July 6, 2020 Commission Minutes

July 6, 2020 Commission Minutes

July 6, 2020 Commission Minutes

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Regular Meeting

July 6, 2020                                                                                                                               5:00 P.M.

Mayor John Garcia called the meeting to order with Vice-Mayor Aaron Thompson, Commissioner Jay Dee Brumbaugh, Commissioner J. J. Howard and Commissioner Gary Farris responding to roll call. 

Also present were Rich Simon – Director of Public Works, Dustin Bedore – Director of Electric Utilities, Joni Showalter-Police Chief, LeAnn Taylor – Municipal Court Judge/Clerk, Sami Windle – Museum Director, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Kenton Keith – Street Superintendent, Neal Thornburg – Water/Sewer Superintendent, Danny Krayca – Parks Superintendent, Brian James – Fire Chief, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager.   

Mayor Garcia led Pledge of Allegiance


Charlene Jostes – Mental Health First Aid – Charlene Affiliate Director of KNOW ME Network stated, I am providing information to educate not only law enforcement and EMS, but the community at large about mental illness.  Mental health conditions are on the rise, even in Sherman County.  Mayor Garcia asked, are you the director for several counties?  Charlene stated, yes eighteen counties.  Mayor Garcia asked, will you draw attendees from those counties for training?  Charlene stated, I cannot arrange the training, it has to be within a department.  However, other counties are interested in coming to Goodland if we can get the training so they do not have to drive to Kansas City. 


  1. County Commission Call to Order – County Commissioner Rod Blake called the County Commission meeting to order with County Commissioner Larry Enfield reported as present.  County Chairman John Topliff was reported absent.  Also present from the County are Maria Parish – Deputy County Clerk and Rachelle Standley – County Appraiser. 
  2. Board of Education Call to Order – Board President Jessica Cole called the Board of Education meeting to order with Board Members Terry Smith, Stacey Price and Brad Bergsma reported as present.  Travis Daise, Trevor Linton and Brad Schick were reported absent.  Also present from USD 352 are Bill Biermann – Superintendent and Deb Winter-Secretary.
  3. Neighborhood Revitalization Plan Discussion –Rachelle stated, the NRP expires in December.  This has been a joint agreement with the City, County and School District.  I want to bring the plan to your attention in case there are changes you would like to address.  I have minor language changes plus the value of agriculture property will decrease within couple years, which will directly impact the County and School.  Once the value goes down it causes a problem with the tax lid.  The Attorney General will take about three months to approve plan and I am uncertain they are working full time with COVID.  I feel we need to approve and submit plan to them as soon as possible.  The plan has been in county for a number of years but people are not aware of benefit.  Bill asked, can you submit changes to school when available to review.  Rachelle stated, yes I just need to know what information everyone would like clarified.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, with the plan, neither the County Appraiser or Commission have control over the values.  Jessica asked, you know values will decrease within two years?  Rachelle stated, yes when high values drop off we see a significant drop in the value for agriculture property.  Board of Education Member Travis Daise reported to meeting and County Chairman Topliff reported via telephone.  Rachelle stated, we get a packet from the state to determine agriculture values.  We work to keep agriculture use values while eastern Kansas would like to have them at market value.  Mayor Garcia asked, how long before they decrease?  Rachelle stated, I estimate in 2023 and it will only pertain to agriculture values.  If there are problems meeting budget requirements and you give a large number of rebates, it will cause budget problems.  I am uncertain what to do.  