February 1, 2016 Commission Minutes

February 1, 2016 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting


February 1, 2016                                                                                                                         5:00 P.M.

Meeting was called to order by Mayor Brian Linin with Vice-Mayor Annette Fairbanks, Commissioner Gary Farris, Commissioner Gwen Mai and Commissioner John Garcia responding to roll call. 


Also present were Rich Simon – Director of Public Works, Suzanne McClure – Economic Development Director, Alex Weis – Code Enforcement, Brian James – Fire Chief, Mary Volk – City Clerk, Gerry Bieker – City Manager, Jerry Fairbanks – City Attorney and Jake Kling – Attorney. 


Mayor Linin led Pledge of Allegiance







  1. 01/18/16 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances , 2016-03, 2016-03A, and 2016-P03

ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.



  1. Ordinance 1686: Utility Rates – Gerry stated, at our last meeting the Commission discussed the utility rates for customer outside City limits. We had a request from a customer to go off our grid to join Midwest Energy.  In our review, we feel rates for customers outside City limits are fairly high and feel we should increase the meter fee by 50% while charging same rate for usage.  The ordinance also doubles installation fees when connecting to City water and electric for customers outside the City limits.  We also addressed the issue for customers that live together; the bill is tied to the property not the individual.  The customer cannot avoid paying a bill by allowing a another individual that lives in residence to transfer the account to their name.  Commissioner Garcia asked, so the rate charged to customers in Armstrong Addition will be the current residential rate?  Gerry stated, for those using power it will make their bills lower.  Mayor Linin stated, our intent for customers outside the City limits is an affordable rate structure but pay a little more in meter charge.  Gary stated, when the rate structure was first set up years ago City electric was about half what rural electric charged.  Gerry stated, I assumed that was the case.  We want to make sure everyone is clear that tap fees will dramatically increase for customers outside City limits but do not feel out of line when they are not in City limits.  Our goal is to lower rates outside city which is reasonable request.  When they are outside the City limits and want to hook to our service, we feel it is fair to cost them a little more at installation but give them the same consumption rate as customers inside City limits.  Based on previous rate, revenue would have been fairly neutral but on current rate structure, it is approximately $6,000 decrease in revenue.  ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks to approve Ordinance 1686: Utility Rates seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 4-1 with Commissioner Farris casting the dissenting vote.
  2. Ordinance 1687: Sewer Regulations – Gerry stated, ordinance does the same thing as Ordinance 1686 for Sewer tap fees. We currently have no customers outside City limits on sewer service, but the installation fees for utilities outside City limits are consistent.   ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks to approve Ordinance 1687: Sewer Regulations seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  3. Ordinance 1688: Amending Boarding Fee and Animal Bite Procedures – Gerry stated, it came to our attention with an animal bite when the animal had to be quarantined that fees were not spelled out in Ordinance.  This ordinance outlines costs with quarantine situations.  Jerry stated, the change in the ordinance is to comply with Kansas regulations to determine where an animal can be quarantined.  Mayor Linin asked, how does it work over weekend or holidays? Jerry stated, it could result in an extra day depending on the situation.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Mai to approve Ordinance 1688: Amending Boarding Fee and Animal Bite Procedures seconded by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.



  1. Resolution 1472: Approval of Mitigation Plan – Gerry stated, all counties in the State have to have a Mitigation Plan where each entity in County updates their section and passes their piece for one plan in the county.  Brian stated, the plan outlines what we as community are concerned about with a disaster and what responsibility each entity has. Gerry stated, if you do not put a project in plan, there is no way to recover money in plan.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve Resolution 1472: Approval of Mitigation Plan seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.



