Finance Committee Chair Ms. Vaughn opened the Finance Committee Meeting at 6:06 p.m. In attendance from the Committee were Ms. Vaughn, Ms. DePledge and Mr. D’Ambrosio. Also in attendance from Council were Mrs. Quinn-Hopkins, Mr. Licht, Mr. Hoefle and Council President Mr. Morley.
In attendance from the Administration were Law Director Klammer, Finance Director Slocum, Service Director Semik, Police Chief Reik and Fire Chief Whittington. Mayor Andrzejewski was absent and excused.
LEASE AGREEMENT: COMMUNITY CENTER: JEAN CHASE MEMORIAL FUND, INC.
Ms. Vaughn: This has been in effect for quite a while. My only concern was to make sure that the lease is written where they are responsible for keeping that place cleaner than it is right now. I understand it was disgusting at last night’s function. Mr. Slocum, are there any changes?
Mr. Slocum: There are no changes. It is for the same amount of money.
Mr. Semik: I think somewhere in the lease it is stated they are responsible for maintenance and cleaning up trash. I think it should also be included that they be responsible for the set up and take down.
Ms. Vaughn: It says that we are. You want it to say that they are responsible?
Mr. Semik: That is just my opinion. We do not do this for anyone else. It is time consuming on our part to have guys go over there and set up and take down.
Ms. Vaughn: Do we have a part-time custodian over there now?
Mr. Semik: Not yet. I did interview someone today and have to make a decision.
Mr. Klammer: I remember back in the day that this was an important point to them. We will have to start a conversation with them.
Ms. Vaughn: Right now it is under #7 on page 2 – “the lessor shall make sure premises are clean, setup and ready for lessee each Wednesday and Friday at 3:00 p.m.” It does not say we have to take them down but that we have to set them up.
Mr. Semik: We set up and take down. From what I understand from past practice is that they were responsible for setting up and taking down and somewhere along the line when bingo was falling off the wayside it was a concession to help.
Ms. Vaughn: I am thinking right now that they are picking up money like crazy because of the internet cafés being closed. It is my recommendation based on what the rest of Council says to take that out. We don’t have enough people to do it now. I think we should take this out.
Mr. Slocum: That is a lease negotiation.
Mr. Morley: If that is what we want to do we have to put this on hold and let them meet with Ms. Sutch and come back to us with whatever they find out. They can negotiate.
Mr. Klammer: I will send the Mayor a memo.
Ms. Vaughn: Does anyone think we should be responsible for set up and take down and cleaning up after them?
Mr. D’Ambrosio: No, if they are a for profit organization.
Ms. DePledge: The only benefit I can see to taking things down is that you can look at all the equipment to make sure things are not broken and hold them accountable.
Mr. Klammer: I remember there was another reason for accommodating them.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: Gymnastics.
Chief Reik: Gymnastics is required to clean up by Saturday morning.
Ms. Vaughn: We will put this on hold and also have the gymnastics contract looked at as well. Their license will not be approved until the end of October.
Mr. Morley: This agreement does not lapse until December 1st.
Mr. Hoefle: Mr. Semik, I noticed on Sunday and also last night one set of entrance doors is kept locked – is there a reason? Do the locks malfunction? This could pose safety issues.
Mr. Semik: I will look into that. I do not know why it was locked – especially when we have events – it should be unlocked.
Ms. Vaughn: The letter to the Mayor stated that their license was renewable by October 31st – so, we will know if their license was approved – which I am assuming it will be. But, we do have time.
Upon review the Committee agreed to hold this item in Committee pending further review by the Administration.
CONTRACT: FIRE DEPARTMENT ROOF: A & I ROOFING: $24,995
Ms. Vaughn: Mr. Semik?
Mr. Semik: The Fire Department is in dire need of a roof. They have leaks over the main portion of the roof and the bays where they keep the equipment. There are issues that have deteriorated the wall. We addressed the issue of the brick falling off. Everyone who has looked at it is in agreement that the shingle roof is in dire need of repair. The recommendation is complete tear offs on both roofs and install ice guards and a limited warranty – a 30 year shingle roof. I had several contractors look at it. The lowest bidder was from A&I Roofing. They priced the shingle roof with lifetime architectural shingles, the rubber roofing is for the small, flat roof. The shingles cost out at $995 and the flat roof is $12,000.
Mr. Slocum: The $12,995 is unless they have to replace more than four sheets of plywood which are $25 per sheet.
Mr. Semik: When they walked it they did not find a lot of week areas.
Chief Whittington: There are three roofs at the Fire Department so I will probably be coming to you after the New Year to get the bay roof done. We broke it into three sections to get these two done. The shingle roof is part of a class action lawsuit – we are trying to move forward with that. So, if you approve it there is a good chance we could get all the materials for free and potentially the labor for free. We are working on that.
Mr. Morley: Is that through the manufacturer?
Chief Whittington: Yes. The Law Director has reviewed the information. The comment is if you call you can get the material for free. If you are a City and your Law Director calls there is a good chance they will send out a crew. There is a good chance we may have to pay nothing for the shingle roof. This comes out of the Fire Levy.
