FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING JANUARY 20, 2015

Committee Chair Ms. Vaughn opened the meeting at approximately ­­­6:00 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Ms. Vaughn, Ms. DePledge and Mr. Licht. Present from Council were Mr. Evers, Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Hoefle and Council President D’Ambrosio.

In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Finance Director Slocum, Law Director Klammer, Road Department Supervisor Leicher representing Service Director Rubertino and Fire Chief Whittington.

Also in attendance were members of the public.  

PROPOSED COMMUNITY CENTER LEASE TO EASTAKE POLICE ATHLETIC LEAGUE

Ms. Vaughn: Everyone has had ample time to review this. I am opening the floor for questions and then Mr. Slocum can explain it.

Mr. Licht: Page 2, Section 5 C. General Operation, Maintenance and Repairs – what about the repairs to the building?

Mr. Slocum: It is their responsibility.

Mr. Licht: Section 11 – how was the dollar amount of $25,000 determined?

Mr. Slocum: We took the same contract that we had with the School Board as the basis – these dollar amounts are the exact same dollar amounts. We had to tweak it. But it looks pretty much like the current lease we are under for Taft. Mr. Klammer has reviewed it. There were a couple of changes made because we are the lessor. We sent it to our insurance people for review and they had a minor addition which Mr. Evers who represents PAL agreed to. This is what we are going forward with.

Mr. Licht: I just thought that would be more in line with $12,500 before it has to go to Council as opposed to $25,000.

Mr. Slocum: This is not going to be $25,000 of our funds – this will come from them. Anything that is spent to upkeep the building will be spent by PAL and not by the City of Eastlake. Just like the Senior Center – the repairs and the like – we bear the cost.

Mr. Hoefle: As far as repairs or maintenance of the building – how far outside of the building does it encompass – the skate park, tennis courts?

Mayor Morley: Just the building itself. We will still be in charge of the skate park and others. We have talked about it. If we cannot make repairs we will just remove the equipment – that will be the same in all of our areas. The skate park is in bad shape and Mr. Evers would like to try to get that through their organization. We have met with the YMCA on trying to help us with the parks. Their main responsibility is the building alone but they will cut the little piece of grass and parking lot that is around the building. We will do all the grass on the fields.

 

Ms. DePledge: Any improvements, additions or alternations to the building by the Lessee become our property. I wanted to put it on the record that this is in the lease and if they decide to put a couple of hundred thousand dollars into the building then in 10 years or so we are not in a position where we have to pay them back.

Mr. Slocum: For instance, if they want a generator which is a fixture – that is part of the building. The building would revert back to us.

Mayor Morley: This may have to be put on first reading if Mr. Evers has not yet talked to his Board.

Mr. Evers. I have talked to a few – I see no objections at this point. The next Board meeting is set for February 11th and I fully believe they will sign the contract at that time and we will bring it back to Council.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: We can put it on First Reading until you get all the information.

Ms. Vaughn: Will that jeopardize PAL from moving in before the February Council meeting? For full disclosure I am on the PAL Board.

Mr. Evers: I will be meeting with Mr. Rubertino next week and we will be removing broken tables and chairs. At that time I will discuss moving in some equipment. Eastlake Gymnastics will still be there. Bingo is supposed to finish up and move out.

Mayor Morley: We met with Gymnastics yesterday.

Mr. Evers: PAL is supposed to take over control of the building by March 1st.

Ms. DePledge: I think this is a fair way to keep the building open.

There were no further questions or comments. The Committee agreed to move this matter forward to the next regular Council meeting.

 

PROPOSED PURCHASE OF A BACKHOE FOR THE SERVICE DEPARTMENT

Ms. Vaughn: Attached are several quotes. I had some questions which were answered and I am sure other people may have some questions too. Is this a need - a replacement of something that has been broken for some time?

 

Mr. Leicher: We have one which is completely down – it is 21 years old. The newer one is 8 years old and the other is 16 years old. There are not many days in the summer – if any – that backhoes are not out working at the same time on different jobs. The 16 year old one is on its last legs and is probably not the safest doing certain digging jobs.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: Right now we have two machines?

