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  MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE MAYOR AND THE COMMITTEE-OF-THE-WHOLE

OF THE CITY OF EAST MOLlNE ILLINOIS
JULY 5, 2005
    ROLL CALL Mayor Thodos called the meeting to order and directed City Clerk Arletta D. Holmes, to call the roll.  The following Aldermen were present:  Helen Heiland, Luis Puentes, Luis Moreno, Carol Doose, Rick Meredith, Gary Kelley, and Gary Westbrook.   7:40 pm  

NEW HIRE FOR GMHA (Capitan DeVrieze)

Officer Charles Harris submitted a resignation effective July 8, 2005.  Initially, this position was to be cut from FYE 2006 budget.  The Greater Metropolitan Housing Authority (GMHA) has proposed a three-year agreement to pay the full salary for one Police Officer beginning July 29, 2005.  As part of the agreement the Police Department will provide one officer designated full time to GMHA properties.  

RECOMENDATION:  To hire one Police Officer designated to serve GMHA properties.   

BUDGET IMPACT:  None.  The first year salary and insurance cost will be covered in full.  The second year salary will be covered in full and partial (approximately half) insurance cost.  The third and final year will cover the full salary and the City will absorb the insurance cost.   A motion was made by Alderman Kelley, seconded by Alderman Moreno, to concur with the recommendation as presented.  Upon roll call the following voted in favor:  Kelley, Westbrook, Heiland, Puentes, Moreno, and Meredith.  Motion carried.

 

STREET PAINTING  (Bruce Willemarck)

Maintenance Services received competitive bids for Street Marking for traffic control.  Long lines, hash marks, stop bars, and crosswalks are including in the bid.  Areas to be marked are 16th, 17th and, 18th Avenues from Silvis to Moline border.  Also Kennedy Drive and 7th, Streets from 15th Avenue to the Moline border.  Peterson Striping was the only bidder.  Bid results are:               
4-inch straight white lines                                     $0.41 /Foot
            
24 inch white stop bars                                         $1.95 /Foot
            
6-inch crosswalks with 12 inch hash                     $125.00 /Crosswalk
            Arrows                                                              $31.00/Arrow    

RECOMMENDATION:   Accept Peterson Striping bid not to exceed $25,000.              

BUDGET IMPACT:  Maximum of $25,000, from sales tax increase.     A motion was made by Alderman Meredith, seconded by Alderman Moreno, to concur with the recommendation as presented and accept Peterson Striping bid not to exceed $25,000.  Upon roll call the following voted in favor: Kelley, Westbrook, Heiland, Puentes, Moreno, Doose, and Meredith.  Motion carried.  

REALLOCATION OF FUNDS  (Rich Keehner) On January 20, 2004 a decision was made by the East Moline City Council which provided the park budget $229,967.50 obtained from the sale of 65 acres of City Landfill Property, These funds were to be used for park capital improvements, grant match, and Western Illinois University (WIU) park study.  Since that time, a number of issues have adversely affected the City's financial situation including, and among others, utility income and sales tax revenue being flat, two outstanding worker compensation cases being approved for settlement by the City Council, reduction of the Insurance& Tort levy being reduced to such a level as to not provide adequate funding to cover settlement of the worker compensation cases, and recent unexpected Brownfield issues within the Great River Industrial Park associated with the development of the Metro Link Transfer Station.  

Recommendation:    As a result of current City financial distress, reverse the January 20, 2004 decision of the East Moline City Council which provided the park budget $229,967.50 obtained from the sale of 65 acres of City landfill property.  These funds were to be used for park capital improvements, grant match, and the Western Illinois University (WIU) study.  Leave landfill sale proceeds within the City's General Fund (i.e. Recreation & Culture fund) and transfer back to Recreation & Culture budget any landfill proceeds, which are remaining and unencumbered within the Park Budget associated with the sale of the 65 acres of City landfill property.  

Budget Impact: Reduction of the Park budget funding line items and increase the General Fund (Recreation & Culture) fund budget balance. 

