Woodstock City Council met April 13.
Woodstock City Council met April 13.
Here is the minutes provided by the Council:
A special Budget Workshop meeting of the Woodstock City Council was called to order by Mayor Brian Sager at 1:00 pm on Thursday, April 13, 2017 in the Council Chambers at Woodstock City Hall. Notice of this Special Meeting was posted 48 hours in advance at Woodstock City Hall. All media was notified of this Special Meeting. All Council members were notified of this Special Meeting.
Mayor Sager stated that the purpose of this meeting is a workshop to discuss and review the FY2017/2018 Budget prior to final consideration at the April 18, 2017 Council meeting.
A roll call was taken.
Council members present: Daniel Hart, Maureen Larson, Mark Saladin, Joseph Starzynski, RB Thompson, Michael Turner, and Mayor Sager
Council members absent: None
Staff present: City Manager Roscoe Stelford, Assistant City Manager/Finance Director Paul Christensen, Human Resources Director Deborah Schober, Public Works Director Jeff VanLanduyt, Opera House Director John Scharres, Library Director Nick Weber, Police Chief John Lieb, Recreation Director Dave Zinnen, Economic Development Director Garrett Anderson, Building and Zoning Director Joe Napolitano, Opera House Box Office Manager Daniel Campbell, Opera House Building Manager Mark Greenleaf, Opera House Production Manager Joe McCormack, IT Manager Dan McElmeel, Grant Writer Terry Willcockson, Executive Assistant/Chief Deputy City Clerk Jane Howie, and Office Assistant Betsy Cosgray.
Others Present: Councilmember-elect Gordon Tebo and City Clerk Cindy Smiley
Mayor Sager welcomed Councilmember-elect Gordon Tebo and the staff members who are present. He noted this is a workshop session and that questions or comments may be made at any time.
Mayor Sager asked City Manager Roscoe Stelford for comments.
Mr. Stelford stated he and staff appreciates this opportunity to review the proposed budget with the City Council. He thanked staff for their hard work developing the many cost-effective ideas received which resulted in the balanced budget. Mr. Stelford stated staff was able to meet and include all priorities identified by the City Council in previous meetings and workshops, including a reduction in property taxes. He noted the Budget was developed with the potential for a sales tax, but if the Council chooses not to move forward with this, Mr. Stelford opined the City can absorb the property tax reduction this year and would decrease the General Fund’s fund balance.
Mr. Stelford noted the proposed budget includes the addition of a Code Enforcement Officer in Building and Zoning which would allow for a more proactive approach. He stated the Budget also looks at the addition of a 2nd Deputy Chief of Police and an Engineering Project Manager in the Public Works Department to stay on top of projects and make sure all codes are followed.
Mr. Stelford noted the Budget includes separating out the IT Department from the City Manager’s Office into its own department and the promotion of the Grant Writer. He stated the Budget includes increasing the funding for roads by 18%, including certain roads in Emricson Park as requested by the City Council.
Mayor Sager expressed Council’s gratitude to Mr. Stelford and the staff, noting they did an exceptional job. He stated the budget is a clean and readable document which is easily understandable. He stated he also appreciates the performance measures that have been identified, the exceptional review of bond schedules and payments, and the notes identifying whether there is an increase or decrease in the line items reviewed. He stated overall this budget is an exceptional document.
Mayor Sager stated, concerning the new positions, he believes it is Council’s wish to move forward in filling them quickly after the start of the fiscal year.
Mayor Sager began a review of the FY17/18 Budget encouraging questions and comments from all present.
Overview of All Funds thru Fund Balances-
A brief discussion ensued. In response to a question, City Manager Stelford stated the amount for Sales Tax is projected to be $500,000 higher than budgeted due to staff’s identification of sales tax, which the City should have received from a couple of retailers, but had been improperly allocated by the State to the County. He noted these funds were able to be identified by staff after the City attained Home Rule status, which allowed access to reports that are not accessible as a non-Home Rule community. A brief discussion ensued of the sales tax projection for FY17/18.
