Finance Committee Meeting from March 29, 2016

FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING

March 29, 2016

 

Committee Chair Mr. Evers opened the meeting at approximately ­­­6:12 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mr. Evers, Mr. Hoefle and Mr. Zuren. Present from Council were Mr. Meyers, Mr. Kasunick and Council President Ms. DePledge.  Mr. Spotton was absent and excused.

 

In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Law Director Klammer, Fire Chief Whittington and Police Chief Reik. Finance Director Schindel was absent and excused Mrs. Kolk was in attendance in place of Mrs. Schindel.

 

Also in attendance were members of the public.  

 

PROPOSED

To discuss the development on how to Generate Revenue and to Reduce Expenses

Mr. Evers: This was brought up by the Fire Chief and the Police Chief. At this time I would like to turn the meeting over too Chief Reik.

 

Chief Reik: Included in the title is reduced expenses and we have gone over this for about ten or fifteen years. The paper clip counting and how much we pay for paper are well beyond where we are at now.  Chief Whittington always classifies it as one major incidental way is the recent analogy.  When we started we were juggling a ball and now that ball is a ship.  Sooner or later we are not going to be able to keep everything in the air. Today I received a resignation from a dispatcher.  Now we are going to have to hire a dispatcher.  Right now we are hiring for Victim Advocate.  We have a 27 year old guy who is in training right now and I am sure that he will be taking other tests.  Our last trainee that we laid off just a couple of weeks after his training, he is now with the City of Willoughby.  He is with one of the most affluent cities in the County. After a couple of weeks with having him on the road…we are not saving money we are spending it to find more guys. The safety forces have been reduced and the qualifications at the academy are higher.  With recent public events that shine people away from the job in general.  We are a contract away from being a stepping stone department.  There are guys that come to get their commission, while in the meantime they are taking other tests until they receive another job.   With the last couple of contracts specifically the last one with the longevity and taking all of the time off we got through it all, but it was the last arrow in the quiver.  I have no idea what the City could offer the employee’s at this time.  For the employee’s to go a full decade without a raise…we can always say that it isn’t about the money but to a degree it is.  When everyone around you is getting a raise without a conflict it is a tough thing for me to not…if people are asking me for direction I have an obligation to run the department.  I also have an obligation to tell the truth.  If I don’t see anything that is going to be better on the horizon…to tell someone that they have that but we have this here.  Those things on our side of the ledger decrease significantly.  That is just for the employee front then we have all of the building issues.  For us to continue without some light at the end of the tunnel and to not try and figure out where that light is at.  To provide some type of direction as to where we are going.  I just can’t see us keeping people motivated for them to not seek employment somewhere else.  It is going to be difficult to replace this dispatcher and in less than a year I have another dispatcher leaving.  I have at least one gentleman leaving this year it may be two.  I have maybe a third leaving in the next three to four years.  It is getting new guys in, qualified, trained and then trying to keep them.  The majority of is about 44 to 45 years old.  With the Police Department you just can’t go from a Finance Department or the Service Department and carry everything over.  Our guys who are 35 years old or over this is where they are going to be.  I don’t want to hire guys just because they are 34 or 35 years old and they may not have an opportunity to get a job somewhere else.  It has to be something for us to think about in the future, if this is going to be the direction that we continue.  We are never going to catch up and that is obvious.  I don’t look at my paycheck and scream and moan, but again when everyone else is gaining and we aren’t.  There is nothing positive to even put blinders on towards the horizon because we aren’t setting one.

 

Ms. DePledge: Chief Reik how many police officers should it have to run efficiently? What is your idea and where do you think that it should be for safety standards?

 

Chief Reik: I think that we should be at about 30 to 31 police officer’s.

 

Ms. DePledge: How many do you have?

 

Chief Reik: Right now we have 22 Police Officer’s. At our highest we had 38 Police Officer’s.

 

Ms. DePledge: I knew that there were more than 31 at one point.

 

Chief Reik: The FBI usually sent it at one and a half officers per thousand.

 

Ms. DePledge: If you could you would love to add nine more police officer’s today?

 

Chief Reik: Yes I would. I would like to have the problem of trying to get through candidates and things like that.  Again it is a lot of hard work but with the horizon being a little rosier. To replace the guys that are leaving and that is baring anything like a major injury or an abrupt retirement.  Every day that you are taking the time to hire someone is where you have an interview board; there are three or four people right there that aren’t doing their job for that day.  It impacts the everyday activity.  In the past the Fire Chief and I have gone out and participate in a number of different things.  We have some different ideas that are based on what is decided on that direction.  I have no problem putting in extra time to talk to more people to get more information out there.  Whether or not it works I have to at least know that I made the effort here to get this group focused in one direction.  Once that direction is set I have to make sure that I do my part in getting the people the information that they need.  It does seem like we change people’s minds when they do have the information.  A lot of people say that they don’t want to pay taxes and they don’t want this or that.  The Fire Chief and I both know when they do want it.  When you try and have a simple conversation with someone about why you’re not doing a lock out.  They are yelling and screaming not to tell them that.  Every decision we make has a consequence…other than the leaves not getting picked up, lock out, fire alarm installations which I know are still being done.  I don’t know how to even make that impact from the Safety Forces Service.  Other than cutting out or we could stop DARE and things like that.  A lot of those things are financed separately.

 

Ms. DePledge: There are a lot of things that the Police Department has also gone without too. As far as the cruisers and updating the electronic systems because they are all things that are…what is the cost for some of those?  I think that the repair to the bay is like $50,000.00.

 

Chief Reik: It is about $50,000.00.

 

Ms. DePledge: $50,000.00 to $60,000.00.

 

Chief Reik: Our roof has issues. We are trying to keep the range somewhat updated just to do the normal course of business.  Any type of strategic planning to deal with the heroin, thefts, burglaries or just drug use in general.  Right now we are a reactionary force.  Unfortuanly we still have some really good guys that are still doing some pro-active work.  I wonder how long we can continue doing that without having a negative effect on them as well.

 

Mr. Ever: Mr. Zuren?

 

Mr. Zuren: Chief Reik would you happen to know for comparison purposes the number of police that work in Willowick, Willoughby and Wickliffe?

 

Chief Reik: I think that Willowick has 24 officers. The last time that I checked Wickliffe had 30 officers and Willoughby has about 44 officers.

 

Mr. Zuren: Thank you.

