«Also Present: Mayor Sutherland, Finance Director Presley, Councilwoman Lieske, Councilman Pohlkamp, Councilman Miller, Police Chief Wright, Detective ...»
Mr. Clark stated that there has been discussion to have someone come in from the DARE Program and address the Committee of the Whole to review the program. Mrs. Lieske commented that this would also go a long way with the community given some of the comments that were raised at the Council meeting of February 6 and the concerns on the part of the residents.
Mr. Clark commented that Bay Family Services is not in the budget now and we have to consider the possibility of having them come in and talk about the value of the program. We’ve heard it before, proved it in the past, but we are having tough decisions to make.
Potential other items include potential cost increases. In terms of all the various parties meeting to properly allocate our part time and over time police wages given the events of the past week it is something we will continue to monitor. We may be seeing variances there. Any specific line items for DARE, Community Diversion and Safety Town will potentially be a cost addition.
Mr. Clark asked Mr. Presley if there were other discussion items that he had with Councilman Young last week in terms of cost reductions. Mr. Presley stated that the reorganization of the Building Department is not completely solidified at this point and clerical changes that may positively impact a reduction in expenses there. That is still being worked out and there are not any firm plans there yet.
Minutes of a Meeting of Finance Committee February 13, 2012 Mr. Tadych asked if the areas being fixed up in city hall for the movement of people includes the Recreation Department. The Mayor stated that eventually it would include the Recreation Department. The Mayor stated that they worked it out so that doesn’t have to be an immediate move.
Mr. Presley stated that the budget does not include any capital portion such as a new phone system, the costs to do the downstairs of city hall, or any park improvements. Public Improvements are not included in the budget although we know we have earmarks in the Bond Retirement Fund for available funds to look at and prioritize needs on a public improvement basis. We will be coming back for that portion of the budget. What we have in front of us are the operations for the most part and some of the equipment, but not the public improvement portion.
Mr. Presley noted that on tonight’s special council meeting agenda, there is to be presented an ordinance for the refinancing of the police station construction bond. Refinancing these bonds will save the city an average of $32,000 per year between now and the year 2028, or roughly one-half of a million dollars in total. That is the conservative side. We won’t know the exact figures until we take bids on the refinanced bonds which authorization is being sought tonight to go out and do. We have not done an advance refinancing previously because the economics of it were not such that it made sense and incur the additional cost of doing it but with all the expenses that are in the refinancing we are still looking at a half million dollar savings between now and 2028. Mr. Clark noted that the $32,000 annual savings will not be affecting the General Fund, but will affect the Bond Retirement Fund, which then frees up dollars for additional capital improvements, road improvements, vehicle replacements, and things of that nature. Any savings there, like what is being done with the municipal income tax receipts, doesn’t directly affect the General Fund but gives the city the flexibility of taking municipal income tax dollars and diverting them to the General Fund such as what is being done in 2012. It is a savings to the city and is being reflected in a couple different venues so that we can continue operating and continue to make the capital investments in equipment to keep the departments up and running as efficiently as possible. The cost of the refinancing is estimated to be $80,000, overall. Mr. Clark stated that we need to nail down bond counsel/registrar/escrow agent and rating agency so to obtain a rating on the bonds. We will need to get some dollar figures on that and it looks as though we are going with Squire, Sanders and Dempsey. Mr. Clark asked when those figures will be available. Mr. Presley stated that the registrar costs are in the paperwork for the ordinance tonight. Squires, Sanders & Dempsey numbers are not yet in the paperwork. They are an approximate based on Mr. Sudsina’s work. Mr. Presley can get those all buttoned down this week. Mr. Clark noted that it is important for all of us to have a hard dollar figure for those costs.
Mr. Clark added that what we want to be sure of is multiple bids this time. We did get a good bid on the police station note issue which we converted to bonds but it was only one, solid bid.
Mr. Clark stated that one of the other things talked about last week was different options for the personal vehicle use policy. Nothing has been finalized and alternatives have been presented.
Mr. Clark is going to ask President of Council Koomar for discussion of a policy by the Minutes of a Meeting of Finance Committee February 13, 2012 Committee of the Whole. Mr. Tadych stated that the Finance Committee originally talked about 55 cents per mile reimbursement and applying that to the charges. A secondary plan of an amount per month was also discussed, based on mileage from the middle of the city to the vehicle user’s home. The Finance Committee received information from the Finance Director regarding that plan for reimbursement. Mr. Tadych felt that the plan was penalizing the people that lived closer to the city and not asking the people that lived far away from the city to contribute their fair share. Mr. Presley and Mr. Tadych reviewed it and felt that it might be more fair if the same rate was applied to all miles outside the city from the first tier rate. Mr. Presley will put that suggestion into one of the options and put all three options together and distribute them to Council in their kits for review between now and February 27. Mr. Presley stated that he has not included in the budget any dollar amounts relative to the vehicle usage reimbursement policy.
Mr. Tadych noted that municipal income tax collections for the month of January, 2012, up 6.5%, look very positive. A 3% growth in income tax collections are forecasted for 2012.
Mr. Tadych noted that the dollar amount collected in January of 2012 is higher than the dollar amount collected in January of 2009.
The budget figures that were reviewed this evening will be converted to an appropriation ordinance for first reading on Monday, February 27. Mr. Clark agreed that the first reading would occur February 27, so as not to back up final approval to the end of March.
Mr. Clark commented that there are two ordinances on the Council agenda this evening relative to finance. One ordinance relates to hospitalization for part time employees and the other for the disbursement of municipal income tax funds to the General Fund. The whole discussion of capital equipment as it relates to vehicle replacement will tie together with the vehicle use policy to some extent as well.
Mayor Sutherland stated that Mr. Ebert and she went over to the School Board meeting this evening to deliver the message about the school crossing guards. They were informed by the Mayor that the city would be responsible for the school crossing guards until the end of the school year. The intention is not to get rid of the crossing guards. The Mayor stated that the only other options would be to reduce the number. The City of Bay Village budget for school crossing guards if between $63,000 and $68,000 annually, as compared to a neighboring community whose budget is $250,000 per year for guards. The Mayor noted that Bay’s crossing guards are properly placed and they work very hard. She stated that we want to have crossing guards; it is just a matter of who is going to pay for it. Mr. Tadych noted that the safety of the children comes first.
Mr. Clark stated that he applauds the work of the administration, the Finance Director, the department heads and Finance Committee for the 2012 Budget. The process was started with a deficit of $820,000 in October of this last year. He stated that this has been no easy task. The lessons we have learned going forward is that we are going to learn the tough stuff now and apply it to future years. There will be tougher sledding in 2013, 2014, and 2015 due to the loss of the Estate Tax and further cut in Local Government Fund revenues. We have made Minutes of a Meeting of Finance Committee February 13, 2012 tremendous headway in the last 90 days. Mr. Tadych noted that we are not the only city going through this and he believes we have handled it very well.
Mr. Miller asked if there is a Plan B if the Board of Education cannot help with the financing of the crossing guards. Mr. Ebert stated that it is not unusual for the sharing of the costs. Mayor Sutherland stated that her office did a survey and it depends on the community. In most communities the city pays for the school crossing guards, but not all. A third of the communities indicate that the school systems pay for the crossing guards. There is some cost sharing. There are communities that do not provide any school crossing guards, e.g., Brecksville/Broadview Heights and Orange. Chagrin Falls uses volunteers.
A date and time for the next meeting of the Finance Committee will be determined later this week. Meeting adjourned at 7:20 p.m.