City of Monroe
City Hall, Monroe, Louisiana
March 2, 2017
There was a legal special session of the City Council of the City of Monroe, Louisiana held this date at the Council’s regular meeting place, the Council Chamber, City Hall Building, Monroe, Louisiana.
The Honorable Michael Echols, Chairman, called the meeting to order. He then asked the Clerk to call the roll.
There were present: Council members Echols, Woods, Wilson and Clark
There was absent: Ezernack.
The Honorable Michael Echols, presiding officer, declared a quorum was present and stated the object of the meeting; that being to consider: (1) The 2017/18 fiscal year budget submitted by the Administration for review by the Council in Budget Hearing #1.
The Budgets discussed were as follows:
1) General Fund Revenues
2) Special Revenues & Expenses
3) Legislative Department (Council)
4) Executive Department (Mayor)
6) Legal Department
7) City Marshal
8) Fire Department
9) Police Department
Mr. Curtis Heard, Budget Director, gave an introductory of the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2017/2018 projects both revenues and expenditures to equal $61,932,039.00. This budget is $759,683 more than the $61,172,356 adopted General Fund budget for the current operating year, fiscal year 2016/2017. The fiscal year 2017/2018 percent change is 1.2%.
After the introductory the Chairman moved on with the agenda starting with the General Fund:
Mr. Echols had a few questions for Mr. Heard concerning Sales Taxes at 62.3% of the revenue. Mr. Heard is projecting $795,000 more this year than last year a 1.2% increase according to the numbers. Mr. Echols wanted Mr. heard to go over 2015/2016 sales tax revenues and then what is estimated it will be in the current fiscal year; then his projections, basically, a four year run to your previous which Mr. Echols has a copy of what that is and he wanted to look at it as a trend and understand how Mr. Heard is projecting that increase.
Mr. Heard noted that he does not have any of that information with him that is going to go in and address anything prior to 2016, but if his memory serves him correctly they had some pretty good revenue collection years in those two particular years and in the prior years of 2014/15.
Mr. Echols noted that he does have some data and that Mr. Heard is correct that between 2014/15 there was a sizable increase about an 8 to 10 percent increase. These numbers may not be precise but just going back so 2013 we were at about 35 million dollars. In 2014 they were almost at about 36 million dollars, in 2015 they were just over 38 million dollars, and in 2016 they were at 38.4 million about 1% up tic. Looking at our current fiscal year how do you estimate we will be up or down on sales taxes based on current collections.
Mr. Heard noted that we are current up slightly over what they collected for 2016 of about $100,000.
Mr. Echols asked Mr. Heard to talk him through the $800,000 increase sales tax projections and why do you estimate that will happen in the next fiscal year.
Mr. Heard explained that primarily based upon what they did last fiscal year and they are talking about a $171,000.00 increase over their actual collection for FY 2016 and that’s less than ½ of 1 percent and they feel comfortable with that number.
Mr. Echols asked about the other $600,000 out of that $800,000 coming from property.
Mr. Heard noted that the remainder of that money is the difference between what was in the adopted budget for the current year and that is where the remainder is. Also for fiscal year beginning in January of this current fiscal year they will start received sales taxes from Amazon, online sales.
Mr. Echols wanted to know the estimation of what that will be.
Mr. Heard noted that at this point he has not seen any data, but he thinks it will only be a help.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if this budget incorporated any of the sales tax rebates, LED incentive that have been implement or used over the years by larger corporations in the community.
Mr. Dan Richards, Accountant, noted that there is an active rebate out there for CenturyTel, but they don’t have the exact total figure yet, so it has not been incorporated in this figure.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if that could implement the budget a half or a million dollars in the other direction.
Mr. Richards noted that it’s possible.
Salaries for the City:
Mr. Echols noted that they know that 70 plus percent of all the dollars that is spent each year on salaries and fringe benefits that 27, 367,000 of that budget amount how many positions is that.
Mr. Heard noted that is approximately 1,042 full positions.
Mr. Echols wanted to know how many full-time positions have they held throughout the year on average.
Mr. Heard explained that in term of having budgeted full time positions in the current year it was about 1,048. Actual positions not budgeted at any given time on average is about 950 or 975.
Mr. Echols noted that we are talking about an average salary and wage of about 42,000 salary and fringe with a 1,042 budgeted positions; is that round about what the average would be. If you budget for 1,042 positions but on average in the last few years we only spent 4 million dollars less where does those extra dollars go at the end of the year; what do they roll up to or out to.
