December 18, 2017 Joint Commission Minutes

December 18, 2017 Joint Commission Minutes

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Joint Meeting


December 18, 2017                                                                                                                      5:00 P.M.

Mayor Brian Linin called the meeting to order 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, Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Joni Showalter – Police Chief, Suzanne McClure – Economic Development Director, Brian James – Fire Chief, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager.


Present from the County Commission were Chairman Larry Enfield and Commissioner Rodney Blake.  Commissioner John Topliff was reported absent.  Also present were Ashley Mannis – County Clerk, Crissy Livengood – Communication Director and Rachelle Standley – County Appraiser.


Present from the School Board were President Jessica Cole, Member Gennifer House, Member Ron Vignery, Member Terry Smith, Member Brad Bergsma and Member Dianna Spinney.  Member Lee Ihrig was reported absent.  Also present were Bill Biermann – Superintendent and Brittany Scott – Board Clerk.



  1. Neighborhood Revitalization Plan (NRP) – Andrew stated, the County Commission requested three entities get together to discuss NRP.  Rachelle stated, I have questions with wording in plan and would like some clarification. On page 4, Criteria for Eligibility, item (E) the word delinquent means different things to different offices.  Taxes are due December 20th and May 10th and the Treasurer goes by postmark date.  In addition the plan allows a thirty day period after due dates to pay taxes.  We are giving the applicant a rebate they should have the responsibility to pay taxes on time, if not they should be out of plan.  School Board Member House asked, what would you like the wording to be?  Rachelle stated, I would like the dates of December 20 and May 10 in the plan.  School Board Member Vignery asked, what about payment of taxes within ten days of those two dates?  Rachelle state, then they are late because taxes were not paid on time.  Mayor Linin stated, the plan allows a thirty day grace period.  School Board President Cole stated, I would not like to see someone have a family emergency and get kicked out, I agree with ten day grace period.  School Board Member Bergsma asked, is it being abused?  Ashley stated, if you are asking if people are disqualified because late, yes there have been two to three applications.  County Chairman Enfield stated, if you give them extra time they will take it.  Board Member Vignery stated, if there is a genuine reason for being late, they still pay the interest.  Board Member House stated, I would think if they are always late the application would not be approved anyway.  Rachelle stated, the next clarification is the approval by three entities in item (G).  I have an issue if someone meets requirements of plan and I approve application, how can the entities disapprove applicant from the plan?  I feel this is extra paperwork for my office when I know how to follow plan.  Board Member Vignery stated, I feel as a board we need to be aware of who is approved.  Rachelle stated, there is a list of who is in plan put together for your entity.  I have no issue letting you know who is in plan, but do not see need for all entities to approve application.  If application meets approval it should be approved.  Board Member Bergsma stated, this is an opportunity for collective groups to provide oversight.  Most of time the application will run through the process.  We would like to know what is going on and if there was a situation where there is an appraiser just sliding the paper.  This to me is a small check and balance.  Andrew stated, I believe this criteria was set using the example of a pig farm.  This is a way for drawing the line on a business we do not feel is in best interest of the community.  County Commissioner Blake stated, that is the bad thing about a two thirds vote, do we set criteria of what needs we want met.  Mayor Linin stated the purpose of item (G) is to communicate and setting criteria to disapprove application we do not feel is good for community.  County Chairman Enfield stated, if we leave clause, I feel should require approval of all three entities.  Board President Cole stated, the problem with that is the number of members on each board.  County only has three members so a member only has to convince one member about the application where the other boards have more members.  I feel all three entities should approve applications.


County Commissioner Topliff reported to meeting.


Board Member Smith stated, we previously discussed this plan and all entities voted to approve the NRP.  Board Member House stated, the plan goes into effect January 1, 2018.  County Commissioner Blake stated, I feel it is simple to see that two entities can throw one entity under the bus.  Rachelle stated, I am trying to prevent lawsuits.  If the application meets criteria, how can the entities disapprove the application?  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, the application may meet criteria but part of the criteria is approval by all entities.  Board Member Vignery stated, that is what item (G) states, they may meet other criteria but need approval from three entities.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, the same is true if it is a viable business for the community.  We live in a society where majority rules.  Rachelle asked, on page six, item 4 states the appraiser must return Part 1A of form to applicant within fifteen days of approval, can we add fifteen days after approval of three entities?  Board President Cole stated I have no problem allowing the change from thirty to ten days after due date and to submit form after approval of three entities.  County Chairman Enfield asked, are we going to have to get everyone together to approve applications?  Board President Cole stated, no, we discussed when we approved plan that the entities would approve the applications at their next meeting.  Board Member Bergsma stated, we discussed that before and the school already has a committee in place to review applications.  ON A MOTION by Board Member Smith to approve change of thirty (30) days to ten (10) business days on page 4 item (E), Item (G) will remain the same and change page six item 4 to fifteen (15) working days after approval of three entities seconded by Board Member Bergsma.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 6-0.  ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks to approve change of thirty (30) days to ten (10) business days on page 4 item (E), Item (G) will remain the same and change page six item 4 to fifteen (15) working days after approval of three entities seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 3-2 with Commissioner Garcia and Commissioner Farris casting dissenting votes.  ON A MOTION by County Commissioner Topliff to approve change of thirty (30) days to ten (10) business days on page 4 item (E), Item (G) will remain the same and change page six item 4 to fifteen (15) working days after approval of three entities seconded by County Commissioner Blake.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 3-0.  