Mr. Keehner:  Read into the record the following Memo from Finance Director Jim Hughes dated June 30, 2005 regarding Landfill Moines.    I felt I needed to write a quick memo explaining my position on the revenues from the sale of land near our landfill.  It is my strong recommendation that this money be left in the Recreation and Culture Fund for at least this fiscal year.  I sympathize with the members of the Park Board, in that they truly want to see an improvement in our parks, but do not have the necessary resources to fulfill their dreams.  With the dangerously low cash balances that the City has now it is very important that we retain these funds to carry us through our difficult times.  The landfill money has helped us in the past to cover payrolls when the State did not sent our share of State Funds on a timely basis.   Just as strongly I feel that this money should not be used to pay for the two (2) large Workmen's Compensation Claims we have now.  I think that we need the time to review the possibility of issuing Judgment Bonds to pay for these costs.  That is why I am also recommending the passage of a Resolution of intent to issue Judgment Funding Bonds this Tuesday if it comes up.  This is not saying we are going to issue bonds, but leaves the door open that we could issue the bonds at a later date.   Mayor Thodos asked that this item be put on the agenda after attending a Park Board Meeting two (2) months ago.  He expressed his concerns regarding the financial condition of the City.  He stated that he understand and sympathizes with the Park's financial situation, but the City's financial situation is the overall concern right now.  Mr. Keehner outlined the situation. The City Council knows what we have in terms of Judgments, Insurance & Torts and other liabilities.  Currently the money in question is held in the General Fund, and is helping to keep the City solvent.   Earlier in the evening the City Council passed a Resolution (05-23) that did give the Council the authority in that, in the event that there is a need, to be able to pass bonds to address the liability that the City has incurred through the Workmen's Compensation Claims.  The Council knows the financial situation of the City and what the original staff recommendation was.    Mayor Thodos states that from his own personal preference the City obviously is not in a financial situation for any of the money to be in the Park Fund.  However, it is the Council members are the ones that will have to make that decision.   Mr. Hughes' recommendation is from a financial point of view.  As Mayor, I personally don't want to issue bonds. But that is Mr. Hughes opinion, and that's the direction the Finance Director is directing us to do.    Depending on what the Council's decision is this evening, it will indicate basically where   we go forward on trying to find additional funds, and where we find them in other areas.    As you well know we have thrown out some ideas, which are not always popular.  Such as putting off replacing the City Administrator's Position in order to save money.  The Mayor stated that he would continue to throw out ideas to save money.  He also stated that it is the City Council the people on the legislative end that will make the decision on that.    Alderman Moreno states that ultimately this issue comes down to mismanagement of Park Funds.  He advised Mayor Moreno, Bruce Willemarck, and everyone sitting here, that the Park Board money is misused.  This is simply because there are four (4) employee's that are on "The Clock" full time and receive over time.  Alderman Moreno states he feels that this is "Robbing Peter to pay Paul".  He understands how Bruce Willemarck feels, because the situation is the same and the Park Board looks like "The Bad Guys".   Alderman Moreno commented on the issue of giving Millennium Park to the City of Moline.  Moline is currently maintaining this park for the next five (5) years, and the consideration of fundraising activities.      
A motion was made by Alderman Moreno, to table this item until the Park Board has been notified, and has an opportunity to response.   Alderman Meredith, read the following statement into the record regarding the Parks:             I propose to table this issue, until our next Council Meeting.  The following is what should be answered.  In proposing so my reasoning for this table is so that the Mayor, Economic Director, and Finance Director sit down with the Park Board and discuss just what and where we, as a community are heading.  The most important issue that always confronts any Alderman is what's best for the City.  There is a shortfall of funds that the City does not have in its reserves, but with the funds allocated strictly to the Parks, is it really fair and responsible for the Council to approve all these funds to the Parks?  I am just asking.  If all the funds from the landfill are given to the Parks, will it take care of all the needs of our Parks or will it just be a temporary fix- a shot in the arm.  Will the money in question keep all the Parks open, therefore putting to rest the possibility of closing any Parks after all?              
There should be a comprise agreement, but if its an all for one and one for all type of agreement then repercussions from either side of the fence will affect all of our community.  We should have a compromise to be reached in the dispersal of the monies in question.  But remember that 71% of the community decided to say "no" to any hike in taxes to pay for parks. Would the Park Board be willing to place this on another ballot?  What about the East Moline Parks becoming a Park District?  This is a logical and viable question.  How about it?
              