Upon review, the Committee agreed to move this matter forward to the next regular Council meeting.
Ms. Vaughn: Mr. Slocum?
Mr. Slocum: We are asking to re-appropriate an additional $88,000 out of the General Fund. The bottom line although there is an increase in expenses I think there will be enough cost savings throughout that will more than cover and should not impact the $600,000 I gave you at the beginning of the year.
We need an additional $500 in Finance Department longevity which we did not budget and we have someone who will be getting $500 for the first time – me. We need to increase the amount we can transfer from the General Fund to the Bond Retirement Fund by $70,000 because there is a potential shortfall that we will actually be getting out of the Stadium Fund. The shortfall is occurring for a couple of reasons – the motel bed tax – we are proceeding against the owner of the Raddison. The bad news is we need to appropriate it this year but I do believe we will make collection this year or next. When you combine the two years together it will not – we take the fund down to about $25,000 each year. We have the $13,333 for the rent on the Plaza which we have yet to receive from the Captains. We anticipate that will be resolved. We have also collected less in parking lot fees this year. It all adds up. Contrary to our agreement with the Captains they are calling that movie their special event – I am not happy calling it that – it was a special event that we could not even collect parking. When I look at the parking $5,000-$6,000 of that is an event they did not have parking for. I need to have this because we have bond payments due December 1st. The next two are combined – we are taking money out of the overtime for Police Administration and moving it into training to the Police cost center #310 – it is a wash. The Firefighting – we need to increase the appropriations for overtime by $25,000 – the majority of that is due to the vacancy they have had in the Fire Department that has lasted longer than we anticipated. It is being partially offset by an $8,000 reduction in Firefighting Other Expenses but does represent an increase of $17,000. If you look at everything we are doing -the $17,000 and the $70,000 – it is going up $88,750 – $87,000 of it is right there.
Ms. Vaughn: Is it true if we had a better watch on Civil Service to make sure we had active lists when these unexpected vacancies occur it may reduce some of our costs?
Mr. Slocum: If we had a more up to date list we could have gone to earlier – yes.
Ms. Vaughn: Maybe in the future we should be looking to make sure Civil Service is holding tests in a timely fashion. Although there is a cost involved in tests there is a savings to the City.
Chief Whittington: I am disappointed that I have to come to you for this. I try to do my best. I spoke with Mr. Slocum – the vacancy is really what has created a lot of problems for us. It was 51 24-hour shifts we had to fill. Out of those 51 shifts there was no sick time used to create overtime. The guys are doing their part. I am disappointed that I have to come to you for this but it was out of my hands as far as getting the test in a timely manner. When we ended up hiring there was a six week training program and we had it done in two. He was coming in during his off duty and the guys were working for him – we did expedite it. We do diligently try to not come to you for this kind of stuff.
Mr. Morley: Do you Chiefs ever meet with the Civil Service Commission to talk about keeping the lists up to date?
Chief Reik: Unfortunately what I have noticed with Civil Service it seems like health issues or residency are sometimes the issues of getting together. We just gave a test and ours is almost overlapping. We will be set if a vacancy occurs and hopefully we will fill it right away. Their part is as done as it can be. That is what we are hoping for. Some cities over meet – I don’t think it needs to be weekly like Willoughby but quarterly meetings may be beneficial. I know the Mayor appoints Civil Service.
Mr. Klammer: I believe they meet quarterly. I will look at the status of the appointments.
Chief Reik: Their main job is to make sure that we hire employees with the upmost care.
Ms. Vaughn: They have to set up the test, the room and all that but they have to be told to do it by the Director of Public Safety.
Chief Reik: There were some points with them that they wanted to make sure that we are not dropping someone for this and that. I have explained and I believe Chief Whittington has too that it does not do me any good to cut a corner and hire someone for 25 years – I am dealing with a 25-year problem. So, regardless of names or backgrounds we are trying to hire the best people we can.
Ms. Vaughn: It is a lengthy process.
Mr. Slocum: Everyone knows the part-time person has not been hired in the Building Department. We are still going to leave $10,000 and I don’t think much if any will be spent this year although I know the Mayor is interested in getting that position filled. The one thing that is running hot in the Building Department is grounds/maintenance. That is an outgrowth of the rainy weather we have had. There has been a lot more grass cut this year.
Ms. Vaughn: A lot more foreclosed, abandoned houses too.
Mr. Slocum: The increase in the Other Professional Services – the Building Department has undertaken a program with the County where the County will actually raise vacant homes that are abandoned but we have to pay for a title search. There are 11 of them at $125 each so we need $1,500 in there. Under Rivers and Harbors there is a river gauge we share in expense with the County and Willoughby. Last year we did not get billed. This year we got billed for both. I could pay one year but not two because we did not have enough appropriated. This will appropriate the balance of what we owe.
Ms. Vaughn: Did you ever pay the $500 for the grant?
Mr. Slocum: On the grant – who did we pay $500 to?
Ms. DePledge: The Port Authority paid….
Mr. Slocum: I need to get some sort of invoice or something.
Ms. DePledge: We passed legislation.
Ms. Vaughn: It was by a Motion.