Current plan allows a 90% rebate of taxes for five years.  Jessica asked, you say we need to get word out, but do you think people use it?  Rachelle stated, it seems like we get the same people using it.  We need to determine how many applications to allow on a property.  Some properties have multiple projects but the property has one value.  The plan allows a ten day grace period to pay taxes late and still allow rebate.  I have to pay my taxes on time and this causes problems with County Treasurer on distributions.  This plan has a lot of paperwork.  I feel should require appeals on property values at proper time, not when they pay taxes.  If we give rebate but property owner wins appeal, we have to rely on them paying money back.  The Attorney General says not to pay rebate until the appeal is settled, which causes additional problems holding the money.  If the property owner is concerned about values, they should come in at the informal time, not formal time.  If we pay property owner after an appeal, we have to pay interest and if it is a large value change, it will affect all entities.  We have one of those outstanding now.  Mayor Garcia asked, the most important point is if your projections are right should we renew plan for three years?  Brad asked, should we handle this through the application process?  Mayor Garcia stated, I believe the more clear we state requirements the better we will be.  County Commissioner Blake stated, I agree if we know it is coming; it will affect the budget.  Brad asked, should we limit applications to one per property instead of allowing them for each project to clean up the process and not kill the plan?  I remember last time plan was renewed, it was hectic.  County Commissioner Blake asked, do not have to leave rebate amount at 90%?  Kevin Rasure citizen stated, I was on commission when original plan was approved and the economy was bad.  It was for people making a new investment in community, but required taxes be paid by due date, no grace period, and rebate was scaled.  I hope you look at it as a positive move to help community grow.  It obviously needs revision.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, the plan is for working people to be able to remodel, not just for new improvements to property.  Kevin stated, originally the incentive was across the board, no matter investment cost to allow everyone to participate.  County Chairman Topliff stated, the reason for plan is to encourage investment and economic development in community.  Last time we renewed plan, the County Attorney indicated without the program we will be left in the dust.  If we do away with plan we go backwards which will not help our community.  Without growth we are finished and it scares me to go backwards.  We need to decide if we are going to renew or not and need to do it soon.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, I feel we should make changes to plan and submit to each entity for review.  County Chairman Topliff stated, the ten day grace period came from a circumstance when a tax payer was out of town when taxes were due so they paid late and application got thrown out.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, everyone gets tax statements the same time, they need to plan.  Mayor Garcia stated, we need to get changes made to plan and distribute to each entity.  Rachelle stated, before COVID it took three months to review so if we submit by September we should be alright.  County Commissioner Blake stated, if anyone recommends changes, submit them to Rachelle, no one wants to see plan go away.  Consensus was to make changes and have Rachelle distribute to each entity.  Commissioner Howard stated, if someone builds on vacant property this is money we never received.  Rachelle stated, the new Economic Development Director will be able to provide information to applicants.  Rachelle stated, we eliminated the cap so still have incentives available for larger projects.  I will make changes and email information to everyone.   
  4. Board of Education Adjourns – Adjournment of the Board of Education was had on a motion by Terry Smith seconded by Stacy Price.  Motion carried by unanimous vote at 5:40 p.m.


