BUDGET COMMITTEE MEETING
Budget Committee Chair Paula Hyatt called the meeting to order at 6:02 p.m. in the Civic Center Council Chambers.
Julie Akins David Runkel
Jim Bachman Stefani Seffinger
Paula Hyatt Dennis Slattery
John Stromberg Rich Rosenthal
Shane Hunter Mike Morris
Shaun Moran Pamela Lucas
Absent: Tonya Graham
Rich Rohde-Ashland- Spoke to not moving funds from the Marijuana Tax away from the housing fund additionally he talked about some of the history of the fund. A statement was submitted into record regarding this, document attached.
Louise Shawkat-Ashland- Spoke regarding Earth Overshoot Day and how this relates to the budget debt. She also requested that CEAP and the 10x20 be considered in the upcoming budget. A statement was submitted into record regarding this, document attached.
Dr. Carol Voisin- Ashland-Provided observation of the proposed budget, noting her concern for moving Marijuana Tax funds away from the Housing Fund and the removing of staff from the Municipal Court. She also added that more cuts should take place in personnel and that the CIP should be reduced. A statement was submitted into record regarding this, document attached.
Huelz Gutcheon- Ashland-Spoke to the fuel shortages, and the transition to electric cars, including CO2 that has been added to emissions. He noted that there is now technology that can now be effective. He suggested that the solution is everything electric.
Kelly Madding, City Administrator reviewed with the committee the upcoming budget calendar as presented in the packet. She added that the May 22nd meeting was added only if needed and that this would be a hard stop for the Budget Committee as City Council will need time to deliberate and pass needed resolutions. The goal is for the budget to be adopted during the first Council meeting in June. She also spoke to the resignation of Mark Welch, Administrate Service Director. She commented that the budget being presented is that of the City of Ashland and that it will move forward in Welch’s absence. Paula Hyatt, Budget Committee Chair also commented that she appreciated Welch’s leadership, adding that the team behind Welch was a strong one.
Mark Welch, Administrate Service Director began by stating that he would be focusing on Enterprise Funds this evening, including Water, Wastewater, Stormwater, Electric and AFN. He added that although Streets is considered a Special Revenue Fund, it operates much like an Enterprise Fund. He added that the Street Fund along with vehicle replacement will also be discussed during this presentation. He noted that a place was also given at the end of the meeting for information requests. He began by presenting the twenty-one funds as listed from the General Fund to Enterprise Funds. Further explained by Welch was that Enterprise Funds are used to maintain infrastructure. He explained that a little over 41% of the total budget is represented by enterprise funds. He also explained that Enterprise Funds are different as they operate as separate functions with services sometimes provided by private operation. In order to maintain Welch stated that they charge customers for services and usage based on rates. Additionally, Welch said that there is no General Fund support of Enterprise Funds and that the personnel numbers are very low for each operation including those within these Public Works Funds. Beginning with the Water Fund, Welch explained that there would be no change in personnel, even with the Master Plans calling for an increase in FTE’s. Changes in personnel funding reflect changes due to COLA’s and step increases. Materials and services would be increased Welch added due to internal charges. The need to repay the one-time money of $850,000 used in the last biennium is reflected in these various internal charges, including those in Water. He also explained that Franchise Fees in Water were also increased as these fees are calculated to rise when revenues increase for the fund, funds from Franchise Fees are placed in the General Fund. A 4% increase was built into the Budget for the Water Fund, although a study is being done and could reflect different rates that would have to be decided on later by Council. Welch went on to add the debt services has also fallen due to the repayment of funds. The largest change noted was that Capital Outlay would decrease due to an overestimation of what could be completed in the last time frame, estimates listed in the proposed budget are more realistic and should be completed. Welch also explained to the Committee the overall functions of the Waterfund. Looking at the breakdown of Capital Welch added that the Water Fund did have a large funded project that was slated to be finished in the proposed biennium, but that other projects are needed to provide support to infrastructure. He also reiterated the cost of delaying such projects can actually cost more if deferred. The rates for this fund are collected through fees, with a recent cost of service study being completed that recommending a 4% rate increase. Welch added that based on the ENR which is a good estimate of construction costs, this rate is 1.5% above the inflationary factor for Water but that as stated before a cost of service study is being looked at with results due at the end of May, with discussion being had at that time. Also included within Water are two open loans with IFA with interest rates being noted as low for these types of loans held by the City. Welch also mentioned that Water uses SDC’s.