There were no questions or comments.
Mr. Christensen provided information concerning these to include the Police Pension Fund, the Health Insurance Fund, and the Water & Sewer Fund.
There were no questions or comments.
Property Tax Summary-
There were no questions or comments.
Interfund Transfers Overview-
Mr. Christensen stated the funds come into the General Fund and then transfers are made to support the functions/items identified in this overview.
Fund Balance Overview-
In response to a question from M. Turner, City Manager Stelford stated every business has a Fund Balance and must have a reserve to pay the bills. In response to further questioning from M. Turner, Mr. Stelford stated he has no concerns with the level of the Fund Balance, noting the budget proposes to draw it down due to a change in strategy, which will be a more accurate reflection of the associated costs. He noted this is being done at the request of the City’s auditors.
Mr. Christensen noted the Utility Fund should have a higher Fund Balance, and while not a huge concern, staff is addressing this within the proposed budget. A brief discussion ensued concerning this and of the funds needed for possible expansion of the sewage treatment plant, should it be needed.
Mayor Sager noted the Debt Per Capita has come down from $231 per capita to $36 per capita. A brief discussion of this ensued with Councilman Turner noting the debt per capita was reduced by 80% during a recession. Mayor Sager noted the City will be faced with CIP projects as the city continues to grow, but has a significant capacity to expand debt if necessary which is positive and important to keep in mind. Councilman Turner noted this is a positive result of achieving Home Rule status.
General Fund Revenues-
Mr. Christensen provided additional information noting the figures were compiled assuming a 1% sales tax that will begin on October 1st.
Mr. Stelford noted this department budget is showing a reduction as a result of the IT Department expenses being removed from the General Government budget and placed in a separate line item. He stated there are no other major changes proposed to this budget.
Mr. Stelford stated these services are provided through the Public Works Department as they clean and maintain the building. He noted this is working well with no major changes proposed. He stated this budget also includes expenses for the train station.
Mr. Christensen noted the Finance Department budget is stable and that Department staff is continually looking at how the Department can do things better and more efficiently using technology. In regards to communication costs being reported within the various departments, Mr. McElmeel stated these budgetary line items are being reduced, which is the beginning of the fiber project paying dividends. He noted almost every department budget has been reduced as a result of this, explaining how the fiber project is saving the City money.
Ms. Schober noted the Human Resources budget is stable when compared to the current year’s budget.
Liability Insurance Fund-
Mr. Christensen noted that MCMRMA claims are down which should benefit the City. In response to a question from M. Turner concerning workers’ compensation, Mr. Stelford stated public safety always drives costs in this area. He noted a police officer who is injured and receives workers’ compensation receives 100% of their current pay on a tax-free basis. Mayor Sager noted there are conversations going on in Springfield concerning this issue. Mr. Stelford noted this has improved some recently as Woodstock is one of the leaders in using light duty in the Police force. He stated many of the City’s MCMRMA partners are beginning to do this also which results in lowering costs.
Mr. Christensen stated this account has turned around noting four years ago this fund had a $400,000 deficit and now has a $26,000 fund balance. He stated claims are down and have stabilized discussing how this has happened and is saving the City money.
A discussion ensued of the costs to employees for insurance, including deductibles. Councilman Turner noted the City has raised these over the years and opined this is one of the reasons costs in this fund are trending better. He expressed his wish that the Administration continue in a reasonable way to review this stating he wishes to keep coverage reasonable, but wants staff to continue to be diligent. He expressed his approval of the direction this fund is taking.
Building and Zoning-
Mr. Napolitano stated overall this budget has been trending down. He noted it is now being proposed to add another Code Enforcement Officer, which will help clean up some areas of the City and enable the Department to be proactive in doing so.
Mayor Sager noted Council’s previously-expressed wish to hire this individual sooner rather than later. Mr. Napolitano stated it is the intent to advertise as soon as possible with Mr. Stelford noting the job description is completed and will be advertised as soon as the budget is approved.