 

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

 

Ms. DePledge: Willowick has a population of about twelve or thirteen thousand residents. It is about eight thousand less residents that what we have.  Willoughby has more…

 

Chief Reik: Willoughby has about twenty thousand residents. You figure that Willoughby and Willowick have about two officers per thousand.

 

Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington? Excuse me let the Mayor go first?

Mayor Morley: There is just one thing that I am going to add and I know that the Chief’s along with other people are concerned about. The person who just left the Building Department went to another City and they started out at $8,000.00 upon entry. She is doing the same job that she did here. Mr. Rubertino told me today that there are rumors of two service guys that may be leaving and they are worried about everyone leaving. One is that we don’t have any and the other is that we can’t fill any jobs. That is all that I will add on that and I will let the Chief go.

Chief Whittington: Between the three of us we meet quit regularly to make sure that we are on the same page. The one big change that is happening in the City that does not get recognized is the work that the Mayor has done with the industrial parks. If you go down to the industrial parks it is the healthiest that they have been in a long time. They bring in money to the City. I could sit here and reiterate the things that the Police Chief spoke about regarding the department. The one thing that I have seen and it concerns me more than anything is the break over point for the City as a whole. Take the Fire Department and the Police Department out of it and as a whole there is a break over point. Between the building, personnel and the equipment that we have…the Mayor says to restore services to any level you will have to pass a monumental levy in the City. All of us know that it is not a probable thing to do. As we move into this we are talking about a decade of moving backwards as a whole and we push aside the needs of the departments, but also the residents at some level. I fear that there is a point of no return for that. What does that mean for us as a City when we start shutting things down? The analogy that the Police Chief put out as far as the juggling act it truly is a dicey thing that we are talking about when it comes to public safety. I have been very open with all of you to say that there are days where I respond to an incident by myself. To be quite honest with you I am willing to put my life on the line for everybody in this building and in the City. I took an oath and I stand behind that oath every single day. I also believe that the oath also allows me to make sure that at some level I am given the equipment and the tools to operate in a safe environment. When we talked and we have also meet with you guys…especially the new members you guys are put in a horrible position because we are at this point. I have a concern about where the breaking point is. If there is anything that we leave in this meeting there are a lot of things that I feel you guys are very well aware of. I am facing the fact of losing three more guys when the grant runs out in June 2017. When we leave here we need to start reflecting where we are as a whole, where we are going and is there a point of no return for us. I believe in my heart that there is that point of no return and any efforts that we try to make…we can’t go to the residents and expect them to pass levies to get us back to where we were, when we were operating efficiently. That is my biggest concern and when I talked with the Police Chief I said to him maybe that’s the point. It nauseates me on how to operate the Fire Department when we are running short. We are seeing an increase in issues that dictate that we have a lot of people. We are not going to one house that is on fire we are going to two house that are on fire along with three cars that are on fire in the driveway. Luckily we had everybody in the station. At least twice a day in the City the residents do not have Police or Fire protection. When both of the ambulances are gone and there is no one in the fire station it means that the residents and business owners of the City do not have EMS protection. That should be a general concern for all of us and to also say what we are going to do. I am at the point now…I am with the Police Chief where I will put myself out there. We have worked levies in the past by going out and sitting at business, dinners, and asked people to engage us, walked door to door, and we have talked with people. I am willing to continue to do that but as a whole we need to find a way…as Council you may not be at that point and if that is the case I am ok with that. I need to take it back to my employee’s and say that Council is still working on a way to figure out what direction we are going in. That would be an acceptable answer and between the Police Chief and me we are looking for some direction. Do you want me to continue to rebuild the motors on a twelve year old ambulance? If that is what you want me to do and that is the expectations I will continue to do that. But understand that is a fine line thing too. Do we wait until the ambulance is on the road and it breaks down and then we have to deal with that as a community? That is where we are at with some of this stuff. I am here to let you know that I support everyone of you and I can’t say it enough about how much work the Mayor puts in to try and make the City better. I vow to have his back and I continue to work hard for him. For me I am looking for some guidance as to what we are trying to get done here.

Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?

Mayor Morley: We discuss this in the staff meetings all of the time…I have talked with the Chiefs and the Director’s on some of their perspectives and everyone knows where my stance is on reducing the tax credit. With that being said I have had some residents call me and ask why we didn’t put something on the ballot for the primary. I told them that we have four new Council members, and the old Council members would have put it on the ballot. I have talked with each of you guys individually about this. If we would of went to the ballot and one, two or three of them said hey I didn’t agree with that or I didn’t do this it is just another failing levy. I have also stated about the levies that passed in November failed within our City. On a whole they passed because the other cities carried them. Willoughby-Eastlake Schools lost seven out of twelve precincts. With Lakeland we were only one in three precincts and that is where it failed. We sit back and say as a group…and I have asked the newer members where do our residents want to go? What have you heard when you were campaigning? Like today with the girls in the Finance Department and the Building Department getting yelled at because no one is there to answer the phones there is no back up. The person who is doing our inspections tonight doesn’t work here anymore, but Mr. Menn has a back up for when he’s gone. When one a girl is absent or when I am not in my office and someone is screaming on the phone why isn’t anyone picking up the phone? I don’t sit by the phone all day. If someone is sick or absent we have no back up. I am in agreement with them that we are doing a dis-service and we are inefficient not because we want to be but because we do not have the bodies to be efficient. The girls in the Building Department and in the Service Department take a beating every day. We can’t make the phone calls and we do not have the extra person. When I talk with the residents I never bring up anything about the levies. I say that the bodies that we have are here and we are doing what we can. I don’t say hey we should pass this or hey…I have not given up that a levy can’t pass here. I will go back to 2013, we couldn’t pass a $1.26 a month little own what we do need. We will use ten employees and let’s do an average of seventy with benefits that is $700,000.00 for ten employees. Even with ten employees’s we won’t be….when people go why can’t we be Willowick or Willoughby? We will never get to that. I have said that to have the employee’s that we need back like in recreation and everything else it is 30 employees. That is $2.1 million at 70,000. There are other things that cost with that. We are scrapping to find new cars. I won’t speak for them and I think that when they are looking for direction it is from everyone. Do we want to try another levy, do we want to try another tax increase, or do we want to do a reciprocity? I think that is what they are for tonight and I will not speak for them but in a nut shell that is basically what it is. The employee’s want in…we have negotiations that are coming up at the end of the year they start in September. Everyone probably knows that we are going to go in there with zeros and it will be thirteen years without a raise then everyone is going to bail out.