  1. School Board Adjourned from meeting.



  1. Dispatch Center – County Chairman Enfield stated, we are proceeding to build a new center unless the City has new thoughts.  County Commissioner Blake stated, we left space on north side of storage building behind court house for center.  It involves a lot of money and grants.  County Chairman Enfield stated, the original agreement was that the City provide building and utilities and the County provide funding.  The basement to City Building is not adequate for operations anymore.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, we have not discussed since minor adjustments were discussed.  Mayor Linin stated, the basement is attractive offer to us because of funding.  We need dispatch and we have a good system.  County Commissioner Topliff stated, the problem is continuity of operations if City is taken out with tornado.  We currently do not meet criteria for FEMA which is what spurred conversation to build FEMA structure.  We are still in idea stage.  Crissy stated, beside dispatch center, we need an area to meet for emergency situations that is secure.  Commissioner Farris stated, the Armory is where it should be as they are tied together.  Crissy stated, there is quite a trend across country to build these type of buildings for a dispatch center. Vice-Mayor Fairbanks asked, is there room at Armory and would it have to be reinforced for FEMA regulations?  Would the center be better off located in town?  Joni stated, the only space we have available is where Museum has offsite storage.  We would like to put in shooting range again which would be located in this space.  County Chairman Enfield asked, is that building rated?  Joni stated, I do not know what it is rated.  County Commissioner Blake asked, can the military take building back at time of war?  Joni stated, they can with martial law but not sure they can otherwise, the way it was given to City.  County Chairman Enfield stated, we are spending $270,000 annually on budget and it increases every year.  We do not know what building will cost, concrete will probably cost $500,000 alone.  History shows City uses dispatch heavily.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks asked, are there grants available?  Crissy stated, we have looked into some but funding but it has been frozen with recent hurricane disasters, but we are looking for other funding options.  Andrew stated, if the County builds new, the current agreement for the City is to pay building and utilities, would you be looking at a new contribution from City?  Are you asking for assistance with construction or ongoing operational costs or both?  County Commissioner Blake stated, we are building for expansion of a regional dispatch facility.  Crissy stated, I am looking to future for regional or disaster recovery to have space to help out surrounding counties.  Andrew asked, what is time line?  County Commissioner Topliff stated, not within next year.  County Chairman Enfield stated, we have looked at different plans but would like to visit other centers for ideas.  Centura is hoping to make Goodland the hub with our hospital and we would like to be hub for EMS also.  Commissioner Mai stated, as you are researching options I would ask that you look at outside of building so that it blends in better with the courthouse and that it is not a metal building.  County Chairman Enfield stated, the metal building was a quick fix so the Historical Society could take control of the phone building as they had grants available for renovation.
  2. County Commission Adjourns





  1. 12/04/17 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. Appropriation Ordinances, 2017-24, 2017-24A, and 2017-P24

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



  1. Review of Board Applicants – Andrew stated, the City received an application from Randy Gavin for the Tree Board. If there is further public interest, we can have Danny Krayca’s appointment rescinded since he is an employee and we asked him to sit on board.
  2. NW Tech College Scholarship MOU – Andrew stated, I discussed the MOU with Ben Schears and Kelly James from the college. The Commission needs to address the scholarship name and discuss selection process.  We outlined some criteria for discussion and feel it is a good idea for the selection process to be determined at a staff level and not Commission so that applicants are not discussed in open meeting.  Mayor Linin stated, I like the department heads having a say in selection process and include a representative from college on committee.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, it would be nice to have one commissioner, one or two department heads and City Manager.  Commissioner Mai stated, I would like to see the school limit number of applicants submitted to City for review so the process is not bogged down.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, I do not know number of application’s they receive, but I would say up to ten applications to review.  Andrew stated, it is not urgent to determine that now.  Mayor Linin stated, I do not feel we want more than ten applications.  I appreciate your comments Terry but we just want to have a future view of endowment.  Ben is trying to build endowment and invests for the future and not year to year.  In the past we had to stop funding because of budget cuts, this will help City if we are presented with that situation again.  Vice-Mayor Fairbanks stated, I feel long term planning is key.  Commissioner Mai stated, this is good time to start planning to build funding.