  1. Economic Development-CVB-Chamber of Commerce Discussion – Andrew stated, we received eleven applications for the Economic Development-CVB-Chamber of CommerceBoard.  Applicants are Stephen West, Jacque Livengood, Bill Biermann, Ben Schears, Janelle Miller, Carol McClure, Amy Sederstrom, Jessica Cole, Anthony Spomer, Jerry Fairbanks and Gennifer House.  The intent is for the City and County Commission to each identify three board members who then appoint an additional member.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, that is a good list of names, does the County have any other names?  County Commissioner Blake stated, we were opening up for anyone from Edson or Kanorado to apply if interested.  The individuals expressing interest to us are Stephen West, Rachelle Standley, Anthony Spomer, Gennifer House, Jennifer Sanderson and Ben Schears.  We have a good list to select from.  After the City and County selection, the board can pick the last member from these lists if they choose.  County Commissioner Blake stated, I nominate Rachelle Standley, County Commissioner Enfield seconded the nomination.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we have a good list of names.  One thing that stood out to me while reviewing applicants is how much of an impact the schools have on the community.  I feel it is important to have a representative from the school district or college.  Mayor Garcia stated, I nominate Stephen West to the board.  Consensus of the City Commission is to appoint Stephen West.  County Commissioner Blake asked, do you see a conflict with Rachelle since she is employed by County?  Rachelle stated, Economic Development Directors work closely with my office so I feel it is important to find someone that will work with my office. Consensus is to appoint Rachelle.  County Commissioner Blake stated, I nominate Amy Sederstrom.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated I nominate Gennifer House.  With her position on the Foundation I feel she is a good person to have on the Board.  No concerns by City or County for the nomination of Amy as County representative and Gennifer as City representative.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, the CVB board has done a lot of work.  The board members would like representation on board to further their work.  Jennifer Sanderson has asked to be on board and she has contacts with the State.  County Commissioner Blake stated, my thoughts are we are starting a new venture, we start clean and get away from old ways and baggage it may bring.  I am not saying there will be a problem, just want to start with a clean slate.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, CVB brings a lot of money to the table and they feel they need follow-up on outstanding contracts.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I have no concern appointing Jennifer to the board.  Commissioner Howard stated, I agree we need a clean slate.  County Chairman Topliff stated, there are good points on both sides.  City Commission feels we need new blood, if the six members appointed want to pick Jennifer as last board member they can.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, vote is 2-1 so we will not appoint Jennifer to the board as a City or County representative.  County Commissioner Blade stated, I nominate Ben Schears, County Chairman Topliff seconded the nomination.  Commissioner Howard stated, I nominate Jacque Livengood as a City representative.  Consensus of the City and County Commissions are to appoint the following representatives:  City Representatives are Stephen West, Jacque Livengood and Gennifer House and County Representatives are Rachelle Standley, Ben Schears and Amy Sederstrom.  County Chairman Topliff stated, these members can appoint the seventh board member.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what is the status on the bylaws?  County Commissioner Enfield stated, I understood the city and county pick board members then the board writes the bylaws.  Mayor Garcia stated, I understood we appoint board and the board runs the entities and works with the County Attorney.  We are only involved if there is a conflict.  I encourage the applicants not appointed to reach out to board on wishes to serve as final member.  The simpler the bylaws, the better off the organization will be.  When would be a good time to bring board members to the City and County Commissions for introductions?  They will have to accept appointment.  