Mr. Heard explained that a lot of it goes into transfer lines and the transfers are always more than they have budgeted, so a lot of it goes into to transfer and workman compensation as well. (City expense type items)
Mr. Echols noted that he wanted to talk about that line item a little bit later in the conversation and he just wanted to get some generalities out of the way and understand better total positions, what we have on average, what we average pay salary and benefits just for the city and city employees and any increases and overall tax, sales tax budget.
Mr. Echols wanted to talk a minute about property tax and the money that comes in and flows through. There has been a storm in the past year that obviously could or may have impacted property taxes. He wanted to know if they see any increases or decreases in the property tax, the dollars that flow through the City.
Mr. Heard noted that they are seeing an increase in the property tax and the most recent property evaluation that was received was $416 million dollars, about an $11 million dollar increase over taxable values that they use to prepare the current year’s budget.
Mr. Echols wanted to know what dollars flow through to the City’s bottom line that can be used for operations of the City from that net $11 million dollar increase in property taxes.
Mr. Heard noted that they are expecting an increase in the general fund to the tune of about $161,000.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if there have been any other license given out and he knows the number fluctuates, but have they given out all the licenses on charitable bingo.
Mr. Heard noted that they have a total of 8 licenses.
Mr. David Barnes, Director of Administration, noted that they have only given out 5 or 6 of them.
Mr. Wilson noted that’s the reason it’s down because it’s been up.
Mr. Barnes noted actually less than 6.
Mrs. Ezernack noted an increase in permitting last year toward the end of 2016 and there was an ordinance passed to increase fees. She wanted to know what that impact was going to be and if it was going to be anything to help the City out. It hasn’t been a full year yet and is that taken into consideration in these numbers.
Mr. Heard explained that the revenues budgeted for permits are provided by PUD.
Mr. Echols noted that they have implemented a new system in their permitting process and some new increased fees that may be the reason behind it.
Mr. Chris Fisher, PUD Director, explained that they are still going through the NewWorld System and they haven’t seen what the projections are going to be on that one because they just got into the new system.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if you had seen any impact since the system has been operating month to month.
Mr. Fisher noted that the impact that he is seeing is that the system is working very well.
Mr. Echols noted that he didn’t see any federal grants budgeted direct or indirect is that a product of planning or timing.
Mr. Barnes said it was timing and most federal grants are right at the end of the year.
Mr. Echols asked about the Tiger Grant they the City is applying for is there no anticipation for that or and he know they had inter-module facility conversations going on as well as several large drainage projects.
Mr. Barnes noted that they don’t have up to date information on it they just have what states they are in.
Mrs. Stacy Haynie-Rowell, Accounting Director, a lot of the federal grants are in the special revenue account; not a lot of federal dollars flow through the general fund and you don’t know about them until they are applied for or requested.
Mr. Echols noted something with the airport with a lot of the federal funds and he know they got projections airport funds that roll in over the next several years and are any of those not in an infrastructure fund that are allocated and should be in this column.
Mrs. Rowell explained that all the airport funds have been rolled in here.
Mr. Echols asked if that consolidate out of this.
Mrs. Rowell explained that all of those together.
Community Policing Fee:
Chief Holmes, Police Chief
Appearance and Surrender Fee when people bond out of jail the police department collect it and surrender it to the city from those that make bond.
Special Revenues and Expenses:
Mrs. Ezernack transfer in to programs.
Mr. Heard noted that the General fund does transfer in monies into CDBG and has been doing so for the last couple of fiscal years.
Mrs. Ezernack noted that there was a big increase in ticket sales this year and the actual amount for last year was $126,000
Mr. Heard noted that what’s in the proposed budget for the fy18 there was no data provided so they basically used the same data for fy17.
Mr. Echols wanted to know where the actual today with tickets sales and events is.
Mr. Heard noted they have not had DeltaFest yet.
Mr. Echols noted that there is a state grant for $415,000 and the 2017 budget is $160,000 and they are budgeting $160,000. He wanted to know if they are projecting less grant funds this year.
Chief Williams explained what they are talking about there is the 2% fire insurance fund. The $415,000 was the balance at that time but basically that fund generates about $160,000 a year and that where you see the $160,000 in there. What that is, is the 2% fire insurance fund which is all the home insurance premiums paid in the City of Monroe, Ouachita Parish; the 2% is collected and distributed among all the fire departments in the parish, the City, Ouachita and West Monroe.