Looking at the long range financial forecast, Welch explained that taking into account projected rate increases, loans that are in place and the projects noted in the CIP it can be seen that projected good ending fund balances are noted for Water. This balance he explained is due to the reserves needed to fund the end of the new Water Treatment Plant and the loans will be used to fund the beginning of this project. This will then equate as times goes on to an ending fund balance that will not be healthy and more loans will need to be taken out in the future in order to keep ending fund balances, project funds, and rates stable Welch went on to state. He also presented to the Committee a comparison of rates based on a winter average in neighboring areas. Rates are below in comparison to most areas and slightly higher then Medford, taking into consideration that the City has a dam, reservoir, a canal, and piping which are unique to the City.
Mike Morris, Budget Committee Member asked what the franchise fees funds were based on. Welch noted that these are actually based on revenue from rates, less any debt as no fees are based on any current debt. Councilor Dennis Slattery, Budget Committee Member asked to the 4% projected rate increase in the Water Fund and if this was a not to exceed number. Paula Brown, Public Works Director, noted that this number was based on prior analysis and that she could not guarantee but she did not think it would. Slattey went on to question if this number could be placed as a not to exceed number. Brown added that 4% placed in was a number that they did not plan on changing but that as the study is finished numbers could be adjusted in the future. Councilor Julie Akins, Budget Committee Member questioned what would happen if the 4% was not considered by Council in the budget and what the backup plan would be. Brown noted that this would mean that Capital Projects would not be able to be completed, delaying projects and costing overall more money and causing rate increase to be higher in the future. This would also need to be looked at by Council to decide what projects would be delayed. Shaun Moran, Budget Committee Member asked about the CIP and Master Plans projected out to 2039 adding that by 2025 there is an estimation of $131 million in projects. In relation to this he quoted a study from Portland State University, stating that population of the City grows by 1,000 every 10 years which is not in line with the cost of a quarter of a billion dollars in projects projected in the CIP. He added that things need to be prioritized and discussed within the community as things in this community have not changed that much and he predicts that things will not change in the future as well. Brown responded by adding that she thought that the project was very reasonable but aggressive, she added that many projects have already delayed and that things can no longer be avoided. Overall Moran stated that he does not feel like these costs seem normal. Brown responded that she disagrees and that the proposed budget shows a very aggressive two years with Water being half of the Capital Outlay listed. She further explained that although this plan is aggressive that the funding being used has previously been deferred and now is the time to get it done within Water and many other enterprise fund. The City of Ashland should have around $7 to $8 million dollars in projects just to keep up Brown noted. She went on to state that by rising rates and banking funds that City is now in a positon to begin these projects. In closing she added that she no longer wanted to defer projects as other cities have.
Moran questioned why the rates in Talent seem to be lower with less infrastructure. Brown responded by stating that 10% increases are expected in Talent.
Dave Runkel, Budget Committee Member commented that he had received communication form a citizen requesting a look at the 20 year CIP looking at the full cost and timeliness of projects. This citizen had concerns about the amounts and what fees and rates would be able to sustain this. Welch added that this document did exist within the CIP part of the proposed budget, with many of the rates noted in the master plans. He also stated that the costs are really associated with the deterioration and delay of projects, as projects that are delayed will cost more. He also noted that although fees and rates would increase in the beginning that projects do need to be completed, but that costs should be normalized after. Runkel asked if studies have been done to see if citizens can afford this. Brown noted that rates are considered within the master planning and that it may be shocking to look at these rates as it has been over 20 years since a plan has been done. She also explained that every Master Plan is presented to council looking toward the future and considers the projected growth, costs, and levels of services in order to provide reliable and quality projects. The CIP document allows for planning and the two year numbers are solid, with the long term 6-year plan already being evaluated as sustainable.