Ms. DePledge: The Port Authority fronted the money – $10,000 – but, Willoughby paid $500 and we put in $500. We owe the money to the Port Authority.
Mr. Slocum: The $6,000 to be paid to the Port Authority. I would like to see Council authorize me to do that.
Ms. DePledge: Even though it is in the budget?
Mr. Slocum: I would like some authorization.
Ms. DePledge: We owe them for 2013 and will owe them for 2014 – can we just get both done? I thought they were to have the payment in the spring.
Mr. Slocum: You could include this year in the Motion and also next year once it is appropriated.
There were no further questions.
Mr. Slocum: We are looking to change the dental insurance with the City. I have actually shared the insurance information with the Police and Fire Unions and told them both to get back to me with any objections. No one has. The good news is it will save us close to $15,000 per year. The coverage in my estimation is better under the AFSME plan than under our current plan. For example, lifetime benefits for orthodontics is $2,000 versus $1,000. The annual per person in claims is $4,000 versus $1,500. There is a little bit less payment for major restoration – 60% versus 80% but the employees – per the agreement with AFSME – we will not charge the 10%. The savings already factors in that we are not charging anyone for their 10% and we are still saving $15,000 per year. I think this is a win for the City and the employees.
Ms. Vaughn: I want to thank you for working this out. For a long time in working with the employees we had tried to get everyone on AFSME because it was so much better and it was very difficult to make that transition because AFSME did not want to open it up to non-union employees. Getting this in process is an excellent step forward.
Mr. Slocum: AFSME is willing to commit to a three year rate lock on this as long as we have a three-year contract with AFSME which we will have.
Ms. Vaughn: It helps the employees too.
Mr. Slocum: The way it currently works if you are single you pay $28 per month – a family it is $119 and under AFSME everyone gets charged $56. It is a win for the City and the employees. I will need a Motion to enter into a contract with AFSME.
Upon review, the Committee agreed to approve this and move it forward to the next regular Council meeting.
Mr. Slocum: We are potentially looking – and there will be some dollar amount but I am not sure how much exactly – we reported earlier this year that a company made a surprise payment in the amount of $325,000 to us. Well, they have now put in for a refund in the amount of $252,000. The reason for the refund is that they misinterpreted what was taxable. The business was sold and they were reporting what they paid based on the profit of the sale. However, those are capital gains which are not subject to City tax and once they got with their tax accountants and they saw it and told them.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: So, do we owe them the money?
Mr. Slocum: My brother is a tax CPA and I am having him look at the return because there is some depreciation recapture that amounts to cutting a refund down to about $15,000. I believe we will probably be in the neighborhood of about $250,000. The good thing with this company is they paid more this year than last year. But, we still have to make the refund. The company was sold but is still operating and doing well. Things should continue.
Ms. Vaughn: So, our big surplus everyone talked about will not be quite that big.
Mr. Slocum: It will definitely affect the year to date surplus. Where we had been positive year to date we will now be slightly negative. I think we are still in a position depending on the last couple of months that we could still make budget. We will see.
Ms. Vaughn: We hope so because we need that money for next year.
Mr. Semik: As luck would have it we approved the purchase of a truck with plow package. Newell Equipment offered a package under State bid in the amount of $66,612. About three months later I heard a rumor that they were going out of business. I spoke with the owner who insisted they would honor the contract. I got a call from Mac Truck who told me our truck had come in and they had taken it down there to drop it off. We were told to pick it up because they had been out of business for two months. We were never notified. Now, what was I to do for a body and the plow package?. Concord bid originally and they were higher by about $1,000. I contacted Heritage Truck Equipment and Lake Truck – Lake Truck came back with a quote of $65,975 – about $800 difference. I would like to get this moving. Newell’s price was under State Contract and Lake Truck was lower.
Mr. Klammer: If Mr. Semik can confirm that the bid meets the State …
Mr. Slocum: It was less than the specs on State bid.
Mr. Klammer: You will need legislation.
Mr. Semik: The specifications Lake Truck bid on are the exact specifications Newell did which are the exact ones on the State bid.
Mr. D’Ambrosio: They bid on the same thing and were $800 cheaper?
Mr. Semik: Yes.
Mr. Klammer: With winter time we are coming close.
Mr. Slocum: Based on last year odds are we will not have it for the majority of the winter.
Mr. Semik: Lake Truck said there turnaround is 90 days which will probably be 120. If we can move on this quickly we are looking at sometime around February.
Mr. Slocum: But you did not take any trucks out of commission this year.
Mr. Semik: No.
Mr. Slocum: Compared to last winter you are ahead one truck.
Mr. Semik: Yes.
Upon review, the Committee agreed to move this item forward pending its compliance with the specifications of the State bid.
There were no further questions or comments.
SMOKE DETECTOR GRANT
Chief Whittington: We received the Elks grant for the smoke detectors. They worked with GUYS Pizza and when they were doing deliveries they asked people if there were smoke detectors – they will forward me the list and we will contact them. I wanted to do some positive PR so I may do a press release to the News Herald.
RECOGNITION OF THE PUBLIC
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 6:47 p.m.