Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Budget Committee Meeting

Minutes
Thursday, May 12, 2011

Budget Committee Meeting
Minutes
May 12, 2011 6:00pm
Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
 
 
CALL TO ORDER
The Budget Committee Meeting was called to order at 6:00 p.m.
 
ROLL CALL
Mayor John Stromberg, Committee Members Keith Baldwin, David Chapman, Dee Anne Everson, Douglas Gentry, Chuck Keil, Greg Lemhouse, Michael Morris, David Runkel, Russ Silbiger, Dennis Slattery, Roberta Stebbins, Lynn Thompson, Carol Voisin were present.
 
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Approval of minutes from previous meeting sent by email and dated:
 
4/6/2011 Economic and Cultural Grant Presentations
4/7/2011 Economic and Cultural Grant Proposed Allocations
Slattery/Lemhouse m/s to approve minutes.  All Ayes
 
PUBLIC INPUT
Sheri Cellini, 335 Kent Street, Ashland, OR 97520.  Ms. Cellini is appearing on behalf of the Conservation Commission to urge that the Conservation Manager position in the Ad Hoc be budgeted for.  The City would benefit from it in reaching its sustainability goals by providing accountability, assist in setting benchmarks which will then measure goal achievements, and set conservation programs into place.  Many cities all across Oregon have already adopted this position.  Ashland who wants to promote itself as a sustainable community would benefit from this position.
 
COMMITTEE DISCUSSION
Martha Bennett, City Administrator, and Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services and Finance Director, went over Report Items.  Mr. Tuneberg discussed the memorandums and attachments addressing the informational requests made by the Committee (see handouts).  These include:  A General Fund History of Property Tax.  An overview of existing debt at June 30, 2012, that does not incorporate any of the proposed debt in this Budget and the sources for paying the debt.  A series of pages of the different funds that have debt service and the debt service payments going into the future 2024-2025.  Response to item number 3 regarding PERS is a memo setting forth all benefits and showing retirement at $3,193,500 identifying what part of that is the 6% pick up that has been negotiated for the City to pay for employees.  Item 4 is a memo on critical deferred CIP that could come back and hit the City and cause additional costs.  Item 5 on the Reserve Fund is on the back of this memo.  Item 6 relating to what are the City’s alternatives to utility rate increases are, is up for discussion by the Committee.  Last item is Biennial Budget information.
 
Unresolved Issues
Ms. Bennett spoke to page 1-6 in the Budget addressing Add packages.  The first recommended position is the Assistant City Administrator position.  The City would convert the existing Electric Department Director duties to the Assistant City Administrator and add additional administration duties.  Net impact citywide is $15,000.  50% of the position would be paid out of Electric at $80,000, $40,000 to the General Fund relating to Economic Development and Municipal Court responsibilities and the remaining quarter of $40,000 out of Central Services. 
 
The second Add is for $30,000 to the Fire Department’s budget to do weed abatement.  Hire seasonal staff for June, July and August to implement the weed abatement ordinance and doing property assessment.  It is recommended to reduce Ending Fund Balance (EFB) for this position.  There was Committee discussion on the abatement process, the City’s responsibilities, recovery of the direct costs from the property owner does not include staff and administrative costs, the legal process involved, the use of contractors, the covered area is only within the City Limits and does not cover property that butts up to County property, and why it is recommended to come out of the General Fund.  Ms. Bennett corrected the number is actually $20,000.
 
The third Add is to convert the Project Manager position for Economic Development to a Conservation Manager.  This conversion is an effort to keep FTE (full time employee) flat.  This position would supervise the three conservation staff that is about a $700,000 program and be responsible for the 3 or 4 City Council goals related to conservation.  Mr. Slattery inquired about a return on investment because of this person’s efforts.   Ms. Bennett stated Electric funds some conservation programs and operates through contracts with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA).   Having someone knowledgeable about what BPA is grant funding would be a source where the City would get access to money.   The State of Oregon is funding electric vehicle charging stations and this position would be utilized in this area.  Net impact is $112,000 with two-thirds from Electric and one-third from Water.   There was Committee discussion on this position will not increase FTE and will not affect the General Fund (GF).
 