Mayor Stromberg, Budget Committee Member spoke to the deferred maintenance risk. He stated that infrastructure can get so bad that that streets can become a wreck to the point where not enough income can be generated to put the system back together, with all new infrastructure then needing to be built. Brown added that in a 2007 a report was made regarding streets conditions, this she added would be sent to Committee Members and posted on the City website. Stromberg added that a risk is involved without this type of maintenance. Brown responded that the materials and services budget for Streets has increased to help maintain streets. She added that the Food and Beverage Tax had been set to go for these kinds of improvements and that if the City does want to defer maintenance that streets could become “dead streets” with no improvements made. Stromberg added that he sees this risk.
Councilor Jensen, Budget Committee Member spoke to the affordability of rate increase to citizens and its relation to an already established assistance program. Bryn Morrison, Administrative Services Manager explained what assistance is available including a year round program for seniors and those who are disabled with assistance coming based on income level. Also explained was an additional winter program that those in year round program are automatically include in. Jensen added that he would like to remind everyone that this program is in place and that it can help with rate increases.
Councilor Akins, Budget Committee Member noted that she is concerned about the deferred maintenance and where it has left the City as rate increase have already taken place. Citizens she added do not want more increases to rates. She asked if there were any other options then increasing rates to fix these issues. Brown noted that these are all based on analysis of rate programs that allow for the increase future projects. She also stated that these rate will be small and level over time and the only way to move away from these rate increases is to drop the level of service.
Seffinger added that the she is concerned about the economic viability and the need for more of the City’s population needing assistance. Brown added that this needed to be looked at within the Master Plan’s as well. Slattery added that the CIP is a 20-year plan and is a foundation. He went on to say that the Committees charge is to look at the next two years and that future plan is may be debated by future Committees but that resources can be weighted and discussed. Moran also spoke to the options presented including the option to reduce services levels. He added that CIP funded projects such as sidewalks seem large and could be outsourced as it may be done cheaper. Brown added that a majority of the projects listed in these budgets are contracted out and that contracting out operations will not save money, but that cost analysis would have to be done to determine this exactly.
Welch went on to explain that Wastewater has a $19 million total budget with around $3 million in personnel and $7 million in materials and services, with 45% of this cost be related to internal services fees. He added that these internal services fees also included fees for vehicle replacement and insurance. Franchise fees are also included in this fund, with $4.6 in capital and $8.4 in outstanding debt also being listed. $1.6 million of this debt is from the Food and Beverage Tax Welch explained. He also added that there are Capital improvement projects listed for this fund are at around $2 million dollars for general maintenance. Wastewater funds receives revenue from rates calculated on winter usage. Winter water usage City wide is down, estimated charges for these services are at $11.5 million dollars with a rate increase of 4%. Brown added that this is a fee that can be capped, because not as much money is being spent in capital.
Stromberg stated that the proposed Central Service Fees in the budget are larger due to needing to replenish one times funds of $1.7 used to balance in the last biennium budget. Welch stated that this is part of it and that he has a spreadsheet that he can pass along that shows the cost breakdown by department, with an allocation being based on the departments usage. Increases going forward will be relative to normal costs.
Welch went on to explain that Stormwater is a newer fund created in the 2017-19 budget with a separate charge on the utility bill. Welch also noted the very small budget within this department with 3.2 FTE and a total of $700,000 being allocated for personnel, $1.1 million in materials and services, due to the Central Service increase. With the fund being newer and the master plan not being updated recently Brown added that she anticipated that capital will be better defined and costs going up, with no rate increase excepted for this.
