FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
July 14, 2016
Committee Member Mr. Evers opened the meeting at approximately 6:00 p.m. Members of the Committee in attendance were Mr. Evers, Mr. Hoefle and Mr. Zuren. Present from Council were Mr. Meyers, Mr. Kasunick, Mr. Spotton and Council President Ms. DePledge.
In attendance from the Administration were Mayor Morley, Fire Chief Whittington, Police Chief Reik, Finance Director Schindel and Law Director Klammer.
Also in attendance were members of the public.
Levy for the Police and the Fire Department
Mr. Evers: I will now turn the meeting over to Mayor Morley and Finance Director Schindel.
Mayor Morley: After great consideration and we have been going over this for months. In talking with the Chief’s and seeing what is going on in the departments. As I stated in Tuesday’s Council Meeting we are going to lose two firemen, because they are at the bottom of the list. They will be laid off when the Safe Grant is over. As you guys have noticed I didn’t ask for a General Fund Levy. Figuring that the two most important things in the city right now are our safety forces and what we are trying to do is stabilize our safety forces. If you want to look at the email that Mrs. Schindel sent that each Mill would generate $437,674.00. We have discussed on doing Two Mills each for the Police Department and the Fire Department. Thirty-Five dollars on a $100,000.00 house would be $70.00 a year with $6.00 a month on that. Let’s say that if we go to $150,000.00 to $200,000.00 a year it still wouldn’t be much more than that.
Mrs. Schindel: For a levy.
Mayor Morley: That’s what we are asking to put on the ballot for November. I will let the Chief’s or Mrs. Schindel chime in.
Mrs. Schindel: The only thing that I want to say is that time is of the essence. August 10th is the date that they have to have it in by. We have some work to do to prepare to get it that far.
Mayor Morley: My question to Council is that is this something that you want to pursue?
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: So there is going to be two levies that you are proposing and each levy is two mills, which equates to $875,000.00 per levy. We’re about $1.75 Million is what we are talking about?
Mayor Morley: Yes
Mr. Zuren: That equates to about $140.00 per house hold if it’s a $100,000.00 home. I just want to be clear on that.
Mr. Klammer: That’s the total for each.
Mayor Morley: Mrs. Schindel split it at thirty-five per hundred so we are doing Two Mills. She did One Mill just as an example. Two mills would actually be $70.00 for the two. The total for both would be $140.00. We tried it about four or five years ago to do a Safety force and they told us that we can’t combine them anymore. In the past you could say that it is a Safety Force Levy now we have to split them up and do the police and fire separate.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I have a question for the Chief’s the $875,000.00 per each of your budgets, what does that equate to for man power for a full-time employee?
Chief Reik: That’s what was decided. You guys decided that we are going to give you this amount of money for personnel, equipment or for general use for things you the department. That’s where the discussion has to be. For that it might typically be seven to seven in half guys with benefits. I don’t know if that is how this is intended or not. I was just told and I haven’t even informed the Mayor yet about another guy filing for disability. I also have three or four guys that are retiring between now and December of 2017. As the Fire Chief knows the hiring in and of itself is difficult. To get a guy to take his name off of another list if he is…if we go to hire him and he is number two Westlake and number eight on another city. If you ask me I couldn’t in good conscientious tell him to remove his name from those lists. I would want a commitment and I would ask for a commitment. But I wouldn’t burn the bridge that you walk across if he decided to leave, because the prospects are better looking and the economy is better. You guys will have to figure out if whether that money is to be earmarked for just personnel or what the thoughts are as far as that goes.
Mr. Klammer: We need to figure that into the levy language. I am actually researching while we are talking to make sure that whatever….to make a separate levy just for personnel or equipment.
Ms. DePledge: And building repair?
Mr. Klammer: There might be a separate….I have to look. There might have to do a separate levy for personnel verses equipment. I am actually looking right now.
Mayor Morley: I thought that we talked about….
Mr. Klammer: Depends on what Mr. Sharb does. While we are having this discussion….
Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?
Mr. Whittington: When I worked with the Mayor and Mrs. Schindel it was to save the three guys that are on the Safer Grant and to have some additional money. It has probably been about five years in sending anyone out for training; these are things that are somewhat essential. For me the extra money would be for the three men. The ambulance billing has been shifted to pay for payroll. The way that the ordinance reads right now is that the money is earmarked for the special teams and the training of the department. I think that since we are discussing this on the front then I think that there needs to be….first and for most this is for my…I could tell you how many rounds of working on a levy for me have all ended up be failures. The one thing that I would caution all of us is that first and foremost this doesn’t help the Service Department. If my levy passes and Chief Reik’s fails it doesn’t help him. If his passes and mine fail it doesn’t help me. Eventually we need to solve the entire issue of the city sliding backwards. It’s not just the Fire and the Police it is Service and everything else that is happening. It is infrastructure issues and collectively it’s a major problem. As generous as both of these are and as much as it would help me they are really just structured band aids. We keep asking for these band aide fixes and again they keep rejecting it. Each year that we go and we are not recovering financially as a city. Each year that goes by we are falling further behind collectively. This is my issue and Chief Reik’s, Mr. Rubertino and everybody’s issues here. It’s the Mayor’s and Mrs. Schindel. I would say that as much as we are working on these two we need to collectively look at it as a whole. What are we going to do if both of them fail? What is the answer then are we going to go back and try another levy? If we continue to put levies on here because apparently people in the city aren’t going to pass a levy for us. The day to day stuff that gets done done between all three of the major service departments here barely gets done. Honestly and truly that is 100% and based on the good employee’s that we have left and they are doing a good job out there. If everyone here at this table and for everyone that lives in this city if they knew what happens on a daily basis to get the job done; I would imagine that everyone would be appalled. I think that collectively it really rests on the shoulders of the elected officials in this community to get together and to figure out collectively how we are going to save the city. If the levy is pushed out for the Fire Department I will give it my heart and soul; just like I have done for every single levy in this city. Every levy that got pushed out whether it affected me or not I worked the polls and I walked the streets. I spent my own time doing that. I will support it but I think that issues that I have is what are we going to do collectively as a community. That is my concern. I don’t know what the answer is. If one fails and the other one passes it’s not fair to him. What do we gain if…I would gain and I would be happy about that? I save those three guys but if I don’t have a patrolman to come and help me with a domestic violence issue. Then we haven’t solved the problem. That is just something that I wanted to throw out there as to the thoughts as we go forward on this. I am not trying to sound negative but for me I have been down this path. I have sat around this table with different faces and we have discussed the same issue. The problem in the City of Eastlake is about the service ability that we can provide that the resident’s can’t provide for themselves. The resident can’t provide their own fire, ems, and snow removal on streets and police protection. That is stuff that we have to give them. Right now we are barely making it able for them to get. Again you are talking about some major issues.
Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?
Mayor Morley: I don’t know who else asked for the numbers on tax credit. For the new members and over the last ten years there have been eleven levies and eleven different ways. Every time the people have said no we said then let’s try this one. Eleven straight levies have failed. The last one that we did was the Income Tax. Mrs. Schindel ran the numbers from R.I.T.A. with the income tax and you would generate more money. If we went with what we tried two years ago before we did the layoffs…if we do the Income Tax again at 2.5 it brings it to $2.5 million. That would total into the General Fund and it would help out. The way that I’ve looked at it and I know what they’ve talked about with our resident’s. To go with our resident’s on safety…we get a lot of calls about the police and fire. I thought that maybe if we weren’t asking for General Fund money and we go to our residents and let them know that this money is earmarked for the Police and Fire Departments. It is not going to save everything like what Chief Whittington said but it does add $850,000.00 more to their budget. I know that Chief Whittington is concerned that if we get that am I going to take the $850,000.00 out of the General Fund and not give it to them. That is not the plan. The plan is to enhance and keep what they have running. We had a fire down in the Harbor today. Thank God the fire was put out quickly. Again everyone is down there. We don’t have an answer as to how the fire was started and I don’t if they got the suspect after I left. Again two guys are leaving there and Chief Reik had a police officer leave. We had someone in the Service Department leave and now our Labor Agreements are up this year. They haven’t had a raise in eleven years. We have to do something or we are going to continue to fall backwards. I know that we’ve discussed and I also know the Chief’s and I won’t speak for them. Why don’t we just pull the trigger and do the reciprocity and not put it to a vote. If this fails again we may be in the same spot. We need the money or we are just going to end up saying that twelve in a row is enough and we are going to making the decision for you. You guys know that I don’t like to do that and I’m not going to let us go under either.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: I was looking at the numbers that Mrs. Schindel had sent over today and I agree with the Mayor. We have had about ten or twelve of these that we have put over the years and every year they get rejected. I am a firm believer and in my opinion I would go for the reciprocity. After I talked with Mrs. Schindel today if we were to do that at 50% credit….
Mrs. Schindel: Paying 1%.
Mr. Hoefle: Paying 1% so it would give you an idea…I work in Cleveland my 2% would go straight to Cleveland. Then at the end of the year I would have to pay back the 1%. That will be bringing in close to $2.3 Million per year. That is the way that I would like to do it. I will support whatever the majority is I would think that if we were to do something like that, because the first thing people will say is that if put it all in the General Fund. They are going to say that we are going to use it to pay down the stadium debt. If we got $2.4 Mill that is coming in and it goes through accounting and say each department is only going to get earmarked some much each year of that. So maybe the police get 30% and fire gets 30% and so much goes to service and so much goes to each different department. Mrs. Schindel your saying that we probably could set that out there so that way the people….
Mrs. Schindel: I agree with the concept and I have seen some of it done but I don’t know to what extent. But I have seen…
Mr. Hoefle: That way if they were looking they…will see that $2.4 Million that came in. So much is for recreation, salaries across the board, and for police and fire. That way it’s not going to go into the General Fund. It will go into a sub account of the General Fund, which is automatically earmarked for those specific places. That would be my opinion on it. I will go with whatever the majority is and I will support anything. That is the way that I feel.
Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?
Ms. DePledge: I am just holding back. I sent out my email and I will reiterate it on the record, but I want to give everybody an opportunity to speak as well.
Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?
