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					                                       CITY OF EL CAMPO

                            REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES

                            2350 N. MECHANIC – EL CAMPO CIVIC CENTER

                                         AUGUST 24, 2009, 6:00PM


City Council present: Mayor Phillip Spenrath; Robert Boone; Charlotte Brown; Anthony Collins; Ed
Erwin; Kenny Martin; and Richard Young.

City Councilors absent: None.

City Employees present: City Attorney Ronny Collins; City Manager John Steelman; Building Official
Andy Waligura; Public Works Director Brad Ramsey; Finance Director Courtney Sladek; Building
Inspector Wayne Popp; Senior Accountant Willie Gutierrez; EMS Director Jimmy George; Police
Chief Terry Marek; Garret Bubela; Terry Stanphill; Joan Rawlinson; Phyllis Hodges; Gerald Ripple;
Barry Hodges; Gary Williamson; Wayne Denson; Mark Appling; Steve Weinheimer; and City
Secretary Cindy Cerny.

Media: Shannon Crabtree of El Campo Leader-News.

Guests: Ralph Novosad; James Socha; and Niesha Brown.
_________________________________________________________________________________

Mayor Spenrath called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. with all reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Councilman Young gave the invocation.

    3. Citizen Comments:

In compliance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, the response of the Council to any comment
under this heading is limited to making a statement of specific factual information in response to
the inquiry, or, reciting existing policy in response to the inquiry.

Mayor Spenrath asked if anyone wished to comment on an item that was not specifically listed on the
agenda.

There were no comments at this time.

    4. Consider approval of minutes: (Regular Meeting of August 10, 2009 and the Special
       Meeting of August 17, 2009).

Councilman Collins made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Young, to approve the minutes for
the Regular Meeting of August 10, 2009 and the Special Meeting of August 17, 2009 as presented.
Vote for approval was 7 to 0. Motion carried.


CC Minutes 8-24-09 Page 1
   5. Discuss and consider fees for ECISD use of the Aquatic Center.

Steelman noted that a proposed schedule was included in the packets.

Community Services Director Sternadel noted that the main difference would be an increase of $100 in
rates for the facility use – $300 to $400; and the district would be responsible for paying for one
lifeguard during weekly practices and three lifeguards during swim meets.

Councilman Erwin questioned whether the swim meets were held during the summer months.
Sternadel replied that they were not.

Councilman Collins made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Erwin, to amend the existing
Aquatic Center fee schedule and accept the proposed changes as presented. Vote for approval was 7 to
0. Motion carried.

    6. Discussion regarding the FY 09-10 budget.

Steelman noted that the following 4 options were included for Council’s consideration:

Option 1:

       Effective tax rate of $0.54935
       Increase in sales tax projection by $31,480, CDC expense adjusted accordingly
       $1,200 stipend for all employees
       $4,000 increase in funding for the Heritage Center
       10% insurance adjustment
       Funding for an Assistant City Manager, effective 01/01/10 at $80,000 for 9 months

Option 2:

       Tax rate half a cent lower than the effective rate $0.54435
       Increase in sales tax projection of $52,550, CDC expense adjusted accordingly
       $1,200 stipend for all employees
       $4,000 increase in funding for the Heritage Center
       10% insurance adjustment
       Funding for an Assistant City Manager, effective 01/01/10 at $80,000 for 9 months

Option 3:

       Effective tax rate of $0.54935
       Increase in sales tax projection of $25,670, CDC expense adjusted accordingly
       3% pay increase for all employees
       $4,000 increase in funding for the Heritage Center
       10% insurance adjustment
       Funding for an Assistant City Manager, effective 01/01/10 at $80,000 for 9 months

Option 4:

       Tax rate half a cent lower than the effective rate $0.54435
       Increase in sales tax projection of $46,740, CDC expense adjusted accordingly
       3% pay increase for all employees
       $4,000 increase in funding for the Heritage Center
       10% insurance adjustment
       Funding for an Assistant City Manager, effective 01/01/10 at $80,000 for 9 months
Steelman noted that the main difference in the options was the tax rate.

Councilman Young suggested that the Waters Consulting Study that was done several years ago be
updated yearly and included with the budget.

Steelman replied that this would be no problem.

After a brief discussion, Councilman Boone, Erwin, Young, and Mayor Spenrath recommended giving
a $1200 permanent raise across the board; while Councilwoman Brown, Councilman Martin and
Collins recommended a 3% raise across the board. Spenrath noted that his goal was to close the gap.
He also recommended looking at the employee’s dependent insurance coverage.

Sladek stated that a $1200 permanent pay raise would benefit the lower paid employees. She added
that staff feels comfortable with this recommendation since the projected sales tax has changed from
$2.75 million to $2.8 million.