Paula Hyatt, Budget Committee Chair stated that she noticed that many of the benefits also matched allocated salaries. Welch responded that salaries in this fund are around $60,000-$70,000. With $24,000 in healthcare and other benefits, the percentage of benefits paid becomes a lot larger Welch pointed out. He also stated that benefits are looked at as being closer to 60% of salary mostly due to the flat cost of healthcare, with added PERS costs also being added. Stromberg added that the PERS assessment also includes past employees. Welch added that the current employee PERS rate includes 10% of an unfunded liability.
Welch explained that the operations of the Electric Fund adding that over 10,000 residents, 1,500 business and 166 institutions. The Electric Department is maintained by 17 employees, with 3 main facilities with some energy generation coming from the Hossler Dam. The majority of the electric fund is bought from the Bonneville Power Authority with the Purchase of this being at 68% of the total budget. Personnel services are proposed to be 13% due to the step increases, COLA’s and planned retirements. The other large costs included in this fund are in materials and services which again includes the cost of purchasing power. Another cost stated was in capital outlay, as there is a potential purchase from BPA of a substation, with possibly of the note being held and paid over time. The rate increased proposed is 3.65% which is consistent with the cost of service study that was completed. It is estimated that cost to buy power will be at 3% increase but could range from 2%-5%. Welch also noted that in the proposed fee, a rate is given to pay for infrastructure. Also presented to the committee the historical rate increases form BPA. Also presented was a comparison against electric rates with those of Talent, costs are currently lower in the City and are proposed to remain lower with increase. Welch also spoke to the electric user fee stating that these fees are used for the General Fund, as he believes these are not electric fees and are only based on electric usage with no control of this fee being given to Electric. Looking into the overall rate comparison, the fees including the costs of the tax are actually slightly higher than those of Talent. Looking at a 10-year comparison shows are a 44% increase.
The only Capital project listed outside of regular maintenance is the above mentioned substation listed at $2 million projected in year two. Hyatt asked to the electric user fee, as the base fee goes into the General Fund for public safety and other costs, with additional fees on the bill for other public safety fees stating that she would like to know why these costs aren’t in the base electric fee. Welch explained that the 25% user tax was established in the 1970’s to fund General Fund operations with the $1.50 fee being recently added to fund additional police. Hyatt asked if these fees could be changed. Welch referred to the Dave Lohman, City Attorney to answer this question as he thought the 25% was unchangeable as a grandfathered number. Both Lohman and Welch stated that they would have to research this and return an answer back to the Committee. Welch spoke further to the fee adding the reason to go such a fee was that this fee is paid by everyone in the City, including those who do not pay property taxes. He also talked about the increase in the tourism economy as being a need for more Police officers as opposed to the basis being on the non-growth in the population. Larger organizations such as SOU and OSF who have an impact on tourism help share in this cost based on these fees.
Runkel, spoke to the State Public Utility Commission and that the City receives the lowest rate out of many Cities but rates are still higher. Runkel add that he thought that that these rates were higher to the City using electric rate fees as a way to fund the General Fund. He added that he has concerns about raising the fee by $5.00 as it would be using public utilities to pay for services that should be paid for through the General Fund. He further explained that Public Utility Commission does not have jurisdiction over electric companies in relation to rates. He also spoke that to the return on investment and added that he would like to see a system that protects the rate payers. Welch responded that he disagrees and that utility rates are still lower than nearby cities, but that the utility bill is different. He spoke to other cities raising similar taxes and that unfortunately the State of Oregon does not provide many ways to raise revenue. He added that one way is through utility fees. Runkel added that rate payers are ultimately effected. Welch ended by stating if the City was not to provide this service that rate payers would pay more as General fund would still need to be funded.