Mr. Napolitano stated it is hoped the recently-passed language will increase fine collection. Noting the revenue projection placed in the budget seems to be conservative, Mayor Sager requested a non-conservative estimate. Mr. Christensen opined an additional $10,000, stating the goal is to cover the program rather than generate funds.
Mr. Napolitano stated the Old Courthouse windows need to be completed and the roof of the Sheriff’s House needs to be addressed. He stated the City will have a better chance of obtaining grants when it has documented what the costs will be for these repairs, so staff will be getting estimates. He reminded Council that the City may now apply for CDBG grants.
Councilman Turner acknowledged that to date the City has done work on the Old Courthouse to prevent further deterioration of the building, noting this is reactive. He stated at some point that work will be finished and then the City must decide on a plan and whether the City is going to continue to invest in the building.
Mayor Sager expressed appreciation for the work done thus far, listing the projects which have been completed to prevent deterioration and the primary structural projects remaining. He agreed it would be a good idea to have an update on these and then to reexamine the plan moving forward at a future Council meeting. Councilman Thompson opined once the exterior is finished, the City should begin work on interior projects such as the stairs and bathrooms.
Mr. Christensen stated there are more needs to come out of the TIF than can be funded, noting there will be a deficit again this year.
Mr. Dan McElmeel stated this is a new Department with the number placed in the budget being the amount that was included for these functions in various General Government line items. He noted the amount
budgeted for FY17/18 remains flat except for the addition of an IT Tech. Mr. Christensen stated this position has already been advertised with the plan to hire an individual as soon as possible.
Mr. Stelford stated the Administration is looking at IT providing more services to the Library, which now uses a private consultant and is also talking with other entities about providing IT services to them for a fee. Mr. Christensen stated IT will also be providing more services to the Police Department, which will be a long-term cost savings.
Dave Zinnen stated the Recreation Fund is on target to meet its goal.
In response to questions from Mayor Sager concerning the Recreation Center, Mr. Zinnen stated staff is doing its best to maintain the building, but it is a 25-year-old pole building so will eventually need to be replaced. He stated the pool has minimal leaks, but is not bad. He stated the Recreation Center should generate a small surplus this year.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, Mr. Zinnen stated the revenues at the aquatic center are directly correlated to the weather. He stated the revenue is able to cover the operating costs, but cannot cover the capital costs as the facility ages. Noting the budget calls for replacement of some of the amenities, Mayor Sager asked if any amenities should be added. Mr. Zinnen responded that additions to the baby pool are being investigated as well as the addition of a sand volleyball area. He then discussed the challenges with this due to Health Department requirements. He also discussed the rental opportunities this amenity could provide. Councilman Turner opined this is an excellent idea and could be well worth the investment. The discussion of sand volleyball continued with Mr. Zinnen noting the private businesses which provide this amenity; it would be difficult for the aquatic center to compete with these businesses that hold liquor licenses.
It was the consensus of the City Council to investigate adding sand volleyball at Woodstock Water Works.
The discussion returned to the Recreation Center. In response to a question from Mayor Sager, Mr. Zinnen noted the number of classes held in the community room, stating it is also rented out and is scheduled to be re-carpeted.
Mayor Sager noted Woodstock is one of the largest users of NISRA, stating the city’s residents derive great value from this program.
Garrett Anderson discussed marketing and expansion and retention budgeting. He noted there are also funds budgeted to finish the Downtown Plan. Mayor Sager stated he has met with Mr. Anderson and Mr. Stelford to discuss the Downtown Plan noting they have a very aggressive agenda planned with a lot of public engagement. He opined this is a very positive approach.
Discussion continued about how the plan will be done with Mr. Anderson stating the plan is not to hire a full consultant. Councilwoman Larson stated she has spoken with a5 and discussed a budget of $12,000 rather than the proposed $8,000, opining the proposed budgeted amount is light. She would like to investigate if additional funds could be found.
