August 17, 2020 Commission Minutes
GOODLAND CITY COMMISSION
August 17, 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, Joshua Jordan – IT Director, Kenton Keith – Street Superintendent, Neal Thornburg – Water/Sewer Superintendent, Danny Krayca – Parks Superintendent, Mary Volk – City Clerk and Andrew Finzen – City Manager.
Economic Development-CVB-Chamber Board members present were Gennifer House, Ben Schears, Jacque Livengood, Amy Sederstrom, Steven West, Rachelle Standley and Bill Biermann.
Mayor Garcia led Pledge of Allegiance
JOINT CITY-COUNTY MEETING
- County Commission Call to Order – County Commissioner Rod Blake called the County Commission meeting to order with County Commissioner Larry Enfield reported as present and County Chairman John Topliff present via telephone. Also present from the County was Ashley Mannis – County Clerk.
- Economic Development-CVB-Chamber Board Discussion – Mayor Garcia welcomed board members, stating, we feel we have a good board. Andrew stated, the Board has met a couple times. Gennifer was selected as board president. There are several questions the board would like answered by the City and County Commissions before they can proceed. Gennifer stated, we have met a couple times and each member has met individually with members from other counties for ideas. We have sample Bylaws and Interlocal Agreement we would like to follow. We contacted Bret Mangan, County Attorney for guidance but he felt it was out of his scope. If we need to utilize outside legal counsel, we will need money and a budget. County Commissioner Blake stated, I spoke with County Attorney, it is not a question of money but time. He has a lot of issues to finalize and did not want to get bogged down. County Commissioner Enfield stated, as far as financial, the County has about $30,000 left in ED money to help fund these costs because you will need it to set up 501(c) 3. You have bylaws and an Interlocal Agreement you would like to proceed with but we do not want to dissolve any funds until you come up with a plan. County Commissioner Blake stated, I see January 1, 2021 as a target date. Gennifer stated, we would like to be housed at the Welcome Center. Consensus of the City Commission is in agreement to utilize the Welcome Center. Mayor Garcia asked, have all members reviewed the bylaws you are referencing? Gennifer stated, yes, they are from Norton County. We feel a lot of funds like SPARK and other grants are available that we are missing out on. Mayor Garcia stated, the City budgeted $90,000 do you know what CVB has? County Commissioner Enfield stated, it was $140,000 but we increased bed tax 2%. Mayor Garcia stated, if City allocates $90,000, County allocates $90,000, CVB has $140,000 and Chamber has $10,000 that is $330,000. County Commissioner Blake stated, we budget $50,000 for economic development a year; you need to get organization operating and hire a director. The County planned to pay director and benefits. How does board see organization being setup and what do you anticipate budget? I feel it is a lien budget at this time. Gennifer stated, we feel we need to hire director and someone to answer phone, so 1.5 employees at the start. There is a lot going on and without a director the city and county are missing out. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what remains in 2020 Economic Development budget? Andrew stated, we cut $60,000 in revised budget but would have to look where it stands year to date. County Commissioner Blake asked, are you looking at setting up a 501 (c) 3 or 501 (c) 6? Ben stated, the 501 (c) 3 allows contributions and 501 (c) 6 allows for memberships. We would like to write grants and work with memberships so need flexibility to use both. Gennifer stated, the bylaws we have reviewed have it spelled out. Ben stated, we are looking at organizing the framework but need to know what budget we have available. There are funds available but we need to get ball rolling now. County Commissioner Enfield stated, Donna has looked at getting SPARK funding. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, with funds available we should be able to hire someone to get started. Jake Kling, City Attorney stated, the way you are indicating to combine and dissolve entities is the right direction for organization. If setup 501 (c) 3 you are setting up a separate entity. There is a City and County Attorney but we cannot represent the board because of conflict in the nature of the organization. The board needs an attorney to set up the bylaws. Greeley County was organized this way, so you will not need Interlocal Agreement. You have an independent board to build bylaws and budget. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, with a 501 (c) 3 can the County hire the director? I feel that should fall under the board. If that is the case and the County wants to pay director and benefits, their budget amount may have to increase. Jake stated, you need to talk to Bret as may not be able to be a County employee. County Commissioner Blake stated, it would be cleaner if the director was their employee and not a County employee. Gennifer stated, you have three existing boards, have they been notified to pass on websites, keys, passwords and other information? County Commissioner Blake stated, we have asked for the contracts, and information but they have not presented them. There will be some outstanding items. Gennifer asked, are the city and county going to dissolve the boards? Jake stated, so everyone understands, your board replaces those three boards. County Commissioner Enfield stated, the County appoints the CVB board so January 1 there will be no more appointments. Gennifer stated, we need the website password and administration information to their sights like GO-GOODLAND and Visit Goodland. Mayor Garcia stated, the purpose of moving toward the board is for both the County and City to facilitate every means possible for a self-running board. The budget has to be well funded