Chief Reik: This is as a resident and not a Politian. Like what Chief Whittington said we put forth the effort of 100% for past levies to be disappointed. After those levies failed we have been told…I understand the argument from the political side and how do we ask for something and then we don’t get it? That is why at some point we need to take the things that we did ask for and not over simplify it I guess. The bills aren’t being made at home and $1,000.00 is allotted to spend on Mills and we are only spending $700.00 on it. Sooner or later someone is going to have to make the hard decision that we will have to spend the rest of the money. The money is there and it is available and we’re drowning. I guarantee that if anyone at this table has been with me or Chief Whittington over the last seven days. They would say that whatever you guys want us to do we are going to do it. Two out of the last seven days have been the top five busiest of my career and that includes today. We are trying to get things done for the RNC. The plans are there and we’re fairly confident that we have many reactions in place for contingencies but to not be concerned would be foolish. That is just the short future to get through to the end of next week. I started thinking ahead to the end of next year to hire on about four or five guys. Seeing that the pool of fifty that we had last year when we hired two out of there. There were a couple of good candidates that got picked up by other places. We are down to our last ten with about one or two decent ones in there. Going through the whole testing process takes time, money and aggravation to get people that will hopefully stay with us. To look at the first three to five steps for your first three years are not that bad. You start off with this rank and you have a pretty decent movement up. But you look at the guy after three years towards eight years and there are no raises and your neighboring cities are killing you. It’s great for them that they get to cherry pick from other agencies. We’ve talked about some of the officers that we’ve employed, trained and got them to a certain point so they could go to the richest areas of our county. To service the resident’s of those communities and then we are back at square one again. It doesn’t even talk about the stress the three and a half to four months of training that goes into each individual guy and how few guys you have doing that. Along with how much it builds upon itself. I know that there isn’t another guy like the guy across the table from me. Eventually there will be a point where both of us are at the end of our careers. My retirement papers go in at the end of September, which still projects another eight years. At some point you may not have Chief’s that decided that running on a squad isn’t part of the Fire Chief’s responsibility. Making heroin arrests and the things that I am not comfortable letting somebody else do might not be the next Police Chief’s idea of what this job is supposed to entail. We have to figure out something. My biggest concern with the levy would be that if it fails that it’s going to be that much harder. Especially for the position that the four of you are in and being very new at this to say yes we just asked you for this, but now we are going to take it anyway. I think that hopefully you guys have gotten acclimated to the dire need than being someone from the outside. The stuff that Chief Whittington and I do to put on a better picture than what is really going on behind the scenes. I’ve talked to everyone that I know that lives within the city and I encourage other people to ask questions. A lot of us have done the same and that is what it takes to get the people to understand that this isn’t just wants that these are needs. If the biggest thing you guys take is someone shouting at us that I can’t believe that you took some of that for raises. Sure over the course of their employment if they went…as long as we did without raises they would be doing the same thing. They would be looking for another copier or Construction Company to work for that gives them a little more stability. We can’t expect our people to do any less.
Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?
Chief Whittington: The one thing that I have thought about and I know that this is an agonizing process for everybody that is elected in this community. The one thing that really stands out in my mind is that we do have a lot of people that are progressive employees. They take their local taxes and they send it to a community that is thriving. You think that 2% to Mayfield Village a community that is excelling and the community that you live in is struggling. For me that’s the one thing with the whole income tax. We did the credit that was put out there. I would like to think that the people would want to re-invest in their communities. I know that it is a difficult decision. I know that it is probably one that the people are willing to openly jump on board right away with. The city is in pretty bad shape. We are probably a lot worse than what most people know. A lot of the stuff that gets done behind the scenes seems to keep us in a good positive light. But eventually it will catch up with us. It’s the rusty gas tank. Eventually the hole is going to open up and you won’t be able to put any gasoline in it. I think that we are pretty close on some of that stuff. That is just my thought. We are trying to come up selling points when people are paying taxes to communities that are doing very well. If you work in Mentor you are giving Mentor all of your money. Mentor is a very solid city. There are a lot of communities that are around us that are doing very well. That’s what I think about when I am talking to residents and that type of thing.
Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?
Ms. DePledge: I think that revenue flow is our issue and there are only two ways to really do that. You increase your tax dollars or you reduce your expenses. We have been reducing expenses since 2003. I don’t think that there has been anything that we’ve done that nobody has tried to impede the flow of income or tax dollars through business or anything else. We have done everything that we can to make it an attractive community. Those are really your only options. We have reduced everything that we can so we have to find a way to raise it, which is through a levy or through reciprocity. With that last night on the news Cleveland is looking to raise theirs to 2 ½%. Even if we raise it to 2 ½% that means that we are still on par with Cleveland and all of our residents who work in Cleveland won’t pay us a dime. If we don’t get on the board and do something fast raising reciprocity is going to be a mute issue. Or we are going to have to raise it twice as much to clear the other communities who are already ahead of us. Who are always ahead of us in trying to get any money? I go back to the levy and again if it’s the majority opinion than that’s the way to go. I will work just as hard as anybody. I will work the polls, knock on doors, or talk until my lips are blue whatever it takes so the city can be successful. After eleven tries…we are not put here to make easy decisions. We are elected to lead this community and we have intimate knowledge of the financial constraints that we are working within. Along with the risks that the police, fire and service people are being put in every single day. I think that it is not going to be a popular decision and it’s not an easy decision. But I can tell you right now if that levy goes down and we try to make it there will be an up roar from the citizens just like there was the last time. The levy went down and we didn’t do reciprocity, because it was the first time I probably ever got phone calls. People were really upset about it and we said no that we are not going to do it. Well here it is almost two years later. I don’t think that anything has really changed in our community. Nothing has changed in the public’s perception of our community and how we are running this city. That is going to be reflected in the polls. Then I go back to that we have to make unpopular and hard decisions. We have to support our police and fire and service as well. I do support reciprocity and I think that if we don’t do it soon it will be a moot point. We will end up in fiscal watch and fiscal emergency. It is just a matter of time. That is my thought and that is what I put in the email.
Mr. Evers: My thoughts are that we have tried and tried and tried to put a levy through here. Even one at a $1.70 a month and it failed. If we went with reciprocity it will affect every single member of Council’s income and family. Every single one. It’s not like someone is going to say well you guys don’t have to pay it we do. If your spouse works in any other city and lives in Eastlake you’re going to pay. I have always been against reciprocity. But this time and it is time that we make a change. We can’t get it through and I think that we ought to look at reciprocity. I really seriously do. Mayor I know that you are against it and I’m sorry.
Mayor Morley: If it goes to a vote and it is passed then everyone pays. If you just put it in it will not affect the people that work in the City of Eastlake.
Mr. Evers: We are talking reciprocity.
Mayor Morley: It doesn’t affect.
Mr. Evers: Right. It will not affect the people that live in Eastlake. If they work in another city it affects them.
Mrs. Schindel: If they work and live in here it has zero affect to them.
Mr. Evers: Doesn’t affect them. Right?
Mrs. Schindel: But if you work outside the city you will end up paying the city is the point.
Mr. Evers: If you poll Council you’re going to find that every one of us has a spouse or one of us that works outside this city.
