they’ve suggested this procedure, obviously they’ve done it before and are good at it. Do we know if the other bidder didn’t suggest this? Perhaps this is because we didn’t ask them to do this. If they gave us an innovative idea, we should reward that.”
Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said, “The low bidder has just finished work at the North Pointe. I’m not aware if they have done this before, but I feel confident on this. There wasn’t a big difference in bids.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The practice is to go with the low bid, but we were very comfortable with either bidder.”
Alderman Terbrock asked about capping the stairs. City Administrator Kuntz said, “Other facilities are also embracing this technology as a way to fight this issue.” Director of Parks & Recreation Bruer said, “Bazan has done a lot of indoor/outdoor pool painting in the area. In previous years, we have sandblasted and painted, short of tearing it down and putting up a new structure.” Alderman Fleming said, “I’m okay with sticking with the low bid if everybody wants to do this.”
Alderman Terbrock asked, “Are the treads metal panned?” Director Bruer said, “It’s my understanding that it’s the same type of construction as in the past.” Alderman Terbrock said, “I can’t tell if it’s a complete seal. I’m worried about that.” City Administrator Kuntz said it’s a wrap and is what is used in O’Fallon at the “Y”.
Alderman Harder asked, “How is the wrap applied on the steps?” Director Bruer said, “It’s a fiberglass wrap. The risers would be painted. The rust is coming from both the air and water. The last time it was painted was about three years ago.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I’m concerned about the steel structure under the slabs. It looks deteriorated. Are we protecting the main structure underneath?” Director Bruer said, “Not the rise in between.” Alderman Harder asked, “Is the structure in sound condition?” Director Bruer said, “The structure is sound in terms of the tower.”
Alderman Terbrock asked, “Is there anything other than metal that is being used to build this structure?” Director Bruer said, “Some of the other towers are built with concrete. Metal is not the right material. This is the original tower from when the tower was built, which is 16 years.” Alderman Harder said, “There’s a point that we should consider if we should budget for a new tower instead of painting and coating every two years for the next twenty years. What is your recommendation?” Director Bruer said, “For the last few years, we’ve been doing a lot of band aiding. We have a plan for the entire facility in terms of operation, and this would be one of them. We try to maintain everything to be safe.”
Alderman Fleming said, “We know for a fact that the second low bidder has done this before. Did the low bidder say that he has done this type of work in the past?” Director Bruer said that she did not talk to him, but John Hoffman did speak with him.” Alderman Fleming said, “This is an innovative idea, and we know that he’s done it previously.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy to accept the second low bid. A voice vote was taken with the following result: Aye: Terbrock, Finley, Harder, Fleming, Leahy, Boerner. Nay: Markland. The motion passed by a vote of 6-1.
Property Acquisition: City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is regarding a parcel adjacent to our park. If there needs to be a lot of discussion about this, closed session will be required. What we’re asking for, subject to prior discussions and the Board’s direction, is approval to negotiate up to the amount that’s available in the capital budget. It’s my understanding that we have to make a proposal prior to July 1, and then they would come back to the bidders and ask for their final number. Obviously, we are not convinced at this point that there’s other interests. I went to the open house. There had been six people through it. I was told by the broker for the real estate company out of Chicago, that it’s not going to be a contingency sale. Somebody can’t come in on the speculation of a zoning change. From that standpoint, also given the limited uses for the parcel, I would think the City would be well served to be able to get this at a fair price. We have a budget for this, as well as we have received a Grant from the St. Louis County Parks Program that we solicited application for. We didn’t receive the full amount we asked for, which was $209,000, but there are funds available and there are other funds available within that budget category because, as you recall, we also budgeted for a matching share for the trail construction, which will not happen, per the direction of this Board. We’re asking for authorization to work within the budget restrictions.”
Alderman Harder said, “I have more information to be shared in closed session regarding some analysis I did on the property.” City Administrator Kuntz asked, “Does that influence the negotiations or the authorization.” Alderman Harder said, “It influences what we decide to offer.”
Alderman Markland said, “It’s zoned single family. If some developer should purchase this, is there a number of homes that could be built at this location?” Assistant City Administrator Aiken said, “There are 3.5 acres and depends on topography and shape. There could be three.”
