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Aldermen authorize funding for CSI building roofing project

Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm

The City of Vandalia’s Board of Aldermen held their monthly meeting last week.
One of the decisions needing to be made this past week involved a roof on the vacant CSI building.
According to city minutes, City Administrator Alan Winders told the group that there is $10,852 budgeted for needed repairs to the CSI building roof.  Additional funding is going to be needed, possibly up to $20,000.
The project consists of addressing about 10,000 square feet of the west end of the original building. There have reportedly been several small leaks and the surface condition has deteriorated.
Any savings which might be experienced from the current year’s budget could be used to offset the additional costs, however the remainder will reduce the General Fund balance.
The building is 35,000 square feet and is empty.  It is being advertised as being available to “trade for quality jobs”.
Mayor Ralph Kuda, Jr. stated that he doesn’t feel that the city should spend money on the building.
After discussion, aldermen unanimously authorized funding for the roofing project.
Work Release
Aldermen authorized the mayor to execute the supervised institutional work-release program agreement.
The proposed contract extends the agreement with WERDCC for one year.
There are no changes to the contract.
Tennis Court
Street Superintendent Dave Hamby told the group that as work began on the courts, it became obvious that the cracks that were patched last year have either opened up more or the patch material has shrunk considerably. Measuring and monitoring these cracks before spending the majority of money approved for this project, $10,000, would help insure the money was spent wisely.
This year, crews will complete pressure washing of the surface, repair cracks and document size/condition, paint fence, and other miscellaneous items.
Aldermen approved the postponement.
Sidewalk Policy
Winders told the group that the proposed policy follows the general direction established by the council at the last meeting.
The policy divides into two types—priority routes and non-priority routes. The policy gives direction, but is not the start of a sidewalk project unless council decides to do that.
The policy basically says that the city will be responsible for “priority routes” and other routes may be removed or replaced.
If the policy is adopted, “priority routes” will need to be determined in a separate action on the agenda.
The policy was adopted.
A draft proposal map was provided that had proposed priority routes marked on it, based on input from the last council meeting. Winders stated that the priority routes will become a greater responsibility of the city, while optional routes will be less so.
Discussion continued regarding other routes that could be considered priority routes.
After discussion, routes to be added were to WERDCC, Vandalia Fairgrounds, and Maple Street from Highway 54 to Bland.
Aldermen approved the designation of “priority routes” for the sidewalk policy, as amended.
Street Program
Hamby provided an update on the 2014 Street Improvement Plan.
Hamby told the group that the plan proposed $52,500 in programmed chip seal; $10,500 in unprogrammed maintenance; and no asphalt overlay.  At least 60 blocks were to be addressed.
The total cost for 2014 Street Improvement Plan was $42,851.14. A total of 113.75 blocks were addressed.
A map was provided showing the proposed and completed blocks.
Donation
Utilities Superintendent Aaron Rentfro told the group that this item would approve the donation of 10 lights to the fairgrounds with an approximate value of $2,500.
These lights were purchased approximately 18 years ago and never installed, due to project changes and new high efficient low amp fixtures.
The only stipulation with this donation would be that the lights could only be used at the Vandalia fairgrounds.
Aldermen authorized the donation.
Electronic Payment Options
Finance Officer Sharon Myers told the group that currently the city accepts only cash or checks. These options do not cost the city, but some electronic methods will incur a cost. The city has the option to cover the costs ourselves or pass along most of the costs to the customer through a “convenience fee”.
Some options that could be offered are Preauthorized Bank Debit; Recurring Credit or Debit Cards; One-time Credit or Debit Cards. There could also be an option for a customer to request a one-time bank draft, either through our bank or through our utility billing website.
The board could either pass any direct cost of taking optional payment forms (credit/debit cards, etc.) back to the user or elect to take the cost from the budget.
If it decides to charge a convenience fee to the customer, the cost would be a flat $3.95 per transaction. The city would pay about $325 per year to be able to provide that service.
Staff recommendation was to offer all of the above forms of payment.  It can accept recurring preauthorized bank debits at no charge to our customers.  The staff recommends the city also accept credit/debit cards, recurring and one-time, and the option for a one-time bank draft or eCheck, all through the website, and pass the convenience fee charge along to the customers who choose to use those services.
All of these forms of payment are optional to the customer-there are options available at no charge and options that will incur a charge.
Aldermen authorized the electronic payment options, passing the convenience fee along to the customer.
Utility Deposit
Discussion
Winders told the group that the proposed policy was drafted based on previous discussions and industry standards. It includes no change ($100) for verified home owners/buyers.  For renters, the deposit would be $400 with possible reduction to $250, $200, or $100 based on credit analysis, co-applicants and rental occupant disclosure. For commercial, the deposit would be a two month average of utilities at the address with possible reduction to $100 based on credit analysis.
In order to implement this policy, the city will have to contract with a company that does the credit analysis. The cost will be $360 per year plus a fee for each credit analysis. The fee is currently less than three dollars ($3) per applicant. However, it will be less than $20 for commercial entities.  The policy proposes to pass this cost back to the applicant.
As has been discussed, other options are available.
Mayor Kuda asked Winders to explain how property owners could be the responsible party for utilities. Staff outlined the system where only property owners could have utilities in their names.
After discussion, staff was asked to look into this further and bring back more information regarding ideas for this. No action was taken on this item.