Mrs. Schindel: There is one other thing with reciprocity and that is your affecting those that are working. Whereas the levy affects those people working, not working, those who are on a fixed income and those who are not on a fixed income. You have two big decisions there as well.
Mr. Evers: Ms. DePledge?
Ms. DePledge: The levy affects property owners.
Mrs. Schindel: Exactly.
Ms. DePledge: I think that what’s important with reciprocity too is it protects our senior citizens who have the fixed income. Something’s that is confusing to the residents. Hopefully we can communicate to them that this will not impact them in any way.
Mr. Evers: Chief Reik?
Chief Reik: If we’re worried about opinions then I am in the same position as Council. Than with Council paying it doesn’t affect you, than it doesn’t affect you. Find out what percentage it is that affects us and I’ll put the money in. If you want to say that it should affect…if that is what it takes…I voted for every other levy that affects my property. I try and improve my property as time goes on. I will put my money where my mouth is. In knowing what Council has done in the past as far as raises or taking cuts and things of that nature? If that’s the big issue then that’s an easy solve. I brought up myself and Chief Whittington about the fact that they are in the same position. I think that it would be unlikely and again I have seen my share of Mayor’s in this community. Whether it’s this next term or the term after if you think the next Mayor is going to do the same work that this Mayor is doing you are probably going to end up being disappointed. For the Councilmen between now and whenever the decision is made if it is made. I would encourage you guys to get out more and give people real life stories on the stuff that you are seeing. The 52 year old that over dosed in his shed yesterday and died and his girlfriend seeing him out there. With the craziness that is going on, on a daily basis. This isn’t about soccer fields, swimming pools or Safety Town. This is about the stuff that Chief Whittington and I can’t sit down and make sure that we have the best plan available for next week at the Radisson. We will put together a good plan, because we are busy going to house fires, over doses and theft complaints, because we do not have the people. By seeing that first hand I think it would give you a little bit of an idea and passion, when you have to explain it to a resident who isn’t happy about a decision that you made. At least it may help you to say that I looked at everything and this was the best decision with the power that you are entrusted with.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I have a question for Mrs. Schindel. Has reciprocity been passed in Willowick or Willoughby?
Mr. Hoefle: Willowick has it.
Mr. Zuren: Do you know the percentage?
Mr. Hoefle: I think that it is a quarter. It is something around that area.
Mayor Morley: Willoughby Hills is 2 ½%. If you are a Willoughby Hills resident you pay 2% and if you work in Eastlake then you would pay the other .5% to Willoughby Hills. Willoughby Hills is at 2 ½% and I think that Willowick is a quarter percent. I grew up there and I was there for fifty years.
Mr. Evers: They are looking at changing that.
Ms. DePledge: Willowick’s property tax is twice as high as Eastlake’s.
Mayor Morley: Three times.
Ms. DePledge: Three times well there you go. I was being modest.
Mayor Morley: They are at 18 ½ Mills.
Chief Reik: They are looking at increasing…
Mr. Spotton: Macedonia is paying half.
Mrs. Schindel: I have the list here if anybody wants it.
Ms. DePledge: I think that Eastlake is the lowest.
Mrs. Schindel: In terms of reciprocity. I don’t have the Mills for reciprocity.
Chief Reik: I think that we are the second lowest in property outside of Mentor.
Mayor Morley: If it is something that you don’t want…with the Mills go…and if it is something that you don’t want to decide on now. Again we will see where we are at, at the end of the year.
Mr. Klammer: When would we collect that money though if we go for a levy? We are still suffering for the next year right?
Mrs. Schindel: They tell me that for a levy if you make it effective January 1, 2016 you would be collecting it in 2017. You are going to have the same issue with the reciprocity. By the time you make it effective and by the time you go to collect it there is going to be that lag. The income tax will be coming in a little at a time, whereas the levy money comes in twice.
Mr. Evers: Is there anybody else?
Mrs. Schindel: Either way it is 2017 is when you are looking at it.
Mr. Klammer: If we go six months we go six months. Right?
Mr. Evers: Right. Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: You have to remember too is that if we do put a levy on the ballot and if it fails we are still dragging and to where what are we going to do? Are we going to do? Are we going to…reciprocity at that time?
Ms. DePledge: I think that’s the worst position to be in.
Mr. Hoefle: That would be the worst position to be in.
Ms. DePledge: We have already been in that position.
Mr. Hoefle: I would not want to be one to try and do that.
Mr. Klammer: We have already precisely…sorry that is not my position. We have had this discussion. We failed a levy and then nobody wanted to do reciprocity, because the voters have spoke and the levy argument.
Ms. DePledge: Right.
Mr. Klammer: We are putting ourselves in a jackpot where that is a possibility. As opposed to eliminating that as a possibility.
Chief Reik: A probability.
Mr. Klammer: We are putting ourselves right in that jackpot. Unless as we sit here now people are prepared to make that tough decision of what…do reciprocity if the levy fails. Don’t put yourself in that jackpot.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Spotton?
Mr. Spotton: At least with 1% of reciprocity does that get us on the right track? We are only going to get one shot at this.
Ms. DePledge: It doesn’t go. It is legislative. We do it.
Mr. Spotton: I understand that. But you are going to get one shot at the voters. They are not going to pass anything ever for twenty years.
Ms. DePledge: The voters have not let go of the stadium.
Mr. Spotton: I understand that. I am just saying that if we do that does it get us heading in the right track? Or is it just another band aid and we are still…
Mrs. Schindel: $2.3 Million.
Mr. Hoefle: That would bring in about $2.3 to $2.4 Million per year.
Ms. DePledge: That would get us in the right direction.