Alderman Harder asked how would the property be used? City Administrator Kuntz said, “The plan in the budget was to ask for subsequent authorization, depending on what we have to pay, for a master plan to present to the Board with options based what works the best for the neighborhood and the comfort level for the Board.” Alderman Harder said, “Your plan is to hopefully get the property and then decide what we will do with it later.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “Not later. Hopefully in this budget cycle.” Alderman Harder said, “I know we want the property because of it being land locked with our park.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “The application for the Grant was a 3-part, which was acquisition, preparation of a plan, and potential demolition of the structure. Development would be subject to future budgeting and consideration by the Board. The neighborhood would also be considered in the discussion.”
Alderman Boerner said, “I don’t see much of a value for that piece of land. It’s a pie shape towards Ferris Park.” Alderman Fleming said, “Owning it to keep someone from building houses next to the Park would be beneficial. It seems that all that is requested at this point is authorizing the City Administrator to negotiate to the low cap that we’ve set.”
Alderman Markland said, “If the other five people looking at the property are looking to develop this, we’re probably not going to be able to purchase it for the number that we have budgeted. A cap at this point could be limiting. If we’re really serious about it, we would need to give someone more leeway.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I recommend that we go into closed session at the end of this meeting under State Statute 610.0212 to discuss real estate.” The Board agreed.
Speed Humps: City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is regarding a request received from a condominium complex for installation of speed humps. City Engineer Kramer and Police Chief Schicker have developed a policy for Board consideration. It would permit speed humps, but only under certain conditions for eligibility, and then it would be subject to Board consideration. We don’t have a policy at this time.”
City Administrator Kuntz said, “The question is does the Board want to entertain such a policy, or consider this on a case-by-case basis, as we have in the past?” Alderman Finley said, “I think it’s premature to develop a policy like this. My inclination is against speed humps. As we discussed earlier about distractions to drivers, there’s potential for this to be a distraction. In my research, I found that this can be a distraction to drivers who are trying to slow down and maneuver around a speed bump and at the same time ignore children. The Metro West Fire District had an ordinance that was against these for a long time. I don’t see the necessity to have this type of policy. How much does a speed bump cost?” City Engineer Kramer said, “probably less than $500.”
Alderman Markland said, “There have been residents that have complained about speeding through their subdivision, and a speed hump was suggested. We said that this could not be done because Metro West would not allow it. In the fall of 2010, the City of Wildwood installed an asphalt speed hump that is acceptable to Metro West.”
Mayor Pogue said, “I recommend that we hold this over and let City Engineer Kramer have a discussion with Metro West.” The Board agreed.
Alderman Finley said, “When people have issues with speeders, I’ve always recommended that they speak to the Chief. He sets up surveillance and it seems to take care of the problem.”
Alderman Harder asked, “How many people have come forward to suggest this?” City Engineer Kramer said, “I haven’t had any individual calls, but the request was made by the management company for the condominium association. One of the elements in the policy is that there has to be 66% approval. It also says that an arterial or collector street would not be eligible. Mimosa is a collector street. As it’s written, Mimosa would not be eligible.”
City Administrator Kuntz said more information will be obtained and presented to the Board.
CITY ATTORNEY’S REPORT
A motion was made by Alderman Finley and seconded by Alderman Terbrock to authorize the City Attorney to prepare legislation as discussed. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Outdoor Displays: Alderman Harder gave an update on the focus group meeting. Those present in the meeting were Alderman Finley, Assistant City Administrator Aiken, Alderman Harder, Business Resource Officer Rob Rogers and two business owners, Sharry Martin from QuikTrip and John Sullivan from PetSmart.
Alderman Harder said, “The group realized how hard it is to legislation a situation as this and what is considered good and bad conduct regarding displays. Good ideas were presented and will be presented to the Board in a memorandum.” He requested holding over this subject until the next meeting when more details will be presented. The Board agreed.
Concern In The Park: Alderman Terbrock said the first concert of the 2011 season is Wednesday, June 15, at New Ballwin Park, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Alderman Markland: Alderman Markland said the following: “At the last meeting, former Alderman Press McDowell indicated that he wasn’t very happy with some of the things I had been doing. He said that they used to go into the back room and resolve the issues. I believe that by doing that, it’s a direct violation of the Missouri Sunshine Law.”