Ms. Bennett advised that Community Development Urban Renewal with a fiscal impact of $85,000, was put in as a placeholder.  It is already in the Budget if Council proceeds with Urban Renewal.  She noted that there is a cost related to it that will show up next year.  Council will decide on this prior to the end of June. 
 
The next Add is the half time Court Clerk with an impact of $23,000 a year and would add a half time FTE to the City.  This position is useful to cover for Court employees that are out ill or on vacation.  The Court needs to have two people working to be open safely.  The Court had to close 13 times in 2010 due to not having this position and this is an inconvenience to the public.  Mr. Slattery questioned the Court Clerk position and if there was a less expensive alternative.  Ms. Bennett answered that they have used temps for coverage, but this position requires certifications for law enforcement data systems and knowledge of the Court system.  Ms. Bennett did not feel the GF was stable enough to permanently add positions.
 
Ms. Bennett addressed the Restore Police Officer position that was cut in 2008.  The plan would be to have the Officer half time to increase downtown patrol and the other half time at the High School and Junior High.  There was Committee discussion on the two current vacancies, the use of overtime (OT), the one year it takes for an officer to become trained, lateral transfers that could decrease that time and the City’s responsibilities for public safety and health.  Mr. Runkel pointed to page 3-56 in the Budget that one out of four citizens do not feel safe in hours of darkness and found this startling and expressed concern for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival patrons getting out very late at night.  Ms. Bennett said that is much better than comparable communities.
 
Ms. Bennett did not think the use of overtime was a good strategy.  She felt this position was not a Budget Committee decision, but a Council and Police Chief decision.  GF not stable enough to add FTE and a layoff is very hard to do in the middle of the fiscal year.
 
Ms. Bennett addressed the Restore Firefighter position vacant since December 2008 during the staff reductions.  This position is important because there are two shifts with nine and one shift with eight people.  The minimum staffing requirement is a shift of eight.  When an officer is on vacation or sick, the City ends up paying overtime.  Does not feel it is time to add that reduction back.  There was Committee discussion on public safety, the possible funding of this position and that there is $176,000 remaining in unlevied property tax.  Ms. Bennett felt strongly about not raising taxes or add staff. 
 
Ms. Bennett moved to the next item that is Fire Department equipment with an impact of $91,000.  Chief Karns has identified reductions in Materials & Services and Capital Replacement in order to preserve staffing capacity.  She does not recommend this item and that the City should try to find end of year savings to be set aside for future years to buy the equipment that needs to be replaced.  Does not want to increase taxes for this and should look for alternative ways.  The Department has also been successful in getting grants.
 
Ms. Bennett spoke to the General Fund /Ending Fund Balance, tax rate and transfer to the reserve fund item on the Agenda and looking at the long term, referred the Committee to pages 4-7, 4-8, and 4-9. 
Ms. Stebbins pointed to page 4-8 looking at the 2011 Amended Budget with $188,031 to be in excess of policy requirements with the estimate that there will be $746,550 of which Council acted to move $360,500 over to the Reserves. In the 2012 Budget, for the first time is budgeting $349,000 to go into Reserve Fund from Parks.  Ms. Bennett commented that is implementing a decision Council has already made.  This transfer will be straight into Reserve Fund and not through the GF.  Ms. Stebbins focused on the change in the fund balance policy requirement at 12% is part of the 2% increase.  Noting the Reserve Fund will go from $0 to $870,000 in two years is commendable.
 
Mr. Gentry wanted the different uses of the Contingency Reserves and EFB clarified.  Ms. Bennett answered that Contingency is something Council has to move.  Cannot spend directly out of Contingency; the Council has to transfer the funds into a Department or Program for an expenditure.  Mr. Gentry further questioned the differences between Reserve Fund and adding larger EFB.  Ms. Bennett noted that some jurisdictions have money in Reserve or they put into EFB and carry it as unappropriated.  The problem is that EFB money is available in the budget process with less transparency or less overt explanation than it would take to transfer from Reserve.  The Council could set some policies and parameters about when that Reserve Fund might be used.  Whereas, EFB is always available for use in the next budget cycle.
 