  1. Insurance Renewal/Rhonda Fernandez – PIC – Rhonda reviewed BCBS renewal information and options available for the City. She reviewed the premium history for the City since 2012-2013 year.  We are recommending the City make no changes to the plan for 2016-2017 year.  In the past the City was partially self-funded, then BCBS elected not to allow group plans with less than 100 policies to self-insure.  They researched and now allow groups with less than 100 policies to be self-insured.  When your plan is fully insured BCBS pays all claims.  With self-insurance the City is protected with Stop Loss.  The City will have fixed costs and stop loss costs which is the amount the City can be liable for with each plan.  The aggregate stop loss is for all claims less than $30,000.  The amount is incremented monthly so that it is a rolling cash flow mechanism to have money available for claims.  Based on past City claims, the City would have saved money if they could have remained self-funded last few years.  The summary information shows current premium, renewal premium and self-insurance renewal option.  Fixed costs are premiums billed monthly by BCBS.  The amount put in self-insurance fund is based on maximum funding to pay claims.  The money in the fund rolls over year to year to help pay claims when the City has a rough year.  If fully insured, looking at expected claims of $648,846.36 so it looks like a good year to consider self-insurance funding.  BCBS bills as claims are paid; the City pays the Claims Administration Expense of 7.96% of actual paid claims to a maximum of $35,469.94, based on current count.  We recommend you remain self-insured for a minimum of five years, funding for maximum claims each year to ensure have cash flow to pay claims.  City plan is a grandfathered plan and if remain there, premiums are slightly lower.  It does not affect the employees benefit, just internal funding of the plan.  Shopping the market was difficult to do without companies having the history that BCBS has on your plan.  Self-funding gives you more information to shop the market.  Premiums for market companies were higher.  Mayor Linin stated, we appreciate information you provided Commission; looks like it is a pretty simple decision.  Rhonda stated, I feel it is a good funding mechanism for group.  Many groups with less than 100 policies are going back to self-funding plans.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Mai to renew the employee health insurance policy using self-insured funding with BCBS as presented seconded by Commissioner Farris.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.

    Rhonda stated, the last item in your packet is a short term disability option.  Many groups allow employees to donate time to other employees for sick leave but we recommend a 15 or 30 day short term disability benefit to avoid the employee’s worry of having to be off work without pay or relying on time donated.  Most common benefit is 30 day policy.  It reduces risk of a law suit against the City if someone feels like they are discriminated against.  Mayor Linin asked, what is the current policy?  Gerry stated, we have sick leave and the leave bank which sets the City up for discrimination.  Our recommendation is to do away with bank because of liability issues.  The intent is for a good reason but it sets City up for potential law suit.  Monthly premium provided is to cover all employees for short term disability benefit.  Jerry stated, way you get away from discrimination is the City books hours in bank and cannot say who gets them.  Gerry stated, that is how our current policy works, but it is a committee that decides who can use the time.  Consensus of the Commission is that they would like to review the policy.  Rhonda stated, the benefit can be added later just want to try to keep benefit renewal same as insurance.  Commissioner Garcia asked, do the employees have a say who uses days in bank?  Gerry stated, someone has to determine whether the employee gets to use the days banked.  Currently we have a committee, but it will inevitably fall on Mary or me.  Jerry stated, I feel Commission should take some time to review option.  Consensus of Commission is to review benefit, possibly adding plan at later date.

  2. City Attorney Contract & Appointment – Gerry stated, the contract provided by Jake is for attorney services. It fits financially with what Commission requested.  Through process we have learned that statute states the City Attorney should be appointed on a two year process.  Mayor Linin stated, I appreciated Jerry and Jake negotiating with City.  Commissioner Garcia stated, I feel it is a good contract which sets out details for time, hours, exclusions, etc.  I am in favor of contract.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve the appointment of Jake Kling as City Attorney and the City Attorney Contract provided seconded by Commissioner Farris.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.

  3. Cemetery Board Appointments – Gerry stated, appointments of Richard Hayden, Constance Hatcher and Kevin Zimmerman are up for renewal on Cemetery Board. Kevin did not wish to be reappointed so City is pursuing a replacement.  I recommend the reappointment of Richard Hayden and Constance Hatcher to the Cemetery Board.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve the reappointment of Richard Hayden and Constance Hatcher to the Cemetery Board seconded by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.

  4. Energy Star Rebate Program – Gerry stated, there is information in your packet that offers a rebate to anyone purchasing energy efficient appliances.  Need limit for number of rebates allowed per household. The City has funding available in budget and feels good public relations.  This will go well when talk about water and electric issues.  Commissioner Garcia stated, the City had good participation last time.  Shauna stated, we did in the Take Charge Challenge but we did not have a rebate program at that time.  We offered audits and did have good participation until the State took funding away.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve Energy Star Rebate Program seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.