“The items that I had been bringing up for discussion in the bright lights of this room, they are in the front room and not in the back room. It’s always done in the open and not behind closed doors. As I thought about some of the things that were said, and I started looking back, it’s been like 15 months since I was elected to the office of Alderman. Since that time, there have been several issues that have come before the City of Ballwin, and I have been involved in some, if not all of them. I put together a list of what I thought were important issues. The first one I call it “Schnucksgate”. That was the City Attorney failed to notify the Board of Aldermen prior to the rezoning of the property at Kehrs Mill and Clarkson, that Schnuck’s previously was a client, and may even have been an active client during the rezoning debate. Only after the fact and direct questioning was this discussed.”
“Another issue was what I call “Purchasegate”. While we have finally begun to follow the ordinances regarding seeking competitive bids, we are still seeking permission to obtain sole source purchases. During a recent request for proposals for light units for police cars, only one proposal was received that was in compliance with our Request For Proposal. There were 17 companies that the RFP was sent to. Two responded – one was per the RFP, and the other was considered an alternate. I cannot see how we can be issuing RFPs that are so restrictive that only 1 out of 17 bidders can comply. By restricting it this much, we surely are paying more for those items we are purchasing.”
“Another issue I call “Insurancegate”. At that point, the City Attorney and City Administrator forgot to notify our insurer, and as a result, the City spent close to $30,000 prior to notifying the carrier. As a result, the carrier was not obligated to pay the $30,000, which came out of city coffers, not the insurance company. We paid the premium, but we didn’t get any coverage for it.”
“Then there is “Prosecuting Attorneygate”. That’s where the City Administrator, Mayor, and City Attorney did not feel that it was important to notify the Board of Aldermen of a situation involving our Prosecuting Attorney and his passing a note to a judge. I won’t go into what he said, but the Board of Aldermen found out about this by reading the “Post-Dispatch”.”
“Then there is what I call “Electiongate”. In the 2010 election, the issue was raised that one of the incumbent candidates had failed to pay their personal property taxes on a timely basis, and definitely not by the date of election. In the 2011 election, two of the incumbent candidates had failed to pay their taxes on a timely basis. One was delinquent on their 2010 personal property tax, and the other had failed to pay their 2009 and 2010 real estate taxes. Rather than learn by past experiences, the City certified as qualified those candidates. From discussions at recent meetings, it appears that the City even went as far as changing the candidacy form to eliminate items regarding payment of taxes from the form. This appears to be at the very least, a violation of the policy that the Board of Aldermen have to approve a policy change by a super majority. I hope that there will be future discussions as to if this did happen, and if it did, who knew and when did they know it.”
“Then there is “Agendagate”. While there is a mechanism to allow aldermen to place items on the agenda, there is no assurance that it will be allowed by the Mayor. Instead of placing it on the agenda where the public can see items up for discussion, it is instead blindly placed under Aldermen’s Comments. This hides the topics and also places it at the end of the meeting, which is a time when most of the citizens have left for the evening.”
“Then there is, what I thought was kind of funny, is “Gavelgate”. It’s very easy to get ruled out of order, especially when the holder of the gavel decides what will be on the agenda. As a result, the issue of transparency is easily kept under control. Those who fail to comply are offered the opportunity to be escorted from the room by the Chief of Police, as I was.”
“While the above items are not to be considered a total or complete listing, it does begin to indicate a trend, which I feel is intended to keep things concealed by both the public and the Board of Aldermen. These items, in my opinion, need to be discussed in the light of the front room, not in the back room.”
“Some items that I would like to see considered for future consideration would be, we talked about the $1 million that we were putting into a fund for road improvement this year. We need to continue to identify how we will get the most improvement for our tax dollars. We need to look at it very openly and see if it’s something that can be improved by maybe the City doing less of the really tough construction work, and hiring the firms with the big equipment that know how to tear it up and get out, and do this on a quick basis.”