Chief Whittington: If I may interject real quickly and that is when I spoke at the budget hearings I did reference about negotiations. I want to make it clear that as an employee who has two teenage girls that are getting close to graduation. I am also in line and in support of a raise. I don’t want to make it a union issue that we have a negotiation. As a non-union employee I am also looking for a raise. I just want to make sure that it is clear and I don’t want the residents to look at it as a union issue. I want to make it clear from the fire side that it is not a union issue but an employee issue. I am trying to raise a family. The day to day stuff catches up and I am very much honored and privileged to work in the City. I am not complaining but at the same time I have those looks. I just wanted to make sure that it was on record that it is not a union issue as much as it is an employee issue.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Klammer?

Mr. Klammer: I want to make sure that everyone understands the process for the levies and the reciprocity. I don’t know if we need to start with the basics with all of that.

Ms. DePledge: I think that it would be a good idea.

Mr. Klammer: With the tax levies and the tax increase those have to go out for a vote from the people. The only thing that you have control on is rolling back the reciprocity. Which is giving the people that work that income tax elsewhere a credit for what they pay elsewhere. At this point they are still at 100% and they get 100% of what they pay elsewhere. The City has no income tax if they are paying elsewhere. All of the people who work at Progressive pay Mayfield the City get no benefit of their income tax if we give them 100% credit on that. I think that we are in the minority as far as giving 100% and a lot of cities give some type of credit to be neighborly. I think that we are in the minority. That is the one thing that you have control over and that you can make the decision as elected officials that we roll back the reciprocity and not gives the vote of the people. Unfortunately that is where tough decisions by the elected officials.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

Ms. DePledge: Reciprocity is currently 2%. So we do not have to rollback a whole amount we could do 25%, 50%, and 1% or we could do 2%. A lot of communities don’t give any credit what so ever.

Mr. Klammer: It is 100%....

Mr. Evers: Let me remind everybody to please raise your hand to be recognized by the chair before you begin to speak.

Mr. Klammer: I am sorry but I was clarifying that it is 100%. When they pay 2% income tax we give a 100% credit. You can rollback portions of that and give them 25% credit or whatever you might want to do.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

Mr. Klammer: You don’t need the vote of the people to do that and that is the one thing that you have control over.

Mr. Hoefle: Mr. Klammer one of the questions that I have with regards to reciprocity is say we did a reduction and generated another million dollars. I know that it would have to go into the General Fund. Could that money be put into a sub-account in the General Fund and only certain percentages would be earmarked? That could only be used for like Safety Forces or Capital improvements or things like that are passed as an ordinance? The one thing that I always hear from the people is that when we get money it that it is going toward the debt of the stadium. That is one of the reasons why nothing gets passed around here. They think that all of the money that is going to come in here it is going to go right to the stadium.

Mr. Klammer: We can do anything but it is fiction in a sense. It is important that as Council you can change it at any one point in time. So they really have nothing but your word but that is a difficult position to put you guys in because not anyone of you speaks for Council. Should the Council configuration change at one point in time it is all out the window because it is just an ordinance. I know that it is tough messaging sometimes for real complicated issues that people are not expected to know like those who are in this room are. That is the tough part. You can earmark everything that you want but let’s be sensire that it is to a certain degree a fiction. It is different that say: Development fees that a developer would pays by ordinance and there are constitutional issues pending and things like that…it is different.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: Do we have a way of knowing what we would collect every year if we didn’t change reciprocity verses what would the impact be if we did change it? I know that, but how would we know if it was actually collected? How would we know…would it be money coming from people who work outside of Eastlake? Would we be able to earmark that and say these are funds generated from reciprocity and we would know where they came from?

Mrs. Kolk: They would be from the residents that live in Eastlake but work outside. They are going to lose the full 100% credit. It would be coming from the resident in Eastlake.

Ms. DePledge: As from people who….

Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?

Mayor Morley: For example my wife works in Solon. She pays 2% to Solon and they don’t say hey let’s send that money back to Eastlake. If you reduce the credit and you are only giving 1% credit she would pay 1% to the City of Eastlake by filing through R.I.T.A every quarter. When I worked for Bainbridge Township they didn’t pull any money out because they didn’t have anything. I had to setup 2% through payroll to deduct it. Those are the things that are out there and the people it would affect are the ones who work outside of the City.

Ms. DePledge: And we have a way of accounting for fresh money if we were to change how it would…we would be able to identify those funds.

Mr. Klammer: R.I.T.A. might. This is what Mr. Slocum did when you guys had it last time. I am looking at page four if I understand it correctly. Keeping our income tax at 2% and reducing the reciprocity credit. That left side column I think is the variable income rate at different neighboring cities. I think that what he is trying to show us at the bottom is the net gain to the City based on rollback. If I am reading it correctly it has been a while. So 100% rollback is bringing us $2 million if I understand it correctly.

Mr. Hoefle: It looks like $2.6 million.

Mr. Klammer: Yeah. We are at 25% rollback in reciprocity it is…

Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?

Chief Whittington: I was really engaged with the last levy that we put out on the income tax increase. I was really encouraged when we were going through the Town Halls. There were several reasons why I thought we had a chance with the income tax increase as a vote from the public. First and foremost the people who are exempt from that would have been the people that should have an agreement to say that they can’t afford the increase. They would have been the people on Social Security benefits or Disability Benefits. Additionally and if I remember the numbers correctly about 60% of the money generated from the increase would have been generated from people that actually work in the City, however, they don’t live in the City. As we went through that along with doing the education to hit home the fact that the money that you pay right now for taxes…less than 10% comes back to the City. That hasn’t changed since 1982. I really thought that the information that we had out there was going to be the way to real this back in for us. Obviously it goes down and subsequently after the failure of the levy we made some internal…we went down to five. One of the things that I am…all of the transports from all of our residents are strictly through Lake Health, which is Lake West in Willoughby. The reason for that is because I could justify taking half of my people who are on duty to a different hospital when we are passing Lake Health. That generated some calls and the one call that I received from a lady said: that my mom really needed to go to Euclid Hospital because that is where the Cardiologist is. I was very sympathetic to that and I understand that. There is going to be more of a cost that is going to be incurred to that family when they have to do a facility to facility transport. We started talking a little and I tried to explain to her and according to her that her mother’s understanding was that the income tax increase was going to affect her mom. The negative impact is that even though she wasn’t working and after some discussion I sent her to Mr. Slocum. He was able to clear it up for her. There was some misinformation. I have my opinion on that as far how that misinformation got put out there. I really wonder in my heart if we made a consider effort to make sure that we find a way to campaign and educate. I can’t imagine the average person knows what is at stake now to that thought. Especially if we are generating more than 50% of the money that would not affect our residents, but would impact them by restoring or maintaining a service level that is reasonable. If we are brainstorming I want to be a part of the process. The income tax increase could be looked at and could we approach it a different way. In Kirtland’s last levies they hired a third party that was through donations. I know that it is a difficult thing to do. The way that these systems work is…it was mislead what they tried to do. They are part of an education process. They start calling people direct and they say “this is so and so and we are looking at this levy in Kirtland. It is based on this, and this is what we are looking for, and this is how much it is going to cost and where the money goes. It starts a process of educating everybody. At the end of the day….I am not sure if that is the answer either. I just think that when we went through this process we spent time with people. We had one on one time with people. When you start telling people that you are only paying $300.00 to the city and we are reducing the work force. Along with a chance that we are going to have problems here and when we say most of the money that is generated from the income tax increase it is not going to be from the residents that live here. I would probably bet money that we would have passed that one because we have preserved those groups.