to move aggressively. The CVB and Chamber missions are to bring people into town. We need to vision that any funds available at City and County need to shuffle to board to open accounts. We are to have no control over the way this board operates. Only responsibility of City and County is when we see issues with board moving forward. We are only facilitating you with what you need to get started. Steven stated, we are anxious to start responsibilities but need seed capital to work on moving forward. You have answered our questions; we need seed capital to set organization up. We cannot open an account until we have organization setup legally with bylaws. County Commissioner Enfield stated, if they have expenses can they present the bill to City or County until organization is setup? Jake stated, I believe they can. You will have to entrust someone on board to hold capital until organization is setup. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we have about $50,000 we can shuffle over. Steven stated, we will have to enlist someone to start working for us. Bill asked, when we finalize bylaws do they need to be approved by the City and County? County Commissioner Enfield stated, we will not, the board will have to approve. Jake stated, you cannot tell them what to put in their bylaws. Your obligations start and end with monetary contribution to them. Ben stated, I do not feel it would be hard to find someone to help setup organization. Jacque asked, will you find out about contracts coming up soon so we know? County Commissioner Enfield stated, that would be with CVB and they should not have obligated monies they cannot pay. We need to make sure CVB board presents information to you. Jake stated, CVB is still valid and going to exist under your board, the entity will not go away. Do not lose site that entities are not going away. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, money from City and County do not have restrictions while CVB money does. Mayor Garcia stated, the board can start using Welcome Center anytime? Andrew stated, yes as long as Commission approves; no one is out there now. Consensus of commission is for board to begin use of Welcome Center. Mayor Garcia stated, thank you for your willingness to work. Steven stated, remember we have to be legally organized before we receive the money.
- County Commission Adjourns – Adjournment of the County Commissioner was had on a motion by County Commissioner Enfield seconded by County Chairman Blake. Motion carried by unanimous vote.
- 08/03/20 Commission Meeting Minutes
- Appropriation Ordinances: 2020-16, 2020-16A, and 2020-P16
- Appointment of Lynda Welch to the Museum Board
ON A MOTION by Vice-Mayor Thompson to approve Consent Agenda seconded by Commissioner Howard. MOTION carried on a VOTE of 5-0.
- 511 E. 8th St.: Jennifer Busby – Andrew stated, Jennifer contacted Mayor Garcia indicating the element of time did not work for her so no discussion necessary.
- PIC Consultant Contract – Andrew stated, the contract was amended March 1, 2019 for three year term. Contract is automatic renewal for three year term unless terminated. Early Cancellation is identified in Section 4.3 without a ninety day cancellation notice. Termination must be with ninety days written notice or other date mutually agreed upon. Mayor Garcia asked, City fiscal year is January to December? Andrew stated, yes. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, was there something specific for contract to be discussed. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, with services provided I was not in favor of renewing contract in 2019. I am in favor of giving notice. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what services does she provide? Andrew stated, she is not an insurance broker but a consultant. She solicits bids for our health insurance with various companies and consults on benefits year around. They have been researching COVID issues throughout this time, researching an employee claim denied by insurance, work with employees and keep City in compliance with ACA to prevent penalties. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, is that taken care of with internal HR? Andrew stated, yes if you have a full time HR Director, which we do not. Mayor Garcia stated, any other consultant will do that. Andrew stated, if you are getting a broker I would say it needs to be spelled out. Mayor Garcia stated, I spoke with Ben Schears; he has worked with Mr. Robert (Bob) Langhofer a long time but he would have to make presentation to Commission. Just because we stop PIC services does not prevent employees from needing insurance services. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I am not a fan of the contract but does any employee have a problem with services she provides? I have not heard any negative to her services, just know there are questions with the way insurance is bid. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I just have a problem with the insurance bids and feel we are behind the curve on this item and I will not continue down that path. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, have these concerns been addressed with her? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we see her at the end of year when she brings bids. I feel we need to look at a new approach to save money. It is costing more money and leaving things unattended. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I feel to approach this we need to look at options for insurance. If we decide to go elsewhere then we go elsewhere but I feel we should do nothing at this point until we receive quotes. Mayor Garcia stated, the numbers come in late October so I feel we need to have someone in place at that time. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, if we have other consultants bidding insurance they will sign a contract at that time. Commissioner Howard stated, I am in agreement, we cannot get rid of someone when you do not know what is out there. We also cannot make employees pay insurance because it is part of their wage. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, this has nothing to do with that. Commissioner Howard stated, I agree, but if you bring other agencies in that ask for employees to pay a share of insurance, I am not in favor of it. We have to make sure we have apples to apples on the insurance. Andrew stated, this shows the unfavorable position Rhonda has been in. There is disagreement from the discussion as to how much employees should pay. Commission is to be setting policy, not the consultant. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I have been pretty clear with my requests in the past. I do not feel we are getting anything from our consultant. We have wasted a lot of money over the years and I feel it is time for a change because insurance has changed a lot over the years. Andrew stated, last year the Commission was presented bids for insurance on an HSA policy, 5% employee share, grandfather plan and non-grandfather plan as requested. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, that is the reason we need to wait until insurance renewal to make decision. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, they will not do anything for nothing. Andrew stated, my recommendation is that no change should happen before March 1, when you renew insurance. The time to transition is at renewal time. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I thought numbers come in November or December, not March. Andrew stated, you are conflicting numbers with renewal date. If contract is cancelled before March 1 then you have to get someone to manage the plan before insurance is bid. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I want a different process before end of year to get results. Commissioner Farris stated, it seems like every second meeting in December we have to make decision, I never heard anything about March date. Andrew stated, you have to lock in your plan ahead of renewal time. Mayor Garcia stated, we have had a good discussion and presented options during budget but have to move ahead. Costs have become so exorbitant in insurance world and City cannot absorb cost. I feel Mr. Langhofer brought well designed plans for employees. Is $100 a month really that bad to have coverage? We pay 100% for employees, but when you discuss with other organizations, they pay for employee, if you want others on plan you have to pay. I have no problem bringing on a consultant right away and do not want to wait to get insurance answers. That is when we are going to make decisions as to how employees will pay when insurance renews. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, you are arguing a moot point. If we give her ninety days, do we have anyone lined up? How do we know they will bring back a better bid with insurance? Commissioner Howard stated, this should wait until we decide what plan and where we want to go. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, then it is January and will have to wait another year. Commissioner Howard stated, we need to request other companies to bid insurance. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I am willing to go through December when she will have numbers. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what is incentive for her to bring good bids? Commissioner Howard stated, we need to wait to see what the numbers are. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, there are a lot of feelings and tensions with insurance and I understand why. Jake stated, the way you avoid paying half the entire PIC contract is you give ninety days. If you give ninety days, you have services so you pay for them. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, we have to give at least ninety days but prefer at renewal. Commissioner Howard stated, if you terminate contract, she may not bring us anything or she may present the best insurance policy. Andrew stated, if you terminate contract at this time you do not know what you are getting for the services so unsure why you would put city in that bind. Mayor Garcia stated, we need to bring in Mr. Langhofer as a consultant to give a presentation. He is well educated and resume speaks for itself. Neal Thornburg, employee asked, do you know what is happening with our insurance? Mayor Garcia stated, the numbers will come in October and I recommend we have someone in place. Shauna Johnson, employee asked, what if another consultant is three times higher than Rhonda? Mayor Garcia stated, she can present her contract at same time. Shauna stated, but you terminated her contract. Mary asked, should this be a bid process? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I just feel there are other options and we should bid it out. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, we have all said we are in favor of looking at options, but looking at Rhonda’s contract now is not doing us any favors. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, in a month we look out ninety days that would run PIC contract to the end of the year. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, everything you are frustrated with PIC came last year. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we need to do something before renewal. Mayor Garcia stated, the employees were presented with many plans and when we start talking insurance in November, some of us feel the plan will not remain as is, the structure has to change. Not in any manner will it bankrupt employees. Chris Douglas, employee stated, we are currently trying to hire help. PIC has the same pool that other consultants will pull from. You get another consultant they are not going to magically present insurance providers. Look at the college, they pay more for premiums and the insurance is not as good as the City’s. You keep saying we are wasting money with current policy so that is telling me I am a waste of money. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, that is not what I said. Chris stated, the County pays 100% for insurance and pays employees higher wages. Mayor Garcia stated, the issue we have here is there is unwillingness to listen to different scales or categories. Chris stated, but that is more out of my pocket. Mayor Garcia stated, that is correct, they will draw from the same pool, but if we tweak the policies a bit we may find a plan that will better fit you as an employee. The consultant is going to come up with different plans that may help the employee. Chris stated, I understand that, but if you are asking employees to pay more, whether through the premium or deductible, you cannot offset that cost at the same rate. If you increase wages you will pay more in taxes which is not going to save the City money. Mayor Garcia stated, I get where you are coming from but we do not know numbers now. Only thing we know now is the cost of PIC contract, maybe a different consultant will offer more services. We are not saying you are not worth what paying, we are saying that adjustments have to be made. Chris stated, but at the end of the day that will be on employee so we will make less money doing the job we are doing. Commissioner Howard stated, that is correct. Chris stated, so if we are listening, we are already struggling to hire people. I have been advertising a year for help that is not making it better. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree with you, we are not hiring anyone because we cannot increase wages because insurance is weighing us down. It would free us up if we do health insurance the way everyone else does. Chris stated, but the premium will be so low that the coverage will be bad. It will cost the employee more and you cannot offset that cost to the employee. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is costing the tax payer more to continue doing it the way we are. Chris stated, the County does it and have figured it out. Commissioner Howard stated, the people I talk to about City insurance understand that the insurance is a good incentive for the employee with the wages being lower. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, but we cannot hire anyone at current starting wage. Commissioner Howard stated, the insurance is considered part of their wage so the employee needs to add that benefit to their wage when they are hired. We cannot give a raise to compensate for the employees paying the insurance. We need to wait to act on any decision until we have bids for insurance. Neal stated, people are hesitant to apply because of insurance discussion. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree, we should not bring new employees on under current plan. Tamara Hayes citizen stated, I have been sitting at home listening to your comments. First thing I need to point out is your current employees have put up with a lot because you are their employer. Every time you discuss their wages or attack what they take home, they are going to get upset. You are supposed to have their back. They have proven to be loyal to you and you are supposed to find a way to take care of them. This is breach of contract for existing employees because when they were hired, they were told you were going to cover insurance 100%. You cannot just change your mind with current employees. If you want to hire new employees and state you will cover a certain amount you can. Instead bring workable solutions to discuss with employees. You do not have a plan, every employee is worried; you are doing them a huge disservice. You are their employer. Granted you are voted in and someone may take your place when term is finished but as their employer you are to represent them. I realize you represent the rest of Goodland, but you need to find a workable solution between employees and your taxpayers. You are stressing out the employees because you are cutting the original agreement you hired them under. You advertised when they were hired that insurance was 100% paid. Going forward if you do not want to provide 100% of the insurance, you need to advertise the position that way. I feel should have a workable solution before you bring it back before the employees. They are worth it, work hard for you and are very loyal. They are families, taxpayers and have a vote in your community. If you want good help, you are going to pay for it. Good help is very hard to find. Instead of arguing, you need to find workable solutions. There are other opportunities out there for them, even if they want to drive. You brought up Colby, they can drive there for work. Yes, employees pay for a portion of their insurance and they are paid higher wages, so Colby has to pay higher payroll taxes. They are not saving any money in the long run. Bring a workable solution. Mayor Garcia stated, thank you for coming; a solution is what we are trying to find. Payroll over the last nine years has increased to over $3,000,000. I feel past Commissions have stood behind the employees by giving wage increases when other municipalities have not. We are trying to come up with a solution but I feel the solution has to be the employee absorbing some cost. You are right, they can drive, but they will not get paid what they are being paid here. Tamara asked, do you know how many employees will leave if you change insurance benefits? Mayor Garcia stated, I have no idea. Tamara stated, then I probably know better than you and it is not good. Do you know how many of them will leave this community? You are about building this community. You will not build it with less people living here, they will move if have better opportunity. Mayor Garcia stated, I do not doubt that but in the last sixty days there have been six families move into the community. Tamara stated, yes because there are more opportunities. Mayor Garcia stated, not only more opportunities, but the cost of living is less in Goodland. Tamara stated, no, that is not true, I pay triple in property taxes here