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Special Budget Meeting of Monroe Council
Monday, August 08, 2011 8:45:52 AM - Monroe Ohio

Monroe News Staff Report

On July 30, 2011, Monroe City Council met in a special session at 9am in council chambers. All council were present as well as staff members. Bill Brock presented $1.29 Million in budget cuts to council for review and discussion. 

The SunCoke Lawsuit budget will not be cut, $300,000 is budgeted for this year. Additional undisclosed amounts will be included in next years budget. 

Dispatch will be cut $38,000 if one person retires, operating expenses will be cut $12,000. It is unclear from the minutes below but it looks like $400,000 is to be cut from police and fire funds. Here is the text as submitted, 

"Public Safety portion of the general fund personal services line is dispatch at $360,000, that is a cut from $398,000. That includes not filing a position after a possible retirement. Operating expenses were cut from $82,000 to $70,000. Other categories you will see the 4 million to both police and fire funds to support those operations. That is a cut of $400,000."

According to the minutes the general fund will be reduced $500k, from $8.2 Million to $7.7 Million to bring the overall fund balance to about 3.3 million dollars. 

Police and Fire funds are looking at a 12% reduction in revenue. 

"Fire Fund is expected to be a 12% reduction in revenue due to the State cuts. 
Police Fund is estimated down about 12% and transfers in are down. "

Mr. Brock presented $1.3 Million in budget cuts after targeting at least $800,000. According to Brock, "We need $1.7 Million to stabilize the budget."

Here is the full transcript of the meeting of July 30, 2011:

 

City of Monroe

Special Meeting of Council

July 30, 2011

 

The Monroe City Council met in special session on July 30, 2011 at 9:00 am in the Council

Chambers located at 233 South Main Street, Monroe, Ohio.

Council Members Present: Robert Routson, Anna Hale, Steve Black, Todd Hickman, Bob

Kelley, Suzi Rubin, and Lora Stillman.

Staff Members Present: William J. Brock, City Manager/City Engineer; Daniel J. Arthur,

Director of Public Works; Gregory C. Homer, Chief of Police; Mark A. Neu, II, Fire Chief;

Kevin Chesar, Director of Development; Kacey L. Waggaman, Director of Finance; and Angela

S. Wasson, Assistant to the City Manager/Clerk of Council.

 

Mr. Brock – the last time we met Mrs. Waggaman presented a budget forecast and we have more

concerns about declining revenues due to State cuts. The same information presented last year

by Mrs. Waggaman showed increasing funding balances and we put together a budget for 2011

leaving a fund balance of 4.1 million dollars as a target. This year we presented a forecast based

on the State cuts, how they affect that forecast, looking at future projections, what we had set up

as a budget and staffing levels and that gave us more of a concern.

 

We came out of the last meeting that our fund balance target is now going to be 3.2 million

dollars and start looking at cuts in the budget and changes necessary to meet that goal while

continuing to provide the services. This is not the first time we have faced issues but we have

done well and we have time to plan. During fiscal emergency everything had to be immediate

because at that time we had a negative $600,000 fund balance. Going forward I put together an

overall high level look at a budget for next year to bring it within those parameters that we

discussed. I am going to go over my assumptions. This is just a beginning of a conversation on

the budget process that begins typically with the tax budget. We start prepping for that in May

and you adopt a budget in December. We are not proposing that to change. Something for the

2012 budget included a beginning balancing of 4.1 million dollars. That is just a target and we

will try to do what we can with this year’s budget to meet that target. At this time it doesn’t

concern me that we won’t meet that. Revenues are projected to be flat next year and we will

continue to make adjustments in our revenue projections. In the general government fund in

personal services you will see a decline from $926,000 to $875,000. What I do in this is take a

look at a general number not specific cuts. Included the elimination of one position, which is

currently vacant, and reduction of benefits. I do not know what the specific reduction of benefits

is as we are reviewing them. It does not take into account the elimination of the Mayor’s Court

or the income tax division or consolidation of positions. By consolidation of positions we have

seen vacancies in the administration area of both police and fire and Mrs. Whitaker may retire at

the end of this year. Whether we leave that money in that line or we push in other lines to

balance out that work. We already have three vacancies in the administration area and we can

restructure and figure out how to get that work done. Funds can be shifted to take care of this

work. That doesn’t mean the work will go unfilled.

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Operating funds are cut back but in those funds the 1.296 million included $300,000 for legal

fees for SunCoke and will also be included in next year’s numbers as well. Building also

includes $400,000 building inspection work next year. $150,000 in the other categories are tax

refunds that is an average number, sometimes it goes up and sometimes it goes down. Public

Safety portion of the general fund personal services line is dispatch at $360,000, that is a cut

from $398,000. That includes not filing a position after a possible retirement. Operating

expenses were cut from $82,000 to $70,000. Other categories you will see the 4 million to both

police and fire funds to support those operations. That is a cut of $400,000. In Public Works I

left $80,000 for personal services because this is the work that is put in our parks. Regardless of

whether we cut staff we still have work that needs to be completed in the parks. $500,000 we

put in there for a street resurfacing program for next year, which we have not done in the past

two years and we need to address the needs. Overall in the general fund we are looking at a

reduction of 8.2 to 7.7 in expenditures to bring the overall fund balance to about 3.3 million

dollars. It is above where the target was set. And the debt it is a big concern because it goes

from 850,000 to 1.1 million next year. In the street funds the personal services is not as affected

because there are license taxes and gas taxes that come through the State that haven’t been cut at

this time. What I am showing for personal services is one cut, which is currently a vacant

position and some cut in operating expenses overall. Not too much going on in this area. The

transfers in have been reduced as well.

Fire Fund is expected to be a 12% reduction in revenue due to the State cuts. The personal

services reflects not replacing the administrative assistant and not filling a firefighter vacancy

and cutting two. Again this is just is just for discussion and we are trying to improve that

number through negotiations. Overtime that could be taken from other areas. I just set it up and

what it looks like with those numbers. Operating expenses are going back down a little below

the operating expenses that you saw in 2009 to make a total budget of 3.2 million.

Police Fund is estimated down about 12% and transfers in are down. Personal services are down

and similarly three positions will be vacant. We have included the cruiser replacement program

in there. Overall it is a place to start the conversation focusing on the areas that the State cuts

have affected. We talked about a lot of different areas in the last meeting where we could affect

the personnel. I would like to get your opinion where you want to see changes in these budgets

and the timing. We have a budget for this year and I am working on the 2012 budget. It is

difficult at times to work on when you don’t know the time period or what areas Council would

like to look at it. Normal process is working through the remainder of this year for 2012.

I attempted to prioritize some of the items discussed before. I have written a lot of things I

received through email down and we can talk about them individually or as a whole. Direction

where we want to be with a balanced budget, personnel cuts, where we want to see the personnel

cuts; obviously we want to provide the best service we can.

Mr. Hickman - what are your ideas where the cuts need to be?

Mr. Brock - those are the numbers I just presented.

Mr. Hickman – that will take care of the problem for how long?

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Mr. Brock - I presented 1.3 million in cuts and I had targeted $800,000. We need 1.7 million to

stabilize the budget. What I presented is a good start and I am not sure if it will take care of the

concerns of the forecast it depends on the revenue and our structure. I presented to Finance

Committee revenue figures that may be a little low because we have always been conservative.

As Mrs. Rubin pointed out the revenue figures come in higher and our expenditures are always

below.

Mayor Routson - what stands out to me is a reduction of staff is an easy thing to - do not for the

employees. A good example was at our grand opening at our new bank there was only accolades

for our staff, the job we got done, and how quickly we got things up and running. If we can’t

service these things we are going to lose in the end. That was positive and we still need to be

able to provide staff for these services.

Mr. Brock - I tried to take into account the performance audit and the only areas that they

focused was in the police department and the administrative staff was low at that time. There

was no reference of the addition of three in the Fire Department or Dispatchers. It was a

decision of Council.

Mr. Black – the numbers you are presenting today are the same ones we got before and you don’t

feel there are any other cuts we could make that would not affect the services we provide?

Mr. Brock - I put this together for a start of a conversation. How we cut the numbers in personal

services, you guys say you don’t want to cut police and fire and we obviously have to find these

numbers somewhere else. When you run the numbers you end up with a personal service

number in the administrative area of $550,000.

Mr. Black - you mentioned my spreadsheet from earlier this morning. It was trying to illustrate a

percentage reduction, salary expenses or with layoffs and that number is based on a total of four

and we already have that number.

Mr. Brock - we have three in the administrative area.

Mr. Black - the wrong terminology is layoff it is probably open position. We have an

opportunity to reduce some of our expenditures. As you said the way that we typically get

numbers different this time around, understandably and going through those numbers, we have

discretionary spending we can get rid of. Instead of cutting a position here and there why not

take a look at the discretionary spending and start slashing there.

Mr. Brock - I have never presented a budget that wasn’t in line with the revenue figures or what

Council wanted to do. I rely on my department heads and I don’t think anyone of them wants to

cut staff. Through the process they put a lot of work and time into it and whatever expenditures

they will cut prior to personnel cuts. They will give up things that they are used to and that have

been policy longer than I have been here. I am not concerned about those areas.