Chief Reik: This is a Politian without putting the work that you guys have put into to get elected. I talked to the Mayor about this before and my thought was always a larger reciprocity and to try and pass a levy, and a year later we pass this levy to reduce the reciprocity. So that way we don’t need to go up to 1999 standards or whatever the FBI says. We have to start…we are torking down on these guys day after day. At some point we have to say that we are starting to head in the right direction and that there is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I am just concerned about how it all evolves with the constant pressure with no end in sight.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I have another question for Mrs. Schindel. It shows Willoughby Hills and Willowick as about a quarter percent reciprocity. Willoughby and Wickliffe do not and I don’t see it on there if they have the reciprocity.
Mrs. Schindel: Willoughby has 100%.
Mayor Morley: They are the same as us.
Mrs. Schindel: They are the same as us.
Mr. Zuren: You gave numbers for 50% reciprocity of $2.3 Million as a quarter percent. Is that half of that is it $1.15 Million?
Mrs. Schindel: A 50% credit means that people will have to pay 1%. A 75% credit means that people will have to pay half percent. So we are giving 75% of the two as a credit and you will have to pay a quarter of the two, which is equal to half percent in what you and I would call it.
Mr. Zuren: So half of this $1.15 Mill…I am trying to get the dollar amount of the income revenue. Thank you.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: I was looking at this today and if we give the point five, which would be the one percent. And say if we were to break it down by different departments based on the $2.3 Mill that would be coming in. If you were to give Police and Fire 30% you are looking at about $690,000.00 for each of those departments. I just threw out some numbers. If you gave the Service Department 5% they would get another $115,000.00, Finance 5% it would be $115,000.00, and Building 5% it would be $115,000.00. You put 10% to infrastructure that would be $230,000.00 per year. If you were to put 5% to the Mayor and Council that is another $115,000.00 and if you were to do another 5% for salary increases across the board to have in a pool that’s $115,000.00. And then if you threw 5% into Recreation that is $115,000.00. That is just the amount of money that could be sitting aside if we were to set up separate accounts. Based on that would be coming in each year. Then it would each Departments…the Chief’s would know that they would have this much money and you would have to work within that budget. I am just throwing that out with the $2.3. There could be another category that you would want to split off.
Mr. Klammer: That is the way to do it when I looked but not that my opinion matters. I think that Mr. Spotton is on to something and that is a good idea to how the push back always was. You are always going to have some voters saying well you’re not bound by that it is purely legislative if you want to change…but you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. There is a group of people that aren’t going to give you the credit that you deserve and the trust. And the group that trusts you. One percent rollback seems like…to me.
Mr. Evers: Mayor is there anything else?
Mayor Morley: No but if you don’t want to presume the levy then we really don’t have to meet on it again. If you want to continue the discussions on reciprocity then we can do that. The only reason why we did this is because you have to have in to the Board of Elections by August 10. If you don’t want to do that and your thoughts are that we don’t want to do that then we get another discussion in. The discussion can go on they just don’t have to be done by August 10 from what I know.
Mr. Klammer: I understand your point but we can’t delay in making a decision.
Mr. Evers: We can’t keep delaying this. At this point I want to go ahead and poll the Committee and see which way they want to go. Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I would like to go last I am still thinking about it.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: I know that you want to poll the Committee, but in my opinion I would like to see a poll of everybody at the table. It would affect the Director’s even though they don’t have a vote on it. I would like to get an idea of how they all feel. I would defiantly go for the reciprocity. I would go for the 50%, which would be the 1% that would be taken out. That is my opinion. Do it now because we need to do something.
Mr. Evers: Any objections in polling everybody? Well let’s start down at the end with Chief Reik.
Chief Reik: Again I let the Mayor know our differences and opinion on this. I didn’t want him to feel like I was under cutting him and I think that we have a lot of respect for each other. We just differ on this. For five and a half almost six years of being the Police Chief I haven’t…the atmosphere that I get from the public never transformed to the voting booth. I know people…the reason is at the voting booth, because people vote how they want to vote when they get there. I don’t know how we can impact people anymore. I wouldn’t even know what the next step is to say hey this is how we can sell a levy even better. We’re doing Safety Town; we’ve done open houses, and civilian police academies. You’re not going to find a friendlier Fire Chief. Service Director Rubertino…the directive that the Mayor put out when he first took over as far as returning calls, along with the things that have changed in the last two and a half years. I still don’t see us transforming this community and that frustrates me being a twenty-five year member of the community. After all of the talk I really think going big and then dialing it back, when the only way that they are going to have our trust is by seeing that we are doing the right things with the money. We have invited everyone to go over our budget and to see what we do. They seem to get it once we have that conversation. Finding a way to get that conversation out there to the normal everyday person, like ourselves, who has so many things going on in their own life that they really have to trust us or not. We’re going to have that 30% that are going to vote yes and 30% that are going to vote no all the time. How do we identify and get to the other 40% I have not been able to get that handled. Whatever I have in front of me I’m going to do my best to handle. I feel that the best move for the city is to go big and dial it back and push a levy that way.
Ms. DePledge: I think that he is saying reciprocity.
Mr. Evers: Chief Whittington?
Chief Whittington: I also support the reciprocity. I think that the Mayor and all of the meetings that we have… and really understanding the fact. Not to over dramatize this it really is an agonizing discussion that we have with each other. I know that Chief Reik has some of the similar things that we are up against. The Mayor used an interesting word the other day that really stuck in my head. He used the word stabilization and stabilized. I think that what reciprocity does if we give everyone the 50% credit, what you can essentially do know is that you allow the city to become more stable, when it comes to providing services. It puts all of us in a better position to where we will have the ability to…if I’m given that money it saves the three guys that are on the Safer Grant. It’s not going to increase my staffing. To run with a minimum of six guys doing almost three thousand calls. That is a work load for my staff. I would not be asking to increase or I would not be asking for more if it wouldn’t give me ability to stabilize the department. I would have a couple of years where I can take a breath as far continuing the thought of moving backwards. I also have a tremendous amount of respect for my boss. I would take a bullet for the guy and he works very hard. It is a pleasure to work for him. I know that sometimes we don’t see eye to eye, especially on this case here. I don’t want to undermine anything that he has done but I think that it does put us in a position where it stabilizes us.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Meyers?