Mr. Gentry further questioned if Contingency, EFB and Reserve are used to meet unanticipated needs.  Ms. Bennett answered that no, but Contingency is for unexpected things during the fiscal year.  Policies related to Contingency set different levels for Contingency in different funds depending on how likely it is that something will happen.  EFB is there for cash carryover or cash flow issues.  EFB could be for cash or restricted funds or could be unspent money.  Reserve Fund is there for the really disproportionate, unexpected event.  She would like to set aside about 10% of operating revenues in a Reserve and would raise taxes to accomplish this.  Council has said no to this, so an alternative is when there is an EFB in excess of policy requirement, some should be moved into Reserve so it’s there in case of an emergency event.
 
Mr. Runkel expressed he opposed a large Reserve Fund and related it to taxing people today for services later.  Mr. Keil disagreed and that it would be spreading risk.  It would be like having a catastrophic insurance policy for an unexpected event that happens and the City needs to be prepared; maintaining public safety and health.  Without adequate reserves the City would be in deep trouble. 
 
Ms Thompson noted the Contingency was increased from $400,000 to $500,000 in last year’s Budget and that carries through, and asked if the number was adjusted down to $400,000, what impact does it have on the bottom line of the budget?  Ms. Bennett clarified the City budgeted less than policy on Contingency in the GF.  Staff believed the policy amount was higher than needed.  Level of Contingency is based on how much discretion do you want to afford to the City Council to make mid-year adjustments, if not spent, it carries into the next fiscal year.
 
Ms. Voisin asked if Contingency at the end of year goes back into EFB?  Ms. Bennett answered that the General Fund usually spends much of Contingency.  This year the City anticipates using some Contingency due to the Oak Knoll fire. 
 
Ms. Thompson would like to go over revenue assumptions.  She has heard informally that some revenue expectations may have improved.  In looking at GF budget, could the Committee reasonably adjust some of the revenue expectations for the next FY based on what you now predict.  Mr. Tuneberg responded that the City is projecting to receive in total taxes higher than was budgeted.  There has been money received in the last quarter that is not yet known, but it is not known if the City will receive more in any of the revenue streams that are identified on page 4-8.  We think Police projections for their cost for people is a little high, they may see some savings because of vacancies, but Fire may spend more.
 
Ms. Bennett continued: $80,000 too much in the projections for Police personnel, $20-$30,000 too little projected for Fire, $30-35,000 Comm. Dev. savings, being roughly $100,000 off of projections made in February.  Projections on the revenue side for licenses and permits did not forecast the Council refunding $35,000 of Comm. Dev. and Engineering fees.   Leaving approximately $75,000 more in EFB going into FY 2012.  When projections were done, staff only had six months worth of data and now there is nine months worth of data.   Next year there are two areas that may have been under forecast.  One is Hotel/Motel tax as a substantial portion of this is restricted to Tourism and not available to the City for GF purposes.  Projected no growth but will probably see 3-4%.  Second is Planning and Zoning fees may be low given the projects that are now coming in.  Construction is hard to foresee.  The property tax budgeted numbers are good based on County Assessors advice based on what is happening Countywide.
 
There was Committee discussion on the health of the GF.  Ms. Bennett referred the Committee to the budget message and page 4-7.  The City’s history has been ending the fiscal year better than had been budgeted, with the exception of fiscal year 2008/2009.
 
Ms. Everson redirected the Committee’s attention to the Add packages starting with the first one.
 
Keil/Stromberg m/s to accept the staff recommendation and include Assistant City Administrator position in the budget.  Discussion:  Mr. Keil thought the staff presentation was very convincing that the efficiency of City government could be markedly improved.  Mr. Lemhouse thought the argument was convincing if Martha’s talents are to be maximized, she needs to be freed up from the span of control that is untenable and not the industry standard.  This position does not have to be a practitioner; department heads are hired to be leaders and right person could handle the job.  Mr. Baldwin is in support of this position and believed that if she was relieved of a wide variety of responsibilities, she could go on to some of the higher and better leadership the Committee looks for.  Mr. Stromberg added his support. Find a way to relieve her from some of her duties that could be done by others.  He recognized that they were misapplying Martha’s unique ability to really contribute and add value.
Roll Call Vote:  Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, and Voisin: YES; Chapman: NO.  Motion Passes 13-1.
 
