Vandalia’s finest are set for pay increases after the City of Vandalia’s Board of Aldermen approved the measure during a recent board meeting.
According to drafted meeting minutes, the board unanimously approved an updated pay plan pushing the budget needle up $0.25/hour.
Changes were also made reducing the number of ranked positions available in the police department. The current updated pay plan now supersedes the 2014 pay plan that had been previously approved by the council.
This plan standardizes the pay scale for police department employees.
Interim City Administrator Alan Winders later opened discussion on the current police department building that was built in 1953.
An item was approved by the board to authorize planning the renovation of the building.
The measure includes a determination of renovating the existing building as opposed to moving the police department to a different location is made. Planning for the needed renovation can begin in earnest. No expenditures will be made without council approval.
There are funds available in the Capital Improvement Fund for work on City buildings.
Determining a process for selecting an executive recruitment firm
Interim City Administrator Winders told the group that this item will provide for the determination of the process the council would prefer regarding the selection of an Executive Recruitment Firm (headhunter). All options will return final approval to the board as any contract of this nature must be approved by the board.
If the board wants to interview prospective firms, the process will take several meetings, either special or regular, depending on how quickly we would like to move.
If the board would like staff to bring a recommendation of a firm with the proposed contract to the next meeting, it can do that as well. The board would either approve or ask for a different firm.
Staff research indicates that the cost will be 9-15% of the annual salary of the City Administrator. Advertisements for City Administrator are out as presented previously.
Determining the process does not require the city to enter into a contract for the services.
Alderman Debbie Hopke made a motion for the staff to bring a recommendation for a recruitment firm to the July meeting, or if there are applicants that should be considered, that should be brought to the July meeting. Her motion passed unanimously.
Loan guarantee for Vandalia Recreation Corporation
According to drafted meeting minutes, the board unanimously approved a loan guarantee for the Vandalia Recreation Corporation.
Before discussion began, Mayor Ralph Kuda, Alderman Hopke, and Interim City Administrator Winders left the room due to conflicts of interest with the Vandalia Recreation Corporation and the Steering Committee for the YMCA.
Mayor Pro-Tem John Weiser presided.
Deputy City Administrator Darren Berry told the group that the VRC has requested a loan guarantee from the city for a loan for $650,000 that they are trying to secure from Consolidated Electric Cooperative through the REDLG program. This would provide them a 0% loan and save the project over $200,000 in interest.
The $650,000 loan will be made to the VRC and repaid by the Rural Morris Trust, which has a guaranteed pledge of $65,000 per year for each of the next 10 years. The loan from Consolidated will be secured by a mortgage on the building from the VRC. So, the only way that the city guarantee would even matter is if Rural Morris Trust didn’t pay their pledge and if VRC didn’t pay some other way.
Consolidated has said that they can make the loan only with a “guarantee” from the City of Vandalia.
The cost of the building is about $2,000,000, most of which has been raised and is cash in the bank.
Felicity Goodpasture-Culwell spoke to the group and thanked the city for their help with the project by demolition of the old building and water and electric issues that are being provided.
Goodpasture-Culwell also went over the issues with the request.
Discontinue new connections for wireless internet service
Utilities Superintendent Aaron Rentfro told the group that if this item is approved, any new connections to the city’s wireless internet service would be formally halted. The equipment over which the service is provided is old, parts cannot be obtained and is unsupported. New equipment is not compatible with present equipment.
According to meeting minutes, the service was started by the city in 2003 because there were no other “high speed” internet service providers willing to enter the Vandalia market. At one point, there were about 200 customers on the system. This proved the market was here and other providers came to provide superior products at competitive prices.
While the city reportedly did not quit the business, it also did not continue to invest the considerable amounts of capital, which would have been necessary to compete in the market. This has left the city with providing the service that was possible with the equipment we had. Ultimately, this is old and unsupported equipment.
There were currently just eight customers.
