Minutes 08-15-2011

CITY COUNCIL

AUGUST 15, 2011

7:00 P.M.

 

The Council of the City of Augusta, Kansas met in regular session on August 15, 2011, with Mayor Kristey Williams presiding.  Council present were Holly Harper, Matt Childers, Michael Huddleston, Sue Jones, Mike Rawlings, Ronald Reavis, and Matt Malone.  Councilman Michael Wallace was absent.  Also present:  City Manager Bill Keefer, Assistant to the City Manager Josh Shaw, and City Clerk Erica Jones.  Visitors present were: Kent Bush, Gary Rogers, Myrna Rogers, Willis Wilson, Tom Leffler, Steve Hollingsworth, Jay Anglemyer, Bill Morris, Russell Boone, Michael McDermott, Linda McDermott, and Eric Christinat.

 

Prayer:  Pastor Steve Hollingsworth, Central Baptist Church, gave the invocation.

 

Minutes:   Harper made a motion to approve the minutes from the August 1, 2011 meeting.  Reavis seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Appropriations:                                   

August (8):  S. Jones inquired about the payment American Control and asked if that was for the SCADA system.  Keefer stated it was for the SCADA system and VFD’s and that there is one more payment.  S. Jones inquired about the payment to Aqua Tech Engineering.  Keefer stated the majority of the bill was for the design for the repair of the million gallon tank at the Water Plant.  S. Jones inquired about the payment to Goedecke Engineering.  Keefer stated it was for several things, but primarily sales tax projects and the levee project.  S. Jones asked if we have completed the survey payment.  Keefer stated we have not yet and that he is trying to get information from the refinery about the railroad.  Reavis made a motion to approve Ordinance 8 in the amount of $924,830.80.   Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  Childers asked if Gear Up, Inc. provided a personal guarantee and Keefer stated they have.

 

Visitors:

Russell Boone, owner of Scott’s Liquor, asked about the status of Sunday Liquor Sales.  Keefer stated the 61 day waiting period is up tomorrow and if a petition is not received by 5 p.m. then the ordinance will become effective and they can start Sunday Sales this coming Sunday.  Keefer stated that E. Jones will be sending out letters to all the impacted businesses on the 17th.

 

Mayor Williams recognized Michael McDermott for his long service to the community of Augusta and presented him with a certificate of appreciation.  Williams told McDermott that he was appreciated for working to report on behalf of the council.  McDermott quoted Will Rogers and said he “never met a council I didn’t like.” 

 

New Business:

Public Hearing:  Tom Leffler, 2901 Lakeshore Drive, stated it was disappointing that more people were not here to discuss the budget.  Leffler stated he was concerned about the comments from council members regarding the $25,000 for the police vehicle and about transparency of the budget.  Leffler stated $25,000 will not stop the Safety Department from doing their job but that maintaining equipment is a problem, so if the council is trying to make cuts why not also consider the $10,000 Hustler mower replacement too.  Leffler stated he has not had a problem with transparency of the budget, but that he is concerned about people understanding it.  Leffler commended Shaw for putting the budget information on the website and stated that he was disappointed there were not more hits.  Leffler stated we have been very fortunate that we have not had to lay anyone off, let people go, cut services, etc. considering the valuations have gone down yet the mil levy has moved very little in the last four years.  Leffler stated if you look at the pie chart on the City’s website you can see that only 25% of the property tax you pay comes back to the City and that the council may need to look at increasing the mil in the future to pay for improvements.  Leffler stated that overall the City should be proud of the budget and that he hopes the council respects department heads and staff.  Leffler stated it is easy to get a copy of the budget, that all he did was contact the city clerk and fill out a records request form and pay the fee for the copies.  Williams stated several communities in our region have had to increase their mil levy because they do not have the reserves in place that we have.  After no one else coming forward to comment on the budget, Williams closed the public hearing.

 

            Williams stated that both budget options have less tax dollars than last year and that the valuation is down by $300,000.  Williams stated with either option #1 or option #2 the mil levy would not increase more than 1/10th of a mil.  Huddleston stated these funds are monies raised by taxation through a mil levy.  Huddleston stated the differences between 2011 and 2012 show the General and Bond & Interest funds decreasing, but the Employee Benefit fund increasing by almost 15%.  Huddleston stated we are reducing the amount of taxes to support the General fund and to pay off bonds, but we are pumping that money to the Employee Benefit fund.  Keefer stated that he explained during the work session that the main reason for that was the increase in KPERS and health insurance costs and that there wasn’t as much carryover in that fund this year as there has been in the past.  Keefer stated that the property tax delinquent rate is around 5% and that both KPERS and health insurance costs have increased as well as three or four employees changing from individual health plans to family plans.  Keefer stated he planned for a 5% increase in health insurance, but that will probably not be enough and the employees will have to help cover the difference.  Keefer stated the Bond & Interest fund was reduced as a result of the bond refunding that were done last year.  Keefer stated that because the Electric fund debt payment was lowered, those funds were re-allocated as transfers from the Electric fund to other funds to help reduce property taxes. 