Mr. Evers: Just to set the record straight Chief Whittington touched on 9.6% of the taxes. The resident’s paying 9.6% is going to the city. That is on a property tax. Income tax and property tax are two different things. Maybe we could have Finance touch on that real quick to explain the difference.

Mrs. Kolk: Property tax is what you pay on the value of your home and the land. Even if you don’t have any taxable incomes say for example: people who are retired and on social security. They still have to pay property tax. To increase the property taxes it would require a vote from the residents of Eastlake. It would affect everybody who lives or owns property in Eastlake.

Ms. DePledge: It doesn’t affect renters.

Mrs. Kolk: No it doesn’t affect renters. It affects the property owners. The people who actually own the property would absorb the property tax increase now. Again seniors, along with people who are retired and on social security will be affected as well. If you were to increase the income tax rate you would generally affect everyone that works in Eastlake. If you have a bulk of your employees coming in from different cities that work in Eastlake, then they are the ones that are going to want to increase the taxes. They are the people who work in Eastlake whether you live there or not. If you adjust the reciprocity then you are affecting the residents that live in Eastlake but work outside.

Mr. Klammer: Low income seniors would avoid the impact of the tax because they aren’t paying any.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

Mr. Hoefle: If we went with the 2.5 and it failed, but if it would have passed…when we see all of these other communities that are having problems as well. If Cleveland does pass the 2.5 along with Wickliffe, then we are back at square one.

Chief Whittington: With reciprocity.

Mr. Hoefle: If we did have the 100% reciprocity like we currently have. As soon as they go to 2.5 we are right back to square one. That is why you will see a lot of communities that will have a reduction in the reciprocity credit and a higher tax rate.

Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?

Chief Whittington: Some of the things that came out of the Town Hall meetings…there was a concern that if we did an income tax increase that it would push business out. It is not going to cost the business owner any additional money with the increase. The people that work for them would pay more taxes. The person that owns the business here doesn’t get affected at the end of the day. It is just that when they do their employee’s paycheck they will take more out of it and it will to be sent to the city. That was the other aspect that there was concern on. When we worked the Mayor to say that…one thing was that we were going to have a push back from business owners and it doesn’t affect the business owners with the income tax increase.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

Mr. Zuren: I just wanted to ask on the third page of the City of Eastlake if the Town Hall Meeting was still accurate with municipalities with less than 100% reciprocity. My understanding of this is we are already at the highest income tax rate for the city. If you discount the three municipalities that have 1% tax rate there is only one. If you factory in the reciprocity that is higher than us in the whole county. That is in Lake County not in Cuyahoga County I think that it is a different thing all together. My question is: there is only one city and it is Willowick that actually has a higher income tax rate considering where you work. Whether if it is inside or outside of the city than Eastlake.

Mr. Klammer: I don’t know if that is accurate and I don’t know if Mr. Slocum was reporting cities with 100%. Obviously there are more than four cities.

Mr. Zuren: I think that these are the ones with…

Mr. Klammer: I am not sure.

Mrs. Kolk: I think that these are the ones with the reciprocity that is less than 100%, which is where Eastlake is. They have less than our city.

Mr. Klammer: So this isn’t showing us the actual tax rates across the county?

Mr. Evers: No.

Mr. Klammer: I think that he was trying to put two together on one chart.

Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?

Mayor Morley: The other surrounding city is Willoughby Hills and they charge an extra .5%. If I lived in Willoughby Hills and worked in Eastlake they take 2% out. I would still have to pay Willoughby Hills .5%. They are the only ones that do besides Willowick. I am sorry they tack it on.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

Mr. Hoefle: To get back to Mr. Zuren’s question. This information that was provided I had to ask Mrs. Schindel to produce something for us. There is nothing else from 2015, so what she was able to do was pull up what we did in 2014. A lot of this information is not accurate to what it currently is. To touch on a statement that Chief Whittington made about the businesses. I remember that in one of our meetings Euclid is at 2.85%. We actually had a major company here that left and went to…that resident was concerned about Eastlake having businesses leave. We had a business that left and they went to Euclid with the 2.85%.

Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?

Chief Reik: There are a couple of things that I wanted to point out and that is we are not reinventing the wheel. We are not breaking new ground. Some of the other cities that are listed…again this is after ten years of the slow progression back. The reciprocity…the senior issues is always a big thing for all of us. To look at someone on a fixed income, who is older and doesn’t have any other means. This does not affect them. Chief Whittington talked about the other information that was out there. If we can do something united I truly feel that 20% of the people will vote for anything that we put out there. There are 20% of the people who will not vote for anything that we put out there. We have another 60% who we have to work with. If someone is in a gray area and I am selling it along with Mr. Zuren and Ms. DePledge and then they run into someone who works for the city like a Councilman, City worker, Politician and they hear that they don’t need that. That person…they could get twenty people who say that we need it and if one person is telling them otherwise that is going to make them feel good that they could vote no for it. Because someone from the city told me that it is not necessary. It is my job with the Police Department along with Chief Whittington with the Fire Department to make sure that we keep our employee’s focused and directed. As a group of Director’s, Council and the Mayor we owe it to ourselves to do that too. As a Director and a resident, if my opinion means anything I would go for the full roll back. Try to pass a levy and tell them that we passed the levy to reduce the roll back by half. It will give them an incentive to say spread that among the 50 % of the people who don’t live in the city. By doing that you are helping yourself. It is just another carrot so to speak to add to the pot.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Klammer?