Councilman Turner opined this is a substantial need for Woodstock and noted his belief that outside expertise is needed. He stated his feeling that the budgeted amount should be $25,000 or $30,000. Mr. Turner stated this is a critical step in guiding development of the Downtown and opined an outside view is critical at this point in time and that $8,000 is inadequate.
Mayor Sager stated Staff’s plan is aggressive, but noted he is worried about the time that would be involved for them to implement the plan in light of their commitment to other programs. He noted he does not wish to dictate to staff what the plan is, but wishes to give them flexibility. Mayor Sager suggested coming back to this subject at the end of the meeting for further discussion.
In response to a question from Councilman Saladin, M. Larson stated the tenets of the Downtown Plan would be to give the City what it needs to target developers and entities to implement what is desired. She noted it is a high-level vision of what the City sees as the needs and priorities for residential, retail, and businesses. She stated if the City does not know what it wants and has not articulated this, a developer would be less likely to come forth.
Councilman Turner suggested bringing in people to augment City staff, who can see what works and what doesn’t work. He noted they will have seen other communities and what has worked in them and they will look at the Woodstock’s demographics. He stated they will create a blueprint and vision for the Downtown.
Revolving Loan Fund-
Mr. Anderson noted there are two requests that will be coming before the City Council shortly. He discussed the balance in the fund, noting it is being drawn down from the original $300,000.
Discussion followed of the purpose of the Revolving Loan Fund and of the interest rate charged to the borrowers. Mr. Anderson noted the target is the small businesses that are expanding and may not have the right collateral so could not get a bank loan. In response to a question from Councilman Hart, Mr. Christensen stated there has never been a default on a loan. Mayor Sager stated the City has established incentive programs for larger investments being made in Woodstock and must have something for small and medium-sized businesses. He noted the borrower must pay this loan back and that it is not a grant program.
Mr. Stelford noted the banks have indicated that Dodd/Frank legislation was prohibiting banks from loaning money to these types of businesses. He stated the County has a revolving loan program and the City has had one in the past. He noted the City gets many requests from businesses for an incentive and opined a loan is much better than an incentive. G. Anderson stated the Revolving Loan program says Woodstock is business friendly.
G. Anderson noted the paperwork for the Hotel/Motel Tax application has been revamped to make it easier on the entities that apply every year with good feedback. He stated the application is available electronically.
Mayor Sager expressed his appreciation for Staff’s work on this. He noted some of the City’s video gaming fees supplement the Hotel/Motel Tax Fund.
John Scharres stated the number of stage performances has increased and facility usage has also increased. He noted projected expenses are $46,000 lower than budgeted so the transfer from the General Fund will be reduced. He opined this trend will continue.
Mr. Scharres noted the Opera House is solidly booked through the end of the year and is getting interest on a daily basis for usage.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, Mr. Scharres stated Stage Left Café usage is up as a result of a change to the rental structure to allow per hour rental. He stated they are trying to be more flexible for organizations, which makes the facility more accessible.
Mayor Sager expressed his appreciation to the Opera House staff. Councilman-elect Tebo complimented the friendliness of the Opera House Staff. Mr. Scharres noted staff is cognizant that they are a City facility and often the “front door.”
Mayor Sager noted this budget also includes that for the City Band which will be celebrating its 133rd season. Mr. Scharres stated this is one of the oldest City bands in the country.
Mr. Scharres noted the carpet replacement will take place this year, looking at a January installment and stating downtime will be kept to a minimum.
Chief Lieb noted there are a number of factors related to personnel including the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the consolidation to NERCOM which he noted is a transition from maintaining personnel in the Department’s budget to a NERCOM expense.
Mayor Sager stated it was originally thought that the City would come in at a basic cost level that would save money but costs actually came in higher than anticipated resulting in higher costs. He asked Mr. Stelford to provide additional information.