 

            S. Jones stated that she spent some time talking to Chief Brewer this afternoon about the vehicle rotation.  S. Jones stated that her personal option is that cars today are built to last longer.  S. Jones stated that she still maintains that in today’s environment we should shift the $50,000 to another department to help in other areas of town such as the Street Department.  S. Jones stated she was not saying that we shouldn’t resume the rotation next year.  S. Jones made a motion to move the $50,000 for two vehicles from the Safety Department budget to the Street Department.  Motion died from lack of a second.

 

            Malone stated that citizens are unhappy with the infrastructure and think that the streets are in disrepair.  Malone stated the money should either be moved to the Public Works department or we need to talk about where the money can come from to repair our infrastructure.  Keefer stated that the funds can be moved to another department, but we have to know so it can be included when our budget is submitted to the State.  Huddleston stated if we transfer the funds they need to be transferred to departments where equipment is needed.  Williams stated she had no doubt that additional funds are needed in several departments.  Malone stated there is going to be a day when we need to consider increasing the mil levy to fix infrastructure. 

 

            Childers stated he read S. Jones article in the Augusta Daily Gazette and that he thinks her proposed solution is not a change from the status quo, rather robbing from one department to help another.  Childers stated it is not saving any money.  Childers stated that at the work session, S. Jones even stated that one day we will have to bite the bullet and increase taxes.  S. Jones stated she is not opposed to replacing a vehicle with a record of maintenance issues and that she supposed we could debate opinions on when a vehicle should be replaced, but that she still stands firm that the money should be transferred to help where it is needed.  Williams stated that both sales taxes and valuations are down and that everyone that sits on the council sees that there are issues with infrastructure, but given the current economic times we have to consider keeping the mil levy as flat as possible. 

 

Malone made a motion to leave $25,000 in the Safety Department budget to purchase one vehicle and transfer the other $25,000 to the Special City/County Highway fund to assist with road repairs.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Reavis stated that he assumes that all department heads had an opportunity to tell what equipment they needed considered for this budget.  Reavis stated we are buying a new truck, mini-excavator, and high loader for other departments and no one batted an eye at that.  Reavis stated each department has a plan for their equipment, including the Chief and he doesn’t think other departments are lacking in equipment or not getting what they ask for.  Reavis stated he doesn’t think $25,000 will make any difference in street repairs.  Reavis stated we wasted $80,000 on an intersection on a brick street that is no better than when we started.  Reavis stated if we need the extra $25,000 in another department then we need to bite the bullet and add to the budget.  Malone stated Brewer and Bill Webster were at the budget work session, but that no one was there to represent public works. 

 

Keefer stated that new equipment is important, but it won’t help if we don’t have the staff to use it.  Keefer stated we are also lacking in materials, supplies, training, and man-power, not just equipment.  Keefer stated we are purchasing a used roller, new mini-excavator, high loader and several other pieces of equipment and that Public Works Superintendent Cy Ricker is very excited about the equipment included in the budget for his departments.  Keefer stated a position was eliminated in the Street department a few years ago to cut costs.  Malone asked if supplies can be purchased out of the Special City/County Highway budget and Keefer said yes.  S. Jones stated that during the two budget work sessions she doesn’t recall hearing Keefer say we don’t have enough materials or man power to function.  Williams stated we added a position to the Parks department.  Keefer stated that he gets pounded on each year that “we cannot raise taxes” and that when people are happy that the valuations are going down it affects our ability to do provide services.  Keefer stated he doesn’t feel comfortable asking for more when he is told the council does not want to increase the mil levy.  Keefer stated he is not opposed to adding staff, but that he has to be cognizant of the resources that are available to us.  S. Jones inquired about the cost to add another person.  Keefer stated it could be about $40,000 including benefits.  S. Jones stated we could surely find funds for that.  Keefer stated the proposed budget amount cannot be increased after it has been published.  S. Jones asked if we can adjust the budget at a later date.  Keefer stated the council has the prerogative to direct him to move money from one department to another at any time, but that we would have to amend the budget. 