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Mr. Kelley - some of the stuff we have going on right now you have 1.3 in cuts. $400,000 in

overtime and if you can control that it will get you the 1.7 target number. Overtime can be

controlled with creative scheduling. Instead of people coming in at 7 am have them come in at 9.

If you have people coming in 7 days a week have them work less hours per day or put them on

salary. There are some ways to do this. Some of the outside contracts are work that we can do

in house cheaper than we can do on the outside. It would seem to be the more outside contracts

you can pull in it would give you more justification to keep staff on or maybe even grow.

You have mentioned doing things differently than it has ever been done. You don’t know what

your revenues are going to be because of the economy. There is a significant amount of citizens

on the verge of losing their homes today. Those people are doing more with a lot less. I don’t

want to add to the unemployment problem, but there has to come a point in time where you have

to get to a certain number. I don’t see why you wait until next year when you can get a six

month jump on it now and we could be that much further ahead.

Mr. Brock - I am not trying to say we are not. Every year my departments turn in a budget and,

not because they are trying to spend every last dollar, and they know they need to make cuts

now. I am working on the 2012 budget.

Mr. Kelley - but you have not updated the 2011 forecast. You have not shown any savings for

this year and the problem exists today and we need to deal with it today and what does that

budget look like. How much savings between the budget between 2012 and 2011. It looks like

it is about $400,000. $400,000 difference, why not try to get $200,000 of that laid back for the

balance of this year. You are talking about removing people.

Mrs. Stillman - I think one of the things you are hitting on is the concept of compounding

numbers whatever you do next year will have less affect than doing it this year, which will affect

next year. Compounding savings now will make it better for the future.

Mr. Brock - I don’t know that we are not doing that now. Maybe we need to communicate that

better. I am trying to get direction from Council now on the big numbers.

Mr. Kelley - Chief Neu have you cut 10% out of your operating budget this year so far?

Chief Neu - probably conserved as much as I can and I try not to utilize overtime. I have heard

many times I have turned money back in. I always look at did we provide people service and did

we do it at the most economic way. If we start now, if we knew this was coming we should have

started six months ago.

Mr. Brock - I have not once, never once, tell these department heads not to fill their vacancies.

Mr. Black - why not?

Mr. Brock - because they did it themselves. They know what is going on. I don’t have to put a

mandate down because that is the kind of staff I hired.

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Mr. Kelley - has any of them come to you voluntarily and say I can throw 10% of my budget

back in?

Mr. Brock - and what would happen if there was a need to increase it. You mean instead of

being realistic.

Mr. Kelley - one of your department heads has just said we should have been doing something

six months ago.

Mr. Brock - we have been talking about this for two years.

Mr. Kelley - any action hasn’t been taken.

Mr. Brock – action has been taken. We based this year’s budget on these same numbers.

Mr. Kelley – I don’t want to debate this with you. My point is that it needs to happen sooner

than later.

Mr. Chesar - for example in my budget this year we had design services for Main Street sidewalk

design and we are not spending that money. When I look at my budget there is almost 1/3 of the

cost of my budget that I am not spending. We have known for quite some time. There are costs

in my budget, but we are not going to spend the money.

Mrs. Rubin - some of this has happened in the sense that we are not filling positions. A lot of

these things are put in the budget and we know they are not going to be spent. Last year there

was 2 million dollars in revenue that was not in the budget and $780,000 of expenses that were

not spent. We end up with a little over 2 million extra over what was budgeted.

Mr. Kelley - why not work with real numbers?

Mrs. Rubin – I brought this up at Finance the other night. I like the idea of coming up with

numbers that are above rather than the opposite way. It is just a budget and you cannot pin it

down so it is better to underestimate the revenue and overestimate the expenses.

Mr. Black - but we are going to estimate our employment and expenditure decisions based on

that budget.

Mrs. Rubin - we need to get a little less conservative with our numbers so we don’t end up

cutting positions and then realize we didn’t need to.

Mrs. Stillman - that way we can make a decision based on number closer to what we truly think

we are going to end up with. If we know a project that was in the budget is not going to happen

then give us another budget and let us know that these costs are not going to occur. Again you

don’t want to make personnel cuts and then realize that the operations could have been cut rather

than cut personnel.

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Mrs. Rubin - we had 1.6 more in revenues. $750,000 was estate tax, which you can’t count on,

and our expenses were 734,000 less than we expected. There is your money we are off in your

next budget. In addition to what we need to cut we need to look at actual numbers and we need

some cushion in there.

Mr. Black - when we get to the end of this presentation my gut feel is how we raise taxes and I

don’t want to entertain that at all and I don’t think it is best thing for the citizens. I would rather

take a look at the little numbers and how we can do things more efficiently and cut these bloated

budgets to more realistic numbers. What we looked at was a five year forecast and 2012 wasn’t

too heinous, but 13, 14 and 15 did.

Mr. Kelley - the problem with the forecast is it is based on the same inflated numbers. If you

use realistic numbers you may not end up with much, if any, of a spending deficit in 2014. The

whole argument is how bad is it. We have budget lines laying there with cash in them there is no

way it is going to be spent. Mr. Chesar and Chief Neu has money laying in his accounts that he

isn’t going to spend. If you know you are not going to use those numbers why don’t you cut

back those numbers. I don’t care if we have 1.1 million or 7.1 I don’t see any reason than to set

a minimum. If we end up with twice the amount then we do. There is no sense waiting to plan

for a disaster next year.

Mr. Black - I would like to see based on our current number and our current trend how our

forecast looks like.

Mayor Routson - you still have to have a good cushion otherwise you will be coming to Council

asking for money.

Mrs. Stillman - if you don’t have a cushion you could end up with deficit spending.

Mr. Kelley - we do appropriations to the general fund throughout the year. If we come back and

we need to do an adjustment for a repair that wasn’t budgeted for. You bring an expenditure to

Council and we make an adjustment. We are still doing it on real time and real numbers not

inflated numbers. We put a good plan in place several years ago. Everyone was working with

real time numbers during fiscal emergency. Everyone understood what the problem was and

working with real time numbers.

Mr. Black - for all the consultant services for all funds we have estimated and budgeted 269,961

for this year. We have actually spent 78,000. Do you see that we spend close to 200,000 the rest

of the year? I can’t see that possible.

Mrs. Stillman we are half way through the year we should be able to pinpoint a little bit tighter

and a little more conservative.

Mr. Brock - you want to amend the appropriations down?

Mr. Black - do you think that would be the right thing to do?

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Mr. Brock - no because we have an appropriation level and it gives us the flexibility to do the

things we need to do.

Mr. Black - do we need 190,000 worth of consultant services for the rest of the year?

Mr. Brock - I would have to take a look at those numbers.

Mrs. Rubin - I think we are talking about the same direction in a way. The fact of the matter is

we have lost quite a bit of State funding and we have been running a surplus situation the last

couple of years. There is time to react. I caution that we do take a look at everything and make

some contingency plans but we are not in a panic mode right now.

Mr. Black - as our current working budget looks right now we are deficit spending from the

general fund.

Mrs. Rubin - when we were coming out of fiscal emergency we were trying to build a fund

balance we didn’t want to keep just building it and building. We need a target and I think we

can absorb a lot of the cuts. Going forward a lot of that funding is not coming back. We need to

still budget conservatively but we do need to have some extra money in there. We can budget

out for five years and we need to look at the next year or two and not spend down our fund

balance too much.

Mr. Black - the real numbers for resurfacing for streets is close to that $500,000 number. We

targeted the $500,000, but those are projects useful to our citizens. We have a good list of stuff

we are going to do. Some of the other stuff we are talking about like $400,000 in overtime and

we can see what we can do to cut that down.

Mr. Brock - as you look at these numbers here we did increase for that.

Mr. Black - if we were to change policy, if you have a brown out at night at the Main Street

Station and only run busses out of there to Mount Pleasant. I don’t know, but just using that as

an example. Like we are we sending an ambulance and fire truck to Mount Pleasant when

nothing is on fire there. It is little things like that. Those are things that the Public Safety

Committee can discuss.

Mayor Routson - streets are one of the programs we need to keep on top of. One of those

services that we could cut back on, but long term we still have to stay on top of it. We have

neighboring communities and you wonder how long they can let their streets go like this. The

businesses will look at the aesthetics of what we have here.

Mrs. Rubin - there are extra costs at deferring things all the time if you don’t keep up with the

maintenance.

Mr. Black - agreed we are talking about making things more business friendly and we have to

spend that money.

8

Mr. Kelley – Mrs. Waggaman how long will it take you to put together what you would be

comfortable as a realistic forecast of what our budget for the balance of this year and the coming

years would be.

Mrs. Waggaman - it would probably take a couple of days after you guys make a decision as to

what policies are driving it. The comments of unrealistic numbers in the budget. Last year was

a crazy year for us compared to other communities. If you look at 2009 revenue was under

projected by 1 million dollars. If you look at budget versus actual we budgeted a million dollars

more than what we took in. It was between 700,000 and 800,000 we under spent but the past

several years those are mostly due to positions that were not filled. Positions that were approved

to fill it is just taking Chief Homer longer to get dispatchers and police officers in here. I have to

use the numbers of what you have authorized we can spend. Just two months of not having an

employee can make a significant difference.