Mr. Stelford discussed the NERCOM Board, noting the Administration met with them in the hope changes could be made to staffing and insurance costs resulting in lower costs. He stated McHenry’s contract is not as favorable as Woodstock’s; however, and discussed how this resulted in increased costs. He stated the Administration is working hard to influence Woodstock’s partners in reducing costs, but must realize this is a partnership.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager concerning the transition, Chief Lieb stated this is not an increase in manpower, but will be a shift, noting our dispatch services will be transitioned to the new center. He noted the Sergeant supervising the Records Clerks will work through any glitches as the Department goes through the consolidation. Following consolidation, that Sergeant will transition back to Patrol. He stated Sergeant Ray Lanz will move from Patrol to the Deputy Chief of Operations with Jeff Parsons serving as Deputy Chief of Support. Chief Lieb stated the new Deputy Chief will assume that role at the end of September.
Mayor Sager stated many municipalities are divesting itself of the DARE program and is proud that Woodstock has chosen to keep that program. He noted he is also proud of the liaison program with District 200. He stated this is a challenging time for young people and these are valuable programs, with the Police Department doing an excellent job in the schools with both the students and the staff.
Mr. Christensen commended Chief Lieb noting he has worked in three municipalities, stating the Chief’s management of the department and its budget is unbelievable.
Mayor Sager noted there are multiple departments involved in this line item.
Mr. Christensen noted this is one line item, which was increased at the request of the City Council, particularly for the Lighting of the Square.
Mayor Sager wished to call attention to the Senior Program. Mr. Stelford commended Monica Amraen and Becky Vidales for doing a great job with this program with very little funding.
In response to a question from M. Larson concerning the increase in the “Other” events portion of this budget, Mr. Stelford noted this is to fund the purchase of fencing that will be utilized by event organizers so the events will have a more uniform look.
Councilman Turner discussed the value of the Sister City Program, describing the positive meeting he and other Woodstock representatives had with Senator Sandoval in Springfield. He stated the Senator was impressed with the City’s Sister City Program and with Mayor Sager’s visits to Zacatecas and his relationship with the Governor. Noting the Sister City Program is unique and has many other benefits, he emphasized in this case it helped secure Senator Sandoval’s support for Woodstock. Councilman Saladin also pointed out that the MCYSSA tournament is getting a team from Mexico, who will be staying in hotels and eating in restaurants.
Police Pension Board-
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, Mr. Stelford stated this is a state-mandated benefit which must be funded at whatever level the state requires. Mr. Christensen stated the City uses sound accounting principles and the proper method of funding in meeting the funding goals for this item.
Mr. Christensen noted the budget eliminates the renewal fee as requested by the City Council. He noted funds have been incorporated to allow an on-line renewal process. Mr. McElmeel explained this on-line renewal process will eventually be expanded to other areas such as liquor license renewal and electrical testing.
Mr. Stelford discussed the fund balance noting it is for equipment replacement. Discussion followed of the cost of this program, particularly to small businesses, and ways the costs may be graduated.
Director Nick Weber noted there was a staff reorganization due to retirements that adversely affected the library this year, but will be beneficial next year. He discussed how the Library Administration balanced staff for the uses of the patrons and how they are working to get the library out into the community more by being more present in the community. He also talked about the movement of funds.
In response to a question from Councilman Turner, Mr. Weber stated the library does have a Facebook page, which they have begun using for marketing. He stated the plan is to use it to reach specific demographics.
Mr. Weber noted the library does rely on some state funding which has been reduced by about $12,000, stating they have been able to absorb this within the proposed budget.
Library Building Fund-
Mr. Weber noted this has been a struggle because this is funded through impact fees, and the City has not seen much development. He stated, as a result, this fund has been subsidized by the Library. He explained the struggle is to pay the alternate revenue bonds, noting when this is paid off it will help. He stated Staff has reduced expenses and is relying on Public Works for things like snow-plowing rather than using a third- party vendor.