Slattery, pointed out that equity utilities do not have to fund Police and Fire, but that Citizens require services. Madding added that this comparison is a snapshot in time. She added that she has been advised by staff that up until this year even with the added fees on utility bills that the overall bills were still lower than nearby cities. She added that these fees go back into our community and overall the citizens are benefiting from it as profits are not going to shareholders. Akins asked if the 25% based on the issue of the fee being Grandfathered could only not be increased and if there was a possibility that it could be decreased. Welch responded that he would need to speak with the City Attorney and return to the Committee more information. Slattery asked for clarification on the term grandfathered and this means having to do with the charter. Adam Hanks, Assistant to the City Administrator stated that more information could be brought back regarding this as this has been done this past. He also added that it is no longer allowed within the wholesale contracts to use the base rate and consumption rate as a bases for the tax and that this was a negotiated rate in the 1980’s. Akins also added that she was concerned that these proposed fees would be based on tourism as it cannot be assumed that tourism would increase. Welch responded that this is not based in enterprise funds and that this a fee to fund General Fund with those who have a meter paying the fee. In relation to the Police funding he stated that. She also asked to the step increases. McBartlet spoke that these are currently held at 2% per the labor contract with this being the final year of the contract. Mayor Stromberg also asked if those who have been with the City longer are not eligible for step increase and if this helps to decrease overall costs. Welch added that step increase is shown to show the various costs other than COLA’s. Shane Hunter, Budget Committee Vice Chair asked about the buying of a new substation. McBartlet, spoke to the need for this as it will reduce transfer fees. This cost he explained will pay itself off and allow for growth.
Welch began the look of the AFN enterprise fund with noting that the personnel costs $1.5 million and $2.5 in Materials and Services which also includes the cost of buying broadband. Revenue for AFN has also increasing over time. Don Kewley, AFN Director reviewed with the committee the operations of AFN (See attached presentation).
Councilor Rosenthal, Budget Committee Member began by stating that because the City of Ashland provides electric service that residents save money and then asked what similar benefits that AFN provides to its customers. Kewley responded that it has increased competition with other company’s rates being lower. He added that it also helps to increase Economic Development and allows citizens to work from home. Rosenthal also asked regarding large organizations using the AFN services and if a process has been looked at to see if AFN could provide those services. Kewely stated that they are working on it and they do run into competitors that lease their Fiber from AFN to these organizations. Slattery added that he would like to clarity the goals listed and asked if these would be good stretch goals for AFN. Kewely responded that these are realistic industry goals. Slattery added that if customers are increased by 10% that revenues would also be increased more than 10%. Kewley noted that he would need to make an adjustment. Seffinger asked if they have any role in emergency preparedness. Moran added that he sees improvement and that it is well done. He also spoke to the ending fund balance. Welch responded to this by stating that that this was a reflection of increased revenue and decreasing expenditures with the funds being used to maintain infrastructure and increase fiber reliability. Moran also spoke to paying the loan initially received from the City back and if this was being worked on to pay back. Kewley added that infrastructure upgrades need to be made in order to maintain service and improve it. Mayor Stromberg asked to the market penetration and how it is trending. Kewely responded by stating that it is going up by almost 3%. Akins asked about any rate increases. Kewley stated that he was not requesting rate increases. Akins also added that the narrative with AFN had been changed for good in the last two years. Jensen asked about areas that are not built out to. Kewely added that staff are currently collecting data on what shared costs would take place. Jensen clarified that there is a plan to build out to which Kewley answered yes, but that he did not want to share details to competitors.
Runkel/Akins m/s to move that the budget committee encourages the City Council to not increases any water, wastewater, stormwater, electric utility rates during the 2019-21 biennium.