Mr. Black - that is why I put that spreadsheet together.

Mrs. Waggaman - we are half way through the year , but we don’t spend an equal amount

between the first a half and the second half. I would have to have a detailed conversation with

each department head of what they have left to do after you guys have made policy decisions.

Nobody wants to do less, but we have common sense and we know we are not going to do those

things that can be put off.

Mr. Kelley - the fact remains you have your first half income in.

Mrs. Waggaman - I think the revenue numbers are good. Those I have taken a look at and

updated probably four times since the beginning of the year with the State cuts and what we

brought in the first of the year. Mrs. Rubin had brought up that last year we got more in the first

half when I looked at the history it was bigger than the second half. I won’t know that figure

until September.

Mr. Kelley - you are talking about a chicken and the egg situation. I want to set a policy based

on a number and you want to set a number based on policy. One of us has to give.

Mrs. Waggaman - I just need to know what the minimum number is. We set a target last year at

retreat and then this retreat we reduced it to 3.2. I need to know do you want to keep it at 3.2 or

do you want to kick it up to 4 or go down to 2.

Mr. Kelley - I am not worried about that top number. I am looking for how much we can make

out of it. If you use Mr. Brock’s proposed budget it is 1.3 in unfilled positions and cuts he wants

to make and you use those provisions in your forecast. I would like to see where that ends up

with a more realistic number. If we have funds laying in accounts and we know we are not going

to use them because of the way things are going I would like for you to have those discussions

with the department heads and say I know you are not going to use these monies and put them

back in the general fund and see where we stand.

9

Mrs. Waggaman - They are not going to tell me. I just told Mrs. Stillman this and I am going to

be very frank with you. They don’t trust you. They do not trust that you aren’t going to throw

them cuts after they have offered up the bare bones minimum that they can operate on. They are

scared that you are going to say okay cut another 10% and then what do they do. Some

department heads will anticipate you cutting further so they won’t give up everything. They are

playing against each other so that is why we really need you guys to set the policy because they

are not going to give me the information.

Mr. Brock - they have read everything that is out there too.

Mr. Black - I think it is a philosophical difference between what I think we should be doing as a

city versus what the city thinks we should be doing as a city. I know our residents want us to do

more with less and the best job we can with their money. Not to start at a million dollar number

and start filling buckets with that. I cannot imagine working my house like that. What is the

best we can do with the money we are given. Without the bloated budgets and that is point blank

and period. I just think we are not doing a very good job with the money we are given.

Mrs. Waggaman - I think the department heads would ask why you think their budget is bloated.

I think they would all say they need exactly every penny that is in their budget. The things that

Mr. Chesar mentioned are things you said you wanted him to do. Him living up to his

expectation of what he thinks you want him to do, him deciding not to do it is a reality because

he knows we can’t afford it. In the same respect it also looks bad because he is not getting done

the things you want him to do.

Mayor Routson - I think I know this Council pretty well and if there is something that is not in

the budget that they have the need for I think we will say okay go ahead and pull it out of the

general fund and go ahead and take care of it. They want to keep stuff back just because they

think we won’t let them spend that kind of money? If there is a need no one here is going to say

no. They don’t need to have that fear. They need to trust us as much as we trust them.

Mr. Kelley - I can’t think of any reason why anyone would make the statements that you just

made. Because as memory serves we kicked back 1 million dollars to fix the clock tower if you

just build a new house and the roof came down you wouldn’t just throw in the money to fix and

say oh well. You have got other things that are happening around here with Then and Now

Certificates and the sewer has caved in. No one has told you not to fix that. No one has told

anybody in any department of why you can’t do that. We questioned the water survey about

what is the realistic goal of this thing and in the end they ended up getting it because it was

justified. It was a matter of communication. For a department head to tell you we are going to

pack rat money so we have it is ludicrous because we have not worked with department heads

like that when they have shown that it is legitimate, we can save money, or it will improve

services, streamline services. We invested in software that cost 10 times more than it should

because you are operating a municipality or you have to buy things that are overpriced because it

is attached to a government and it gets list price plus. I don’t think we have been unreasonable as

a Council.

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Mrs. Stillman - I think it is more human nature to have that caution so I appreciate that she is

putting out to us honestly. I don’t know if she has had conversations or if the department heads

have said this to her directly, but she is echoing what is happening in the hierarchy. Any

hierarchy in the world. That is the way it is. You re going to protect what you have the best that

you can.

Mr. Hickman - typically though you say hierarchy you are given a number work with it. That is

what we need to do.

Mrs. Stillman and Mrs. Waggaman - that is what they have done.

Mr. Black - but we haven’t adjusted last years. If you look at last year’s actual based on this

year’s budgeted it is incredibly different.

Mrs. Stillman - things change throughout the year. It is just like she was saying an example

being if they are told by us to do it. I can see where these guys could be between a rock and a

hard place we have to cut the budget and I trust that they know we have some serious issues

going on and some of them have been through fiscal emergency already. They also know that

Council told them to do this, so how am I going to do it. Now if they know we can’t do these

signs then Mr. Chesar can come forward and say to us this is what you told me do you want me

to reprioritize and do you want me to take it out of my budget and put that money back in the

general fund and I think that is the way it needs to be.

Mayor Routson - if there is something that we have directed them to do and they can take it out

of the budget to save us money then let’s take it out of the budget and revise it.

Mr. Kelley - it is hard for them to communicate that to us if they don’t come to the Council

meetings.

Mayor Routson - they can communicate that to us but I don’t think they have to be here all the

time. If we have a question or problem we can let Mr. Brock know we need them present at the

next meeting.

Mr. Kelley - I need them here at all the meetings until we get this budget issue worked out.

Mrs. Stillman - I think if the communication needs to be there then have them come forward and

say we can’t afford to do these things.

Mr. Brock - I can now look at the areas brought up by Mr. Black and report them back to you.

Not that these are the only areas that we need to look at.

Mr. Black - it is not only the big number in the budget it is also how we are spending our money.

You have $78,000 in office supplies for how many employees?

Mr. Brock - 115.

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Mr. Black - if we did a better job of our purchasing could we slash that number in half?

Mr. Brock - what do you mean by a better job in purchasing?

Mr. Black - I really hate to talk about office supplies. Can we do a better job with those funds? I

am going to say yes. It is taking a look at all of these charges. We are working on a budget and

those big numbers are made by these small numbers. These big numbers from 2011 are going to

be carried over to 2012 and we are going to add 3% on to fantasy.

Mrs. Waggaman - the forecast is built up from one year to the next and 2012 is going to be based

on actual for 2011.

Mr. Black - at the end of the day and when we left our last retreat we had an idea whether to

raise income taxes, throw another levy, or increase our revenue. I don’t think that is going to

happen.

Mrs. Waggaman - the reason that is brought up is because what the numbers that we are talking

you need a big change you cannot do it with operations. You need to make policy decisions on if

we are going to affect personnel or if we are going to try to get the revenue. Or like Mrs. Rubin

has mentioned if we are going to cut some service out maybe we should let the residents decide

if they want to pay for it or cut it out. I realize if you put it on November it will not pass I don’t

think anyone wants to put it on November.

Mr. Black - instead of looking at the big number, take a look at every fund that we have and

then if we can’t get to that big number and, I am not convinced that we can’t, then you look to

the voters. The very first thing in the survey and, I can’t tell you how disappointed I was and

that is just my thoughts, was income tax increase. Instead of looking at cutting this fund the first

priority was that. It just seemed to me that we were not taking a hard look at the real numbers.

Mr. Brock - it was just a perception and that was the first thing on the list. I understand that we

are looking at this versus that. It is obvious that you guys want to see cuts. I need to know

which area we want to concentrate on the list.

Mr. Kelley - there is not a single person that goes to the grocery store and picks up an item and

buys it regardless of the cost. Everybody has an idea of what things cost and they know what

they can spend. Citizens voting on those tax increases and whether deserved or undeserved the

perception is everything about government is bloated and wasteful. They are just going to throw

the money away because they don’t care what they spend our tax dollars on. If you show that

look we have got to prove that you were able to make cuts and working to be a good steward and

they agree to help. You had to do that first. When they finally get the message they are actually

doing what they are supposed to do then they are willing to help.

Mayor Routson - to be able to get an increase in our taxes we said okay we are going to do away

with this fire levy. The safety services is the largest part of that and if we can cut that in half we

would be in great shape, but that is not going to happen. We talk about a brown out and the

community is going to be up and arms. What they are closing one of our fire stations and we

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will have less service? Our squads run all day long and it is a great service for our community

and we need it. When it comes to a levy that would be the only way to go. I don’t see an income

tax increase at this point in time. We are more prepared than some of the other cities around us

and a safety levy would be the only thing we could get to pass and that is only if it was necessary

to say we are only going to have two officers on the road instead of three.

Mr. Black - I think we can get to our numbers by taking a look at our bloated budget. If we can’t

we give the voters the option if we are just going to brown out the Main Street fire station for a

certain period of time. I am just using this as an example and we will put it on the ballot and if

the voters don’t want to support it. I think we can get there without resorting to that.