Mayor Sager stated the City is very fortunate to have the Friends of the Library, Friends of the Opera House, and Friends of the Old Courthouse groups who do a great job supporting and fundraising for these facilities.
Jeff Van Landuyt gave an overview of the Streets Division’s proposed budget.
In response to questions from Council, Mr. Van Landuyt provided additional information on staffing, particularly how an employee moves from a Level I to a Level II positon through performance standards and education. Mr. Christensen noted this is out of the norm for unionized employees, where this is usually automatic. He noted four positons have been eliminated from this Division.
Mr. Van Landuyt then discussed the function and staff of this Division. Mr. Sager noted this is an important benefit for the municipality. In response to a question from Councilman Starzynski, Mr. Van Landuyt provided additional information about the City’s use of alternative fuel vehicles in the fleet.
Mr. Van Landuyt provided information on the function of this Division and noted this budget proposes the addition of an Engineering Project Manager who would be in the field to oversee the work of developers and contractors to make sure work is done to the City’s specifications and they are held accountable. He noted the City is currently paying private consultants to do this work.
Mayor Sager noted in the past it was found years later that certain aspects of subdivisions may not have been built to specifications due insufficient oversight by these consultants causing problems with water lines, for example. He stated providing this function in-house should help alleviate these problems.
In response to a question from Council, Mr. Van Landuyt stated the job description has been completed and will be put out when the new fiscal year commences on May 1. Mayor Sager urged Staff to hire an individual for this quickly as construction season is approaching.
Mr. Van Landuyt discussed the functions of this Division noting the services these employees provide to the Departments and facilities of the City. Mayor Sager noted the work done by this Division for other City facilities cannot be overstated.
Mr. Van Landuyt noted MFT funds can only be spent on certain items as allowed by the State. Mr. Christensen described how this is managed by the Administration to get things done most efficiently.
There were no comments or questions.
Mr. Christensen stated a 3% increase has been budgeted for this item, noting Woodstock will still be very competitive having the 3rd lowest water and sewer rates in the area.
Mayor Sager opined it is better to make smaller incremental increases on a regular basis rather than sporadic large increases. Mr. Christensen noted the City’s water pipes are aging and must be maintained.
Mr. Van Landuyt noted the retirement of the Lab Manager and discussed staffing for this Division.
Water & Sewer Administration & Debt-
Mr. Christensen noted there is an additional $300,000 due to debt retirement, which is separate from the CIP.
Mr. Christensen discussed meter replacement noting 900 meters were replaced last year. He stated the project should be completed this year, but cautioned that the most difficult, older meters remain.
Mr. Van Landuyt explained that the City is currently leasing hard-wired lines for the SCADA system discussing their purpose. He noted costs are skyrocketing and stated the Administration will be bringing a solution to Council for its consideration and approval. He stated staff is trying to make improvements with a quick payback, which is now possible due to the fiber project.
Water & Sewer Capacity-
There were no comments or questions.
Mr. Christensen explained a significant change in allocation that was done to this line item, including the programs supported.
Mr. Stelford provided more information on the Superfund cap and what the City must do to comply with EPA regulations.
Parks Development Fund-
Mayor Sager noted there has been limited dollars coming in to this fund due to lack of development. He stated as residential growth moves forward, the City could have additional funds.
In response to a question from M. Turner, Mr. Stelford stated the debt service in this Fund is for the Recreation Center. He also discussed the neighborhood park replacement program with additional information requested by Councilman Turner.
In response to a comment from RB Thompson noting his discomfort with keeping the same audit firm for a long period of time, Mr. Christensen noted the firm’s entire staff assigned to the City was completely changed over at the time of the last extension to address these concerns.
Social Security Fund-
There were no comments or questions.
It was noted that expenditures are down for this item.
Mayor Sager noted the City is in a stable position.
Library Debt Service-
Mr. Christensen provided a brief explanation of the Library’s outstanding debt.