DISCUSSION: Runkel began by stating that there is confusion in the community regarding the role of the Budget Committee in regards to utility rates. He stated that these rates are not ones that are in the purview of the Budget committee and that this committee recommends the setting of the Property Tax to the City Council with most of these are usually accepted. With Council having full authority over utility rates. He added that he has received comments from many people stating that rates are too high. He added that the most important factor was that these funds in total took in $6.2 million in 2018 above what was need to pay expenses and make debt payments creating a profit. He added thought that operations could still take place based on what is the current fund balance. Akins added that she seconded this motion because she thought it was appropriate for the budget to weigh in this and that historical the Budget Committee has weighed in on rate increases. Slattery asked for clarification on the motion and what members would be voting on, adding that he saw this as a suggestion that the Budget committee would recommend to the Council that they would not raise any Wastewater or Utility Fees. The motion was reread for clarification. Runkel, added that he chose the word encourage over the word recommend as they both have the same effect. Slattery thanked Runkel for the clarification adding that he was a Councilor that had voted against increases, he does not like tying the hands of the council when unknown things are coming, adding that he does not want this motion to be seen as a commitment. Morris due to his previous experience with cuts to maintenance departments, he thought that this motion would be overstepping bounds, as he agrees that at some point there may have to be increases. Jensen also noted concerns to this motion, as it may be misunderstood and that in early stages this could be a rabbit hole. Moran added that he would support the this, as the budget has doubled in 10 years and that people need to be responsible for how tax payer money is spent. He also stated that he believes many of the rate hikes are for Capital Improvement Projects, and that he would like to see before voting on the budget which is better for taxpayers, raising Utility Bill or raising debt. Stromberg added that he believes the staff presented the Committee with rational, creditable and justify reasons why these rates are set be increased. He added that it was also presented what would happen if projects aren’t completed and that there is no extra in these funds. As a Council it needs to be understood what is a stake. Hyatt asked if the motion could be changed to be stated as an affirmative. Runkel added that he was open to amendments. Stromberg stated that he did not believe it was in the purview of the Chair to help amend motions of other members. Hyatt added that her request is based on Robert Rules of Order, she added that it was not her intention to aid in the motion. Slattery added that in his experience that he does not agree with Hyatt adding that when voting for this motion that it is not stated in a way that would increase or hold rates steady. He added that the vote on rates is for another conversation. He added that he appreciated the conversation. Roll Call Vote: Runkel, Akins, Moran, YES. Slattery, Bachman, Stromberg, Morris, Lucas, Hyatt, Rosenthal, Hunter, Seffinger, Jensen, NO. Motion failed 10-3.
Welch spoke to the Street Fund operations stating that operate the transportation system for City including streets, ditches, signage. He stated that the fund operates at a very small FTE of 6.9 adding that major projects are usually contracted out. In relation to this maintenance a low cost solution has been maintained to have the County do chip sealing. The majority of the Street fund is in capital, with very little in personnel. Materials and services includes funding for slurry seals that City crews do to maintain streets. He added as discussed above that there are some major projects in capital projects for this fund within the next two years many of which are updates to major streets. The revenues for Street Fund include street utility fee at over $5 million dollars, he added. Welch went on to note that these may be updated in when the transportation system plan is done in FY21, with the current fee being based on the CIP at just under 2%. Other revenues for this Fund Welch added is funds from the Food and Beverage Tax at $700,000. After the Wastewater Debt is paid it is expected that this share will be larger. Additionally, the street fund does receive SDC’s for future development impacts. Stromberg asked about the amount of projects that can be done each year due to circulation concerns with Brown responding that although more projects could be done they try to not impact the community as much. Morris, asked to how many contractors in the area can be used for these projects. Stromberg added that these projects can have an impact on the community as well. Brown responded by noting that some maintenance is faster than other more expansive projects. Morris asked how many contractors can do projects such as Hearsy Street. Brown stated that there were no more than 4, but the preference is given to have City maintenance being done ahead of time. Seffinger asked if work related to other funds including underground work to which Brown responded that underground work is done ahead of Street’s work. Akins asked to the infrastructure issues and why they had gotten so bad. Brown responded that projects of the current size were not done 10 years ago. Welch added that this also came down the issue of funding with no previous revenue source being dedicated. A revenue source through a change in the Food and Beverage Tax was created after it was recognized that the street system was failing. Brown added that state gas funds have also been used and that without the additional Food and Beverage Tax the Street fund would not have the money for projects. Rosenthal also spoke to the costs of oil and its relation to the bids for overlays. Brown explained that it was too soon to know this impact, but that is something that will have to be looked at. Rosenthal clarified that the City has always continued work on streets, but that in the past no enough work was done to meet the pavement condition management standers previously established. He added that this may have been because of the lack of the funding stream form the Food and Beverage Tax. Brown agreed.