Mr. Meyers: I don’t necessarily find either option very palatable. But after hearing the agreements on both sides and some of the people that I’ve talked too I am more inclined to lean towards reciprocity than the levies.
Mr. Evers: Mrs. Schindel?
Mrs. Schindel: I am going to account for whatever money that we have. We do need more and the levy is a band aid. The levy affects those who are on a fixed income. Those who are on Social Security and didn’t get any extra money this year you are going to have a problem. The reciprocity affects those who are working. So although I don’t have an opinion either way I just want to make it clear that you are dealing with two totally different animals.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Klammer?
Mr. Klammer: I think that Mrs. Schindel said it best. You guys are in a tough position from a political standpoint. These are tough conversations to have with people. You have that tool and the tool is there for your discretion to do that roll back. We had the exact same conversation in January and when the last set of levies failed. That is my recommendation. I would be the 1% like Mr. Spotton said.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Kasunick?
Mr. Kasunick: The thing that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to reciprocity is with the respect to the low income individuals who work outside the city. It is a really bizarre tax structure, a crappy tax structure and a regressive tax structure. Its especially odd because you could have somebody making $30,000.00 a year and they would pay possibly more than someone making $40,000.00 to $45,000.00 year, because one works in the city and the other doesn’t, which is garbage. I also see Mrs. Schindel’s point with the people who are on a fixed income. We don’t to make it difficult for them either. Also a worthy note is that if the state did cut taxes to pay for it they cut money here. Which we could view…whatever tax ends up being imposed could be viewed as basically tax re-apportionment. Because we lost that money and really we are just making up for it. I really don’t…like I said either way it just feels like trying to pick the best worst option basically.
Ms. DePledge: The least worst.
Mr. Kasunick: I think that probably reciprocity is the least…option.
Ms. DePledge: For what it’s worth when the state took the money the response was raise taxes locally. That is exactly what they told us to do. They took our money and the state can’t impose tax. However, our community or on our income, however they do the income tax. They basically said raise your taxes locally. So what you’re feeling or what you perceive is exactly what was anticipated by the highest levels of state government.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: I had another question regarding reciprocity. What would the effective date be if we did pass reciprocity? Is it immediate or is it the next calendar year?
Mr. Klammer: I think that it would be immediate. It is payable…
Ms. DePledge: In 2017 right?
Mayor Morley: You could look in 2001 or 2002 when they did it last time.
Mr. Spotton: Is it accrediable from now?
Mr. Klammer: How does it affect….
Mrs. Schindel: The cities can do additional withholding to cover the president’s tax. We do that for people that live outside of here that work here. Places of employment can do that withholding.
Mr. Klammer: That’s what I’m wondering.
Mrs. Schindel: Yes they can do that withholding.
Mr. Klammer: The biggest delay if you wanted to go fast would be that particle delay of how to communicate that to business that have been withholding.
Mrs. Schindel: R.I.T.A. does that. The question is can you make this effective for January 1, 2016 or do you have to make it effective for the day? That’s my question.
Mr. Klammer: My inclination would be the day we pass the legislation. I haven’t given it any thought but that would be my inclination.
Mr. Zuren: One more question for Director Schindel. Is there any additional cost to the city to do reciprocity? Are there any employees or extra man hours or anything that….
Mrs. Schindel: It is handled by R.I.T.A. They send us the accounting and all of the details. R.I.T.A. does the work on that.
Ms. DePledge: Mr. Kasunick just to address one of the things that you said about a lower income person. If somebody is making $20,000.00 and they are working outside the city I think it would equate it to $50.00 for every $10,000.00. So it would be $100.00 per pay or $100.00 for the year. Basically their paycheck would go down $4.00 a pay. That’s the impact on somebody and obviously exponentially it changes. That’s what they would notice.
Mr. Zuren: I never like rising taxes period.
Ms. DePledge: Nobody does.
Mr. Zuren: It’s the need and I have visually seen the need over the last six months. I would lean toward reciprocity. Even though it may be unpopular I still think that we should put a levy on even if we do reciprocity.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: As everybody is aware I am for the reciprocity.
Mr. Spotton: I am a third generation life time resident. I have an eight year old daughter in this city and I want this city to be a thriving place for her to grow up in. This would affect me along with some other people here that don’t work in the city. I work in Kirtland and it would be hard, but I lean towards the reciprocity also.
Ms. DePledge: I could mirror Mr. Spotton’s comments. I am a third generation resident here and I have young relatives that live in the city. I want it to be a thriving community and I want us to have all of those things that we used to have. I would be thrilled to have recreation again. It would be wonderful to be able to contribute in different ways to make the community more appealing to the residents. I support reciprocity.
Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?
Mayor Morley: I have lived here for thirty-five years. I have had my discussions with the Chief’s and with the Director’s. From my perspective or from our end we do nothing and we have been doing nothing. We are just getting by and we lose either way. So we sit back and say that we’re not going to do anything. Sooner or later the Chief’s at the end of the table say ok we are going to continue to wait. I’m not saying that we are even close to fiscal emergency or fiscal…we can do that. Like the last time we were in fiscal emergency the state came in and said go to your resident’s for tax levies. So we could continue to go to the residents…and no. I guess everyone in this room…if they are honest with themselves if we go it will probably fail. We have failed eleven in a row and we failed for $1.27 a month. The Willoughby-Eastlake Schools just failed in Eastlake even though it passed on a whole. The Lakeland Levy failed in Eastlake even though it passed on a whole. The way that I look at it is it’s just not us or the Administration or Council. I talked with two residents this week about the thing on the corner again and why we will never pass anything. I have been talking to residents in the last month and they are complaining about not having services. I have been doing it in a nice way and that is that I’m not upset that you are telling me but you vote the levies down, so please don’t get upset with us for cutting the services. If we had the money obviously we’d have…I just talked to someone about the Service Department, because we are not going out and jetting anymore. We do not have the bodies to go and jet the culverts anymore. You have to hire someone. So it’s either you pay through taxes or you pay the $500.00 that they want to jet your culvert out. All of you know that I am not a fan of the reciprocity. They all know that I am not a fan of it. I’ve always been saying that they vote. After the last one failed the people are coming to me, especially our employees and saying that you need to just do it. It would be tough for me personally to say we go to November and it fails again. The employee’s will then come and say let’s put it in I am going to say no again. Obviously you guys can override my decision on that.