County Chairman Topliff stated, the sooner the board gets things started, the better we will be.  Andrew stated, we will have to run parallel courses with the board so they can get started.  They will need to meet with the City and County Attorney to structure the organization.  If we create the 501 (c) 3 organization, it is a conflict for either Commission to oversee the board.  If you want oversight on board it needs to be a department.  The board can begin working on process.  What is the county looking at to fund organization?  The City is working on budget so we need to determine contribution amount from each side.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I assume the Welcome Center will house the individual which is a potential for some savings and would be ideal facility.  County Commissioner Blake stated, we have not talked about it.  Andrew stated, I will reach out to members appointed and let City and County Commissions know.  County Chairman Topliff stated, the County has $50,000 allocated for Economic Development plus the CVB money.  County Commissioner Enfield stated, there are provisions for CVB money.  County Chairman Topliff stated, CVB money is being spent for salary now.  I understand the director will be a county employee to help with benefits and withholding.  County Chairman Enfield stated, it will be easier to determine once board sets bylaws.  Mayor Garcia stated, I feel the board will be moving forward on process.  I appreciate everyone’s willingness to serve our community.  Do we know the status on the Fire Department?  County Commissioner Blake stated, every time we ask they say we are close.  County Chairman Topliff stated, I believe everything is done except the information required if the City decides to opt out of the process.  County attorney says it is hard to put the information on paper. 
  2. 2nd and Kansas Road with Topside Manor – Topside Manor Board Members Gennifer House and Kevin Rasure are present to discuss road.  Kevin stated, I would like to thank the community for support to move forward with new facility.  2nd Street is very important to our building.  Our concern is what determines drainage, the street or our building?  We want to work together to get utilities right.  County Commissioner Blake and Andrew have had conversation in putting in street and getting drainage correct.  County Commissioner Blake stated, looking in short term, we want a nice entrance and exit with correct drainage on the 600 foot street.  In the long term, the county wants to extend 2nd Street to Highway 27.  Andrew stated, the City owns the right of way and land to west.  Gennifer stated, we are referring to the land north of triangle.  County Commissioner Blake stated, cost of road is $280,000 or $140,000 split between City and County.  The County has money available.  Mayor Garcia stated, I am in favor of supporting, we are going through budget now.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what is normal process to get street to building?  Andrew stated, it depends on purpose of street.  If it is a public street, it will be built to standard.  We have done some road improvements, but if private road the cost is property owners.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, was cost of road not part of project?  Kevin stated, no but county is stepping forward to help with project.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, the City needs to do their part.  County Chairman Topliff stated, our intention is the county portion of road to Highway 27 will be without curb and gutter and at County cost.  Commissioner Howard asked, will City staff be working on water and sewer lines?  Andrew stated, City staff puts in the water and sewer lines then bills property owner.  ON A MOTION by Commissioner Brumbaugh to approve the City contributing half the cost of the 600 foot road on 2nd Street seconded by Commissioner Farris.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.  ON A MOTION by County Commissioner Blake to approve the County contributing half the cost of the 600 foot road on 2nd Street seconded by County Chairman Topliff.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 3-0.    Topside Manor Board thanked the Commissions for their support. 
  3. County Commission Adjourns – Adjournment of the County Commission was had on a motion by County Commissioner Blake seconded by County Chairman Topliff.  Motion carried by unanimous vote at 6:17 p.m.