“The City, at this point, does not appear to have a succession plan in place. Many of our current employees have been working for Ballwin for quite a long time. We have many fine employees in the 20+ year range of service to the City of Ballwin. We do not have some type of plan. We could be faced with multiple positions being opened at the same time. That situation will not make our daily operations more efficient.”
“With the potential of saving money currently being spent on bond interest, we are considering the reduction of our current level of reserves. While it is fiscally responsible to take advantage of the interest savings, a major question needs to be answered. That question is, where do we want our reserves to be in the future? The savings obtained from the no longer required interest payments could be used for many things. To take it as new-found money and find a way to spend it is not the best use of those funds. A definite plan needs to be made for the future in this area.”
“The current method of certifying candidates for election has been identified as having several areas of concern. Rather than our attempting to comply with what a citizen might think was the intent of the law, it appears that some have decided to find ways to ignore the issues. Rather than striving to gather the information, which allow the issues to be resolved, we appear to be burying the issue with the hopes that it will go away. In the meantime, we may very well have trod on the civil rights of at least one of the candidates. The public expects that all elected and appointed officials will pay their taxes as they, the public, are required to do.”
“The current policy of the Mayor to prevent agenda items from being listed, even though he’s asked to, needs to be revisited. I can see his ignoring minor issues and expecting them to be covered under Aldermen’s Comments, however, major issues continue to be hidden, in my opinion, from the public view.”
“There’s also Minutes that are presented on the website which sometimes appear to be different from those actual. I know that with the modern technology that’s available, the actual signed Minutes could be copied in a manner that would allow them to become accessible to the public and also have internet access. This should be done for the Board of Aldermen meetings, and surely for the Planning & Zoning Committee meetings. Ideally, we could go back to 1999 to start that.”
“After the last meeting, someone indicated that the proposed pathway was recommended by Planning & Zoning only if it was acceptable to those residing in the area that it would cross. At the last meeting, it sure seemed like they weren’t finding it acceptable. If that truly was the Minutes of the meeting, then we probably wasted $10,000 in putting together a plan for something we knew that they weren’t going to be doing. I know that former Alderman McDermott was given a package that indicated some of those variances on his last day in office. So, I know that he is aware of that problem.”
“There is a special reason I feel it necessary to bring up these items. The first is to again point them out as a matter of record, and secondly, to see if Ballwin can get them on an agenda to consider in the future.”
“Last September, my wife and I purchased a home in Florida. We enjoyed spending the winter there, and we also enjoyed missing the endless ice and snow storms that seem to pop up at least every two weeks or so when I was in St. Louis for the meetings. When we returned to St. Louis full time in early April, we were faced with what seemed a constant rain for what we counted was 28 out of 35 days. Having spent that 35 days, and 28 being rain, we decided that we would place our home up for sale and see what happened. Well, we put it up for sale, and on the first day, we got a contract, and we will be relocating permanently to Florida. I am hereby providing my notice that effective June 16, 2011, I will be tendering my resignation from the position of Alderman for Ward 2. I thank you.”
Clayton Corners: Alderman Fleming said, “They want to thank staff and elected officials that they finally got their street paved after many years. I’m asking Gary and Bob, would you like us to ask for acceptance of the streets now, or hold off until you get the remaining sidewalk issues resolved?” City Engineer Kramer said, “The street could be accepted, but not the sidewalks. The escrow would be retained.” City Administrator Kuntz said, “This is a unique situation and I would rely on Mr. Jones. If he feels that that leverage is more important to retain, then our trigger would before the first snow falls. I don’t want to give away something that maybe we need.” City Attorney Jones said, “I think we should at least get through the first round of negotiations, then I can report back to the Board.”
Accounting Software: Alderman Fleming said, “City Administrator Kuntz, Finance Officer Loehr, and I had the opportunity to meet with one of the vendors last Friday. The vendor had previously been in to review our operations and provided some suggestions and recommendations. They’re going to come back to us with more specific numbers and information. I felt very comfortable with what they presented to us, especially financially. I think originally the number I told you was $400,000 or more. It sounds like it’s going to be less than that. If they had a recommendation to do this as early as this year, I’d probably be willing to support that. We’ll see after more information from the software company comes back.”