Mr. Leicher: Yes.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: We will be getting rid of one but then we will still have two?

Mr. Leicher: Yes.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: It does not have the 4 in 1 bucket on the front – that was a $5,000 option?

Mr. Leicher: Yes.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: Option 1 is a spring loaded combo coupler – that is for a quick disconnect.

Mr. Leicher: Yes. There is also a coupler so we can use all the case buckets we currently own. We will have different buckets for different things – a concrete bucket, digging buckets and grading buckets. That coupler allows us to use all the buckets on this backhoe – we will not have to purchase any additional buckets.

Ms. Vaughn: Good planning. Mr. Slocum, what account is this coming from?

Mr. Slocum: We are purchasing this under State bid – it is over $25,000 but we are not required to go out for bids because it is a State bid. The paperwork is included showing it is a valid contract. This is coming out of the Sewer Fund.

Mayor Morley: Because they use it the most to do catch basins. Before they made a choice the companies brought out backhoes for us to us.

There were no further questions or comments. The Committee agreed to move this matter forward to the next regular Council meeting.

REVIEW OF 12-31-14 EASTLAKE FINANCIAL REPORTS

Ms. Vaughn: I am pleased to see the final results of the 2014 Eastlake financial report. While we should aim for a million dollar carry-over – an over $200,000 carry-over is a lot better than the $55,000 we thought we would have. You should be congratulated. I do not know what you did.

Mr. Slocum: I just develop the picture. You need to congratulate the managers – Service, Police, Fire – they are the ones who curtailed spending. They had authorized spending you could have done and they didn’t. It is significant. I provided everyone the report of the variances and the like. I anticipate a lot more questions once we get into the budget. We are concerned with the income tax level. There is no doubt about that. I think we are doing what we can with what we have. I am open for questions.

Ms. Vaughn: We can get into depth once we start having budget meetings in February.

 

Mr. Leicher was excused from the meeting at this time.

Mr. Slocum: I imagine mid to late February and into March. I am getting a lot closer to the revenue side of the budget and will probably try to piece meal some of that stuff out. As you get it you do not have to wait until a meeting to call me to ask a question. For example, I have had conversations with the Fire Chief where we talked about ambulance billings and due to the decrease in personnel we will run a budget less this year than last - $20,000 less – about a 5% decrease. That is after him losing 12% or more of his people. At some point the decreases will hit us. We will have to wait and see exactly what happens.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: I know you talked with us briefly about our paychecks and that it will be direct deposit. When do you need something from us?

Mr. Slocum: We still have to put out something. I have to get that information out not just to you but to the entire City. From the time I publish it you will have two months to do it. I want to give people plenty of time. The earliest you would see us mandating this would be the March payroll.

Ms. Vaughn: Are you going to be reimbursing Council for the funds in their Council Trust?

Everyone will get a check eventually?

Mr. Slocum: With everyone out off and on due to illness – and that I just laid off two people – I don’t have people to do some of this stuff. We may have to go outside and see if there are people who know how to operate our system. I am happy to report one employee we laid off got a job in Mentor-on-the-Lake. The other is has not found anything at this point.

Ms. Vaughn: Can you borrow someone from another Department?

Mr. Slocum: There is no excess to pull – and they don’t know our system.

Mayor Morley: Building Department has the cash register now and has been doing the billing.

Ms. Vaughn: Are Building and Service Departments combined for the point of sales inspections?

Mayor Morley: We are working on some things. We have to find out if our server will work.

We talked about the Directors looking at their budgets during the Staff meeting. Obviously, I thanked them for my first year of going below their numbers – they have all been good about it and we are hoping that we can do the same in 2015 and try to get moving ahead.

There were no further questions or comments.

MISCELLANEOUS

JFK SENIOR CENTER: FLOOR REPAIR

Mayor Morley: We had a situation at the Senior Center. The Coordinator thought we had approved legislation for this because it was about the same amount of money as the heater. They ended up having work done that cost $21,000 to fix the floor. The money is in the account. From now forward Mr. Rubertino will be in charge of any of the contractors for the Senior Center so this does not happen again. The gentleman has asked for payment and we need legislation. As you know these are things I do not like to see and we are going to take care of the issue.