Councilman Young made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Collins, to approve staff to enter into
discussions with the intent to bring an agreement back to Council for supporting the ESD for
administrative support services. Vote for approval was 7 to 0. Motion Carried.

   7. Discuss and consider action regarding the submittal of a preliminary budget for the F93,
      EMS Department, to the ESD#4 for budgeting purposes.

Steelman noted that the ESD is under the same time constraints as far as adopting their tax rate, as is
the city. He felt it would be helpful to give them a copy of the preliminary budget so that they could
move forward. The next ESD’s scheduled meeting is set for 7:00 p.m. tomorrow evening. Steelman
noted that the ESD would have an office in city hall.

Steelman continued to say that a 5% employee boost was included in each department as well as a
boost for part-time employees.

EMS Director George noted that currently the department’s part-time employees are paid as follows:
$8/hr. for basic, $9/hr. for intermediate, and $10/hr. for paramedics. He suggested raising basics to
$10, intermediates to $12, and paramedics to $14. Part-time employees would not get an additional 5%
raise. George stated that the part-time employees have made it possible to have 2 separate crews on
duty for the weekend. He added that it is possible for part-time employees to work more than 40 hours
per week; although, it does not happen very often. The recommended boost would increase the budget
by $20,000.

Spenrath asked if it would be wise to increase the number of full-time employees?

Steelman noted that would not be wise, as it would increase insurance costs; retirement costs; etc.
He added that hiring more full-time employees would not solve the overtime dilemma.

Councilman Erwin asked about the increase of $12,000 in Holiday Pay?
Finance Director Sladek noted that this figure might need to be reviewed. Holiday pay is based on a
formula that takes in to account the number of holidays; therefore, it would include the wage increase.

EMS Director George noted that the department’s employees work a cycle, not 8 to 5. Therefore, if
scheduled to work a holiday, one must work and will receive time and a half for those hours. This pay
is taken from the “Holiday Pay” line item.

Steelman noted that a separate account was included for employee insurance and vehicle insurance; as
well as a $30,000 capital line item expense for ambulances. He added that this department has a high
personnel cost.

Sladek stated that actually $839,000 is for personnel and $99,170 is designated for health insurance
(includes a 20% increase).

Councilman Young asked if the ESD would be involved in the long-term maintenance of the facility?

Steelman replied that the city does not have an asset reference in the contract; however, maintenance is
included in the department budget. He did not feel that it would be addressed at this point.

EMS Director George noted that the ESD#4 is a funding mechanism where the city retains ownership.
ESD#1 sets the tax rate, collect taxes, writes check, and retains approximately $5,000 for
administrative purposes. The remainder of the funds are disbursed to the various fire departments in
percentage increments. ESD#1’s tax rate is 3 cents.

Spenrath asked George if it would help the district to raise the tax rate to eliminate some of the
fundraisers that the department has?

George stated that it would be nice; however, he felt the district was happy with the current rate.

Sladek noted that the board is predicting to collect $719,860 in taxes. The city would provide the
remainder through ambulance billing and interest. In order to raise the $719,860, the tax rate would
have to be raised to 6.5 cents.

Spenrath stated that he thought the tax rate was supposed to be set at 5 cents.

Sladek replied that the $100,000 transfer for health insurance was not included at that time. She added
that this figure does include the 20% increase. If the insurance bids come in less, of course, less will be
requested from the ESD.

Councilman Young made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Boone, to temporarily table this item
until later in the meeting to discuss Agenda Item #8. Vote for approval was 7 to 0. Motion carried.


   8.   Discuss FY 09-10 budgets.

Steelman noted that a new budget document was presented by Finance Director Sladek .

Sladek stated that the proposed budget is in different form due to the submittal to the Government
Finance Officer’s Association for a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The City of El Campo
has never applied for this award in the past. For 16 years, the City has received recognition from the
organization for the caphor. By preparing the budget in new form, policy is married with financial
practices. This allows the 20/20 Plan to be used for guidance. She added that the increase in the
budget is the result of budgeting funds that have never been budgeted before. In the past, EMS was
budgeted in the General Fund; therefore, it seems that there should be a decrease. However, there are
other requests that were not included before, as well as increases. The health insurance is essentially
being taken from the general fund, and water & sewer fund, putting it into a separate fund, and taking it
out again. Overall, it looks bigger than it actually is. This is an internal service fund and will be
reflected in the annual audit as so. By doing this, the savings can be realized. The budget includes
goals as well as a calendar that reflects 2 public hearings because staff is recommending a tax rate that
is slightly lower than the current year. An executive summary, budget summary, and fund schedules
are also included. Descriptions of achievements and objectives are new information that has been
included. The idea is that these objectives will be the achievements next year. The objectives are
linked to the budget requests and performance measures. Despite the economical situation, at the end
of the day it is the city’s responsibility to provide the best service possible to the citizens. A tax
reduction of half a cent is being recommended as well as a staff reduction. Staff is recommending that
an inspection position and a dispatcher position not be filled for the upcoming fiscal year.