Mr. Klammer: I am just trying to catch everyone up. The second to last page of this is the letter that Mr. Slocum has prepared. You see where they describe the difference between the income tax, real estate tax, and proposed income tax, residents with unearned income, social security, pension, disability and unemployment. That is where the income tax approach or the roll back has the benefit of not affecting your senior population. Obviously that is a precious population in the City of Eastlake. Sometimes it takes some explaining because you are frightened by it. That of course is the main difference here. The control of the reciprocity because your vote. You can protect the most vulnerable among us, because it is not going to affect a majority of them for their senior income by way of pension. If I say something wrong please jump in. The other thing that you have to keep in mind is that this doesn’t happen overnight. So if we delay…we are talking another year and a half before you see the benefits from any of this stuff. You have to make these changes. You are not going to get…tax year this year. You are talking for filings for 2016 and 2017 and the income that comes in after that. We have to pull the trigger sooner or later.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: With all due respect. I know how hard both of the Chief’s have work along with everybody else for the levies. I really don’t have faith that we are going to pass a levy. I know that we work hard with Town Hall meetings and going door to door. We haven’t passed a levy since 1982. I would like to think that we could get information out there and let people know just how critical it is. I really feel that we have done that for the last six years. I think that we are at a crisis point if we don’t make some sort of action here financially for the benefit of the city. Madison was talking about closing down their Police Department. Mentor-on-the-Lake wants to annex into Mentor. These are the decisions that communities are looking at. We are not even a stone’s throw from that. We are at that crisis point where we have to make a decision. I know the pros and cons of reciprocity and for the new guys we are still going to have to wait a year and a half for any money. When we may end up in the red by the end of this year and it may not even benefit us this year. I think that we should do a full roll back on the reciprocity. That there shouldn’t be any credit and we should take that $2.6 million and use it to fix our stations and bring our personnel back up to snuff. So that people are safe on their jobs. So that maybe there is someone here to answer a phone and for backup, so that we can provide services to the residents. If we get back up on our feet we can always resend it, change it or reduce it. We are in such a huge hole and it is just getting deeper and deeper. Literally in the last six years you just watch us dig ourselves into a hole. The Fire Chief needs new ambulances and the Police Chief needs new cruisers. We are docking hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is not going to come from anywhere else.

Mr. Klammer: The Chief answers his phone calls and does his own scheduling. If the Mayor gets a public records request he has to drop everything that he is doing and dig through the files, take out staples, and copy them.

Ms. DePledge: The Chief of Police does traffic stops.

Mr. Klammer: The Chief is doing traffic stops. If a public records request comes into the Building Department everyone has to stop what they are doing for a public records request. If you call up to City Hall no body answers the phone because we don’t have anybody.

Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?

Mayor Morley: This is a two inch sward. It is a loss regardless. I have asked if we should just go on a fiscal and be done with it. Will the residents then say that maybe they weren’t full of crap. It is a loss either way. If you reduce it the residents are going to be upset that…I have had this discussion with the Chief. Instead of an incentive it could be turned around well they did this and now they are threating us. What they are saying is that ok we are going to do this, but we will take it away if you vote yes. Is it an incentive or are they going to look at it as a threat? If we go into a fiscal emergency it is a loss for everybody. It is a loss for me as an Administrator and a loss for Council and we say that we have no other answers. I do agree we are healthier and I am trying to get some numbers for the percentage. I know that Mayor Margalis did it in Wickliffe. With what we have with our manufacturing and retail the percentage that we have…it won’t show as much. We have talked in Town Halls that we need $52 million businesses to come in here. I don’t even know if we have the space for $52 million businesses. No one wants taxes and I don’t want any part of any new taxes. You are going to see all of the cities go into this. The fear that Mr. Hoefle has and I have talked with the new Mayor of Willowick yesterday. We are going to sit down and try to help him get through some things. They are forecasting that at the end of this year that they are only going to have $160,000.00 carry over. Willoughby and Mentor are healthy and Wickliffe is a couple of years behind us. We can sit here and argue the politics of what happened with the guy who wants to be our president. In the long run do the math and the$9 million that we have lost since the entire local government fund. With First Energy we lose $1 million a year. The Chief and I added it up a couple of days ago and it was $4 million.

Mr. Evers: It is $4.3 million.

Mayor Morley: With the state cuts, First Energy and other cuts it is hard to recuperate $4 million in revenue.

Chief Whittington: I always speak from my heart. Eventually the people who reside in this city that we serve need to buy back into the city. I am not sure what that will take. I have always asked that question. We are point blank in the Town Halls where does the gap exist. If you are not buying into the city no matter what you do or what we do as far as reciprocity or taxes. As long as people aren’t buying back into the city we are not going to have a good resolve. Back in 2010 we were at a weekend meeting and I remember specifically that we are put in a position where we are going to have to see the people of Eastlake from themselves. I still stand behind that comment because I am not sure that people understand the whole global aspect of what has happened with this community. There are little issues that get pointed out to us all the time from the Director’s. About this that or whatever the case may be. I am speaking from the Fire Department. My mission and the mission that I carry out every day is not something that I set up. The mission of the Fire Department is dictated by the people who call 911. If I don’t have the capabilities, equipment or personnel to meet those demands then that is an issue. If I am getting three or four squad calls at one time and I can’t meet those demands it falls back on the residents. I think that is the gap that exists. The Mayor took a lot of heat when we put out the literature to say…these were all threats. I know that people took that and they spun it around. The reality of the issue is this is your community. We have had levies fail from the city, but people in the city are now paying extra taxes. They are paying for Lakeland and for Willoughby-Eastlake Schools. The people who live here saw a major tax increase. I don’t see people standing in line leaving the city. I don’t see people at this point have any cat food or whatever the case may be. When you hear the people say that we can’t afford any more taxes I understand what they are trying to get at. They are investing so much of their money to things outside of the city. I have had people say: “we pay for your salary.” You are exactly right, but you also pay for the school teachers, Metro Park rangers, people who work at the public library, State Senators, the House of Representatives, Governor, and the State Patrol. I have a list of people that as a tax payer I pay their wages. When I am looking at this stuff…all of the stuff that affects you directly, taking care of the people who are sick in your house, your house catching on fire, the Police Department, or if you need your streets plowed. That is where I am at to say that is the focus. I don’t know and it is frustrating for me.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

Mr. Zuren: I just wanted to make a comment. I see that the cities financial wow’s absolutely and I think that we need to do something about it. Reciprocity and a levy increase are two different things. You have one where there is no vote of the public, which I think is a complete loss of trust. I think that if you have a levy, which can be done. There were two and one of was a gigantic levy for the school system. I know that it wasn’t passed by all of the precincts in Eastlake. That was a massive tax increase and I think that it was done really well. They had a large amount of people that fought to get it passed. They put effort and time into along with having signs. They had children involved to get it to pass. I guess just getting down to who you are and who I am. A vote of the public is what’s needed. Just to raise the taxes and then come back and…Mayor Morley was talking about a threat. We will lower them if you pass it. I don’t think that’s the way to go at all. There is no trust. I think that if we make an effort to try and do a levy. I don’t want to wave a flag and say that this is the American way to do it but it is. It is a vote of the public.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: I will pass it.

Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?

Chief Reik: The flag that I am worried about is the white flag. That is what we are going to be waving here real soon. We have done all of these things and the personnel Willoughby-Eastlake got that…the Fire Chief and I were in the odds that it wasn’t going to pass. It was really close and I am glad that it did pass. I voted for it myself. All that it does is prolong our…I doesn’t feel like there is a good feeling here that we get it passed. The plan is that the reciprocity…again that was my suggestion for as far as something else to throw at people. If we want to spread this out among more individuals and they are the people that are working inside the city with the income tax. We are not creating a new process and we are not reinventing the Constitution. We are not doing anything other than what the other cities that are around us that are doing it or are going to be doing it. We are in worse shape than a lot of those cities are. I think that it is something that has to be considered.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: There isn’t a popular answer to this dilemma. If we were to put it to a levy, which we have tried several times and it has always been defeated. As the Mayor has said that the school and Lakeland levy failed in Eastlake. Then we will go into fiscal emergency. As they have told us two years ago when the levy was on the ballet and it talked about reciprocity there was a big up roar. How could you take that power away from the people? Nobody wanted to do it. The fact of the matter is that we are not generating any revenue. If we put this on a ballet again and it fails, then we will have that whole uproar again about reciprocity and how dare you do that. The fact of the matter is that Chief Reik is absolutely right we can do this. We are allowed to do this. If other communities are doing this and it is how they are saving themselves. I go back to what Chief Whittington said at one of the meetings. We are appointed to oversee this city and to make decisions for the best interest of the city. It is not popular decisions, not ones that get us re-elected, but difficult ones that are going to be unpopular. They are going to make people unhappy some times, so that this city can thrive. We are dying. I mean we are just dying. Like Chief Whittington said that we are like the parents. Sometimes you have to make decisions that the children do not like. I know that puts it in a very simplistic term. That is how I see us as the leaders in this community. If we do decide to go for a levy I will be out there, I will go door to door, and I will do everything that I can to make sure that it passes. I just don’t see it working. I see us a year and a half down the road having the same conversations and being deeper in the hole. We are losing more of our qualified employee’s.

Mr. Klammer: We will have to hustle to get in on for November. It is possible. You are talking…

Ms. DePledge: We have that special meeting this summer.

Mr. Evers: The one thing that I want to correct. Everyone is throwing out the word fiscal emergency. This would come from the State. Before we go into fiscal emergency we would go under fiscal watch. Under fiscal watch the board would be formed the same way that we did it last time. There is a difference that is there. Be cautious in using the word fiscal emergency, because we are not there. We are not going to be there. You have to go into fiscal watch first. Mayor Morley?

Mayor Morley: I agree with that statement. However, what I am saying is that we can get there. Let me rephrase that. I am not saying that we are going into fiscal emergency and I am not saying that we are in fiscal watch. It is something that can happen. Like the Police Chief and the Fire Chief have said that we are a couple of items away from…$280,000 carries over. The State likes to have about 20% and we aren’t even close to it.

Mr. Evers: We aren’t even close. Chief Whittington?

Chief Whittington: I appreciate Mr. Zuren’s opinion on it. The one question that I would bring up as a whole is the fact that we have failed the last twelve. I wonder if there is a trust issue and if there is that is something that you should get feedback from. A lot of the feedback that we get along with the comments is in regards to the stadium, along with the issues that the stadium has. Sometimes when you talk to the people the information that they rely heavily on what is misleading. This is the way that they feel about the stadium. I think Mr. Zuren hit on something. The thing that I wanted to bring forward is we need people to buy into this city. That is the best resolution. I also wonder and this is based on of our history there is already a trust issue. What I know with the reciprocity credits is that they exist because the government doesn’t want other government entities to horde money. There was a time that in most cities, where if they are healthy the credit is given, so that the money is there and that it is not sitting around. When we are laying people off or when some of them come to the podium and talk about the potential of getting laid off. The question that has come up several times is: “when does a city start to hurt enough to say that we are not hording money anymore?” The credit that we need to give people is that they need to be giving back to the city. That is the law and legally we have a right to that money. The way that the reciprocity was set up it is to help so the money isn’t piling up. Those are some of the things that as we continue the thought process to say…

Mr. Evers: My questions are for finance and correct me if I am wrong. The only people that have to have a vote of the people to pass a tax increase are the cities. The state and the federal government do not. Is that correct?

Mrs. Kolk: I believe so but I am not 100% sure. I will have to get back to you.

Mr. Evers: They can raise your taxes any time that they want without a vote of the people. I believe that the city is the only one that has to have a vote.

Mrs. Kolk: I know that the city requires the vote I am just not sure about the state.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?

Mr. Hoefle: I just want to make sure that everyone is aware and for the record if we did a tax increase and it went out on a ballot. I would be supporting it 100%. After seeing how many levies that have failed over and over and over again…even the Recreation levy failed with the average resident would of paid about $1.25 a month. That was shot down. I am in full support of reducing the reciprocity credit and to do whatever it takes to keep this city running solid. I am in full support of that and I have no problems with it. As elected officials we were put in here to protect the city. If that is what we have to do that is my go on it.

Mr. Evers: Are there any other comments or questions? Mr. Kasunick?

Mr. Kasunick: If we pass something soon when will it take effect? Would it take effect for the 2016 taxes or the 2017 taxes?

Mr. Klammer: I know that I will have to give it some thought. My inclination and knowledge to that answer is that it would be for the filing year of 2017. We do collect at the source so there is some possibility.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: There is something to be said once you pass it and those funds become available. We can start using it. I remember Mr. Slocum saying something about that last year. Once that money is in the pipeline it gives you that breathing room that we need. Does that make sense? If you are going to get $200,000.00 next month then you can go sign a contract for a house next month. Because you know that money is coming down that pipeline. It is that kind of a concept but on a bigger scale.