Mrs. Stillman - I think that we can, but you brought up that we cut/slash back in fiscal

emergency. We were down to bare bones on operation and personnel. They got into the habit of

living that way for a few years. It isn’t like we went crazy on spending. Hopefully they can

prove that what I am saying is correct. I can’t imagine that they said we used to spend $30,000

on printing and now that we are out of fiscal emergency we are going to spend $100,000.

Mayor Routson there were some promises made that if we get out of fiscal emergency then this

will happen.

Mrs. Stillman - on the personnel side.

Mr. Black - that is our biggest expense.

Mrs. Waggaman - I think that graph I showed at the last retreat shows operating is flat other than

the legal expenses in the general fund, but personnel is where it is increased. We are still

operating back to where we were. Two years ago we cut budgets back.

Mrs. Rubin - the personnel went up because during fiscal emergency we didn’t have the number

of police officers and firefighters we should have had so that went up plus they went for several

years without a raise and so they got a little more later.

Mr. Black - we didn’t incur any increases and expenditures during that time.

Mrs. Rubin - our growth has happened since we came out of fiscal emergency.

Mr. Black - so using the 2005/2007 number I don’t think it applies and it is easier for me to say

because I wasn’t around for that. I hate to say this Bill but I know the City as a whole did a great

job, but what have you done for me lately.

Mr. Brock - I don’t look at this situation at all like when we were in fiscal emergency. We were

making decisions on the fly every day and we had no room to plan. Right now we have time to

plan and the direction is get the cuts made.

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Mr. Hickman - you sent out the survey is there any way you can go over these individually and

tell me how to save money? I could only rate them by importance if I knew the revenue that

would be generated.

Council adjourned temporarily at 10:27 am.

Council reconvened at 10:45 am.

Mr. Brock - obviously I need to know if there is any direction to study these things further or not.

We can get more information, but overall these are the things I put in the survey. I had three

areas that were long term. Lemon Township and the idea behind that is we have been sitting

here as a City supplying services to Lemon Township and Lemon Township going away is going

to be a cost. Is it going to be a policy of the City to merge or just let that dissolve with no

guarantees with contractual revenue. There is a big portion in the center of our City that would

go to Liberty Township and parts that would go to Madison Township. Us being where we are

and this is the reason why we accepted the revenue that we had. We would be providing services

to them anyway. We take what they give us because that is what we have or don’t take it and

provide services anyway. I would have to study what the levies would be and what kind of

income tax we would generate in those areas. There is going to be a lot of services in the

development department to bring those areas into compliance with our zoning code.

Mr. Black – do you know what the property tax increase be and the cost of studying the merger

would be?

Mr. Brock - no.

Mr. Black – the cost of providing additional services without return?

Mr. Brock - right now we get $428,000.

Mr. Black - do we know what we spend in Lemon Township?

Mr. Brock - in police and fire more than we receive. Street is pretty even. We end up spending

more in detective work because of the types of cases.

Chief Homer - we have more serious cases in Lemon Township. Even though it may only be a

case it may be disproportionate to the amount of time we are spending there.

Mr. Black - we would be spending the time regardless of whether we merged or not.

Chief Homer - something I have stood by with what I have said before - if we pull out of Lemon

Township, legally we are still going to be there. The County is not going to increase their

numbers. Mutual aid says we have to go. We might as well take what we can get.

Mr. Kelley - there are procedural differences between a township and a city. They do not use the

same fund accounting system we do correct?

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Mrs. Waggaman - no they do.

Mr. Kelley - don’t they have some differences in the way they operate that make it cheaper to

operate a township than it does a city?

Mrs. Waggaman - what makes it cheaper there are things they don’t have to have because they

use the county services. They don’t have to have an engineer, they don’t have to take care of

certain roads because they are county roads, they don’t have to have a police force because they

can use the sheriff. The zoning goes to the county. Their main source of revenue is property tax

and the local government fund and that is why they are getting hit so hard.

Mr. Black - it would be in the best interest of Lemon Township to merge with us anyway.

Mrs. Waggaman - I have not looked at their books. They were hurting before so I assume they

are hurting even more now. Because they are small they do not have the staff.

Mr. Kelley – are there any financial advantages to merging with the Township?

Mrs. Waggaman – the advantages would be income tax that we would collect from that area and

get whatever they are getting for gas tax and street levy.

Mr. Brock - we would need to look at the levies.

Mrs. Waggaman - they have a fire levy right now.

Mrs. Rubin - do you know what their inside millage is because it should all be coming to us now

and if they dissolved and went to other townships then we wouldn’t receive that.

Mr. Brock - it is about one because I encouraged them to capture that inside millage that they

could.

Mr. Black - is it a long term plan and one of the bigger benefits of a long term plan and one of

the elements of Lemon Township is the cost.

Mrs. Waggaman - the other advantage is having control in the future like the effect it would have

on the school district and what develops in the township.

Mr. Arthur - another large cost would be the upkeep of their streets. We have a contract with

them where we do minor maintenance like fill in potholes and snow and ice removal, but if we

took over the streets their streets are not in that good of shape since they haven’t had the money.

Mr. Black - is there something we had to do immediately?

Mr. Arthur - they are in pretty bad shape.

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Mrs. Waggaman - it would affect our population and median income and it could make us

eligible for more grants or turn away potential businesses looking for a higher level.

Mr. Black - how many people are in the Township right now?

Mr. Brock - approximately 2,000. It is something we will have to keep an eye on.

Mr. Black - is there a way to put a cost estimate together without spending additional money to

get that number.

Mr. Brock - yes.

Mrs. Stillman - wasn’t there also discussion at some point of laying over a new township?

Mr. Brock - that is the paper township idea.

Mrs. Stillman - any financial benefit to that?

Mr. Brock - it more affects our 10 mil and how much we can borrow. It has always been the

thought that it should be Liberty Township’s decision because they will have the need to borrow

before us. The last time we tried to do something like that politically it didn’t go over very well.

There are some things we would have to take a look at but it is not a big issue. We can start to

put some numbers together if Council wants us to look at that.

Mrs. Rubin - what I have seen is wrong there is only a year or two left of Lemon Township

financially. They had a fund balance but it has been coming down and down.

Mr. Black - what happens if they go into fiscal emergency?

Mrs. Rubin - they would probably dissolve so we have two years to figure out what is going to

happen. It wouldn’t hurt to look at it and have a plan.

Mr. Hickman - if it did happen the sheriff would patrol that area. I don’t see where that would

cost us. We might have to go occasionally.

Mayor Routson - it may not be police, but it is the fire and EMS.

Mr. Brock - we will be the first responders because it is basically a fire district that has been

established.

Mr. Hickman – is Middletown part of the mutual aid district?

Mayor Routson - how many runs do we make to Middletown just with our squad? I’m sure it is

four or five times a week.

Chief Neu - it is pretty reciprocal in what we are doing as well as with Liberty Township.

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Mr. Brock - on the police side the Chief has argued that the patrol there is not going to be very

good with the Sheriff and with us being the first responder.

Mrs. Stillman - so the Sheriff will take the call and make the decision not to do much knowing

we are going to be there anyway.

Chief Homer - the Sheriff is required by law to take calls not to patrol. I have already had

conversations with them and they are cut back to bare minimum now. If our officers need a

backup we either get Trenton or a deputy out of Liberty Township. There is only one deputy

running in Madison Township so there is no way he can be close by. Chances are about 90% of

the calls we will be the first responder. It is just the way mutual aid works. The Sheriff cannot

put extra people on.

Mrs. Stillman - so as Mrs. Rubin was saying this is something we need to look at, but if I was to

rank this now as to what we need to do in the next two to four months it is a lower ranking to put

out a few months.

Mr. Brock - the study will be are we going to merge to see how that affects us budgetarily and

how it will affect us if they just go away. The items that have upfront cost, such as non

emergency transport. This is where we are providing some of the transports being handled by

outside agencies now. If we have the staff or add additional staff it would hopefully give us

some revenue. Obviously these are from Mount Pleasant or retirement villages and would have

to be less than what they are paying now.

Mr. Black - along those lines I got an email from a resident talking about outside services versus

City employees specifically grass cutting in the park. Previously we used to pay to cut the grass

at the park the quote was $310 per week and now we are using three City employees once a

week maybe twice a week in the spring or fall. My guess is now it is costing more than $310 to

get that done with our employees and our equipment. We could look at some of that stuff as

some of the budget cutting options.

Mr. Brock - that is going to be easy to take a look at. A few years ago we argued several years

we do not have the resources and then at that time Brad Collins had put together some

information that said we could do it in house.

Mr. Black - wherever those opportunities lie I think we need to look at. I am going back to the

overtime number not doing that and outsourcing the City park that gives us more numbers in non

overtime. They are not spending the time cutting the grass they could be doing other things.

Mr. Brock - most of the overtime in the street department is salting and plowing.

Mr. Black - I just used it as an example. If we could look for those opportunities.

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Mr. Brock - we hope we can have a Public Works Committee to look at the level of services.

For example, cutting the salt budget in half. By cutting the salt budget in half we will be cutting

down the overtime but there is no way we are going to be cleaning the streets as well either.