 

Motion failed with S. Jones, Malone, and Huddleston voting in favor and Childers, Reavis, Rawlings, and Harper voting in opposition.  Childers made a motion to approve Budget option #2 with a proposed Mil Levy of 39.782 and taxes in the amount of $2,110,100.  Reavis seconded the motion.  Motion carried with Childers, Reavis, Rawlings, and Harper voting in favor and S. Jones, Malone, and Huddleston voting in opposition.

 

Keefer stated if there is a clear direction from the council to add a staff person he can work those figures and provide them to the council in the future.  Keefer stated the Sales Tax and Special City/County Highway budgets did have an increase in expenditures and that we are also planning on trying to do more with sales tax dollars next year.  Keefer stated we need to start setting aside money for widening the South portion of Ohio.  Williams stated there are a lot of upcoming expenses.  Huddleston called a point of order and asked if a 4-3 vote is sufficient.  Keefer stated it is because it is not an ordinance.

 

           

            Reavis made a motion to approve Ordinance 2027 attesting to an increase in Tax Revenues for non-debt funds for 2012.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Keefer stated that in light of the discussion tonight we will plan on having a work session in April or May to get a feel from the governing body where you want to go with the budget.  Keefer stated we would not have the valuation and other information from the County then, but we could get an idea of where you want to go with the budget.  Williams stated the Capital Improvement Plan needs to be utilized in the budget discussions.   S. Jones thought Keefer’s suggestion of an earlier work session was a very good one.  Williams stated one mil is around $53,000 and that is something to consider and discuss with the community.

 

Spillway/Dam Project:  Council considered bids for Temporary Note Financing of the Spillway and Dam Improvement Project.  Dustin Avey with Piper Jaffray stated that the volatility in the market has been good for bonds and the low interest rate has allowed us to lower the bonds from $1.175 million to $1.135 million.  Malone made a motion to approve the bid from Commerce Bank with a net interest cost of $16,146.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Reavis made a motion to approve Resolution 2011-16 authorizing the issuance and sale of the Temporary Notes.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

FAA Taxiway Project: Council considered bids for the construction of the FAA Taxiway Project.  S. Jones stated Pavers Inc. has listed two sub-contractors and asked what they will bring to the project.  Shaw stated FAA projects require a certain portion of a contract to be awarded to a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and that these sub-contracts meet that requirement.  Shaw stated they typically will do seeding, dirt moving work, etc. and that he believes their duties are included in their packet.  S. Jones made a motion to approve the bid from Pavers, Inc. in the amount of $1,095,989.89.  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Reavis made a motion to approve Supplemental Agreement #2 with Lochner (BWR Division) for construction engineering services for the FAA Taxiway Project.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

            Malone made a motion to approve the Grant Application for the FAA Taxiway Project and authorize the City Manager to execute the application and related documents.  Huddleston seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  Shaw stated that due to FAA funding issues he does not when this project will start.

 

Spillway/Dam Project:  Rawlings made a motion to approve the EPA Grant Application for the Spillway and Dam Improvement Project and authorize the City Manager to execute the application and related documents.  Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Frisco Depot Restoration:  Harper made a motion to approve the proposal from William Morris Associates to prepare a grant application to the Heritage Trust Fund on behalf of the City for the restoration of the tile roof on the Frisco Depot.  Childers seconded the motion.  S. Jones asked what other projects William Morris Associates has grant experience on.  William Morris stated they have a lot of grant experience and cited the $1.4 million hotel restoration in Eureka and various other HTF and TE grant projects.  S. Jones asked if $74,000 is his estimate for the roof.  Morris stated that would be for the roof only.  Williams asked when the grant funds would be awarded and Morris answered November.  Williams asked if this was awarded could we apply to the County for wind farm grants.  Keefer stated that is a possibility and that he would talk to the County about that.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Bids:  Council considered bids to paint the exterior of the original Water Treatment Plant Building.  Rawlings asked how the bidders proved they had a business license, because a license is not required through the City.  Shaw stated they provided an employer id number to show they are licensed in the state and that an LLC Certificate of Amendment would work too.  Shaw stated we have discussed having a formal bid process in the past, and that we want to make sure they have insurance in case they are injured on our property and that we want to make sure they are licensed to do this type of work.  Shaw stated we also want them to warranty their work and the paint.  Shaw stated we can award it to the lowest bidder or to the lowest bidder that met the specifications. 