  5. Unfit Structure: 1526 Kansas – Gerry stated, property was previously discussed by Commission and customer made a contract with Alex outlining improvements to be completed by January 31.  The City has not had contact from customer until this morning.  Maricela Haugland, property owner stated, I got electrical done and have hired someone to work on house.  They will be back Wednesday; waiting on inspection until the work is complete.  Mayor Linin stated, you say it is not done because you are waiting on contractor.  The role of the Commission is to ensure property owners of structures that do not meet code bring the property up to code so there is no liability issue the City.  Brian asked, who is your contractor?  All contractors must be licensed in the City in order to do work in City work before work is completed. Mayor Linin stated, I am not sure when you began work on property but feel you made a few calls now because the deadline is here.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks asked, when did this property first come before Commission?  Alex stated, May 2015 was the first hearing.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, that is a long time especially when you had all summer.  Brian stated, staff has done as the Commission advised.  She signed a contract and we asked her to keep in contact with City but she did not follow through.  Commissioner Farris asked, you are probably on a fixed income?  Maricela stated, yes I am.  Gerry stated, the problem is there has been no communication by the property owner with City once contract was signed.  Alex stated, I have attempted to keep communication going and never heard anything until the eleventh hour.  I feel Commission needs to go to next step which still gives her thirty days to show progress.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, I agree as it still gives her thirty days.  Commissioner Garcia asked, can a list of contractors be given to her?  Course no one knows if any licensed contractors will have time to do work.  Maricela, you need to communicate with Alex and Brian so they are up to date.  I understand you are on a fixed income and I am concerned you cannot get the work done in thirty days.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, but she can show progress and communicate with staff like we asked.  Mayor Linin stated, we are not in business of throwing people out of homes but we have to address the property.  Brian stated, if she is on fixed income and knew she would not be able to follow through or have funds to take care of issues, she should have asked for more time.  It makes our contract meaningless, especially for future property owners.  People will think we  have no intention of keeping our deadlines.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, we work with people but communication must go both ways.  ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks to move forward with bids for demolition on property of 1526 Kansas seconded by Commissioner Mai.  Commissioner Garcia stated, if the work is not done in thirty days and we have bids the Commission has to make decision.  How many items will the Commission approve being done while having the bid remain open?  If I were in her position I would not commit to something I am not able to keep.  You need to keep in communication with Staff and Commission.  Maricela stated, the contract came up in November but I am a single person so had to hire contractors and it is up to them to move forward.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, but the person you contracted with is not licensed with City.  Brian stated, if he has correct information and gets it to me it will not take long to get him licensed.  Northwest Tech College did electrical and they are licensed.  You are the only one that can work on your house without being licensed so whoever works on her house has to be licensed.  Maricela stated, I will ask them to stop by your office to get licensed.  Brian stated, the license protects property owner as the contractor is licensed, insured and bonded.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 3-2 with Commissioner Farris and Commissioner Garcia casting the dissenting votes.  Mayor Linin stated, we ask that you keep in contact with staff weekly on progress made and advise you to report back to the Commission.





  1. City Managers Report- 1. We put photos out on Dropbox for the Commission to review on a structure Commission took action on at a previous meeting.  2. The sample ordinance provided is to restructure the Fire Department.  The Fire Board is looking at different things so expect some discussion from them in near future.  Brian is looking at combining volunteer fire positions on City and County Fire and the only way this can happen is to eliminate maximum number of firemen in our ordinance or raise maximum number to make it work.  Brian’s interest is that the four officers from County be included on the City Fire.  I recommend you remove cap and leave it to Brian to manage the budget.    The Kansas Department of Commerce is willing to conduct a Strategic Planning session if there is interest from Commission.  Dates they have available are February 23 or 24 then March 23.  This is a service they provide.  Consensus of the Commission is to schedule for February 23 at 5:00 p.m.  4. From a staff level everyone appreciates Commission keeping health insurance policy in place, it is a huge benefit and keeps employees with City.   5.  Due to Presidents Day Holiday, the next Commission meeting will be February 16th at 5:00 p.m.



  1. Commissioner Reports

    Commissioner Mai – 1.  No Report 

    Commissioner Farris – 1.  No Report 

    Commissioner Garcia – 1. 
    I received a few calls from citizens on the Solid Waste that have never been billed for service in recent years.  Gerry stated, they need to contact me. 

    Vice-Mayor Fairbanks – 1.  No Report 

  2. Mayors Report No Report 




ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Garcia seconded by Commissioner Mai.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 6:30 p.m.






ATTEST:                                                                               Brian Linin, Mayor





Mary P. Volk, City Clerk