Mr. Kelley - we talked a couple of years ago about hiring outside contractors. Some of these

lawn services have snow plows maybe we concentrate on main roads and we have contractors

concentrate on secondary or cul-de-sacs. There are ways you can keep the service and cut the

expense. We talked about it before and it was a viable idea but it never went any further.

Mr. Hickman - I wonder how much overtime is spent in Lemon Township plowing and snowing.

To me I think we are spending more money than we come close to getting. The citizens here

they want their streets maintained they don’t care about Lemon Township.

Mr. Brock - the revenue we receive from Lemon Township for streets is pretty even.

Mayor Routson - long term a portion may go to Madison and a portion to Liberty and a portion

may be annexed to the City of Monroe. If we don’t have some type of upkeep on it we may end

up having to take care of it anyway.

Mr. Brock - those conversations need to be had with the Trustees about what is going to happen.

Maybe have a joint meeting.

Getting back to non emergency transport is that an area you want us to study?

Mrs. Rubin - I think it would be a good thing so long as we do not have to buy new equipment.

Mr. Brock - part of the proposal would be we would have a smaller van and there would be some

upfront costs. May need some additional staff, but is that going to be offset.

Mr. Black - have we looked at actually contracting for ambulance services?

Mr. Hickman - Mount Pleasant I’m sure has a contract. Every nursing home has a contract.

Mrs. Rubin - if it is not a consultant cost study it wouldn’t hurt. We need to make sure we are

not going to cut our own people short.

Mr. Hickman - you wouldn’t need a paramedic on a non emergency transport. You are talking

about hiring an EMT? Earlier we were talking about staff cuts and now we are talking about

additional staff for something we don’t need.

Mr. Brock - the two cuts I targeted maybe we wouldn’t need if this would generate the revenue.

Mr. Hickman - are we into starting our own business here or taking care of the residents?

Mrs. Stillman - when we are talking about non emergency transport is that something we already

do or is something you are proposing as a revenue generator and what does it include.

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Mr. Brock - a revenue generator.

Mrs. Hale - Chief Neu, does a fire truck have to go on every call out?

Chief Neu the only thing we send them out on is when we are dispatched for heart attacks,

strokes, ALS runs. We cut way back on what we send them on. Due to the nature of our

protocol it takes more than two people to do that. We cut 60% or better that I am sending the

trucks on now. I am looking at how we can cut that more. The fire truck goes because we

maintain our manpower that we run two people on an engine and if I take one person off that

engine and put them in a pickup truck to go with a squad to assist them then that engine only has

one person on it and it takes the engine out of service. That is why the fire truck goes on those

runs. I don’t have the manpower to break one person off and shut that engine down.

Mrs. Hale - why do to the firefighters have to go if it is a non emergency call?

Chief Neu - we are not taking any non emergency calls everything we take is an emergency. We

will get called for difficulty breathing, non responsive, low blood suga,r that kind of stuff. On a

diabetic person - is that person combative? We probably make 40 or 50 runs to one person alone

that is very combative and we have police officers there that have to hold that person down and

hand cuff them to start an iv.

Mayor Routson - the services you are talking about that how many cases are an emergency or

they just need to be transported to be looked at.

Chief Neu - we are not getting those calls for just transporting. That is not what we are getting.

If we get a call to just transport under Medicare regulations we can’t bill those people for that.

The services Mr. Brock is talking about is when someone needs to go to the doctor’s office or

she needs to go to the hospital to have an x-ray or for some type of testing. We would stay there

and bring that person home. That is the non emergency situations he is talking about. The

prescheduled type of stuff not the stuff that comes up at the need of now.

Mrs. Stillman - I like the idea. I don’t know where it came from. I don’t know if we have time

right now to spend on something that may not be a revenue generator.

Chief Neu - Mr. Hickman brought up the point that most of the nursing homes have contracts.

There are parent companies that have four or five nursing homes that they concentrate on. There

is big money in it but you have to be on the inside. I would imagine Ohio Presbyterian has a

contract that covers all of their facilities.

Mr. Black - do we have a transportation license fee? Do we charge a business license fee for that

kind of operation?

Mr. Brock - no.

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Mrs. Rubin - if you had an EMT that was basically doing the transport you could send that EMT

rather than sending someone from the fire truck if you didn’t have a scheduled pickup.

Mr. Brock - it is all about staffing.

Chief Neu - the State law requires that any time we get an emergency call we send at least two

EMT or paramedics.

Mrs. Rubin - if you have the service where you have scheduled pickups and you get a call and

you don’t have anyone scheduled for the next four hours to pick up you can send that EMT.

Mr. Black - can you define run for me? Is that at the initiation of the run or at the end point

destination?

Chief Neu - it is at the time they start performing services in that unit. They can start medical

care, but they can’t do nothing with them.

Mr. Black - as long as the EMT gets there they don’t have to be on the same vehicle. You can

schedule that out. If we were to use Main Street firehouse for the primary location because that

is where most of our emergency medical runs are the EMT sitting at the Main Street can meet

them there.

Mrs. Rubin - I think you should look into it.

Mr. Hickman - absolutely not. You would have a contract for 10 or 15 homes. Some days you

may have more than they can do and some days you may not have any. I’m not sure where we

are going with that.

Mayor Routson - I don’t know what it would cost to look into it, but if you had more

information it may help us make a decision on that.

Mr. Hickman - you may have four residents that have to be at the doctor at four different times.

The facility may have their own bus and they may be able to take people in wheelchairs. You

can’t run one ambulette and think you are going to make some money on it because you are not.

Mrs. Stillman – I appreciate the idea, but agreed that it should not be looked at now.

Mr. Brock - the other idea is a solar farm behind the fire station on Route 4. It would take a

consultant to study the idea.

Mr. Black - and an incredible amount of upfront money with a 15 year payback. I am going with

no.

Mrs. Stillman – I feel it is over rated including wind farms.

Mr. Brock - reduce salt purchase and plowing we can push that off to discussion in committee.

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Elimination of Mayor’s Court was also a recommendation of the performance audit.

Mr. Black - why didn’t we eliminate it then?

Mr. Brock - Council didn’t want to. It was a service provided to our citizens as well as the cost

of sending officers to court more often. The more often you have to send them to an outside

court the cost is more.

Mrs. Rubin - at the time of sending the officers and creating the overtime was not cost effective.

What does the Court cost us?

Mrs. Waggaman - last year the Court brought in 209,000 to the general fund and we have one

employee and the magistrate.

Mr. Black - why was it a recommendation from the performance audit?

Mr. Brock - there was a political push at that time.

Mrs. Rubin - once we get rid of it we can’t get it back.

Mayor Routson - we decided to keep it and we were generating income well above the cost. As

long as we are generating enough income to support it then keep it.

Mrs. Waggaman - last year we spent out of the Mayor’s Court $74,000 and $86,500 was

budgeted this year.

Mr. Brock - Combined dispatch. You have a budget analysis sheet of the initial review the Chief

did it works up about a $50,000 savings assuming we could get someone to take it over. Chief

one of the numbers in conversation with the sheriff’s office was about 14.00 per call and we take

24,000 calls. Middletown looked at us as a cash cow and were talking $200,000 to $250,000 per

year and we are not going to add any more people we can absorb your calls. I’m sorry that is not

acceptable to me. I know how busy my dispatchers get. That was exactly what they were going

to do and it is an unacceptable agreement.

Mr. Hickman - everything goes through Middletown first?

Chief Homer - the E-9-1-1 does and the majority comes through the 539-9234 number. The 9-1-

1 may go through Hamilton County or Warren County. It depends on where you are calling

from. It is whatever tower it hits. When I first came to this department I came from Hamilton

County, which primarily works for a unified system, as well as, Clermont County. I came here

and thought it was a big waste of money and there is not a great savings to get rid of it and it is a

service to the residents of the City. Closing the City at 5 pm in a City of 12,000 residents is

unacceptable and it is a disservice to the citizens. We are a 24/7 and 365 facility.

Mr. Black - have you looked at your staffing levels and are they appropriate?

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Chief Homer - I have been pushing for two at every shift and we are going to be dropping

backwards through attrition. We are not going to replace one we will lose through retirement.

Mr. Black - we should indeed invoke a hiring freeze. Any positions that become vacant remain

vacant. Can we make that the thing of the day?

Mrs. Rubin - I think there will be some that may need to be replaced if they become vacant.

Mr. Black - I think at least we should be consulted if there is a true need for replacement.

Mrs. Stillman - for how long?

Mayor Routson - I think the department heads would have to justify to Mr. Brock the need.

Mr. Hickman - you should come to Council before hiring if you don’t do that what happens if the

budget is not corrected and there is more cuts and you just hired someone. They quit a job and

then you will have to lay them off.

Mr. Black - it gives us the ability to evaluate the budget and if we truly need to have that person

we can all come to an agreement on it. At the end of the day City Council gets the accolades for

it or the blame if the budget is in the tank.

Mrs. Stillman - Mr. Brock haven’t you been telling us anyway when department heads wanted to

fill those positions?

Mr. Black - if we do see retirements and resignations we can do it for the rest of the year.

Mrs. Rubin - no hires unless you come to Council. I think even going forward into next year we

should revisit it. I would rather see people leaving through attrition rather than cuts. We should

revisit for next year.

Mr. Black - we have a budget number we can take a look at it if we don’t incur any more costs

by the employment of an individual that is a good thing.