Welch went on to explain the Capital Improvement Fund or Facilities Fund consist of a very small staff with only 2.55 FTE that maintains 15 occupied buildings with 45 other warehouse like facilities. This fund pays for all of the utility costs related to these City buildings, so as rates go the fund is effected as the City does not receive any discounts for owning the utilities. Planned projects in the Facilities Fund include upgrades to City Hall, repairs to create an EOC at the Grove, upgrades to Pioneer Hall, Community Center with the proposed budget being created prior to the now known issue, Briscoe School roof with the project dependent on future discussions, Hardesty property relocation, and general facility requirements.
Slattery begin by asking about the Hardesty property, adding that the Council direction was that it was suppose be kept cost neutral as he believes it has been, but would like more detail on if this is true. Brown noted that the B Street Yard apprised higher than the purchase price, this will allow for staff to return to Council as surplus property or choice another mechanism to sell the property. Moran asked about the funding for Briscoe and Hardesty as they were bought during a tight budget. Welch addressed this by stating that the Hardesty property was paid for out of the Wastewater Fund deferring some capital projects. He added that the Briscoe property was funded using a cost neutral plan worked out with the school district. Welch added the rent that is currently being paid for the location is actually higher than what the City pays to the school district. Moran went on to ask about the contingency plan on the maintenance of the facility. Welch explained that they City did not go into this thinking that the current tenant would be long term or that there would costs associated with the building itself, but that there potential in the land. Brown added it would have been easy to not include funding for projects at Briscoe, but that she wanted to make the budget committee aware of the future, as is done with this type of planning. Moran also asked about the study that was previously done for City Hall, as over $400,000 is budgeted in year 2020-2021. He went on to explain that in the 2015-2016 budget that $100,000 was appropriated for a systemic study. To this Moran asked what is additionally being done as it has already been quoted at $1.4 million dollars to fix the issue in earlier testing. Brown responded that the funds would be used to additional information as requested by City Council. Moran questioned further if this would be done to do more studies or to actually fix City Hall. Brown added that the first part of these funds would be to finish the design analysis and start some of the system improvements, as maintenance needs to be done. Slattery clarified to what Moran was speaking of by stating that if a plan is decided on, where would funds come from in order to look at the total cost of the solution. Brown directed the committee to the 6-year plan in the proposed budget adding that there is an estimate within it to fix City Hall at a cost of $6.6 million pending Council approval.
Hunter questioned the costs of custodial contract, asking what the total cost was last year and what percentage increase happened. Brown responded by explaining that there was a 25% increase after the last adopted budget. Rosenthal also questioned the custodial contract asking to what organizations the City was required to contract with under state law and how much negations was available with the cost of this service. Brown explained that there is some negation available with cost of service with costs overall rising from $90,000 to $123,000. Rosenthal also commented on the 2 full time staff members within this funding asking what the square footage was in covered buildings as this is a formula for disaster. Brown added that they do amazing work and other small contracts are used for service level contracts. Rosenthal responded by addressing the building inspections and maintenance issues of Pioneer Hall and the Community Center and if there was a plan so this does not happen in the future. Brown stated the previous transfer money out this fund would have gone far to fix these issues.