Sladek noted that there was huge decrease of $526,000 in revenues in the general fund. This can be
attributed to EMS and the county contribution and revenues from ambulance billing. Sales tax has
dropped $150,000 from last year (5%), interest dropped by $20,000, and fines and forfeitures have
declined. An increase has been seen in advalorem taxes, $22,000 is new property. The taxable value
flat lined this year. The rest is a shift in the tax rate. Debt has been retired this year; thus making I & S
lower, and the remainder going to M & O in the general fund. Transfers increased $108,000. Staff is
asking that water, sewer, and solid waste users pay a dollar more (total $2.50) on their water bill as a
billing fee. Part of this would be transferred over to the general fund to cover personnel costs. Sladek
noted that the gas and oil account is $4,000 less in the general fund than was budgeted last year.

Spenrath stated that the city is better off than it was last year.

Sladek replied that is correct because we are able to lower the tax rate.

Spenrath stated that the city is still ahead of sales tax projections by $90,000 to date, despite the
projected drop.

Sladek added that the trend shows a continual decline for the future. Reality is that a great deal of
reserves have been used to fund capital projects. A drop of $1.3 million will be seen in fund balance.
Can the city afford to not be conservative?

Spenrath noted that Council had decided to lower the fund balance from $5.4 million in this economy.
A commitment was made to reduce this fund.

Discussion was focused on capital purchases - police department units. The SUVs will last longer
than the Crown Victoria(s), Dodges, etc. Vehicles are kept in use until they reach 100,000 miles.
Vehicles for the fire department were also part of the discussion. Spenrath stated that he thought the
department was through with purchases last year.
Fire Chief Nielsen stated that one more vehicle was to be purchased for the Assistant Chief, Jimmy
George, Jr. George noted that this originally was 3-year deal. Spenrath did not recall this. Young and
Boone agreed. Collins and Martin stated that they remembered the 3-year plan. Spenrath suggested
letting the ESD purchase the department a vehicle to save money.

George noted that the vehicle was not personally for him, but for the department. He did not feel the
ESD board would agree to the purchase of a vehicle. He said it is not for EMS, but the fire department.

Sladek noted that the water and sewer fund saw a 6.6 increase due to a rate increase and TCEQ
mandates. She added that there is a gain in debt service and there is actually a decrease in capital costs.
Staff is asking for a rate adjustment according to the rate study that was presented to Council in
February 2009.

In conclusion following a lengthy discussion, the accounting procedure (fund accounting) seemed to
pose a problem because it appeared that the city would spend $1.7 million more than last year;
however, this is not true. A transfer of $1.1 million into a new health insurance fund was a huge
attributing factor, though actual dollars were not involved.

Sladek informed Council that she had a Budget Workshop scheduled for August 17th, 24th, 31st, and
September 8th. Steelman noted that the first public hearing on annexation is scheduled for the 24th,
7:00 p.m. at the Civic Center; therefore, a time needs to be set for the regular meeting on the 24th.

Council agreed to schedule the August 17th Workshop for 6:30 p.m.

(Mayor Spenrath noted that Council would now go back to Agenda Item #7)

   7. Discuss and consider action regarding the submittal of a preliminary budget for the F93,
      EMS Department, to the ESD#4 for budgeting purposes.

Councilman Young made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Boone, to approve the preliminary
budget for the EMS services as presented. Vote for approval was 7 to 0. Motion carried.

   9.    Recognize refund in the amount of $13,337.00 in worker’s compensation contributions
        from TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool.

Steelman stated the city experienced a good loss accident ratio over the past year; therefore, a refund in
the amount of $13,337.00 was issued from the TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool.

   10. Discuss and consider an amendment to the employee health benefit’s plan that would reduce
       the calendar year maximum benefit amount from $5,000,000.00 to $2,000,000.00.

Steelman noted that Entrust is suggesting that the City add a calendar year maximum benefit amount of
$2,000,000.00 to the Plan Document. A $5,000,000.00 maximum lifetime benefit was already included.

Councilman Young made a MOTION, seconded by Councilman Erwin, to accept the amendment to
the employee health benefits plan that would include a maximum calendar year benefit of
$2,000,000.00 and a lifetime maximum benefit of $5,000,000.00. Vote for approval was 7 to 0.
Motion carried.
   11. Adjournment.

There being no further business, Mayor Spenrath adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.


Attest:

_______________________________                             _______________________________
Cindy Cerny, City Secretary                                 Phillip Spenrath, Mayor

				
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