Mr. Brock - no interest at this time to eliminate dispatch? In my discussions with other City

Managers there is a true effort to combine dispatch.

Mr. Hickman - I think we should leave it open.

Mrs. Stillman - in your write up you did put in here that West Chester is not interested but may

change after they hire a communications director.

Mr. Brock – I have that conversation with their Administrator quite often.

Mr. Brock - outsourcing or providing services for our income tax services.

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Mr. Black - is the need all year round?

Mr. Brock - it is staffed at three now, but one of the employees is going to take over the duties of

the Finance Specialist.

Mrs. Waggaman - they stay busy through the year. We did a presentation where I laid out the

calendar of what they do each month. Their busiest time is the first quarter of the year where

they get a lot of walk ins and they work on delinquents and the estimates. Just monitoring

payment plans and attending Mayor’s Court. They really need the three they are running

efficiently with three they are still very understaffed if you compare with other jurisdictions.

Now we are taking some of that away because we are understaffed in other areas.

Mr. Brock - there may be an interest in providing tax services to other areas.

Mrs. Rubin - it might get them the extra half person that they need.

Mr. Brock - there would be a service fee for collecting. One of the other items is should we start

charging a small fee where we actually do their forms for them?

Tracy Vanderman, Income Tax Commissioner, advised they have approximately 800 people that

week. It starts in February.

Mr. Brock - is that an area where Council wants to charge a small fee for that?

Mrs. Waggaman - is the idea do you really want the people coming in. We audit the returns

anyway so they would rather have people coming in if they need additional information.

Mrs. Stillman - I do not see it as much of a revenue generator.

Mr. Brock - Part time police and part time fire.

Mr. Black - one of the items of recommendation in 2005 was recommending that we utilize more

part time police officers. Would that also combat some of our overtime charges?

Chief Homer - yes it would. Is it the best answer? I don’t think so. You have to remember that

overtime is short term demand. If it is preplanned we rearrange schedules. You can’t call a part

time person in to handle a case an hour before an officer’s shift ended. You can’t call a part time

officer in to go to court for an officer that worked a case.

Mr. Black - but if you were to shorten the maximum amount of hours for overtime, if you

shorten that scheduled time and utilize more part time officers for those emergencies. If you

scheduled their normal hours shorter before you starting using overtime hours. If there was an

emergency where we had to bring in that would be charged as overtime. Would adding more

people save us more money?

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Chief Homer - looking at it that way yes, but part time police officers don’t sit in their living

room waiting to be called in.

Mr. Hickman - in the nursing field we have PRNs that get paid a little more because they are

always on call. They are called in when needed. If you have a call you call them first and you

don’t have to pay overtime.

Chief Homer - in police, I could have a part time that is fresh out of the academy that wants to be

full time and wants those hours and then you have those part-timers where he likes the hours but

we can’t get them to come in on short notice because they work another job. Sometimes they

don’t want to make the arrest because they don’t want to go to court.

Mayor Routson - if vacations are coming up can you fill it with part time. They may not be as

productive. It isn’t all about writing tickets it is the relationship with the residents and PR is as

important as filling up Mayor’s Court.

Mr. Hickman - I want to make sure we don’t eliminate full time jobs by using part timers. I

would like to see that we keep the full time positions in police and fire. I believe it will all work

out through attrition. The part time is going to want a couple of a days a week. If you can find

what I call PRNs maybe work with Trenton, West Chester, and places like that you can find

someone in the area that will create a pool.

Mayor Routson - up until we went to a full time police department, approximately 15 years ago,

we staffed all part time.

Mr. Brock - we had an association for the fire department and we had volunteers and paid oncall.

Mr. Black - I think what the Mayor is talking about is what the citizens need. That is the reason

we take on the health benefits and life and I know we are getting service out of the full time

dedicated employees that we have.

Mr. Brock - I think it is important still to take a look at some of this scheduling.

Mr. Hickman - if in the end that is what we have to do.

Mr. Brock - we want to get the Safety Committee up to speed on the departments.

Mr. Black - I think there is a way to chop at the overtime. That is a big chunk of money.

Mr. Hickman – Chief Homer I think you should start a pool up n the Butler County area.

Chief Homer - I like the idea. It would interesting to try to venture into it and every department

has different rules and everyone has city ordinances so there would be some difficulties there. It

is interesting.

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Mr. Hickman - honestly it would be a great thing for all of the communities that are in this shape

right now.

Mr. Kelley - they pool teachers as well.

Mr. Brock - outsourcing the fire department and should we go back to an association? I have

said many times it was poor planning on bringing the fire department in. There was a

misunderstanding on what the cost would be and that was the biggest asset of how we got into

fiscal emergency. There is an area of discussion here. Some of this is regional and discussion

with other jurisdictions to see if some of this makes sense. We could discuss with the Public

Safety Committee to see if it would make sense.

Mr. Black - taking the exercise to look at the numbers is not a bad idea, but I have to defer to

what the Mayor said in I would hate to consider outsourcing fire unless we get close to those

numbers again where it looks like we cannot support it. If we need to utilize more part timers

maybe that is something we should look at also.

Mrs. Stillman - so doing a blend?

Mr. Black - looking at the numbers is the right thing to do, but making a decision based on that

number I would be hard pressed to outsourcing our fire.

Mrs. Stillman - also another negative to it I was looking to see if you had it in your analysis the

effect of bringing in new business. I want to be careful we do not affect the insurance rating for

fire. When a business is looking to locate is that something that would have a negative effect?

Mr. Brock - that would be part of the study. It is not an easy process and there are a lot of areas

to explore. Political will and cooperation would have to be there. It is one of those long term

types of things.

Council adjourned the meeting for lunch at 12:01 pm.

Council reconvened at 12:47 pm.

Mr. Brock – Layoffs. We have touched on those overall. Obviously what we can do to prevent

those you want to see everything possible done to prevent those.

Mr. Black – everything possible besides tax increases.

Mr. Hickman - you will have to look at a lot of different things. It is possible you can even take

people down to four days per week. We need to think outside the box.

Mr. Brock - we are lean and providing the services now, how is that going to affect the services

that we are providing. Whether you reduce the threshold down to four days a week.

Mr. Hickman - you have to do what you have to do.

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Mr. Kelley - there are ways to make it a benefit for the employees too. If you are going to use 40

hours as a threshold there are some things that you could do.

Mayor Routson - one thing we can do in some areas is put people on salary.

Mr. Brock - there are laws in the Fair Labor Standards Act that there are those types of

employees that can be put on salary and cannot be. I think we have those people in those

positions.

Mr. Black – what about Delbert Playforth?

Mr. Brock – Mr. Playforth union employee.

Mr. Hickman - according to the paper he is the Water Superintendent.

Mr. Brock - he is acting as the Superintendent.

Mr. Hickman - well you give him the title and he is working the overtime. His position as

Superintendent should be salary. If a Superintendent is making overtime I see that as a problem.

Mr. Black - this is outside the general fund, but I am looking at the overall. You are going to

argue that individual funds can’t be used for other items. What was Mr. Playforth before? Do

we need a Superintendent or do we need a Crew Leader?

Mr. Brock - we don’t need anything at all if we get rid of the water department.

Mr. Black - we are still going to have distribution. Those Superintendent’s duties are handled by

the Director.

Mr. Arthur - we are looking at that and they have specific hours built into their contracts for the

guaranteed overtime with the plant. We alternate that between two people to take care of the

plant.

Mr. Brock - if you get called out there is a three hour minimum on a call out.

Mr. Arthur - but they come in on Saturdays and Sundays and in the evenings to check the plant.

Mr. Brock - they are not getting paid the minimum three hours for those calls.

Mr. Arthur - during the week they are charged an hour during the evenings.

Mr. Black - are those night time hours being pulled from their regular hours?

Mr. Arthur - no.

26

Mr. Black - why.

Mr. Arthur - because they are over distribution and the water plant and they use up all their hours

during the day with call outs and they are busy all day and they have to check the plant in the

evenings.

Mr. Black - is this a result of our system breaking down in the water plant or is this something

normal we have always done?

Mr. Arthur - it is something we have always done. Some cities staff around the clock. Hamilton

we didn’t staff around the clock, but we just paid them an hourly basis.

Mrs. Rubin - would it help to stagger their hours?

Mr. Kelley - like one week one guy can start at noon.

Mr. Arthur - there is only four guys in the department to cover everything.

Mr. Kelley - if you have a guy coming in you are still going to have four guys in for a good part

of the day they are just not all going to come in at 7:00 am. You have something is broke where

someone is going to be working you have people that can work on straight time.

Mayor Routson - so you can run people from 7 to 3:30 and two people starting at 10.

Mr. Black - this is one example as to how we can reduce the overtime.

Mr. Brock - we can get into more detail in committee.

Mr. Black - have we scheduled a committee meeting yet? Mr. Black requested that the Clerk of

Council schedule this meeting.

Mr. Brock - we can take a look at the full time threshold which is set at 40 hours, which is what

you have to have to receive benefits. If you reduce your staff then you become part time.

Mr. Hickman - if you reduce it to 32 hours then you could save 8 hours per week.