 

Huddleston asked how you determine someone has a license, because you can be an LLC and not know anything about painting.  Childers stated a sole proprietorship would only have a social security number.  Williams asked where F & H Coatings is located and Shaw answered Kechi.  Harper inquired about the references.  Shaw stated he checked the references of those that provided them.  S. Jones asked whose paint F & H Coatings uses.  Shaw stated that he could not find that on the bid.  S. Jones inquired about where the color choice came from.  Shaw stated the colors match the part of the plant that has already been painted. 

 

Childers stated he was comfortable making a motion but he is concerned about why the other bidders could not provide the information required in the specs.  Huddleston stated we need to clarify the business license requirement.  Williams stated that could have been rectified with a phone call to the City.  Rawlings stated he does not think that F & H Coatings is a bad company and that he has had good experience working with them, but that he is just confused about the license requirement and believes it needs to be clarified such as requiring they be in business three years and provide project examples.  Williams stated there is a general consensus the license requirement needs to be clarified. 

 

Harper stated she refers P & G Painting and Kerry Unrein Signs to her customers and that she is very disappointed they didn’t provide all the information requested and we therefore cannot work with them.  Childers made a motion to approve the bid from F & H Coatings, LLC in the amount of $8,836.77 for painting the exterior of the original Water Treatment Plant building.  S. Jones seconded the motion.  Motion carried with Rawlings opposing. 

 

Zoning Classification Change:  Malone made a motion to approve Ordinance 2028 changing the zoning classification for a tract of property located within our Growth Area from Agricultural-2 (A-2) to Residential-6D (R-6D).  Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Work Session:  Malone made a motion to schedule a work session for 6 p.m. Tuesday, September 6, 2011 to review and discuss the recommendations from the Sanitation Committee.  Reavis seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.  Williams thanked those that served on this committee.

 

Spillway/Dam Project:  Council reviewed and discussed the Spillway and Dam Improvement Project in regards to scheduling and dividing the scope of work into two projects.  Williams informed Jay Anglemyer with MKEC that she had hoped we could look forward to filling the lake up in April, not May or June as outlined in the memo.  Anglemyer stated the original schedule included bidding the project in late July and starting construction in September, but the discussion to split the project has delayed it some and shortening the window for construction will increase the contractor’s bid.  Rawlings asked if any provisions have been made in case construction begins and the lake starts to fill up.  Anglemyer stated that is part of the risk the contractor takes with this type of project.  Williams asked if construction on the spillway and dam will be done simultaneously and Anglemyer said yes.  Williams asked if when the project is bid can it be broken out by project but still bid as one project.  Anglemyer stated there will be two sets of plans and that we can wait until it is put out to bid to decide to do it together.  Williams stated splitting the project into two projects is not going to work.  Anglemyer stated that he questions whether that will work too.  Anglemyer stated the Division of Water Resources (DWR) states we have to be done with both construction projects in two years, but we could put them off until next year and there would still be enough time to complete the projects.  Williams stated it seems like now is the best possible time to do it and that waiting one year will not give any added peace in the decision.

 

 

            S. Jones asked Anglemyer to explain the coffer dam.  Anglemyer stated the coffer dam had been discussed earlier on, but at the time we didn’t know we would have to go all the way to the bottom of the dam.  And now that the lake is so low the coffer dam doesn’t need to be so high but it would add an addition $1 million in cost to the project.  Anglemyer said the positive to a coffer dam is you wouldn’t have to drain the lake and deal with the fish population.

 

            Huddleston asked what months we could expect not to need the lake for water supply.  Keefer stated October to April of last year the total amount of water demand stayed below 2.5 million gallons per day.  Huddleston asked if the bids were let when construction would begin.  Anglemyer stated October.  Huddleston stated we wouldn’t need the lake for a water supply at that time.  Williams agreed and stated the watering restrictions would remain in place.  Huddleston stated why not go ahead and do it now when the lake is so low instead of waiting for the unknown.  Huddleston inquired about the fish salvage.  Keefer stated we are going to include an alternate bid for removing the remaining fish carcasses and we will also have to deal with the blue algae with regard to the salvage.  Keefer stated the council included funds in the temporary notes for re-stocking the lake.  Reavis made a motion to move forward with the full project including the dam and spillway.  Harper seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.

 

Raw Water Supply Line:  Council reviewed and discussed the replacement of the City’s Raw Water Supply line from El Dorado.  Willis Wilson with AquaTech Engineering provided an overview of the current line.  Williams asked Wilson if he recommends replacement of the entire line or specific segments.  Wilson stated the line within the refinery is worse that the line south of the refinery to Augusta.  Keefer stated it would be better to replace the HDPE line under the refinery, but if the governing body chose to do the portion south of the refinery to Augusta he would recommend moving it out of the railroad right-of-way.  S. Jones asked if the refinery would be amiable to us replacing the portion of the line under the refinery.  Keefer stated that they probably would be since we just completed another project up there.  Williams stated she is not clear if we should be looking at replacing the entire line or doing it in phases.  Wilson stated if it had not already been replaced it all needs to be replaced.  Williams inquired about the useful life of the water line.  Wilson stated 50 years.