Mr. Slocum: Do we actually need legislation or can they do this by Motion? This is for them to comply with their requirement for things over $12,500.

Mr. Klammer: It is not a competitive bidding issue?

Mr. Slocum: No.

Mr. Klammer: The Motion makes me happy but I wonder when we get to auditing by the State if they will want legislation. We have always done it by legislation. I am afraid the auditor will want a resolution on it.

Mayor Morley: Council has always done a resolution for over $12,500.

Mr. Slocum: The State level is $50,000 so we can go up to $25,000 before we competitively bid but anything over $12,500 needs Council approval.

Ms. Vaughn: It needs approval – not necessarily legislation.

Mr. Klammer: I would do it by legislation.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: The floor has already been installed?

Mayor Morley: Yes. We have not yet released the funds.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: What is going on with the heating system?

Mayor Morley: They are still working on it – we have not paid for it yet.

There were no further questions or comments. The Committee agreed to move this matter forward to the next regular Council meeting.

CHANGE FUND

Ms. Vaughn: Mr. Slocum?

Mr. Slocum: Right now you have authorized me to have a change fund of $3,100 - $200 in Building Department, $100 in Finance Department and $2,800 for the stadium. That allows us to prepare four bags for games. We would like to be able to prepare 8 bags because we have less people – this is for the people who run the parking lot. When it is not used we have the money locked up. I am only authorized under current ordinance to have $3,100 and I would like to be able to increase this to $5,900 which gives us four more bags. It is just to save time so we can do more things at once with less people.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: When we park cars for the Blvd. of Flags the bags are picked up at the Police Department - $700. You just want to have more bags made up so it does not tie up the Finance Department?

Mr. Slocum: Yes, so we can do two weeks of games at a time. It takes some time to get set. It is just of efficiency – there is no additional cost. I have to fully account for the $5,900 each month.

 

Ms. Vaughn: The procedure that is in place has been audited.

There were no further questions or comments. The Committee agreed to move this matter forward to the next regular Council meeting.

EASTLAKE FIRE DEPARTMENT LADDER TRUCK

Ms. Vaughn: Chief Whittington?

Chief Whittington: Actually, I am the one pushing for this. In the seven years I have been Chief everyone knows we have moved backwards. I have used the term casualties of downsizing. As Chief I have had to cut corners I am saying things are a casualty of downsizing. The ladder truck most certainly is a casualty of downsizing. We first bought a ladder truck in 1969 and the one we have right now was bought in 1997 when we had a 36 member Department. We could staff it and send it to another community if they needed it. It is not a one person operation – it is a multiple person operation. If there is a fire in Willoughby it would need a few people to operate it correctly. Now that I am running at 5 I am only sending 3 people on mutual aids so the truck cannot be operated safely with just 3 people. So, it will stay parked in the bays. We spend a lot of money on it to maintain it and in some years we can spend $8,000 - $12,000 in maintenance costs on a vehicle we don’t use. It is a very complex, tedious vehicle.   When the levy failed I called Willoughby’s Fire Chief and said that we need to look at giving them our ladder truck. Right now Willoughby has the sister truck and it has an 8 inch crack in the frame. No one is willing to repair it or certify it. We knew the decision would be above our pay grade so I met with the Mayor. The ladder truck does not go on any calls in the City of Eastlake. We have not done that for a couple of years because we cannot staff it. With 5 or 6 guys on duty we take the fire engine and ambulance. If I need a ladder truck I count on my neighbors and one of them was Willoughby. It made sense that if I was not using it and can’t staff it and we don’t get credit for it in our ratings. Last year when I did not get credit for it last when it was known there were layoffs coming. Our commercial people will see an increase in insurance costs because we no longer supply the ladder truck. With Willoughby not having one my thought was we lose the ladder truck I cannot rely on them to bring a ladder truck to our scene. I have a truck I am not using and they have one they cannot use so my thought was that we should find an arrangement where they take over possession of the ladder truck. The preliminary thought was that once we got it maintained to a certain point that we would turn it over to them and they would staff it and take over maintenance cost and come to the City when they were available. This is probably not the first thing I will be bringing to you. I am being forced to do the very minimum and I do not need to have extras to do the very minimum. We are providing just the basic service now. It was strictly my idea – I believe in it and think it is a good thing. It will not hurt us because I am not using it now.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: When I saw the email I called the Mayor. He said it was your idea, Chief. That makes me feel more comfortable about it. You said they would be in charge of repairs. What about insurance? I know the trucks have to be recertified every year.