Mr. Kasunick: Does it make a difference if we try to pass a levy? Would it make a difference as far as to when we could implement a reciprocity change and if we try to pass a levy and it failed? Say if we did it at the end of the year would it make a difference?

Mr. Evers: We can pass reciprocity at any time with it being an emergency by Council.

Mr. Klammer: It could go on till November unless you want to pay for a special election.

Mr. Evers: That would be the levy. Chief Reik?

Chief Reik: I think that it would look…that is the retribution aspect I think. Chief Whittington and I talked about the last levy. That if we could of played that whole year over again it would have been a safe play. The retribution thing was not a valid argument. We are doing this because this is what needs to be done. Our only other options down the road are to get something passed. If something did pass…Chief Whittington’s analogy and the history of the government stock piling the money is a good one. When it isn’t needed it can be given back. We have the county holding more money and charging more. We have the state holding tons of money and charging more and we have nowhere else to go. The resident’s always like when you hear social media talking about getting more businesses.   For instance we want Home Dept to come and invest their money into the city the same city that their own residents aren’t investing in. As a twenty year resident…if you know one that will never vote for a levy and then you are asking a corporation to invest into a place with households that are not investing into their own community. I think that is a though part right now.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?

Mr. Zuren: I would love it if everybody on Council got the information on a levy and the process of a levy. Along with when can it be placed on the ballot? I just have a general question and I am sure that it has been brought up before the new Council members, but as for the equity position in the stadium. Does anyone know what the appraised value is or what the value is?

Ms. DePledge: There was never any equity in the stadium. We could never find a buyer for it. I don’t remember the numbers, but it was something that we did talk about before. If we could sell it, there wasn’t a buyable option.

Mayor Morley: To pay it off right now it would cost $12 million. The issues will be and we have discussed this many times that if we put it up for sale who ever buy’s it takes over the Captain’s lease or contract. That is where the issue is. For the new Council member and for those in attendance, when people complain about the Captain’s….I don’t know how many people know this. When the stadium was being built the original team backed out. When the Captain’s came in they held all of the cards in getting the things that they needed for their business plan. The stadium was actually being built without a team. If the Captain’s weren’t here it could be a lot worse than what it is right now. The total debt for the stadium is $35 million and we owe $12 million. We have already paid off $20 million.

Mr. Evers: The total debt was $42 million.

Mr. Klammer: Do you know what our debt service is every year?

Mayor Morley: It is $1.3 million.

Mr. Evers: $1.3 million.

Mayor Morley: It is about $855,000.00 and we have been pulling in about $400,000.00 from the…

Mr. Klammer: Fundamentally from a stand point of it being an income producing property, which is the only thing that it can be. It doesn’t make money every year to the tune of a loss of approximately $500,000.00.

Mayor Morley: The only way that something would ever happen is if I hit the lottery and I come in and bought the team and paid the $13 million. Then I am in charge of the Captain’s and that is how I am going to make my money. For someone to come in and say that I am going to give $13 million to a minor league team. I have said it before that if we want to put it up for sale let put it up for sale. We are not going to get any buyers. If you are a business man you are not purchasing. At the end of this term, this will be in 2031. In 2026 is when the Captain’s lease will be up and when the people who are in power then will have to think about what do we do know. The stadium is paid off but now we need a new stadium because this one is falling apart.

Mr. Klammer: Those numbers are with Mr. Slocum and the Mayor who were doing some strategic thinking with calling those bonds and doing everything. All of the conversations that we have had over the years it was all figured in to where we are at right now to put us in the best possible position.

Chief Whittington: I am just wondering as we progress through this I think that when we look at that stadium we look at it as a third party type of thing. In essence the stadium is not different than City Hall, the Police Station, the Fire Station or the Service Department Garage. It is a city building that we own. To look at avenues to be able to use it isn’t any different. There really isn’t a viable option to sell off the Fire Station or whatever the case maybe. As much as that building is set up to have an event it really is just a city building. It isn’t any different than any other city building that we have on city property.

Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle? Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: I just want to make one thing clear and to put it on the record that in the event that we put a levy on or in the event that we went with some sort of modifications to reciprocity. It would not be in any way shape of form a punishment to the residents or any type of retribution in anyway shape or form. It is just a matter of survival and keeping our safety forces safe and managing our properties. We can’t even manage or maintained our properties. I want to make it very clear that it isn’t about punishing anybody in any way shape or form.

Chief Whittington: In my mind I don’t see the difference with the school board putting the levies that they did. These levies represent the progression, development and stabilization. That is what they solely represent. We are going after levies or whatever way that we are trying to generate revenue it is a purpose to preserve this community. For anybody to think anything else I think that it is very short sided. I know and appreciate what Ms. DePledge was saying and I appreciate it but again this is part of the community buy in. Again you have levies on the ballot all the time and if you talk to the people who put them on. If the school board members were here or the superintenant he would give you a reason why that levy was valuable to them. It is based on improving buildings, improving the ability to draw families in. Our levies just represent our abilities to stabilize….

Mr. Klammer: If they don’t have income tax or reciprocity I would guaranty you that they would roll the reciprocity back if they had it. That is what they would have done because they are Stuarts. They have one choice and that is a levy. They don’t have other choices.

Mr. Evers: Is there anybody else? I am not going to poll the committee because there is no decision that is being made as to whether to move anything forward or not. It will be held here in the committee for futher discussions in working with the Administration and Finance.

MAYOR’S COMMENTS

Mayor Morley had nothing to report.

There were no further questions or comments.

LAW DEPARTMENT

Mr. Klammer had nothing to report.

There were no further questions or comments.

 

FINANCE DEPARTMENT

Mr. Schindel was absent and excused.

There were no further questions or comments.

MISCELLANEOUS

There was nothing under Miscellaneous.

REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC:

Angelo Trivisonno, 34186 Waldmere Drive, Eastlake, OH

Mr. Trivisonno: This question is for the Chief’s. What exactly it seems like a lot of the….

Mr. Evers: All comments or questions come to the chair.

Mr. Trivisonno: Thank you Mr. Chairman. My question is and if the Chief’s would care to answer or provide so additional input is: “what exactly is being asked for?” Is there a dollar amount on the levies or reciprocity? Is there a figure?

Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?