  1. 06/15/20 Commission Meeting Minutes
  2. 06/22/20 Special Commission Meeting Minutes
  3. Appropriation Ordinances: 2020-13, 2020-13A, and 2020-P13

ON A MOTION by Commissioner Howard to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Commissioner Farris.  MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.  


  1. FY 2021 Budget – Mayor Garcia stated, the Commission and employees need to have a candid conversation pertaining budget.  Andrew stated, the additional information requested by Commission has been provided along with a year to date budget comparison of main line items and a comparison for health insurance with a projected increase of 15% and 20%.  Mayor Garcia stated, we appreciate the employees and have had some dialog.  Commission has to do a balancing act showing our appreciation for you that do the work we request and the 4,500 tax payers we have to listen too.  There has been some creative thinking that will go into the discussion for tonight.  I do not feel we will arrive at a decision tonight.  Change is not easy but a constant in all our lives.  I think the ultimatum and prerogative will be placed in employees hands.  I will do what I need to do to rectify the circumstances.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, health care costs have escalated, I have been reviewing curves on costs the last two years.  I feel the costs are putting us behind with infrastructure improvements and other projects, which is very apparent this year because we are trying to take money from our employees to support the budget.  I do not like to take money from our employees or projects.  I am not in favor of the 4% employee contribution or the $.48 per hour employee raise.  The costs are exceeding what we can absorb.  We are lax in pay, especially starting pay.  I feel all wages need to be bolstered.  The plan we are trying to support is hurting our employee’s wages.  It is unsustainable to keep plan.  My goal in thinking through this is to find answers.  We are out of line with our benefit versus wage structure.  We are way high on benefits and have to flip it to sustain.  I feel employees taking single policies are taking the biggest hit and have less benefit where we try to fund the employee-child, employee-spouse or family plan.  I feel everyone gets $12,000 to $13000 in benefits with difference of wage increase.  We have about twenty five employees on family plan, some have spouses that have other options.  Spouses need to take the insurance plan from their employer when they can.  By requiring this we can give back in wages.  I see $7,000 difference between each plan and not having a family plan saves $175,000.  If we offer single plans with no out of pocket costs we will save money.  I have two ideas.  The first is everyone gets same benefit with a two year plan to get where we need to be.  The other alternative you recommended is giving raise equal to the cost of insurance contribution which I do not like.  I feel we need to advocate raise for employee loyalty.  We can start with $1.00 per hour raise for everyone and bolster entry level pay.  Then in year two the family plan will not be budgeted anymore and provide $1.50 per hour increase.  If we go down to a single plan we will be saving money and will have additional money for taxes and KPERS.  The first year with a family plan you will still get the $1.00 per hour raise but a single plan employee will get $1.00 per hour plus $1.50 per hour raise one time which increases entry level wages.  It has hurt us in past years to fund plan and not wages.  By increasing wages it makes us more competitive.  In year two we get rid of other plans with same pay raises.  My goal in two years is with generous raises to offer a single plan paid by the City but employee has wage increase to help pay for additional benefit.  I am considering two year path to be competitive and reward employees.  Commissioner Farris stated, we have to do something, I am not happy with individual we have handling our insurance.  We need to get bids and see what is out there.  We all have to pay for insurance.  Mayor Garcia stated, one of my proposals resembles plan offered by Colby.  I would be willing to have Andrew get itemization of what every employee in Colby is making with their plan.  I would be willing to sacrifice and compensate raises in one lump sum.  They pay 70% for employee then you pay for children and spouse.  However, I will compromise that in first year with the City paying 75% to be under Colby, but employee pays for spouse and children.  I feel that would compensate wages a lot.  Change is here and it is not going away.  By putting off decision in two years insurance costs will accelerate and be more costly to employee and City.  Commissioner Howard stated, insurance is a hard subject and it is difficult if you do not have it.  Making employees with families go without insurance is hard.  I propose we offer same benefit for one more year and when time to renew get higher deductibles to review which would be cheaper.  I feel we need to give employees a raise of $1.00 per hour.  We are lost right now not knowing what cost of insurance will be but employees are important to the City.  Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, if we make any changes to current plan do we lose grandfather status?  Andrew stated, we remain grandfathered as long as the employer change is not larger than 5%.  Commissioner Howard stated, we need to look at a higher deductible, the premium would cost less.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree with you but with current plan we would lose grandfather status.  Andrew stated, the 4% proposed employee contribution keeps grandfather status in place.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I would like to see more options on insurance.    Mayor Garcia asked, if your employees are valuable would you not want to give them the best plan possible?  If you step outside the 5%, you lose grandfather status and the only way to make it work is to increase the deductible.  Commissioner Howard stated, if we are looking at a higher deductible we can give the employees the wage increase they deserve.  I would like it to stay as is without a cost sharing plan and possibly using a non-grandfathered plan.  We need to look at all plans, grandfathered and non-grandfathered.  Andrew stated, during renewal we looked at a non-grandfathered plan without a large savings.  