June 27, 2019 Special Commission Meeting Minutes
GOODLAND CITY COMMISSION
Joint Commission Meeting
June 27, 2019 5:00 P.M.
Meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian Linin with Vice-Mayor Jay Dee Brumbaugh, Commissioner Annette Fairbanks, Commissioner John Garcia and Commissioner Jacque Schields responding to roll call.
Also present were Rich Simon – Director of Public Works, Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Joni Showalter – Police Chief, Suzanne McClure – Economic Development Director, Brian James – Fire Chief, LeAnn Taylor – Municipal Court Clerk/Judge, Sami Philbrick – Museum Director, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Mary Volk – City Clerk, and Andrew Finzen – City Manager.
Mayor Linin led Pledge of Allegiance
- Rachelle Standley, Sherman County Appraiser stated, I do not have a lot of information, but I know budgets are being set. Sherman County has five properties going to the Board of Tax Appeals and it could be a long time before we can defend ourselves. Three of the properties are elevators inside city limits. If they win their appeal there could be a large sum of money tax entities are required to refund plus interest at 2%. I do not know what their request is at this time but you cannot cut your budgets so far that you cannot pay it back if required. The hearing will be here then move to Topeka. Mayor Linin stated, this is because of valuation increase, so we still get money we are used to getting. Rachelle stated, this is for FY 2018 and 2019 and it shifts the tax burden to other tax payers. I am required to follow the guide but it is unknown what the Board will do or if they will even follow the guide. Sherman County will have a large expense to hire an attorney from Salina and the two properties outside city limits will need fee appraisals, which are expensive. County will have to spend a lot of money to defend the case. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh asked, what caused this issue? Rachelle stated, a new guide for specialized properties came out in 2015 but was not implemented until 2018 in Sherman County when I arrived so they were still following the 1998 guide. Properties have increased in values a lot over that time. I asked the companies to come in to discuss situation but this company did not until they received their tax bill. Mayor Linin stated, by following this guide you are paying more because of the big increase in property values. Rachelle stated, it would be nice if my property stayed at the same value for twenty years. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh asked, is there no time limit for it to go through the court, then is the refund backdated? Rachelle stated, that is correct, unfortunately the tax payer attorney will continue the case for extended periods of time since they get interest. I cannot continue the case. I just want to make the Commission aware of what could be happening so you are not surprised.
DISCUSSION AND ACTION ITEMS
- Budget Presentation FY2020 – Andrew stated, I am proud of staff for responding to timelines and the budgets they presented. The State of Kansas follows a crazy budget cycle requiring you to adopt a budget now that is not in effect until January. Andrew went over budget information highlighting 2019 projects and information in each fund. We will continue discussion on budget in July meetings, but the budget must be published by July 23rd to meet budget deadlines. Key notes in budget is we funded merit base increase of up to $1.00 per hour because of concerns with employee retention and concern of losing employees. Operating expenses are reduced or frozen nearly across the board. We are working with Midstates to determine a plan to begin south loop project. There has been one reduction in personnel at the power plant. In the budget presented total cuts made to General Fund are $338,867, Water Utility $178,138 and Electric Utility $348,986. Mayor Linin asked, if electric revenues have been going down past few years, how did you budget? Andrew stated, I budgeted the fund flat. Mayor Linin asked, how reliable is that? Andrew stated, it is hard to say. Commissioner Fairbanks asked, is there money for highway signage? Andrew stated, it was a budget cut as there was no money in budget. Commissioner Fairbanks stated, I am not in favor of cutting it; I feel we are being short sided. Andrew asked, how would Commission like to proceed? Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, my concern with the cuts in CIRF are that I would like to have money there when need we need for project, it is less painful than coming up with a large sum of money in one year. Mayor Linin stated, I agree, I had that concern with cuts last year. In looking at your list of budget cuts, almost every fund has a cut to the reserve. I am concerned we are hurting our future. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, if we can extend projects and equipment out further that is good, but it is a concern. Commissioner Fairbanks stated, as long as I have been on Commission we have talked about the need for highway signage, if people do not know about Goodland why are they going to stop. I do not like that it has been cut; it is the basic in promoting your community. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh asked, where is the Commission project fund? Mayor Linin stated, it was cut and I feel that is a good one to cut. Did we use it this year? Andrew stated, it was part of money used to purchase 1008 Main. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh asked, can we use economic development money because I agree we need signs. Suzanne stated, I think it is important but I have another road project for 2020. We may be able to apply to the Foundation in the future then take part of it out of public relations. Commissioner Fairbanks stated, I realize the budget is cut to the core but if people do not know what is here they will not stop. When doing event center people wanted something to do in Goodland, let them know what we have here. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh stated, there was going to be remodel of 24/7 in Colby, do we know what they are doing there, will they come here? Suzanne stated, that is the road project for 2020. I am working on that now, it will require a frontage road. We are trying to find a food establishment that will go in store because he does not want to own the food portion. He has been turned down by KDOT for another turn in lane from highway. Mayor Linin stated, in a few departments it appears the wage increase looks higher than $1. Mary stated, those are instances where you have employees eligible to retire and you have to budget their final pay in the budget. In the electric department you also have to abide by the requirements of the apprentice program. Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh asked, did it hurt last year where we cut bulk fuel purchases? Andrew stated, no, as the Commission discussed, we transferred remaining money to the reserve to start a fund for bulk fuel purchases. Commissioner Schields asked, what were the costs projected for the signs? Commissioner Fairbanks stated, I do not remember. Andrew stated, I thought you were looking at $20,000 to $25,000. Mayor Linin stated, I am mixed on the sign, it is a good investment but when our family drives down interstate, we think about what we want to do and where we want to stop. We do not stop for signs we see along the way. Commissioner Fairbanks stated, we are talking about a vinyl overlay sign that gives information as to services in Goodland. Suzanne stated, many people use their phones or apps on the phone to plan where they want to go. If we do not do signs we need to get our information on the internet for people to see. Mayor Linin stated, I am undecided on the sign. Commissioner Fairbanks stated, people are constantly asking what services are in Goodland. We do not promote ourselves or take advantage of what we have. I have two people that have talked to me about donating land for the sign so I know others feel it is important. Vice–Mayor Brumbaugh stated, I would like to know if everyone agrees with the cuts that have been made if we need money for a project. Mayor Linin stated, the cut to the Grant Improvement Reserve Fund concerns me because we are not able to get a new grant unless we have the money on hand. Commissioner Garcia stated, USDA has over two billion dollars available for loans, can we tap in that? Mary stated, EBH has reviewed using their resources for many of our projects in the past. You have to show your rates will pay the loan, which is where we have come up short. Mayor Linin asked, what is likelihood of completing RW 5-23 in next budget cycle? Andrew stated, the design will begin for sure; FAA wants us to complete design and construction in same cycle. We need to check how it lines up, I believe it is federal year 2020. Mayor Linin asked, what about supplemental money? Andrew stated, we were not awarded the funding. Only three airports in Kansas were awarded money, Eisenhower Airport in Wichita then two smaller airports that were relocating their only runway.
ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Vice-Mayor Brumbaugh seconded by Commissioner Fairbanks. Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 7:10 p.m.
ATTEST: Brian Linin, Mayor
Mary P. Volk, City Clerk