than I paid in Louisiana. I pay double insurance than I paid there. Nothing in material goods is cheaper. I came back because my husband is loyal to this town. I grew up here but cost of living is not cheaper in Goodland. Mayor Garcia stated, it is cheaper than in California or Colorado. How do we equalize the costs with infrastructure we have to maintain? Tamara stated, why does it have to come from the employees? Why not incentivize new corporations that come in with sales tax? Your employees feel attacked with this discussion. Commissioner Howard stated, a happy employee gets more work done. Tamara stated, the employees have dealt with this the last two years and are very loyal to you. With your grandfather plan and ACA in effect, you will have a hard time finding a plan that is cheaper. You are hurting employee morale. Shauna asked Commissioner Brumbaugh and Mayor Garcia, you both say you want to raise wages to compensate loss in insurance. What if the cost to increase wages is more than the increase in insurance? Why not keep insurance same and give employees smaller wage increase? Mayor Garcia stated, that is a preliminary discussion right now, but surveys the employees did had a lot of contradiction. We are trying to be responsible to you as well as taxpayers. Shauna stated, so I understand it does not matter what the cost is to change insurance, you just want to change the insurance. Mayor Garcia stated, we want to get bids to review and vote in November. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is a business mindset, we have to get out from being dictated by insurance, we can control wages but no idea on insurance. No Forbes 500 company does this, only municipalities and counties. I have no problem giving as much of a wage increase as we need, but we have to get out of mindset that the benefit to work for City is insurance. Businesses do not do it because it is not feasible. My issue is this needs to be run like a business, not government. Why do we have positions that are not being filled? We need to be stewards of taxpayer money, like a business, outside of government. Shauna stated, if I understand you right, even if it costs more to give raises, you are just trying to get out from under the unknown with insurance. It makes sense, but please do not tell citizens it is because you want to save taxpayer money, because it could cost them more this year. Tell them you want to level it out for future and take away the fluctuation of insurance numbers. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, in the second year my proposal would save us money. Tamara asked, what is from keeping the insurance from hiking costs second year? People see it all the time. We are not seeing alternate numbers, only an attack on employees. What will you do when your employer says they have to cut your pay, what are you going to do? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I will take it or leave it. Every job I have had, I accepted based on the terms but the terms of employment change since hired. It is a fact of life. I want best for employees and City. I am trying to look at it from a business standpoint and do not feel we can continue. Tamara stated, how can you discuss it when you do not have alternate numbers? My point is there is a lot of supposition going on. You do not know why you are making the decisions without numbers and costs. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, that is why we are doing it now so we do not end up in a bind in December. Tamara stated, I understand what you are doing but I also understand being an employer and how hard it is to find good help. It is the fear of the unknown your employees are feeling. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, part of the problem is misunderstanding the ninety day timeline, but we are within a month of being where we need to be for the ninety days, so I have no problem waiting. My problem is the quotes have been from the same person every time. I want quotes from someone beside Rhonda. We are trying to get ahead of it now because it has not happened the last two years. Neal asked, information on the misappropriation of funds, when you met with the County it took you thirty seconds to spend $150,000 for a road when you had no idea where funds were coming from, while the insurance has been a discussion ongoing and you have no idea what insurance will do. You are ready to jump ship without knowing and throw Rhonda under the bus when she provided the information you requested. Mayor Garcia stated, we want other bidders out there to give us bids. It could cost more, could cost less we have no idea. I feel employees misunderstand responsibility of being an elected official. You can get elected out or elected in. I feel we have always taken good care of you guys but know some of you are making good wages. Neal stated, how long have some of your employees been here? Mayor Garcia stated, we are asking the employees to pay a little bit, we are not taking insurance away. We have no answers yet. If employees go elsewhere they will take a 20 to 25% hit immediately. That will be placing a bad financial decision on their family because it will cost more to pay for insurance. Mary stated, in those costs you have to include the increase employees will have in their deductible. If you require spouses to go with insurance plan from their employer, your employees will have to meet a second deductible. Joshua stated, if you have two separate policies, you are paying two separate deductibles which raises cost for everyone. You may think I am paid well but by national average, I am under 10% for my position. There are not that many jobs for me here so if you change it, my family would not be staying here. Every time you bring this subject up it leaves my family unsettled and not sure we want to stay in community. It is not the community or the people, but the way you focus on this discussion. You focus on a single item in the entire budget. I understand it is important to control these costs, we own a business in town. This puts undue stress on everyone. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, like you, I am tired of discussing insurance. The only time we can discuss insurance is in open meetings. Do we all agree, no, but each Commissioner has a right to their opinion. The discussion makes no difference until we have bids. Commissioner Howard stated, we should have approached discussion a different way. We should have addressed whether we want outside agencies the right to provide bids for insurance. Make a decision on the consultant when we look at insurance bids. Tamara stated, the problem is you have no options at this time. Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, are we willing to pay another consultant while we are paying PIC? We have to make that decision. Dustin asked, will consulting services be put out to bid? Mayor Garcia stated, yes. Dustin asked, what happens if PIC comes back as low bid. Will you consider her bid with your differences? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, my concern is the cost and bid received for insurance. Mayor Garcia stated, the discussion the Commission is having is there is only one pool to pull from. The problem the Commission has is some want employees to pay a share. If there is only one pool then everyone will come up with same bid. Consultants evaluate individual policies to see what benefits the employee. First thing that has to be settled is who wants to continue with 95/5 plan. I told you last year when I bid for it that it would probably be the last year for the plan. We need to have vote in November who wants to stay on plan when have numbers. Tamara stated, insurance is like any commodity you have to shop it. Bad moral comes from the fact the Commission does not have numbers but willing to say employees will pay a share. Shauna stated, it has to do with the fact that you do not like what Rhonda has presented but she presented what you requested. That is why personal feelings are involved. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I have stated in past I want bids outside of Rhonda. Shauna stated, every consultant is a business person so I do not understand why you think Rhonda is lying. Neal stated, you have to look at policies that are comparable. Mayor Garcia stated, I have no problem being responsible to my tax payers. In December 2019 she said the contract had to be voted then. Her recommendation was the employees should pay 5% but it was never brought to the attention of the Commission. Shauna stated, she presented the 5% from the employees at that meeting like you asked because she knew from previous year you requested it. The employees were shocked when they heard her recommendation. Mayor Garcia asked, so why did you as an employee consent to the 5%? Shauna stated, I do not want the 5% but if it keeps us grandfathered with current plan, I am for it. But when you go beyond that it increases my deductible and health costs so I am taking a pay cut and I am not in favor of it. Mayor Garcia stated, no other organization is doing this. Shauna stated, but that is false information because there is. The County does it. Neal stated, are we looking at same insurance plan and deductible. Mayor Garcia stated, we will not know until look at numbers and vote on it. We need to move forward. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, we will look at all plans beginning with existing plan and go down as long as it is within the money budgeted.
- Employee Spouse Health Insurance Coverage – Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I was looking at the health insurance. We want to make sure everyone is covered but feel we are being wasteful with double coverage when an employee’s spouse takes insurance policy from their employer. The survey indicated there were fifteen employees where the spouse takes their employer insurance so I feel there is double coverage. If spouse has coverage they have to sign a form and City will not take them on City policy too. What companies do is if they are eligible for coverage elsewhere, they are not eligible to be on our plan. That is where we are truly being wasteful, the spouse should be taking their own insurance. It is costing the City $105,000 that could go toward wages or other items. I voted for the last policy and I voted for the $1.00 raise. My objective is to do things as efficiently as we can what can without raising taxes. If we are being good stewards of the money, I am not going to vote to raise taxes when there are other places for it to come. This is an obvious place for me. Commissioner Howard asked, on the spouse’s policy, is it full or partial coverage? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I do not know. Commissioner Howard stated, but that is still a reduction of wages for employees. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, my feeling is if they can take the coverage, we should not be absorbing that cost. This is not something I came up with, this has been going on for a long time. Commissioner Howard stated, I understand but a policy that is not 100% is still a reduction in employee wages. Mayor Garcia stated, City should not be held responsible if spouse’s employer does not cover insurance 100%. Kenton stated, why are you discriminating my wife for choosing her job and not allow on our insurance but you will pay for employee’s wife that does not work? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, this is common practice. Kenton stated, if my wife’s wages were lower than her insurance, it would be cheaper for her to quit her job to stay covered with the City. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, those decisions have to be made as a family. My opinion, as a City policy, if a spouse works where insurance is provided, they cannot be on City policy. We need to look at a policy for the City. Commissioner Howard stated, hard to make current employees do it now. It should be a policy for new employees. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I asked and it was indicated you cannot have some employees on a grandfather policy and others on different policy. Andrew stated, that is what I suspect would be the case but you need someone with more HR expertise to answer that question. Shauna asked, where did you get the $105,000? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, the survey indicated there are fifteen employees with double coverage and there is $7,000 difference between the family and other policies. Shauna asked, what does that cost tax payer? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is three mills. Shauna asked, are citizens of community complaining that taxes are too high because employees are being paid too much and insurance cost are too high? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, no. Shauna stated, so when streets are not being taken care of, are citizens going to care if you took away a family plan for a few dollars and now you have mediocre streets? Would they have rather had you pay a little more to keep the employee and have good streets? Mayor Garcia stated, how do you address the fact that we have not addressed the issue so now streets are being resurfaced every ten years? Kenton stated, it is a different process now then we used to use. Mayor Garcia stated, that is irrelevant as I have several people call me on the condition of the streets, Eighth Street is an example. We should be able to continue the process every three years. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, this is a policy we have to decide if we are going to allow people to be double covered. I have reviewed the wages and compared to Colby the last couple years. Sometimes it is hard to know where we stand with longevity, but I do not feel we are as far off in wages as we think. I have always been in favor of giving more in wages, but we have to get it in line. My philosophy is to get on a different path. Tamara stated, the numbers are high because of ACA, without grandfather plan you will pay more. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is hard for me to continue down this path when the taxpayers footing the bill do not have insurance that is close to City coverage. I am trying to save money. Tamara stated, you have to look at actual options to review. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, we have to have this discussion to get there. Tamara stated, how are you deciding policy when you do not have any numbers or options? Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, this policy has nothing to do with the numbers. Mayor Garcia stated, the employees need to keep an open mind we are looking at the options. We have to wait for the numbers, but when the time comes you better keep an open mind because options are currently being discussed. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, the sooner we discuss it the sooner we will have options. Timing is important for enrollment and to make decisions. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, my initial thought it does not affect many employees, so I am not sure it is worth it. Commissioner Howard stated, even if employees pay 10% out of pocket, it is still a cut in pay. I still do not want employees to pay money for their insurance. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, in the end game an employee will not pay for single plan, but they will pay for other policies. Commissioner Howard stated, it will still cost us more money. Commissioner Farris stated, I do not see how we can do if we do not offer same coverage to everyone. On the other hand if they are not taking our plan should we be giving them more in wage? When you request quotes from different companies, they will not be the same insurance. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is all in how policy is organized.
- Corner Lot Setbacks – Andrew stated, this discussion was requested by Commissioner Howard. There was some interest in looking at corner lot setback. Commissioner Howard stated, my thoughts are the lots are smaller and if we require additional 15’ for setback, there is nothing you can build on the lot. I feel we should change to line of sight with other structures on street each way and build to that. That would get rid of the 15’ setback. Mayor Garcia stated, I agree looking at situation Busby had with property. Line of sight is pretty standard and in favor of it. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, if go line of sight, it is based on what is currently there, but all corner lots will vary. Commissioner Howard stated, all streets will have normal setback on center lots. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, not everything is built to same standard. Commissioner Howard stated, even with normal setback still have line of sight. Vice-Mayor Thompson asked, what is regular setback? Commissioner Howard stated, it depends on street, some streets are wider. Commissioner Farris asked, this is just for buildings right, not plants or shrubs? Andrew Brunner stated, the setback will depend on zoning. Not every road in town is built the same. Commissioner Howard stated, yes it has to go from where City property is. Andrew stated, in R-1, side yard is no less than six but no more than fifteen feet. Commissioner Howard asked, what is front setback? Andrew referred to City Code. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, as long as it does not impede visibility. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, there are more bushes. I am not sure I am in favor of line of sight with the variance as we will run into shrubbery issues. Commissioner Brumbaugh asked, is this a standard setback? Andrew stated, Goodland has some small or corner lots people are trying to develop on which is where this originated. Commissioner Howard stated, I think we need to discuss when Brian James can be here to get options.