The possibility of creating revenue by closing or selling some parks in our community is a highly charged issue.  But when faced with high dollar deficits, it would be prudent for both parties to discuss and come up with a proposed list, if this has to be targeted.  I would propose that this issue be considered and discussed in all seriousness.  It is inevitable and must be brought to the forefront.  What parks could we sell or develop?  Let's be serious, this is an issue rather than a non-issue, at least from a financial point of view. 
              What does it cost to maintain all of our parks a year?  Can we compromise a fifty-fifty split or a 1/3 split?  Give the Council a final resolution to vote on, after all avenues have been discussed about funds, is it viable to turn over all the monies in question to the parks, or is it fair to divide monies in both areas Parks and City coffers? 
A).  Is a compromise acceptable,
B).  Existing ways the money is allocated. 
C).  How long until the next issue of dollars arise? 
  Rich Keehner, Assistant City Administrator, expressed his concerns about the issuance of Bonds and the effect on the City's Bond rating.   Mayor Thodos addresses Alderman Moreno on his position on the City's parks and indicates that Alderman Moreno's points are understood.    Mayor Thodos asks the committee for a direction.  He states that they all know the sequence of events that have brought them to this point, and that it is the City Council that sets the direction on spending funds.    Mayor Thodos asks that what was originally directed has changed.  He recognizes Alderman Meredith's position on compromise.  The Mayor stated that it was his impression that the Park Board wants to keep what they have.  The Mayor stated that he is open to meeting with the Park Board again, or meet with any party necessary for improved direction.   Alderman Moreno, states that it would be "fruitful" if you look at the overall funding of personnel.  He states that funding of personnel is part of the problem and the Mayor can correct that.   Bruce Willemarck, Director of Maintenance Services, disagreed with Alderman Moreno on the concept of mismanagement of Park Board funds.    Mayor Thodos stated that in the current budget cycle there are two challenges:
1.      Reduction of the Insurance and Tort Judgment by $200,000 and judgment of $250,000 in Workers Compensation Claims.
2.      Cash Reserves that's already been pledged to the Parks.   Mayor Thodos requests that the original commitment of funds to the Park Board be removed, because of other financial commitments of the City.  He further states that it did go to referendum and that the original staff proposal was not to give the Park Board the full amount.  He states that the current budget cycle is the concern.   Alderman Doose commented on the issue.  She stated that the City continues to "Rob Peter to pay Paul", that this may be the only opportunity for the Parks Board to get funding.  The Park Board should not get penalized.  The City must be responsible for spending.   Alderman Doose asked about the legality of transferring the funds to the General Fund.  Mayor Thodos stated that all legal requirements would be followed.  Alderman Meredith commented on the City's pride in the Park System.  Discussion on Park Districts.   A motion was made by Alderman Moreno, seconded by Alderman Kelley, to table the discussion on this issue until the first meeting in August.  Upon roll call the following voted in favor:  Kelley, Westbrook, Heiland, Puentes, Moreno, Doose and Meredith.  Motion carried.     Alderman Heiland asked who would be meeting with the Park Board at their meeting on July 12th?  Alderman Moreno stated that the Mayor, Mr. Keehner, Mr. Hughes, and Mr. Willemarck.  

ADJOURNMENT A motion was made by Alderman Kelley, seconded by Alderman Puentes, to adjourn the meeting.  Upon roll call the following voted in favor:  Meredith, Kelley, Westbrook, Heiland, Puentes, and Moreno.  Motion carried.  8:25pm    

Minutes taken and submitted by,   
                                                                       
Arletta D. Holmes, City Clerk  

 

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