Vandalia Leader

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Increase passed for city’s tax levy

Posted on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Deputy City Administrator Darren Berry addresses the City of Vandalia’s Board of Aldermen during a meeting last Tuesday inside the Lange Building.

On the same day many Vandalia residents were voting on whether or not to increase a tax levy for the Van-Far R-I School District, Vandalia’s Board of Aldermen passed a slight increase to their own tax levy.
In using the state mandated formula, the tax rate for the city levy is at $0.9298 per $100 assessed value, of which $0.7598 is for the General Fund and $0.1700 is for the Park Fund. The rate is an increase of .0023 from last year and will continue to vary along with assessed valuations based on the state formulas.
Prior to the passed increase, a notice of public hearing was published in “The Vandalia Leader’ on July 26 and August 2.
Mayor Ralph Kuda declared the public hearing to be open last Tuesday but there was no input from the public and the hearing was then declared closed.
Bill No. 17-1174 was then passed to set the new levy per ordinance requirements.
KCS Railroad Water and Sewer Crossing Project
Aldermen approved a measure to postpone a project that would extend water and sewer lines under the KCS Railroad at Galloway Road, which would be available for future users including MFA. The item has been budgeted for a couple of years.
The current budget for the project is $93,600. It was originally estimated to cost less than $50,000. The latest estimate from McClure Engineering is $141,450, not including costs to date. The city would have to increase the budget by about $50,000 or postpone the project until the next budget year.
This was, and is, a worthy project.
However, at the estimated cost and without immediate need by system users, staff recommends shelving the project at this time.
Solicitation of RFQ’s for the City Engineer
Deputy City Administrator Darren Berry told the group that in 2009, the city entered into an agreement with Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw, Inc (THHinc). Tom Wells was the engineer assigned to most Vandalia projects.
Since that time, Wells has retired and THHinc has merged with McClure Engineering. Both the individual and the firm have reportedly changed. Based on these changes, it is appropriate for the city to compare qualifications, experience, and services available from this and other firms.
The selection must be made through the Qualification Based Selection (QBS) process. Basically, the staff will prepare an RFQ detailing on what the city is looking for and requesting information from engineering firms so the city may compare them.
After scoring, it will interview two or three of the firms which seem to be the best fit. One will be selected, a contract negotiated, and presented to the council for approval.
The city engineer contract has thus far included no retainer, only a pay-for-services agreement. According to meeting minutes, it is not an exclusive contract so the city may use other firms as desired.
For example, the city uses Toth and Associates for electrical work. The city engineer contract is important because an on-going relationship is beneficial and it keeps the city from going through QBS for every little thing.
Of course, McClure will remain the city engineer by contract unless and until the city or the firm elect to end the relationship.
Aldermen unanimously authorized staff to solicit RFQ’s for the city engineer contract.
City Code Changes
There were several changes made to the City Code.
Ordinance No. 718 was ratified, which is a requirement every two years. This requires each elected official and the city administrator (chief purchasing officer) to report any transactions with a political subdivision over $500-excluding compensation for employment. The ordinance also requires that the city administrator file a report, naming employers from which they have received any compensation of $1,000 or more during the year.
Other ordinances with proposed changes that were passed include Section 115.080 “Vacancies,” which changes appointing person from the mayor to city administrator; Section 125.040 “Report to Board of Aldermen;” Section 145-060 “Duties;” Section 145.080 “Interference by Members of the Board of Aldermen;” and Bill No. 17-1178 was read and passed.
Citizen Patricia Kraft told the council that she intends to start a neighborhood watch and wanted to know if she could use the Lange Building for meetings. Interim City Administrator Alan Winders told her to contact City Hall staff to schedule a time.
Amended July 11 meeting minutes and the July Accounts Payable Report were approved.
No action was taken on information items, which included:
• Water/Sewer annual increase-2.1% per CPI on the August bill
• an update on the street improvement program from Dave Hamby
• discussion about eclipse events
Aldermen were then in Executive Session for about one hour and 20 minutes before eventually coming back to Regular Session and adjourning for the night.