There is little in terms of choice, which is why it was recommended for no new customers be connected.
The board then unanimously approved the measure to discontinue new connections for the city wireless internet service.
2017 Street Improvement Plan
Street Superintendent Dave Hamby told the group that this item would approve the “2017 Street Improvement Plan.” The plan would allot up to $61,000 and chip seal up to 70 blocks. It was noted that execution of the plan is subject to available man power and equipment. The Street Department is short on both people and a truck currently.
No asphalt overlay is proposed at this time. The city expects to address up to approximately 70 blocks. It will start with one load of oil, which will chip seal about 15-20 blocks. Then, depending upon progress, up to three more loads of oil could be used.
A list of streets was presented and would be addressed based on highest rating until the funds are gone with the exception of unprogrammed chip seal, which is used by the department to address miscellaneous needs as identified during the process. Any significant change from stone and oil price changes will be reflected in the blocks addressed.
Discussion was held concerning end to end or patching.
The plan was unanimously approved.
The board approved a measure to work with the Rotary Club to install a shelter ceiling in Tri-County Park.
The ceiling will be installed in the Summer or early Fall.
The Rotary Club has installed two other shelter ceilings in Vandalia parks and they are willing to provide the labor and most of the material (if their funds allow) to install the ceiling.
The planned ceiling will be in the large pavilion at Tri-County Park and will be approximately 24’x48’. The ceiling will resemble the other ceilings already installed.
Cost to the city should not be more than $600 for lumber and $350 for electrical expenses.
The assistance from Rotary will save the city approximately $2,500, as well as labor costs.
Accepting Missouri Highway Safety Grants
Vandalia Police Chief Christopher Hammann told the group that this item would consider continuing to receive Missouri Highway Safety Grants to cover costs of officer overtime during peak times of the year to include holidays. This program could pay out approximately $5,000 per calendar year for the department and is a way to gather statistical data for the State of Missouri in regards to impaired and unsafe drivers to include DWI and seatbelt enforcement.
Traffic safety enforcement grants cover the costs of officer overtime at no cost to the City of Vandalia. The intention is to add more officers to the road during these peak times with the cost of overtime being paid by the grant program.
The program has paid out $2,274 to the City of Vandalia since December 2016.
Acceptance of this grant offers the ability to have an additional officer on duty during holidays and other peak times to improve driver safety and impaired drivers.
After discussion, the motion to accept these grants was approved with Alderman Hopke casting the lone “Nay” vote.
Mayor Kuda presented a plaque to Denise Laird for her years of service to the City of Vandalia as Utility Billing Clerk.
Minutes from the May 9 meeting were approved. The May Accounts Payable Report was also approved.
A contract was extended with WERDCC for the Work Release Program through September 30, 2018. There was only one minor change to the agreement and it noted a count of the WERDCC offender workers.
Interim City Administrator Winders told the group that items listed were those discussed at the May 22 Work Session, where roles and responsibilities were discussed and determined. This is a working document and any changes that the board agrees are needed should be made at this time. Changes were discussed and Interim City Administrator Winders added that staff will flush out personnel roles and responsibilities in the near future. The board approved the chart with the changes discussed.
Deputy City Administrator Darren Berry told the group that approval was given by the Board of Aldermen in March of 2016 to file an application with the Missouri DNR for a Small Community Engineering Assistance Program grant. The person authorized at that time to file the grant and sign all necessary documents was Interim City administrator Debbie Hopke. At this time, Berry is working with DNR on that grant. The board approved the resolution in order to sign necessary documents and furnish information as needed for the SCEAP grant. This move changed the person authorized to execute the agreement.
No action was taken on information items, which included the purchase of a backhoe and used dump truck.
After Executive Session, the board accepted an IDA recommendation regarding the sale of property in the Industrial Park.
Alderman Weiser made a motion to increase the pay of City Attorney Amy Rost and it was unanimously approved.