Your deductible will change with non-grandfathered plan.  The grandfathered plan saved us money because of prescription coverage.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I am of the same mindset as Commissioner Howard.  I feel employees should think about it.  I like keeping the plan as is for one year which will affect their raise this year.  We can look at Commissioner Brumbaugh’s options to cut insurance but provide a significant increase in wages.  The Commission is obviously not in agreement trying to equal wages and insurance.  We just approved $140,000 road project without much conversation but yet having an extended discussion on this topic.  Mayor Garcia stated, I have no problem with plan presented by Commissioner Brumbaugh but feel mine is generous.  Chris Douglas employee stated, Kenton Keith, Terry Smith and myself met with each Commissioner.  We do not get a seat at the table and you are making tough decisions.  There is not a simple solution.  We are thankful for the dialog and being able to communicate.  We do not have to agree but meeting with the Commission has helped me understand how hard the solution is.  We have to be able to communicate.  The biggest question is how we do it and we want to help work through it.  I work with some wonderful people and feel we need to partner together as we are the hands and feet of the City in getting work done.  I feel you recognize we all want what is best for the City, but not able to do without the hands and feet of City.  Mayor Garcia stated, you are on target, the mission has to be communicated and work for the City.  We need to crunch numbers and get back together again.  Our next meeting is scheduled for July 20th.  Andrew stated, we have to have public hearing no later than August 15th.  In order to approve budget at August 3rd meeting, we will have to have finalized by 20th for publication.  You can have special meetings for more discussion if needed.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, over the last couple years it seems like one size fits all but I would like to offer employees options going forward with different plans.  Andrew stated, I agree with Commissioner Brumbaugh, one of the biggest criticisms is grandfathered plan limits options.  In our discussions, staff is aware we may lose grandfather status.  It is frustrating as we are letting budget drive policy instead of policy drive budget.  Determining the best insurance policy is a process.  If you want to restructure, staff is not opposed to options, it is just tough to determine them in one night.  The budget has 4% employee contribution and I feel it is a mistake changing the insurance policy as part of budget process.  I caution the Commission from making quick drastic decisions without thinking them through.  Changes will have to come but they have to be planned.  Mayor Garcia stated, I agree with what you are saying and was sensitive when the employees were talking to me.  When we do not make a decision we make it worse.  The Commission has to make a decision before provide options.  I went back and reviewed figures and with fifty one employees in 2020 budget the cost was $757,634 but in 2021 budget, insurance cost is $748,000.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I understand we cut three and half positions, where did money get displaced.  Andrew stated, the valuation increased $50,000 if we hold mill levy, but additional requests of equipment and improvements not previously funded were presented.  One position cut was split between water utility and general fund, then when cut lower end positions there is not as much of an impact on budget.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I feel if other employees are stepping up to fill Rich’s position, there should be compensation built in for new responsibilities.  Andrew stated, we do have additional build in there and in past we have typically budgeted a 15% increase for insurance but during renewal Commission discussed extending date to July 1 so budgeted a 20% increase.  Is that important to the Commission?  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, last year you budgeted 15% increase, but it was 11% what happened to the 4%?  Andrew stated, the City is self-insured, so we pay claims up to $30,000 cap.  When we do not use entire 15% it remains in the fund.  City was previously self-insured and had balance built up but when no longer self-insured the Commission used money in other funds so need to build balance again.  Once we build balance, we will have leeway.  The balance we would like to have is $500,000.  Mayor Garcia stated, my recommendation is leave renewal at March 1 which still gives us an allotted amount of time to make decisions.  We have more to deal with in budget season then to take on burden to discuss insurance.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I am still frustrated BCBS is dictating to us and we cannot know numbers up front.  I do not want to spring anything on anyone either.  I want people to have time to adjust their budgets but we do not have numbers to discuss at this time.  Andrew stated, it is Commission decision, this may not be year to do it.  Depends what Commission is prioritizing.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we need to come up with number to fund, then come up with plan and fund it.  Commissioner Howard asked, the 20 % is for a longer contract?  Andrew stated, yes we looked at it last year but numbers did not work.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, if we expand our quotes and providers, I feel we can stay with twelve month contract.  Commissioner Howard asked, if we decrease to twelve month we would budget 15% increase?  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, previous hospital CEO tried to consolidate local entities for a bigger group renewal, is this an option this year, maybe with other City’s?  Commissioner Howard stated, school does that with other school districts.  Andrew stated, that is something we want to work toward.  There was one bid like that last year and I believe it came in really high but feel loosening up some.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, the employee concern is to have a plan with notice instead of it being on the chopping block every year.  We need to respect employee opinions and understand what they are saying.  Consensus of Commission is reduce increase estimate for insurance to 15%. 