Gentry/Silbiger m/s to accept staff recommendation to include weed abatement in the budget. Discussion:  Ms. Thompson appreciated this item in the Budget to let the Committee know what is going on.  At $20,000 and adding a portion of a FTE, it is hoped the City will recover costs to minimize the budgetary impact.
Roll Call Vote:  Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, Voisin, Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Keil: YES; Chapman: NO.  Motion Passes 13-1.
 
Runkel/Voisin m/s to accept staff recommendation to include Conservation Manager position for the budget.  Discussion:  Ms. Stebbins supports this position but wanted to voice her concerns about the transference of the burden to the Enterprise Funds.  Mr. Runkel believed if the Conservation Program is to be successful, it needs leadership.  Mr. Lemhouse supports it as there are significant Council goals that rely on conservation and if not done, it amounts to being unfunded mandates.  Mr. Silbiger is opposed, as the City has far more pressing needs to pay for than this position.  Not a $0 impact, $112,000 increase that will come out of utility rates.  The Police Officer, Fire Fighter and even the half-time Court Clerk are higher priorities. 
 
Stromberg/Voisin m/s to amend this motion to decrease franchise fee in Electric Fund an amount equivalent to the portion of this salary that would go into the Electric Fund.  Discussion:  Mr. Stromberg noted that it was questioned why the City was charging such high franchise fees to utilities and this is an appropriate time to reduce it by an amount equal to this portion of the salary.  Ms. Thompson opposes this amendment and agrees with Mr. Silbiger.  This creates a burden on the GF and believed a restructuring of the already three FTE in this program would be a more appropriate alternative.  Mr. Keil supports the main motion as the utilities are in crisis and conservation is needed, but opposes the amendment.  Ms. Stebbins opposes the amendment as both the Electric and Water Funds will be impacted.  Mr. Stromberg corrected himself to say he meant the Water Fund to be in the amendment and not the Electric Fund.  Mr. Slattery wondered if the Assistant City Administrator, who will be managing the Electric Department, also serve as Conservation Manager and asked who is overseeing it now.  Ms. Bennett responded the Conservation Program is a considerable amount of work and does not recommend adding it to the Electric Department and all the other administrative duties.  It is currently being managed by the Community Development Director.  Mr. Stromberg felt Mr. Silbiger’s opposition was well expressed, however, believed these programs all directly benefit citizens into the future.  Mr. Chapman believed that discussing franchise fees is a worthwhile exercise, but not in this context and will not support the amendment or the Add position.  Ms. Voisin felt this position for conservation is giving to our citizens a reserve fund it will help them in the long run.  
Roll Call Vote on Amendment: Voisin, Stromberg: YES. Baldwin, Chapman, Everson, Gentry, Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Thompson: NO.  Amendment Fails 2-12.
 
Roll Call Vote on Motion: Everson, Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Stromberg, and Voisin: YES.  Chapman, Gentry, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Thompson, Baldwin: NO.  Motion Fails 7-7.
 
Silbiger/Keil m/s that the Budget Committee supports the possibility of funding the Urban Renewal Plan moving to the Comm. Dev. Budget.  Discussion:  Ms. Thompson said she would be inclined to move to defer this to Council.  Ms. Bennett answered there is a ground rule related to how much they could grow Materials and Services portion of the Budget and this is more than a 2% increase.  This is for purposes of transparency.  Mr. Stromberg supports this action as it is an important piece of the Economic Development strategy and the Budget Committee should be backing it up.
Roll Call Vote:  Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Keil, Lemhouse, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, and Stromberg: YES.  Chapman, Morris, Thompson, Voisin: NO.  Motion Passes 10-4.
 
Future Add Packages and Property Tax Implications:
Ms. Everson asked if the Committee would like to address item V.B. of the Agenda in whole or in part and the Committee decided to discuss them individually.  She asked for a motion on the first issue.
 