Secretary of State Letter: Alderman Fleming said, “I sent the Board a copy of drafts that were submitted. If there is any other input, please let me know. I’d like to send the letter by the end of the week. The discussion was that the letter should state that if we don’t hear back from the Secretary of State, this is the procedure that we are going to use.”
Alderman Boerner said, “I think what Alderman Fleming expressed was to be more assertive and take a position as a Board. Maybe what we decide here tonight is do we want to be more assertive or take a position. For example, that we have certain guidance. If anyone has read both letters, as to what position we would be taking. Is it coming from the Board, drafting a letter saying that this is what the Board wants and so I am relaying this to you? How do we want to frame this? Should the guiding document be what we submit, the attestation and certification that we submit to the Board of Elections? What is the City Clerk required to do? Can that be part of administerial duty, to check the age and residency requirements, and also to check the County website to see if the taxes have been paid. Do you see anything glaringly wrong?” City Attorney Jones said, “I think you have identified the issue.”
Alderman Boerner said, “If we are going to abide by our verification process, the statute that says that the taxes have to be paid by the closing of the filing date for candidacy, as is required by the Election Board, then that’s what we should be doing, and that’s what should be put in the letter to the Secretary of State that this what we are planning on doing, and this is what we are going to do. If we believe that the word certify has some meaning over and above looking at the documentation that we receive from the candidates, to use a phrase to define this to attest authoritatively, and to inform with certainty, if we believe that this is important to do this, then we should pass an ordinance that would require that the City Clerk do that and verify by looking at driver’s license, utility receipts, and verify on the County website as to whether that candidate is not in arrears on their taxes at that point in time. If everyone is in agreement on that, then I guess you’re saying that this is what we should follow. Would it be appropriate at this point in time to make motion and pass a resolution at least that this what we are going to do? If anyone has objections to this approach, let it be known now.”
A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Finley that City Attorney Jones, Alderman Boerner, and I work to redraft the letter and present it at the next Board meeting, using the recommendations that Alderman Boerner suggested. A voice vote was taken with a unanimous affirmative result and the motion passed.
Alderman Markland’s Comments: Alderman Fleming asked if Alderman Markland was looking for the favor of a reply to any of the points that he mentioned. Alderman Markland said he wasn’t looking for this. Alderman Fleming said in that case, he will pass.
Alderman Finley said, “I want to publicly thank my predecessor, former Alderman McDowell, for being here and for caring, and for the comments he made. When I read the Minutes, I understood that he was talking about if you have a personal conflict with someone else, to pull yourselves aside and reconcile it that way. I didn’t get anything out of what he said as being a shady backroom kind of thing. Before the election, before I joined the Board, I saw Mr. McDowell one time after a meeting, approach one of the members of the Board and apologize for something that went on, perhaps a personal disagreement that was developing. I think that’s what he meant. I’d welcome his thoughts to get clarification on this. It’s unfortunate news that Alderman Markland is going to step down. I’ve enjoyed having you on the Board, having you sit next to me. As someone who came in at the same time with you, I’ve appreciated your service as a citizen, and as an alderman, I think you’ve made a positive impact on the City, on the Board, and you’ve made a positive impact on me as a fellow alderman. I congratulate you and your wife on your new house and I wish you the best.”
Adjourn to Closed Session: A motion was made by Alderman Fleming and seconded by Alderman Leahy to adjourn to closed session under State Statute 610.0212 and 610.0213 to discuss personnel and real estate transaction. A roll call vote was taken with the following results: Ayes: Aldermen Fleming, Terbrock, Harder, Boerner, Leahy, Markland, Finley. Nays: None. The motion passed to adjourn to closed session at 8:45 p.m.
In addition to the Board members, City Administrator Kuntz and City Attorney Jones were in attendance. The issue of potential real estate acquisition was discussed and authorization to negotiate in accordance with budget guidelines was granted to the City Administrator. At this point, the City Attorney was excused and Mayor Pogue led the informal overview of the City Administrator’s performance evaluation. No official action was taken.
The closed session was adjourned at 9:48 p.m. and the Board reconvened in open session. Alderman Fleming made a motion to adjourn at 9:50 p.m., seconded by Alderman Terbrock. The motion was unanimously approved.
TIM POGUE, MAYOR