  1. BCBS Health Insurance Renewal – Rhonda Fernandez, PIC stated, I met with Karol Roadhouse from BCBS on renewal. The City benefits will remain the same and your plan is grandfathered.  A new benefit from BCBS is telehealth to access a provider on computer which is nice without urgent care and possibly prevent an emergency room visit.  As we have discussed in the past, we would like the self-funding reserve to be at $250,000 to $275,000, then you can fund to expected claim amount instead of maximum amount.  In renewal, BCBS is incorporating claims administration costs into fixed costs, which costs more up front.  If renew as is, fixed costs go from $190,147 to $242,869 because of administration costs. I recommend funding at maximum claim amount, which is $520,569, approximately an 11% increase of $86,500.  Remember, anything that goes into claims funding and is not used remains in your account.  You currently have two claims that exceed $30,000 stop loss limit.  I met with Andrew and Mary; we looked at other captive plans which requires education.  The City may want to look at them but would need education because of risks to City and employee.  Renewal is high but I do not feel you will meet maximum funding, but need to fund to build reserve for self-insurance, then we can reduce after three to five years.  We will continue monitoring claims.  My concern if you change plans is lack of information on the plan and the City needs more money in the bank for self-funding.  There are companies coming in with a policy that looks good but I would not want to see renewal the following year.  Before I can recommend moving to a new group we need to educate the board, employees and management.  It is a lot of money to move plan then have a 30-40% increase the following year.  I recommend you remain one more year with BCBS to continue five year commitment to get money in bank.  Healthcare continues to change weekly.  Mayor Linin stated, health insurance costs are increasing out of control, everyone is experiencing the increases.  Rhonda stated, with the market trends, your renewal looks really good; some renewals have been up 48%.   Some have added health risk assessments to plan which helps renewals because they are being proactive with wellness programs.  The problem with my clients that have a higher deductible is the wages are not high.  I need to get started with open enrollment meetings with your employees.  Commissioner Garcia asked, are there savings on the captive plans you are considering?  Rhonda stated, it depends on the pool of the captive group.  There is good and bad to the plans depending on your claims.  The captive plans I have worked with have multiple different entities so it spreads the risk.  They are a good plan for certain groups but you have to have the education because of the risk that comes with plan.  Expected claims are running lower than maximum which is where the City is running but you need to fund at maximum level to build fund.  Andrew stated, there might be savings the first year with captive plans but it is a greater risk to jump into a plan that you are unfamiliar with that could eat up your savings.  Something we need to continue to review for future.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Mai to approve renewal of BCBS health insurance plan in the amount of $763,438 seconded by Vice-Mayor Fairbanks.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.  Rhonda stated, I will keep staff informed on captive plan.
  2. Library Contract – Andrew stated, this is the annual agreement between the City, Sherman County and Public Library. ON A MOTION by Commissioner Garcia to approve the Library Agreement with Sherman County, City and Public Library seconded by Commissioner Mai.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
  3. NW Tech College Scholarship MOU – Mayor Linin stated, I recommend we table item until Andrew updates MOU. Consensus of Commission is in agreement.



  1. City Managers Report- 1. City offices will be closed December 25th, 26th, and January 1st for the Christmas Holidays.  2. January meetings for the Commission are January 2nd, January 8th and January 15th.  The meeting January 8th is a special meeting at 5:00 p.m. to install new commissioners and elect Mayor and Vice-Mayor.    Police Department open house is scheduled for April 14, 2018.  We coordinated it with an open house at the National Weather Service.  4.  I will be emailing the Commission to schedule retreat dates when new commissioners are installed.  5.  After the first of the year, Rich’s crew will be working on the railroad crossing on Cattletrail to address concrete.  The crossing on Cherry Street will follow.  Each crossing will be closed for about a week.  6.  I would like to wish the Commission a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I have had a fantastic year at the City.

Commissioner Mai – 1.  Wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Commissioner Farris – 1.  Wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Commissioner Garcia – 1.  Wish everyone a Merry Christmas.  2.  Would like to thank Commissioner Mai and Commissioner Farris for their service on Commission.

Vice-Mayor Fairbanks – 1.  Wish everyone a Merry Christmas.

Mayors Report 1.  Wish everyone a Merry Christmas, everyone is doing a good job.


ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Garcia seconded by Commissioner Farris.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting Adjourned at 6:40 p.m.






ATTEST:                                                                               Brian Linin, Mayor





Mary P. Volk, City Clerk