Keil/Lemhouse m/s to accept priority six to Approve Budget Add Package for additional police officer dedicated to addressing downtown issues and providing drug & alcohol abuse education programs and enforcement efforts at/around Ashland schools.  Discussion:  Mr. Keil expressed he was convinced by the Police Chief’s recommendation that this position should be restored.  Mr. Stromberg noted this position is in addition to the two current unfilled positions with potential lateral candidates available with recruitment open right now and there may be a period of 12 months before this new officer would be downtown or make an allocation for an existing officer to be downtown.  Ms. Bennett did not believe this was a discussion for the Budget Committee, but the Council could have the discussion with the Police Chief.  Mr. Lemhouse noted the community wants downtown and schools to be safe and resources should be put there to give staff the ability to do this.
 
Ms. Everson added that she cannot support adding a position to City government at this time, when companies are cutting jobs.  Even though it is incredibly important it would be terrible to add and have to cut it again because the economy is not growing yet.  Ms. Stebbins acknowledged that as important as it is, she cannot support it with these economic conditions.  Ms. Thompson would like to be in favor of this, but notes with the hiring of the two new officers, the department will be in a much better staffing posture, and that they defer Add for a year to see what next year’s financial condition is.  Ms. Bennett recommends to defer for a year, but in the past a position could be funded for a portion of the year; starting on January 1 as opposed to July.  With the hiring of the two officers, staffing would be at levels that would allow the officer assigned to Central Area Patrol to resume that assignment.
 
Ms. Voisin pointed to the City’s Reserve Fund and EFB are in good condition and that adding any of these future Add packages would be building and flourishing government, but impacting citizens with taxes in bad economic times.
Roll Call Vote: Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, and Slattery: YES.  Voisin, Thompson, Baldwin, Chapman, Everson, Gentry, Stebbins, Stromberg: NO.  Motion Fails 6-8.
 
Slattery/Silbiger m/s to approve the Add of the P/T Court Clerk position.  Discussion:  Ms. Everson stated that she is not in favor of adding any positions for the reasons already stated.  Mr. Silbiger expressed this one is a no-brainer for getting things done and it pays for itself.  Mr. Stromberg felt this missing position is wasting other Court efforts and the City is not fulfilling the intention of having the Court operating.  Mr. Runkel questioned why there is not more cooperation in government and that another City employee fill in when there are absences?  Ms. Bennett answered that this position requires special certifications that have to be kept up.  Ms. Voisin inquired about legal department staff.  Ms. Bennett responded there would be a conflict to use the paralegal in the City Attorney’s office as that position handles the paperwork for the prosecution of charges and there needs to be separation.  There was Committee discussion on this small amount of salary to come out of the GF or have a tax impact and what will be gained from restoring the position outweighs the cost.
Roll Call Vote:  Baldwin, Gentry, Keil, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, and Thompson: YES.  Chapman, Everson, Lemhouse, Voisin: NO.  Motion Passes 10-4.
 
Silbiger/Keil m/s approve to restore the unfunded firefighter position.  Discussion:  Mr. Gentry is in support of this important service position to public safety protection, it will reduce overtime and did not view it as a luxury.  Mr. Keil is in favor and spoke to the cost benefit analysis at what is gained by adding this position and noted that it was 4.85 cents for medium assessed home is less than $15.00 a year and likened it to an insurance policy for the safety of citizens.  Stromberg added the timing is too early as we are going to the citizens for a bond issue and should hold off.
Roll Call Vote: Gentry, Keil, Morris, and Silbiger: YES.  Chapman, Everson, Lemhouse, Runkel, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, Voisin, Baldwin: NO.  Motion Fails 4:10.
 
Ms. Everson asked for a motion on Fire Department Equipment.   No motion was made and Committee was asked for any other issues under Agenda item V.C.
 