Welch went on to speak about Equipment Acquisition and Fleet Repairs department. He stated that City charges every department rent with these charges recently being redone. He added that vehicles are now looking at by maintenance records and mileage with rent being charged based on this and the replacement costs. Mark stated that it is proposed that $2 million will need to be spent on upcoming vehicle replacement. He presented to the Committee a list of these vehicles, with some departments differing due to a look at what is best for operations. Brown added that this is a roll up list with a more detailed spreadsheet, that can be shared if requested. Akins asked if based on this if all Police vehicles were being replaced. Welch responded that this a majority of them but that because of the nature of police work that they are on 3-4-year replacement scheduled. Brown added to this by stating that the reason for so many replacements was due the deferment of purchases with some of them not having been replaced in 10 years.
The committee discussed ECTS Sub Committee. Hanks explained that this would be a Sub Committee of the Citizens’ Budget Committee as opposed to an Ad Hoc. He added that this is a tight issue with determination of funds needing to take place at the next meeting but with the immediate need being to determine who would like to be on the Sub Committee. If the Citizens’ Budget Committee does not allocate funds, there will then be no need for the Sub Committee. Final allocations would then to be approved by the Citizens’ Budget Committee prior to the last scheduled meeting. Hyatt asked if applications would be given ahead of time to which Madding answered that this would probably be the best idea so that Sub Committee members could be best prepared. Hanks also added that based on the allocations that are set forth by the Citizens’ Budget Committee the size of the number of applicants could be different and that with this a discussion would need to take place as to the format. Based on this Hanks added that two formats of the applications would be available. Stromberg added that he would like to keep the possibility of those who would like to Volunteer open until the next meeting. Bachman asked if these meetings would be completed by May 22nd to which Hanks said that they would, with these being two additional meetings. Jensen asked how many people would be on this Sub Committee. Hanks responded that numbers have varied. Hyatt suggested that a date be set so that people could plan adding that it would be helpful to allow Citizens’ Budget Committee members to email Hanks and Madding by 5:00 p.m. the next day if they were interested. Slattery added that he thought that the Citizens’ Budget Committee decision was to allocated funds and then recommendations are then made to Council. Welch clarified that because this is set a Sub Committee of the Citizens’ Budget Committee that the recommendations would need to return back to the Citizens’ Budget Committee for final approval within the budget. Hanks added that there is also the factor notifying applicants of the meetings within the timeline. Welch went on to add that the factor of applicants and their part of the process was a reason for needing allocated funding decided on quickly. Stromberg responded by asking if these recommended allocations could go back to
Council with Council acting on these before the end of the Budget Process and authorize the allocations of those funds still using the Sub Committee from the Citizens’ Budget Committee. Hanks added that the as this is a Sub Committee it would have to come back to the Citizens’ Budget Committee prior to the last meeting date. Hyatt went on to explain that at next week’s meeting the allocation would be determined. Welch added that this would be part of the larger discussion of the General Fund. The Committee’s final decision after further discussion was to allow for those interested to email Hanks by 5:00 p.m. the following day, with recommendations being retuned on the Citizens’ Budget Committee on May 15th and Sub Committee meetings taking place between May 8th and May 15th.
Welch spoke to the information requests by stating that any information requested by the committee could be discussed and requests for the next could be added if needed. He presented the Committee with two previously requested items in budget amendments and a public records request in regards to employee salaries. He further explained that the budget shows position costs and that these are based on salary schedules with persons in these positions. With request coming in for actually employee salaries not broken down by person but by position, the system does allow for a readily available list of the top fifty earners. Staff looked a different options for position based reporting, but due to system capabilities only the top fifty are available, staff time and accuracy of information. Runkel asked if City has contacted the City of Portland to see ow they produce these reports. Welch said that he had not, but that he would guess that they are using a different operating system.
Hyatt announced the next meeting on May 1st in Council Chambers, adding a reminder to Committee members not discuss the budget with other committee members outside public forum. She ended by stating that questions could be directed to Welch.
Morris requested to Welch that a more direct link be added for access to the Master Plans. Moran also added that he would like to see the presentations on the website. Welch said that was something that they could do.
Slattery/Jensen m/s to move that meeting be adjourned at 9:02 p.m.
April 24, 2019
1175 E. Main Street