Ms. DePledge: I do like Chief Reik’s idea though that if we did reciprocity and then we put a levy on and we roll back reciprocity.
Chief Reik: It gives the people back some control.
Ms. DePledge: It gives us creditability. It could give us creditability that we seem to not have.
Mayor Morley: Here is my point on that and we’ve had this discussion. They thought that when I said that we were eliminating the leaf pick that it was a threat. Little own hey we are for reciprocity. If you do this and you vote on it we are going to roll it back. So what do you think the bigger threat is going to be? We’ve had that discussion.
Mr. Klammer: If you’re going to do it just do it. There is no reason to publish it.
Chief Reik: My thought is to just do it and then not this November but next November. And say that this is what we’ve done since then. How we dress it up that’s our job to sell what we’re agreeing to take or what you guys decide to enact. It is our job to sell why that is needed. Over the course of that year we do that. Then we can say okay we can replace this, maybe not with…go back to an income tax thing. And again you don’t put it on the seniors. Every time we came up with a levy, I think that we all felt good that we were approaching this the right way. We didn’t want to affect this group then okay let’s affect this group. Regardless of what group we go to we’re told the same thing. Then those are the same people saying why aren’t you picking up our leaves, jetting the sewers, locking our cars…
Mr. Klammer: You’re not saying do reciprocity and go on this November because that sounds like a threat. You’re saying do the reciprocity make some improvements and then next November.
Chief Reik: Like the Mayor said if you want it to sound like a threat everything will sound like a threat. If you believe us…Chief Whittington and I are voted in. They believed in you to get you into these positions and that you are the trusted representatives. If they don’t feel that you’re going to make the right decision then they shouldn’t of voted you in in the first place. If down the line that is the decision I put my own job along with that. What else can you look at to show me a different direction is a better direction?
Mr. Klammer: It pains me to say it but I agree with what you are saying.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle?
Mr. Hoefle: If we do the reciprocity and you start to see the funds coming in. We have to make an impact to the community so that they can see something. If you start to address the recreation and get some new playground equipment and get the stuff out there, where they start to see that they are making some positive changes. They are seeing that. When it is the time for plowing and everything like that. You have the funds there where you can get the extra guy out there.
Mayor Morley: Here is part of the problem. We are so behind on things like the roof here. Go take a look at the Fire Department and see all of the tarps and garbage cans over their server. There is so much that we have to fix before we can do that kind of stuff.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle has the floor please.
Mr. Hoefle: Like with what I was saying if we know that we got the $2.4 Mill coming in and if you were to say that we are setting aside 10% for infrastructure. That is $230,000.00 a year that would go towards that stuff. Recreation 5% is $115,000.00 I mean your talking…the playground equipment. You’ve got the funds and you know that you’re going to be getting roughly $230,000.00 for infrastructure. If you get 30% for Police and Fire you are talking almost $700,000.00 each to have in their departments. But you start to do the stuff and do the stuff that the people are going to see.
Ms. DePledge: The visual things.
Mr. Hoefle: The visual stuff. Then they are going to say yeah their getting money. But now they are going to say they got new playground equipment at Jakse Park, new swing sets over there or new improvements at the skate park or something.
Mr. Evers: Let me interject something here real quick. The object was to poll everybody to see whether they wanted to go with reciprocity or go with the levy. I think that if we stick with that these other discussions are great, but they could come at a later time. We need to decide on what we’re going to do here. I don’t mean to cut it short.
Mr. Hoefle: You polled everybody.
Ms. DePledge: We can set that for another meeting?
Mr. Evers: Yes.
Mayor Morley: I’m fine with that. I figured that we had to do something and that is why I threw the Police and Fire Levy out. If anything and what I talked to them about is that if we went…the calls that we’re getting about Police and Fire. The people that I have been talking to are concerned about our Police and Fire along with how the world is right now. I thought that maybe we could…if we were going to go after the levies. I know that his eyes went big yesterday when I said that we are going to back off and when we have a meeting I would let them talk instead of us. Open up the meeting and have it come from them instead of coming from us. If we get people to the meetings it would be a whole different story. I think that the Chief said it best when we had the Town Halls the no’s that came in were yes’s on their way out. Again we had ninety people show for five meetings.
Ms. DePledge: They were good meetings.
Mayor Morley: They were good meetings. I am fine with however you want to go.
Chief Whittington: I just wanted to conclude my thoughts on this. I think that the burden of this decision really falls on Council. The direction that we decide to go is universal and that includes the Directors. I would hope that you would know that when this decision or how this decision is made that I am standing right beside you. I would be willing to address anybody that has any concerns. Or any residents who want to discuss it especially as it relates to the Fire Department. Much of the burden that you guys are taking on with this, as far as making the decision. When people show up to meetings or if people have any questions I am standing right next to you. I am not going to go crawl under a rock. I know that we have two different interests here, but I just want you to know that I will be there.