Ms. Voisin had difficulty understanding how the City is going to deal with debt and debt service in this budget of $7.4 million in loans and that figure would be higher if debt service was included.  Mr. Tuneberg responded that there is a potential debt, depending on voters approving the $3 million for the fire station, whether parks identify their projects at approximately $1.8 million, and various financing of CIP in the different enterprises.  Some of the projects are funded by grants, intergovernmental monies, LIDs, or partially paid through SDCs.  Ms. Bennett added that some of the projects may or may not come to pass.  The Parks Department is asking to budget $1.8 so they can borrow against the Food and Beverage Tax revenue to do capital projects up front as opposed to doing them over time.  If Electric buys the North Mountain Substation, there is potential of borrowing, but the purchase would save $80,000 a year with the debt service being less than the transmission charge currently being paid to BPA.  They all have revenue streams identified to pay the debt service in future years.  Ms. Voisin wanted the new debt clarified in one place.  Ms. Bennett advised that debt service for that borrowing would not start until future fiscal years and if she wanted to look at what Mr. Tuneberg’s estimates are, they are in the long term section of the relevant fund.
 
Ms. Everson moved to Agenda item VI.A and asked for motions.
 
Mr. Runkel advised he would be proposing a tax cut and asked how is that procedurally affected if the Committee approves the Budget.  Ms. Bennett agreed and advised his motion should be made prior to addressing motion A.
 
Runkel/Voisin m/s to Approve Property Tax Permanent Levy at $4.0973/$1,000.
Discussion:  There was Committee discussion that the proposed budget tax rate is calculated at $4.1973/$1,000 and the ceiling or total permanent rate is $4.2865/$1,000. Mr. Tuneberg directed the Committee to turn to page 1-33 setting forth the reconciliation of the potential property tax rate for next year.  He reviewed the permanent rates for the GF, Debt Service-Technology Fee and Parks Fund that represents the calculated rate of 4.1973 and if Mr. Runkel proposes a reduction in rate, he will need to identify which of those three elements he is intending to reduce.  There is also a motion proposing a levy for the Ashland Library and Bonded Debt for the 2005 GO Bond and Fire Station Bond contingent upon the upcoming vote.  Ms. Thompson offered an amendment to the motion that the reduction be specifically allocated to GF operations.  Mr. Runkel accepted it.
 
Thompson/Runkel m/s to amend that the reduction be specifically allocated to GF operations.
Discussion:  Mr. Runkel advised he would like to talk to the motion and confine it to the GF budget.  Last year the Committee was asked to increase the tax rate to cover the expected increase in the City’s retirement cost and the Committee voted against it.  Last month Ms. Bennett advised them the City had the $550,000 to pay the additional PERS bill, to fund raises and pay ongoing programs.  He noted $360,000 transferred out of the GF went into the Reserve Fund and with another $340,000 from Parks.   He believed the GF is in great shape and is due in large part to the efficiencies that had been imposed by Martha and Lee.  In addition to holding down costs, revenues are rising under the current tax rate.  He spoke to pages 4-2 and 4-3 and reviewed the City’s tax revenues.  He believed this budget can afford a modest tax cut.
 
Mr. Keil noted the City’s tax burden is low and sees no need to reduce what staff has proposed.  Ms. Thompson noted the City has raised taxes in four of the last five years, largely due to concern about the health of the GF.  Due to revenues remaining stronger than estimated and very responsible management, the City has ended up every year with at least $750,000 more than EFB policy requirement.  Commends the departments and City management for that result.  She would not support this motion if it would put the GF in jeopardy.  She felt the City is carrying a lot of money and could withstand a 10 cent reduction.
 
Mr. Lemhouse said that staff should be commended on how they have handled the money, conservatively estimated revenues coming in and made the difficult cuts that needed to be made.  He suggested that next year franchise fees should be cut to lower rates.  He believed this to be a reasonable request and supports it.  Mr. Stromberg pointed out a 10 cent reduction is $198,000.  Would vote for a 5 cent, but not 10 cents.  Mr. Slattery is okay with 10 cents, but not fond of untargeted budget cutting.   Mr. Gentry does not think City finances are healthy enough to think about cuts.   He pointed to the critical services and maintenance that have been put off.   There is a need to preserve tax rate where it is and allow EFB to grow so funds are available to fund the projects that will be outlined in the anticipated Master Plans.  Mr. Silbiger noted the City is finally getting EFB to a reasonable amount.   The City has a need to build it up to pay for that Fire Fighter or Police Officer that they want, but cannot afford.  Not going to get there by cutting the tax rate, it will not help fund it next year.  Ms. Everson added the Committee relies on staff to provide a budget and assumes that in a year when staff believed it reasonable and practical, will come forward with a proposed tax decrease.  Mr. Morris would prefer to have 10 cents less, but cannot support it now without saying where and how.  Mr. Baldwin stated he cannot support the cut right now.  Has the distinct sense that many of the departments are holding their breath hoping nothing bad will happen.   Unless the reserves are built up, the City is not going to be able to answer on a timely basis if something bad does happen.
Roll Call Vote: Lemhouse, Runkel, Slattery, Stebbins, Thompson, Voisin, and Chapman: YES.  Morris, Silbiger, Stromberg, Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Keil: NO.  Motion fails 7:7.
 