Mr. Christensen noted that water & sewer sales do not meet budget projections and have been adjusted accordingly; stating meter change outs have and will continue to help this. He stated this is largely weather driven.
Mr. Christensen stated staff has worked hard to address the auditors concerns with water billed vs. water pumped, including performance of a water leak study and the aforementioned water meter change-out, but noted this is a work in progress.
In response to a question from G. Tebo, Mr. Christensen stated this is also a result of unmetered water and inaccurate meter reading by customers. He stated, in addition, Woodstock is an older community with an older infrastructure.
There were no comments or questions.
Councilman Turner noted there will be a reduction of $778,000 in debt service costs after 2020. Mayor Sager noted Council needs a chance to discuss this in more depth at a future meeting, identifying other priorities for capital improvements. He requested that Staff investigate this and provide Council with additional information.
Councilman Saladin exited the Council Chambers at 4:15 PM.
Mayor Sager wished to turn attention to Page 20, General Government, commenting the City made a decision to invest in a Grant Writer position. He commended Terry Willcockson for her remarkable work in bringing in $1.2 million in grant funds noting these funds support basic needs and also quality of life programs. He stated Ms. Willcockson is taking on the additional role of Communications Manager.
Mayor Sager again thanked staff for their work on the budget and budget presentation.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, it was the consensus of the City Council that the budget include the addition of a Project Engineering Manager, a Code Enforcement Officer, and an IT Technician as soon as possible and a 2nd Deputy Chief who will be added in the October/November time frame.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, it was the consensus of the City Council that the following be looked at and considered for funding or that additional information be provided:
1) Additional CIP items that need to done at the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House, determining what the priorities should be;
2) Further discussion and information about paying off some of the City’s bonds and what future opportunities can be identified;
3) Explore the possibility of including sand volleyball at the Aquatic Center, investigating the possibility for next year; and
4) Adding additional funds for the Downtown Plan.
In addition, it was the consensus of the Council to review the Wireless Alarm fees for next year, including the possibility of a graduated fee structure.
It was also the consensus of the City Council to explore additional funds for feeding of the trees in the parks system, seeking additional advice from Public Works and the staff arborist.
In response to a question from Mayor Sager, Council identified no cuts to the proposed budget.
Requesting that the discussion turn to the Downtown Plan, Mayor Sager asked Council how much they wished to budget for this item. Councilman Turner opined $40,000, with Councilwoman Larson stating $14,000. Mr. Turner advocated for a healthy budget to allow the City to do a first-class, unique, comprehensive program with a first-class plan for the Downtown.
Discussion ensued concerning what this would do to create development with Mr. Anderson providing information as to what effect this additional money would have on the development of the final plan. Mr. Anderson also provided further information pertaining to the development of the current plan, the engagement process for the public and the current timetable.
Councilman Turner noted all of the input in the proposed scenario comes from within the community and opined the City needs to bring in consultants from the outside to offer their creative ideas to bring to the Council.
Mayor Sager noted staff has struggled to bring in a balanced budget and asked Mr. Stelford for comments on Council’s request for additional funds. Mr. Stelford responded that if this is Council’s wish, Staff will work to figure it out.
Following further discussion, it was the consensus of the City Council that $22,000 will be added to the line item for the Downtown Plan, bringing it to $30,000. Mayor Sager noted the Council will not direct the expenditure of the funds and will leave that to Staff.
The City Council expressed its gratitude to the Staff stating they have done a remarkable job meeting the wishes of the Council, while balancing the budget.
Mayor Sager noted the budget will be considered for approval at the next City Council meeting.
Motion by M. Turner, second by M. Larson to adjourn this special City Council Workshop to the next regular meeting to be held on Tuesday, April 18, 2017, at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers at City Hall. Ayes: D. Hart, M. Larson, J. Starzynski, RB Thompson, M. Turner, and Mayor Sager. Nays: none. Abstentions: none. Absentees: M. Saladin. Motion carried. Meeting adjourned at 4:38 pm.