 

            Malone asked if we could contact El Dorado to see if they are willing to help with the cost of the project since they would see an increase in their profits if we purchased more water from them.  Keefer stated they would, but that he thought they would be more interested in a project running a waterline to Wichita.  Keefer stated his concern with that project and that it would be that pulling 10 million gallons per day from El Dorado Lake and will have an effect on the lake levels.

 

            Williams asked if as we consider our options if Wilson could provide pictures or maps.  Keefer stated if the Council is interested in looking into this further, he would recommend Wilson review the calculations and provide some maps.  Keefer stated he spoke to the County and they are open to us using their road right of ways and that we could explore some of the old pipelines to see if they are a viable option.  Keefer stated we would also look into other funding sources such as a USDA loan, Revolving loan, and a ½ cent sales tax.  Keefer stated if the Council wants to, we could look at it more seriously and determine if a $14 million project is viable.

 

            S. Jones stated the $14 million doesn’t include the Mulvane waterline.  Malone stated their line is worse than ours.  Williams agreed but stated we need to repair the line to our citizens first.  Childers stated he has spoken to approximately 43 people and they have asked why we haven’t looked at this before and he explained to them it comes down to the cost.  Williams stated we replaced over 3,000 feet of the line in the last year. 

 

There was a consensus from the Council to look into this matter further.  Reavis stated if we are doing a work session he would also like to see information on the feasibility of filtering wastewater.  Reavis stated that repairing the line is not going to guarantee we have water and that the technology is out there and something that we need to look at.  Keefer stated that is definitely something we can look at, but that would open up a whole other set of issues we will have to look at.  Keefer stated it would require wastewater treatment plant improvements, but that it is worth looking at.  Keefer stated staff will work with Wilson to gather information and schedule a work session.

 

Final Comments:

Rawlings – Rawlings stated some of those newer to the Council make it sound like the Council hasn’t done anything and reminded them in the last several years we have installed a new tank at the Water Plant, built the Library, repaired many streets, improved the Water Treatment Plant and Wastewater Treatment Plant, put up new water towers, installed a new SCADA system, bought new electric generators, and several other things.  Rawlings stated at his first council meeting he popped off that the “old timers” didn’t doing anything and that one of them told him they did the best they could with the tax dollars they had.  Rawlings stated he wanted to remind the new council members and the public that the Council has not been sitting on their hands.

 

Reavis – Reavis stated that he was informed by someone that they had to go to Wichita to get a new remote for their cable box.  Reavis stated the franchise agreement with Cox states that they have to maintain an office in Augusta.  Keefer stated that Cox no longer has a franchise agreement with the City, only the State.  Keefer stated that a State law passed a few years ago removed our power with regard to cable.  Reavis stated it looks like the franchise agreement with Southwestern Bell has expired.  Keefer stated we have a newer one with AT&T and we have a Gas franchise agreement.

 

            Reavis stated there are four signs on 7th Street that qualify as abandoned signs under our sign ordinance.  Reavis stated the sign apologizing for the road construction is still up.  Williams stated it would make sense to her to keep it up on the West side since the Levee project will be beginning soon.  Keefer stated that although the signs Reavis was referring to are abandoned, they are in good repair.  Keefer asked if he wants the signs removed and then have a hole there.  Reavis stated he is only looking at the ordinance we have in place and that we either need to enforce it or change it.  Williams stated she remembered a provision for signs in good repair, but she agreed that we need to enforce the ordinance.  Reavis stated section 1 article 2 reference abandoned signs and article 2c refers to their removal.  Keefer stated there are several abandoned signs around town but asked if the signs look better with a big hole in them if the closed business’ sign is removed.

 

S. Jones – Jones asked if there has been any word from Wal-Mart.  Keefer stated they have a conference call with KDHE tomorrow and that the other property owner on Lulu has agreed to work with KDHE and Wal-Mart to resolve this issue.  S. Jones inquired about the Municipal Investment Pool.  E. Jones stated she has moved money into the investment pool and has it spread out with 30 day, 90 day, 180 day and 365 day maturities.

 

Adjourn:  At 9:07 p.m. S. Jones made a motion to adjourn.   Childers seconded the motion.  Motion carried without opposition.      

 

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