Mayor Garcia asked, do Commissioners have other budget questions?  Commissioner Howard asked, on the phone bills who determines what is paid by each department.  Joshua stated, it is the number of lines and cost of cable and equipment leased at each location.  Commissioner Howard stated, IT equipment is budgeted in every dept.  Joshua stated, that is for other network equipment, not leased equipment.  Commissioner Howard asked, I have heard we are best place to buy used electrical equipment, can we stretch those dollars out?  They have a lot of hours not miles on the equipment.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, how is decision made to rotate equipment?  Dustin stated, when I started it was a seven year rotation, I moved it to a ten year rotation.  We had a near death experience and we look at the safety factor of the boom and equipment.  Commissioner Howard stated, equipment could have a failure two years into the equipment.  Tyler Jones employee stated, that is not the safest either.  Commissioner Howard stated, you should run safety checks everyday on equipment.  Tyler stated, we do.  Dakota Roubideaux employee asked, when the power is out do you want to wait to get it back on?  Dustin stated, we have tried to stretch service, but when looking at thirteen years on a truck it is stretching it too far.  I feel using an electric boom in the air with 13.8 voltage, we want to make sure we have safe equipment.  With thirty years of experience, it is not about the hours but the safety.  Commissioner Howard stated, it is with all departments.  Mayor Garcia stated, we had questions with freezing positions during this time.  Danny and Dustin are both understaffed but we have eluded to freezing positions during COVID.  Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, what makes it difficult to hire an electric employee?  Dustin stated, wages are an issue, but have to have experience and fit with crew.  We have a good crew and I do not want to hire someone we feel would not fit.  Power plant and line crew are both electric, but they are two different beasts.  We tried to cross train in past but it does not work.  Starting wage is $15 unless have schooling and experience, then it is $16.  Mayor Garcia stated, I feel that needs to be increased to almost $16.  Dustin stated, we have started apprentice program to get additional training the guys get paid for to keep them here.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I feel if we move forward and make change the new person needs to be brought in under new plan with higher wage, not sure right.  Andrew stated, that is why changing benefits needs to be a process.  Commissioner Howard asked, so do you table new hires till we get plan in place.  Mayor Garcia stated, at one time we eluded we were hiring a new police officer but we eluded to freeze position.  Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, what is the difference in police and other positions we have advertised?  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I cannot think of a reason to freeze hiring when we have position available.  Commissioner Farris stated, putting a freeze on hiring has never stopped them from hiring before.  Commissioner Howard stated, we have good police officers, then we have mediocre officers that have promoted a bad image around town.  You get hit up by citizens every day about those employees, then we have something happen at interstate and all law enforcement agencies report to the scene.  Is it necessary?  John Windle employee stated, the agencies all help each other, in this instance it was necessary.  Jason Erhart employee stated, last year Mayor Garcia said he did not want an officer working night shift alone.  I have had an officer work alone three nights with three felonies.  We have six officers, then one at academy and one opening.  If you have an officer hurt it makes it difficult to respond.    Mayor Garcia asked, you have two officers on duty at night until 2:00 a.m., then you have one officer?  Jason stated, yes that is a swing shift, after 2:00 a.m. the officer is still on call.  It is difficult for the chief to do her work then work night shift also, but she does.  I do not take vacation because I do not want to leave my officers alone.  Where do we stop, safety or hiring freeze?  Mayor Garcia stated, we are not a stagnant community but when agriculture land value goes down it will affect the budget.  Joni stated, we have one officer work during day with me, then I also come out at night when needed.  Mayor Garcia stated, I am trying to figure out why revised figures do not work with budget.  Andrew stated, we build each year on its own, there is a difference between approved budget and administration of budget.  When get unexpected events in a year you revise budget accordingly, COVID is an example.  We are weathering it well, so 2021 budget is based on what we see.  We make changes to budget every day.  The cuts we made were to function during COVID, but when we went to split shift we were not functioning, we were trying to stay afloat.  Budget is a daily conversation and a complicated process.  We have to determine what to cut and what want to accomplish.  Commissioner Howard stated, I feel P & L looks decent.  Mayor Garcia asked, what does final budget end up?  Andrew stated, $14,600,000 budget.  Does the Commission want to schedule another workshop or do you feel you will have resolution at next meeting.  Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I do not know if we will have resolution but if we need to schedule a meeting after the 20th we can.  Commissioner Howard asked, if we pay 100% on insurance, what does Commission want to do for raises?  They deserve a raise.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I am sticking with my original option; I will not be in favor of a family plan this year, but want to boost wages.  Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, do you do flat increase or a percent?  I am unsure until we revise numbers, but raises are justified.  Mayor Garcia stated, another proposal that would not affect employees whose spouse is stay at home is require 10% employee contribution first year.  We could increase deductible.  If you have spouse with insurance offered it would be the employee’s advantage to take alternate insurance.  I am in favor of lowering insurance premium.  Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, by becoming non-grandfathered it allows more options.  Mayor Garcia thanked everyone for candid discussion and stated, we will meet on July 20th.  It is all hypothetical until we get renewal numbers but we have to make decision for the sake of the employee.  We cannot keep putting off decision. 


  1. City Manager – 1.  Sporer poured in front of 24/7 last week.  2. We will have rezoning hearing on the 20th3.  Auditor will be at the August 3rd meeting to present report.  4. We successfully replaced the media at treatment plant on June 30th with help from Scott City Water Department.  5.  To update Commission, July 4th we had thirty five citizen complaints between July 1 and July 5, but no citations issued.  Commissioner Howard asked, do we need to do something for Scott City for help since it was on their dime?  Rich stated, we do that between municipalities, but Andrew and I are going to discuss what to do.   
  2. Commissioners

Vice-Mayor Thompson – 1.  NR

Commissioner Brumbaugh – 1.  NR

Commissioner Howard – 1.  Thank all employees for what you do.  If you were not here we would not be here.  That goes to all departments. 

Commissioner Farris – 1.  Agree with Commissioner Howard.

  • Mayor 1.  NR

ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Brumbaugh seconded by Vice-Mayor Thompson.  Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.  Next meeting is scheduled for July 20, 2020.


ATTEST:                                                                                John Garcia, Mayor


Mary P. Volk, City Clerk