Ms. Bennett offered that if the Committee felt the revenues in the GF are too high, she suggested the Committee consider a reduction in the franchise payments made by water and sewer.  The City gets a double benefit doing that: the concerns about the GF are addressed, but the Water Fund is protected.  $47,000 per percent in water and $35,000 per percent from wastewater.  Those two franchises pay 8% of their revenues to the GF.  Lowering it from 8% to 6% you shore up the utility funds and theoretically lower future rate increases.
 
Stromberg/Runkel m/s to reduce the Franchise Fee in the Water Fund from 8% to 6%.
Discussion:  Mr. Stromberg stated his intention is to cause a reduction in the GF, but making the benefit fall on the Water Fund and still stay above the EFB requirement in the GF.  There was Committee discussion on decreased need for future water rate increases and that there would not be any immediate impact.  Mr. Gentry brought to the Committee’s attention that with the two Add positions coming out of the GF and with the reduction in the franchise fee, the GF would fall below the EFB policy.  Ms. Bennett responded that the Committee has the discretion to set a budget that deviates from that policy.  Mr. Stromberg added that he thought that revenues would be a little higher than projected and every year the property tax assessment goes up about 2 ˝%; ending up a year from now finding that the City did not drop below that level.
Roll Call Vote: Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Lemhouse, Runkel, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, and Voisin: YES.  Chapman, Keil, Morris, Silbiger, Slattery: NO.  Motion passes 9/5.
 
Keil/Thompson m/s to approve the budget as modified by discussion this evening.  Discussion: None. Roll Call Vote: Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, Voisin, Lemhouse, Keil, Gentry, Everson, Chapman, and Baldwin: YES.  Motion passes 14/0.
 
Keil/Silbiger m/s to approve property tax permanent levy at $4.1973/$1000. Discussion: None.
Roll Call Vote:  Everson, Gentry, Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, Voisin, Chapman, and Baldwin: YES.  Runkel: NO.  Motion passes 13/1.
 
Silbiger/Slattery m/s to approve the 2005 GO Bond Levy of $416,610.  Discussion:  None.
Roll Call Vote:  Chapman, Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Keil, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, and Voisin: YES.  Motion passes 14/0.
 
Voisin/Silbiger m/s to approve the Fire Station #2 GO Bond levy at the rate appropriate rate - estimated at $259,200, if approved by the voters. Discussion: None.
Roll Call Vote:  Lemhouse, Keil, Gentry, Everson, Chapman, Baldwin, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, and Voisin: YES.  Motion passes 14/0.
 
Keil/Chapman m/s to approve the Local Option Library Levy of $.1921/$1,000.  Discussion:  Ms. Stebbins asked what was last year’s.  Ms. Bennett responded that it was the same.
Roll Call Vote:  Baldwin, Everson, Gentry, Kyle, Lemhouse, Morris, Runkel, Silbiger, Slattery, Stebbins, Stromberg, Thompson, and Voisin:  YES.  Chapman: NO.  Motion passes 13/1.
 
There was Committee discussion to proceed with Wrap Up now or continue it to May 16, 2011.  The general consensus was to continue on Monday, May 16th.  Ms. Everson asked the Committee to give consideration to their wrap up questions, she thanked the Committee and congratulated Martha and Lee and thanked Melissa.
 
ADJOURNMENT
The meeting was adjourned at 8:37 p.m.
 
Respectfully submitted,
 
Peggy Carson
Temporary Administrative Secretary
 
 

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