- Sale of City Land – Andrew stated, Commissioner Howard is interested in purchasing land by 2nd and Kansas near Topside Manor. My question is the Commission interested in disposing of land and if so, what is process. The land is north of Topside Manor and water plant where road extension is going in. Commissioner Howard stated, I am planning to develop for a housing development. Rich stated, there is no sewer to property. Commissioner Howard stated, there will be sewer brought in for Topside Manor. Commissioner Farris stated, we should not be in a hurry to sell anything in that area. Vice-Mayor Thompson stated, I agree with Commissioner Farris with the development of area. I feel we should list if the land is for sale. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, I agree, need to hold on land. Commissioner Howard stated, it would bring in tax revenue.
- City Manager – 1. We are having issues with van being operational. No drivers are able to pass the KDOT physical. We are working on certification of backup drivers and advertising for part time drivers, but it is hard to find part time help that can pass requirements. We are also advertising for full time position which will require restructuring of personnel. Operations will be spotty until we figure out what process to do. It will take some time. Commissioner Brumbaugh stated, it is an important community service; we need to look at options. Andrew stated, we are looking at options with advertisement. Mayor Garcia stated, keep us informed. 2. We submitted application to County Commission for SPARK funds to assist with City expenses in COVID and direct aid grant requests to see if they could be funded. I will let you know what we receive. 3. Next Commission meeting is September 8th due to Labor Day Holiday and offices are closed.
- City Clerk – Mary stated, we hired a new employee at the front desk that we are training. Sarah has been cross trained for her transition into AP/AR, but there is still a learning curve. Continuing to scan checks, working on charge off list and transitioning bad debt files for electronic retrieval of documentation. I need to certify budget to the County and State by the 25th, copy budgets for department heads and input information in the system. We are finishing up the KDOT Audit for Transportation Grant and personnel information on summer help as well as continuing daily operations.
- Public Works Director – Rich stated, this is my last report. We completed chip sealing and helped with meals on wheels. New trash containers have been set around town and we have been spraying and patching streets. We have been working on treatment plant, chlorine residuals, starting to winterize ballpark, replacing a fire hydrant extension and picking up tree branches. We believe we have located the water leak at pool, worked on hydrants at cemetery, poured concrete at city office, sweeping, mowing, hauling junk from police department and working on a temporary drive at police department to have new drive poured. We have been fixing hangars at airport, spraying mosquitos and putting out larva side. We will fog seal the 27th, mowing right of ways and fixing concrete in GAC alley.
- City Commissioners
Vice-Mayor Thompson – 1.
Commissioner Brumbaugh – 1. – Barb and staff did an outstanding job at the pool. There was nothing tied to the pool with virus. They did a good job. 2. Displayed a picture of the cemetery so everyone can see how good it looks. This is one of the areas that was bad. Joni Guyer is to be commended on an outstanding job with the care she takes at the cemetery. We are on the right track.
Commissioner Howard – 1. The chip seal on streets look good. Electric crews have been working with high winds. I appreciate work of all City employees, I would not want to do it.
Commissioner Farris – 1. No Report
- Mayor – 1. Express my gratitude for candid conversation on insurance. 2. Did you look at site violations discussed last meeting? We need to look into those. Andrew stated, the 8th and Arcade location is not a site violation. The City would have to pass a visibility standard to have property owner remove tree. We removed one tree at that property in years past that was in site triangle.
- Executive Session – Under the authority of KSA 75-4319(b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel – Mayor Garcia made a motion at 8:14 p.m. to recess into executive session under authority of K.S.A.75-4319 (b)(1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel not to exceed fifteen minutes. I request the Commission and City Manager be present. Vice-Mayor Thompson seconded the motion. MOTION carried by a VOTE of 5-0. Meeting resumed at 8:29 p.m. Mayor Garcia made a second motion at 8:30 p.m. to recess into executive session under authority of K.S.A.75-4319 (b) (1) for personnel matters for nonelected personnel not to exceed twenty minutes. I request only the Commission be present. Commissioner Howard seconded the motion. MOTION carried by a VOTE of 5-0. Meeting resumed at 8:50 p.m.
ADJOURNMENT WAS HAD ON A MOTION Commissioner Farris seconded by Commissioner Howard. Motion carried by unanimous VOTE, meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m. Next meeting is scheduled for September 8, 2020.
ATTEST: John Garcia, Mayor
Mary P. Volk, City Clerk