Mrs. Rubin - there may be people that would actually work 32 hours the question is if you can

actually get everything done in 32 hours. I would guess there would be people who would like

to work 32 hours. You could give people the option you don’t cut all them back to 4 days and

we could stagger them or everyone could take one day per month and they have an extra free day

off.

Mayor Routson - some of these suggestions are coming from staff. Everyone is concerned with

not only the budget but also with their jobs. I would challenge them to come to each department

head and say here is an idea we can cut costs. The important thing for us to say it is easy for us

to look in and these people know where they can make cuts.

27

Mr. Kelley - if you have an employee that provides a suggestion say $100,000 in savings, give

them $1,000 for the added savings. If someone offers some real money you could give them

some extra vacation or some benefit.

Mr. Hickman - it would have to be a significant savings.

Mr. Brock - how much savings would you have to generate it?

Mr. Black - it isn’t the big things it is all the little things.

Mrs. Stillman - I would suggest that someone take this aside and set some parameters. We need

to think this through. Who is going to decide which individual turned it in first and if it was a

good idea.

Mr. Black - some people need to be exempt from that structure.

Mrs. Stillman - someone had mentioned the processes on the staff is doing. We were talking

about changing up schedules. Is there certain things that they can only do on certain days of the

week at certain times of the day?

Mr. Brock - the idea of reducing full time and furloughs, it would give the department heads the

flexibility. Furloughs would be something Council would set and have the flexibility of reducing

the full time threshold. If you are giving the department heads the flexibility of staff you could

go at a reduced schedule, but I have a little more flexibility with the schedule. Take a look at the

front desk. You still want to have someone out there.

Mr. Hickman - if we are going to reduce it.

Mrs. Rubin - each department will have to take a look at it to see where they could do it. I would

like to see it on a volunteer basis to begin with. If we need it then we will have to set it.

Mr. Brock - you have two items reduce the threshold like a clerical position to only four days a

week.

Mr. Kelley - the safest way is a secretarial pool.

Mr. Black - is there certain things about the administrative in the fire department that are the

same in the police department? Is there knowledge about each that department that is unique?

Mr. Brock - I have started discussion with Mrs. Waggaman and Mr. Chesar about merging their

departments and discussions with both Chiefs because both of their clerical positions will be

gone. We have to take a look at what is specific to the areas.

Mr. Black - regardless if there is a pool you still have individual talents.

28

Mr. Brock - I am confident with the staff that they can cross train.

Mr. Black - so long as that is sufficient.

Mr. Brock - wage freeze is a no brainer.

Mr. Hickman - it could be we need to reduce wages.

Mr. Black - I think wage freeze is a good start and that only applies to non bargaining

employees.

Mr. Brock - correct.

Mrs. Hale - what does it cost to process a new employee?

Mr. Brock - that depends on the employee. It is a lot different for firefighter or police officer or

clerical. Some of the positions we have to give testing some are just an interview process.

Firefighters have physicals, psychological, and a department head is the cost of advertising.

Mrs. Stillman - are you talking the wage and/or step?

Mr. Brock - partly in negotiated areas we are talking about the step. In the administrative areas

you haven’t given COLA’s and the merit increase continues but limited to two percent.

Obviously you talk about wage freeze you want to freeze both, but that is not the current

direction for the negotiations. That is taking into account in the budget.

Mr. Black - that statement will hold true for the next 17 months. Wage freezes would be through

2012?

Mr. Brock – yes.

Mr. Black - Health insurance.

Mr. Brock - the health insurance plan design we will be looking at a different plan perhaps an

HSA, which could provide up to a 300,000 savings to the City. We will work with staff to

continue with that plan design. We talked about spousal carve out which was a sticking point in

negotiations. It is a significant savings but doesn’t appear we will get that.

Mr. Black - is that already in place with non union employees?

Mr. Brock - you have the ability to do so.

Mr. Black - spousal carve out means if the spouse’s employer offers insurance they have to take

that.

Mrs. Stillman - you are looking at a savings of what?

29

Mr. Hickman - it is probably something we shouldn’t talk about at this point while negotiations

are going on. We were trying to keep things fairly the same between union and non union.

Mrs. Stillman - I hesitated on the wage freeze. I am concerned about an inequality in benefits

and wages whether you are bargaining or non bargaining.

Mrs. Rubin - if you have a family plan and one spouse works for Monroe and one works for

Hamilton and they each take a single policy. Wouldn’t that be more expensive overall for the

employee than having one family plan?

Mr. Brock - we are subsidizing other employers.

Mrs. Stillman - the amount they would pay here is a lot less than they would pay at a nongovernmental

job. What if I worked for the City of Monroe and my husband worked for a

private sector. His premium would be a lot higher. You have a savings of $120,000 but that

includes union and non union.

Mrs. Rubin - maybe they can just contribute the difference.

Mrs. Stillman - I looked through taking it through the City of Monroe and it is significantly less

premium.

Mr. Brock - the savings between family to employee plus child is about an 884 dollar savings for

the employee.

Mrs. Rubin - some businesses pay the entire amount or some pay 50% or some you have to buy

it outright.

Mrs. Stillman - like Macys the percentage premium paid by the company is not nearly as high as

the percentage paid by the City of Monroe.

Mrs. Rubin - maybe rather than saying they couldn’t take it they could just pay the difference in

the cost of the premium and it still might be less expensive. It’s probably not as bad as a second

insurance.

Mr. Brock - the savings from a family plan to employee plus children is $4,600 savings for the

City. It is a savings of $884 for the employee.

Mr. Hickman - most companies are doing it. Bottom line is we are going to have to do what we

can to balance the budget.

Mrs. Stillman – as far as I am concerned this is stickier than a wage.

Mrs. Rubin – so if the spouse is working and they have to pay another 400 per month or they

could pay 1,200 per year to us for bumping it up.

30

Mr. Brock – with dispatch they are negotiating to have the option to pay the difference to bump

it up and pay the difference.

Mrs. Rubin - that would be okay with me that would save on us, but not put too much of a

burden on the employee.

Mr. Black - non union health care per month is $52.70 for single and $162.68 for family. $110

price difference from single to family.

Mrs. Stillman - that is really cheap.

Mr. Black - did you find out the savings for just the non union group?

Mr. Brock - that is $43,000.00. That includes three of them that will not be here next year. I am

not sure if all of them would fit into that category to be significant enough to go off of ours.

Mrs. Stillman - I am very leery of changing this. I am looking for savings and there is a point

where there is a human factor also. Whether you have a job or not or you pay more premiums,

but what is the amount of premium already being paid?

Mr. Brock - let us get a better plan design of what those numbers are going to be next year.

Right now they are responsible for the first $2,000 for family and we contribute $2,000. We

contribute $165,000 in deductibles. We have spent about $130,000 of it, so far. As we develop

the deductible levels we can see what the savings is. If we still want to make those contributions.

We can defer this conversation until we have a better idea what those figures are going to be.

Mayor Routson - I agree with that and there may be a point in time we need to look at it again.

Mr. Brock - we have been talking to our broker and looking at numbers. Health insurance for

such a small group we don’t get the bids until later in the year.

Mr. Hickman - the Law Director is his insurance paid for like with everything it is over $10,000.

Mr. Brock - he pays 20%.

Mr. Hickman - is he able to get insurance through Miamisburg?

Mr. Brock - I do not know he is not my employee.

Mr. Black - it is a good question to ask does he really need it or is he just getting double covered.

Mr. Hickman - he is making $43,000 annual salary.

Mayor Routson - two years ago he asked for a couple of things and we voted on and I think he

only has single insurance.

31

Mr. Brock - he has family.

Mr. Hickman - his wife is the City Manager of Carlisle.

Mr. Black - she could probably get insurance. Let’s talk to him about it to see if it is really a

need.

Mr. Hickman - right there is $10,000.

Mr. Brock - the other area of benefit reduction comes with the other insurance, dental, vision,

short term disability, and life to the employees. You have been provided an update to those

numbers.

Mr. Black - I don’t see any harm in asking for employee contribution because the expense is

almost nothing. Whether or not that is just budget cutting or not it doesn’t come free and it

hasn’t come free for me in 15 years. I’m not saying that just because I am not getting it for free

no one else should I am just saying it is common practice. I don’t think it will cause a hardship

to anyone.

Mrs. Hale - what is the amount of the life insurance policy for employees?

Mr. Brock - $25,000.

Mrs. Hale - does that decrease with age?

Mrs. Wasson - yes the amount decreases at 65 and 70. I believe at 65 it goes to around 12 or

13,000.

Mr. Kelley - in the interest of all this he needs to have 1.7 million dollars by the first meeting in

October. He has 1.3 and he needs another $400,000. Let him do his job instead of

micromanaging. I wanted to see cuts. I wanted to see jobs protected. Everyone wanted to see

jobs protected. Is there anyone’s concern that have not been addressed? We could sit and talk

about this all day long and it is Mr. Brock’s decision making and if he doesn’t make it we will

find someone who can.

Mrs. Stillman – Mr. Brock we have hit a lot of the big things and I don’t want to put you in a bad

position. Are you looking for direction from Council on any other topics.

Mr. Brock - obviously on health insurance we need more information. I have had a lot of

flexibility in hitting a number and I think I can continue to do that given the parameters.