Chief Whittington: As things have progressed and for me being in this job for eight years and being in the city for eighteen years I have seen the progression. The one concern that came about during our discussions was during the budget year and other events that we have had. We really try to express our internal needs and what needed to be done. I am at the point now where I am making decisions based on what I think needs to be done at the Fire Station. I am looking for direction outside and I am saying that I need an ambulance and a rescue squad. I have two rescue squads that are about thirteen years old that we continue to re-build the motors on them. Is that the direction and when we talked our goal tonight was to sit down as a group and see what direction we were going to move in. Is the feeling of the group to look at reciprocity or is it to move towards levies or are we going to continue to maintain where we are at? We get a lot of questions internally. To be honest with you or comments tonight are basically to try and feel out as to what direction the city is moving in. That was part of the dialoged that we were trying to have. I don’t have a number in my head. I certainly think that it is well about my pay grade and above my decision making as far as a levy goes. As far as the reciprocity credit that is something that is above any decision that I could possibly make or than give you some kind of an input. I wasn’t looking for specifics on saying that we needed this much on a levy. If we did approach a levy it would be a beneficial thing for the Directors and the Mayor to sit down and put together a list of things that we need to accomplish off of the levy. So that when we do go and ask the residents we aren’t selling ourselves short. The fear that I have is that when we do put a levy out and then when it gets pushed out. By a miracle we pass it and then we end up short it is going to look really silly from our prospective to say that we passed that levy. I have seen that happen and it is not so much in this city but in cities where they put a levy out and they didn’t have enough and now they need more. I hope that I answered but I don’t think that I have a definitive answer. For us we really wanted to spell it out to the group and to take advantage of the time of year. I know that there are new memberships and we wanted to say that we are looking for direction. We want to be a part of that direction, to be a part of the problem solving. We didn’t have an idea when we talked about this. We worked through the Mayor but the elective and the constituents these people represent you guys. So is it okay if I put a bill in for $7,000.00 for the same rescue squad to re-build a motor. Is that the direction that you want me to take? I used it as a broad generalization…there are several things that I stack up. I am just looking for guidance more than I am anything. I don’t know if that answers or clarifies anything.

Mr. Evers: Is there anyone else wishing to speak?

Mr. Trivisonno: I am not sure if this is legally possible but has any… and I am sure that it has been discussed in the past so maybe provide an update. Is there any possibility of a service specific levy?

Mr. Evers: I will try to answer that the best that I can. We have done them in the past and they have all failed. We have tried Police, Fire, Service, and we have tried Recreation at a $1.26 per month and they have all failed. Is there a possibility for those in the future? That would have to go through the Administration, Director’s, Council and the Finance Committee for further discussion at that time. Mayor?

Mayor Morley: I think that what we have discussed…what the chief doesn’t like about going for separate. Say if we go for a $2 million levy for Police or Fire we are going to take and we are not going to give them that money out of the General Fund. For them to get something passed and then it is separate entities we need to find a cost. Say that it is $5 million to run a department we need to generate $5 million for them. If not and the $2 million gives them we are going to take it away from them out of the General Fund and it doesn’t help them at all.

Chief Whittington: In fairness if I pass a levy for the Fire Department and I see more generated revenues coming in…..then Chief Reik or Service Director Rubertino needs something. I would think that it would be remissive for the Mayor to say: “you have that levy.” It really is a shell game when you start breaking out levies. That is all that it represents is that shell game. We have done that in the past where we…there has been specific money set aside for something. When it comes for it I get the money… the ambulance billing is strictly dedicated to the Fire Department. He also took $500,000.00 out of my general fund account. All I really did was shuffle the line items. Instead of having a general fund line item now I have a separate line item. To be honest with you I really track…when we failed the Fire Department failed. That is the mentality that scares me because not to say that I am special. If you look at the levies that passed in the city most of the times the Fire Department levies have no problem passing. It is not to say that all of them have passed. I was the closest out of the three and I failed. I am not sure if it represents anything to a lot of people in the city to say that I did something special.

Mayor Morley: If you archive and I know that you like to do that. Go on to the Lake County Board of Elections and go through all of the levies that we have put out and you will see that everything has been tried. People say that we don’t want to give you a General Fund so we say that we are going to separate them out. Over the last ten or twelve years we have tried for levies. It is at the point where the reason we did the income tax the last time it was because the seniors were saying that they are a fixed income. So we are going to go against that and then we had some people who were out there saying stuff to the seniors. With the calls that I received after the levy failed what was the….that is not what I heard. Well instead of waiting until after call me before hand. We did Town Hall and again we are at what do our residents want? The other problem is that any levy that we pass is just to self preserve it not the schools to say that we are building two new schools. You are going to see what is going on. What we are saying is that we are passing to survive. It is not to say that hey we are going to open up a park, or we are going to put a pool back in at Surfside or we are going to have a Recreation Department. We are doing this to survive to get some employee’s back to keep up average services that is part of the problem. We had a light winter, but the couple snow falls that we did have we got the calls and were yelled at. We have five plows for a whole city. We don’t complain and say hey we should have done this. We are going to get there when we get there. I don’t know if people have seen anything change except for…everyone is upset because we are going into our third year of not picking up leaves. Out of everything that we have cut that is the thorn in everyone’s side. Again we are not getting a third ambulance, we are not having police. I have told them and I know that they will not do this to have the employee’s go into harm’s way. The fire that we just had was intense and we had ten departments at the fire on Easter Sunday. I don’t want any of these guys to get injured. I don’t look forward to that phone call from the Chief’s saying that one of our guys is down. I don’t ever want that phone call. I have told them going to these fowl situations if they don’t have backup you just wait.

Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?

Ms. DePledge: I know that this is your meeting but I am not entirely comfortable leaving this out there on the table. I am not really sure what you meant by it, but I want to make sure that Mr. Klammer are you going to get Mr. Zuren the levy process as to how it happens or how it transpires? I want everybody to see it and how it works, what steps we have to go through and the timing. I think that is important for them. I would like us to be able to revisit this again. If it is going to be a levy we will have to move it pretty quickly. If we are going to do reciprocity then that is something that we need to look at. I don’t want to have this meeting and just table it and let all of these conversations go by the wayside.

Mr. Evers: Until the Chair of Finance Committee has a chance to sit down with the Administration, Chief’s and the Director’s it is not going to go anywhere.

Ms. DePledge: That is another step.

Mr. Evers: There is not decision that needs to be made.

Ms. DePledge: I just don’t want the ball to be dropped here.

Mr. Evers: That is not what we said. We said that we would meet with them and move from there.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:33 p.m.

tms      

                                                                        APPROVED: ___________________________

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DATE: ______________________________

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