Chief Reik: Not surprisingly I am on the same line. One of my thoughts is that if we were going to go for a levy was to copy off of Superintendant Thompson. And what he did is he didn’t try to knock on people’s doors at six o’clock in the afternoon. We have tried every different avenue and we didn’t get a good response. I will go and I am sure that Chief Whittington would go…and say “Mr. Hoefle you live in Valley Creek Drive and you know your neighbors. You sponsor the party and you get the group together because they trust you.” They trust him and they will come to his house for some water, cookies and things like that. Hey the Police Chief and the Fire Chief are going to stop by and barrage them with whatever you want to talk about. It is more of a community forum rather than a preaching thing. This is just so you guys know that it is within your arsenal to tell people that if you say all people on Waverly Road think this. Then get them together and we will bring the Chief’s and the Directors out. We will bring whoever you want out here and they will talk to you, whether it’s in a back yard or a basement. We are not going to hide from a decision that we don’t have to make. We will support whatever you guys decide.
Mr. Evers: Table it or move it forward?
Mr. Hoefle: I would say move it forward to reciprocity or vote for reciprocity.
Mr. Zuren: I move it forward.
Mr. Evers: Move it forward for reciprocity. So moved.
Referendum for the ACL
Mr. Evers: Mayor Morley?
Mayor Morley: I’ll defer the Law Director because we are still. With what The Board of Elections has told us I don’t agree with the part that we are the one that has to come with the language on the ballot is.
Mr. Klammer: The Board of Elections isn’t quite confident on what they have. I had conversations with them today. In order for me to give legal opinions we probably should go into Executive Session on it. So if you want to have legal opinions from there we would have to go into Executive Session. Before you do that I could touch on Mr. Slocum’s thing really quick.
Mr. Evers: We will move to item number three.
Mr. Slocum’s Compensation
Mr. Evers: We have all gotten the letter on Mr. Slocum’s compensation. I will turn it over to the Mayor Morley and Finance Director Schindel.
Mayor Morley: Before Mr. Slocum passed away he retired. We looked at and we had a difference in the numbers that he handed in and the numbers that Mrs. Schindel came with we went to the Auditor. After doing some more research we found out that with Mrs. Halerz’s and Mr. Vuckovich Mr. Slocum couldn’t take his vacation. We don’t want to deny payment because he couldn’t take his vacation. That’s the covet on that, that if he was able to take his vacation we wouldn’t be having this meeting. I am suggesting and I talked with Mr. Klammer and we talked with Mrs. Schindel that we pay the difference of $4,011.65 to his spouse. I have to sign off on this so that we have it for the Auditor.
Mr. Evers: Just for the general knowledge for the new guys. Mr. Vuckovich was out sick for six to eight weeks.
Mayor Morley: And Mrs. Halerz was out.
Mr. Evers: Mrs. Halerz was out and that is the bulk of the Finance Department. Mr. Slocum was literally stuck here.
Mrs. Schindel: I think that they came back around the time I started.
Mr. Evers: Yes they did.
Mrs. Schindel: That is what I thought. They all started coming back then.
Mr. Evers: At that point he really couldn’t take his vacation.
Mayor Morley: It was Mr. Slocum and Ms. Collins were the only ones here. She was out here and there so a lot of the time it was just Mr. Slocum in the department.
Mr. Klammer: We probably should just do a resolution just because I know that Mrs. Schindel has something in the file just in case the Auditor asks. Our ordinance…is ridiculous to try and understand. The genesis of it all was to try and understand what the ordinance was and apply it. But underlying it all was regardless of the interpretation Mr. Slocum just never had the opportunity to take that time.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Hoefle move it forward?
Mr. Hoefle: Move it forward.
Mr. Evers: Mr. Zuren?
Mr. Zuren: Move it forward.
Mr. Evers: Move it forward.
Mr. Klammer: I don’t think that we have to have a Special Meeting on it. We will let Cheryl know that it is coming when we come back from break.
Mayor Morley: I talked to Cheryl yesterday and I just told her that it has to go through and I will get a date from Mrs. Schindel when it will be paid. The next Council Meeting will not be until the end of August.
Ms. DePledge: End of August.
Mr. Hoefle: Even if it is under $12,500.00 Council still has too?
Mayor Morley: The way the ordinance is written.
Ms. DePledge: It is set by ordinance.
Mr. Klammer: The Auditor…when Mrs. Schindel and I looked at it Carol had an opinion and Mike had an opinion. I kind of don’t agree with Mrs. Schindel but the ordinance is so painful. She took the extra step of talking to the Auditor about their interpretation and they tend to agree with Mrs. Schindel as well. But they weren’t looking at it from this other stand point of could Mr. Slocum take the time off, so in light of the fact that she’s already had a conversation with the Auditor. I’d like to have something in the file that the City took the position that Mr. Slocum’s entitled to it and here is a resolution, so that we don’t get dinged for not having a resolution supporting the payout.
Mayor Morley: Yes it is under $12,500.00. I think that is the reason the Auditor…so she has it in her records for the next audit.
Mr. Hoefle: Move it forward.
Mr. Evers: We will move it forward, which brings us back to item number two.
Mr. Evers moved to adjourn into Executive Session for legal advice from Council regarding the referendum. Ms. DePledge Second.
Ms. DePledge moved to adjourn out of Executive Session. Mr. Hoefle Second.
There is no Legislation Pending.
Mayor Morley had nothing to report.
There were no further questions or comments.
Mr. Klammer had nothing to report.
There were no further questions or comments.
Mrs. Schindel had nothing to report.
There were no further questions or comments.
There was nothing under Miscellaneous.
REGOGNITION OF PUBLIC:
Angelo Trivisonno, 34186 Waldmere Dr., Eastlake
Mr. Trivisonno: Did Council just do something?
Mr. Evers: Council was in Executive Session and we adjourned out of Executive Session.
Mr. Trivisonno: I don’t have any other…
The meeting was adjourned at 7:23 p.m.