Mrs. Stillman - I am concerned that you have the big ones and there were a few that we

discussed I don’t want you to be in a bad place. I would rather get that talk done now.

Mr. Hickman - he is still going to have to come up with a plan.

32

Mr. Kelley - legislation is ready by that first meeting in October. Lora I say October 1st so we

have time to review it.

Mr. Brock - you want cuts that affect this year’s budget?

Mrs. Rubin - you are already doing that. We ought to do the 32 hour per week right away. I am

not as concerned as the amount of cuts it is the amount of the fund balance that we maintain.

Mr. Black - we can take a hard look at costs. I’m not saying that we should be bleeding, but if

there is something we can get rid of now and budget better why not do it anyway.

Mrs. Rubin - we need to look at the bottom line rather than how much we are cutting. We can’t

afford to take it down to 3 million carry over.

Mr. Kelley - if you put cuts in place until the five year forecast permits and it is going to better

for him to put in those cuts now. The 1.7 allows us to keep 3.2 million fund balance.

Mrs. Rubin - that is more my concern is what is the dollar number.

Mr. Kelley - if he goes for more savings then the fund balance increases more if he has capital

improvements that he wants to take care of.

Mr. Black - every dollar that we spend is more interest in our account. There is no reason not to

make as many cuts as we can. It is just going to make that interest generate a whole lot better.

Mrs. Stillman – let’s make us lean, efficient, functioning.

Mayor Routson - if there is something Mr. Brock needs to make a decision that he needs

direction from us he can do it at a Council meeting.

Mr. Brock - over all if you look at the minor items you need to have discussion on the impact

fees, beer sales, CIC funding, building services funding, the other areas can be handled in

committee.

Mr. Hickman – I don’t think the City should be funding the CIC. Anyone disagree with that?

Mrs. Stillman - I am not going to sit and say yea or nay I think it needs to be discussed.

Mrs. Rubin - when that got going there was funding that came from one of the developers. CIC

has not spent all the funding for it this year and don’t intend to. We are looking at revenue

generating things so CIC can be self sustaining. We don’t want to spend the grant money down.

Mrs. Stillman - does the City now contribute to that?

33

Mrs. Rubin - the City has the money for that and has been giving it to the CIC over the last

several years. I don’t think there is a separate fund set up for that.

Mr. Brock - there were two development agreements from Vandercar and IDI and that money

has been set aside to help the CIC. We have not come close to spending $250,000 not even half

of that.

Mrs. Rubin - the money has been spent to improve landscaping around businesses. That type of

thing. To make the City look nicer and help bring some jobs in.

Mr. Kelley - we brought in three white collar engineering jobs in an area that hasn’t been used

forever and has potential to expand and create more jobs.

Mrs. Rubin - a lot of it is matching grants. There was one where we spent 5 and they put in 90. I

don’t think we will be asking for more money in the near future until we figure out what we are

going to do. We did three rounds of grants and we didn’t fund very many of them this last time

and we are not feeling like some of the proposals are giving that much benefit to the City.

Mrs. Stillman - on the analysis worksheet it does say the City has generously donated funds and

the reduction or elimination could be $80,000. Then you get behind the scenes information it is

a little bit more information. Is the money going from the City to the CIC in 2011 – 2012?

Mrs. Rubin - no more in this year I don’t see anything next year at the moment. We still have a

carryover balance.

Mrs. Waggaman - on the City’s financial is an open purchase order to the CIC that is the amount

that Council has funded and they just draw down on that. You will see it encumbered under

development in the future because that is the only way to set that aside.

Mrs. Rubin - I am not asking you to take our money but I am not asking for any more.

Mr. Hickman - the CIC, while we are going through hard times, there should not be another dime

spent.

Mrs. Rubin - I think we have an obligation to spend that money on community improvement

whether it is through the CIC or not. That was part of the agreement with the money.

Mrs. Stillman - when the money was given by the developers that was the agreement with the

money.

Mr. Brock - I will have to look at the agreement.

Mrs. Stillman - I think we have an obligation to have it spent that way.

Mr. Kelley - there have been 20 to 30 projects turned away because they didn’t create jobs.

34

Mr. Black - when does it close?

Mrs. Waggaman - it stays open and carry’s over until it is exhausted.

Mr. Black - is there any issue in closing it?

Mrs. Waggaman - the only issue in closing it then you are saying to the CIC you have to come

back and request additional money and we may not approve that. Once that purchase order is

closed the money is released back to the general fund. The CIC has their own checking account.

Mr. Black - how much money is in the account right now?

Mr. Chesar - $157,000. We haven’t pulled more than 50 or 60,000 of it. In the CIC’s bank

account there is not much because we just left it in the City’s account until we have a purpose for

it.

Mrs. Rubin - when we give a grant and need the money we tell the City we need that money. It

is earning interest in the City’s account.

Mr. Chesar - we don’t have an interest in pulling it out and let it sit in the CIC’s account.

Mr. Black - what if we close that.

Mrs. Rubin - if we close it we basically shut down.

Mr. Black - is there an amount that the CIC is interested in holding on to?

Mrs. Rubin - with the money that is in there we are trying to look at revenue generating ideas

like looking for a building and renting it out so the CIC becomes self sustaining. Once we go

through that $250,000 we are asking the City for money and we would rather not do that. We

don’t spend 1,000 on operations. We are not anticipating any grants right now.

Mr. Hickman - they don’t want to make the cut because they make not get the money back.

Would I rather give my money for someone to put shrubs out front or get my road paved?

Mr. Brock - I have to check the agreement to see what exactly it was earmarked for.

Mr. Kelley - you are using those funds to help spur development in the City. The CIC was

designated as a development mechanism for the City.

Mrs. Rubin - the thing that he CIC can do that the City cannot is revenue generating so it is self

sustaining. Instead of saying we need to take it out of tax dollars that it is money the CIC is

using its own money.

Mayor Routson - I think they are doing a great job I don’t think we need to put any restrictions

on it.

35

Mr. Kelley - if is Councils decision to stop funding the CIC then it is.

Mr. Black - when we see a resolution authorizing a Then-and-Now Certificate can we get a

standardized block if it was budgeted, new expenditure, over or under, and how it affects the

balance? Without having that information I have no idea if we are spending the budget into the

ground.

Mr. Brock - if they were not in the budget that would be included with another piece of

legislation increasing the appropriations. We can get you more information. If we bring an

expenditure that money is in the budget. If not, we bring another piece of legislation to amend

the appropriations.

Mr. Hickman - you have beer sales what is that about?

Mr. Brock - it is one of those items that was brought up.

Mr. Black - the voters have already spoken there is no reason to bring that up.

Mr. Hickman - that is the way it should stand.

Mr. Hickman - Legal fees. Where is that money going to come from?

Mr. Brock - in the general fund I have $300,000 built in for SunCoke because that has been our

average. It does not include union negotiations or employee issues.

Mr. Hickman - that doesn’t include the Law Director’s salary?

Mr. Brock - Law Director’s salary is personal services.

Mr. Black - there are other buckets of legal expenses.

Mr. Brock - we had union negotiations, fighting an EEOC complaint, and grievances.

Mr. Hickman - are you going to be able to go back and come back with a balanced budget in

October?

Mr. Brock - yes. Part of what I got out of today was there is a lot going on in the past I have set

up budgets and we come in under that budget. This year there were cuts that had to be made and

each one of you think are appropriate or disappropriate. I am just trying to get some kind of

idea. I am not going to specifically say some of those items are in there. I am not going to come

back with a specific number for supplies and materials and now I know what questions will be

coming.

36

Mr. Kelley - have you ever heard of a municipality having legislation where we are not going to

create deficit spending if we have a resolution or ordinance we have a fund balance that it takes a

unanimous vote to be able approve.

Mrs. Waggaman - the closest thing is like a fund balance policy that if you go below your

targeted fund balance policy you take the next course of action.

Mr. Black - can we take a look at a policy. That would go a long way to sending an alarm to us

a little bit earlier. It is not a trust issue it is just a realizing where we are at issue.

Mr. Brock - I think we can work with the revenue numbers that will not take us down to 3.2. I

am going to look at the department heads and here is your pot of money and work with it the best

you can.

Mr. Kelley - you are looking at a presentation by the second meeting in September and

legislation by the first meeting in October to be effective before the end of this year.

Mr. Black – let’s get some of this stuff done this year and then revise our appropriations to

recognize the cuts that we have talked about.

Mrs. Rubin - by September you will know about the property tax and whether the income tax

will stay up.

Mrs. Waggaman - I will update the revenues as I find them out.

Mrs. Rubin - I think we should give an update to Council all at the same time rather than just to

the Finance Committee.

Mr. Black - is there any reason why we can’t increase the number of Finance Committee

meetings?

Mrs. Stillman – yes, we just need to coordinate when everyone is available.

Mrs. Waggaman - I can’t update it every two weeks because of the process. If you want to meet

to go over the budget in more detail to get a better handle on what makes up the operational

expenses.

37

Adjournment

Mrs. Hale moved to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Black. Voice vote: seven ayes. Motion carried.

The Council meeting adjourned at 2:17 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Angela S. Wasson

Clerk of Council

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