Chief Whittington: They do a ladder and pump test. They would take over those costs, insure it and maintain it. It is like we are leasing it to them and they would be responsible.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: Is there a lease amount?

Mayor Morley: I mentioned $1 just to cover us. It is still our equipment. A new truck for them would be $1.1 million. In our meetings all the surrounding Mayors are starting to look ahead at some things we can do as cities because they see what is coming. Willowick just laid off 1 person and is looking at possibly a $300,000 to $400,000 shortfall. Wickliffe may possibly have a shortfall by 2016. They want to be ahead of the game. Unfortunately we are always ahead of the game. They are watching us and amazed at a lot of things. I told them if I gave them our Directors for six months they would probably have a lot of money. They are not used to operating with no money. Our Directors and Chiefs are the best.

Chief Whittington: The one thing the Mayor mentioned was concern about how it would be perceived internally. So I have met with the Fire Union President and all the bosses. Because we are not using the ladder truck this is not a new scenario for us. We have contemplated this for a number of years as we continued to downsize. But, I never really wanted to pull the trigger. For me from a personal aspect and a management aspect I want to be the guy giving support to other communities. I want Willoughby to come to me for help. Personally it is very difficult but at the same time I manage. I think internally there are no issues. For me to take a 3 men crew and have them try to operate that truck – it is just not safe to do that. And it is not fair to the community with the fire for me to show up short handed.

Ms. Vaughn: We really have about 3 buildings that would need the truck.

Chief Whittington: We have made operational changes – if there is a fire we are putting out the fire. The quickest way to make everyone safe is to put out the fire. If there are rescues we would rely on our neighbors to do that.

Mayor Morley: Sunday, I was at the scene of the fire on Delores. It is good and bad. I get to see how professional our team is and how well they work the surrounding communities. I think people should see this but it is not a good thing for anyone to be in the way and pose a crisis situation.

Mr. Licht: Would this be a year to year type lease?

Mayor Morley: It depends on when they want to purchase a new truck or our truck fails. It is the same truck – one serial number away – the same year. What if there is something that cannot be repaired. Mayor Anderson and Mr. Slocum mentioned the possibility of selling it. The brokers will not give any money for it. In the end I think it is good for cities to show there are things we can do together as a group. Mayor Anderson sits on a group which talks about consolidation of Western Lake County. He has basically said the report will say that they want people to look at equipment and do not believe we could merge fire departments.

Chief Whittington: It would actually cost communities more to consolidate fire departments. They do not have to tell me we need to look at resource sharing. That is the part of the study I think Mayor Anderson is looking at. For me, it was a no brainer. I believe in it. I did not want you to come blind into the meeting with Willoughby. If you have any questions call me. One thing we can tell our residents is it will not affect how we do the day to day stuff. We will bring the guys and the right trucks but the ladder truck is not it. When we had 11 men shifts we could put the ladder truck on the road but it is different with 5.

Mr. D’Ambrosio: Let’s set up a meeting. Chief, thank you for coming.

Mayor Morley: They are looking at a meeting. As you all know any questions that need to be asked of these guys – that is fine with me.

Mr. Slocum: It is my understanding that we will be getting a commitment from Willoughby that if we need a ladder truck they will commit that we have it. In my mind we will have an apparatus be able to be on site.

Chief Whittington: Until their ladder truck went out of service they were bringing it when appropriate. When I have house fires I do not need their ladder truck – I need their people. Seven years ago all the Chiefs put a system in place that if there is an incident in any city all the stations get dispatched at the same time. That has grown so all Lake County gets to hear the call. They don’t all necessarily all get called. I am available for any questions.

There were no further questions or comments

 

REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC

There was no one who wished to speak.

The meeting was adjourned at 6:42 p.m.

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