There are 215 fulltime employees and 2 part-time and of those out of a 13million dollar budget Chief Williams said that $9 or $10 million are salaries.
Mr. Heard noted that from the notes he has the fire department budget salaries and wages classification is $7,175,648.00 and the fringe is an additional $4,764,347.00.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if there were any expectations over the next year of any dramatic increases or anything coming that the City should be concerned about that is going to affect the fire department individually.
Chief Williams explained that they have a 1% pension increase, but they already have that budgeted into this budget and any other increases he can’t predict it at this time. As far as equipment they have some of the best equipment that they have ever had and they have problems with some equipment and they do have maintenance issues but still they have some of the best equipment they have had in many years. They have plans to pay off trucks and get new trucks and they have been working with Mr. Phillips at the airport; they may have funding coming in the future where they may be able to purchase additional trucks for the airport fire station. There are so many things but he can’t predict anything and there budget is tight but solid.
The 215 full-time employees are budgeted and right now the fire department is 18 firefighters down. They are going through a physical ability test now and they are looking to hire those 18 somewhere around May 1.
Mr. Wilson asked if the 18 down was due to retirees and you are trying to replace them.
Chief Williams explained that it is hard to predict that because you have one employee leave and another leave because his buddy left and things such as that. It’s hard to run a recruit with 6 or 8 people because of the different training elevations that they have to do so 18 is a good number for the training academy.
Ms. Woods wanted to know if the 215 plus the 18 was the total number of employees.
Chief Williams noted that the 215 included the 18 that they budgeted and this is all the civil service process that they have to go through and they have a civil service examine coming up.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if there were any increase wages for employees.
Chief Williams explained that they are in the process of working on pay raises for the employees however that pay raise is going to come from sales tax funds that is generated for salaries for fire and police. He has to be careful with this because if they budget or give a raise based on a certain percentage and sales tax don’t increase then they have over ran what the sales tax generate and they will have to take a pay deduction or fur-loughs or what have you. They will have to pay it back, so they have to be very careful and not only look at the upcoming year or another year or two out to make sure they don’t over run that in two years if they stay flat on the sales tax that is coming in. Also all fire employees get a 2% mandated by state law every year except those over 23 years it is not mandated. The union goes to the mayor and they have been fortunate to get it over the years.
State Supplemental Pay: $1,092.000
Mr. Heard explained that a lot of that is the way they are accounting for monies they are getting from the state. This accounts for the bulk of the money they are going to get from the state, which is $500 per month for firefighters.
Mr. Echols wanted to know the average of salaries and wage on a $12 million dollar budget per employee.
Chief Williams noted about $60,000 ($55.813)
Mr. Echols wanted to know if you keep about 10 to 20 positions open on average throughout the year.
Chief Williams noted that he can’t say because he never knows how many people he is going to lose because he has just lost some 33 year employees. The group that has been promoted is young employees and he doesn’t look to lose any in the upcoming year if so it will be 2 or 3. If they run a recruit academy it may take up to a year to get to a number to run one, it all depend on the employees that or leaving or it may take up to 18 months. They have expanded out from 10 to 18 months to run a recruit academy. They never know.
Mrs. Ezernack wanted to know how they estimate the overtime in the books, is it historical data or what.
Chief Williams explained that overtime is just an estimate and there is a certain amount of overtime built into the employee salary, right now he is paying overtime to keep his numbers up on his trucks because he has to maintain a certain staffing on those trucks. There is money in his overtime in the current budget because he has not hired a recruit academy. They are paying recruits and paying staff to cover where they are short because the recruits are still in training and this is where overtime is needed. They budget as close as they can.
Mr. Echols wanted to know what they estimate will go back into the general fund this year.
Chief Williams explained that right now he is about 2% under budget so about 2% of $13 million.
Mr. Echols noted that the million dollars you are budgeting for overtime wages at $55,000 a head for about 18 positions and if you are fully staffed do you need any of this overtime wages for this budge year.
Chief Williams explained he would not need it for this upcoming year not for overtime, but he will need that to pay the 18 recruits that he have out there to go through the academy for 4 months then he is still paying regular salary and wages plus overtime to fill these 18 positions. He has to call somebody in extra and that is overtime because the ones he have for those positions is in training and can’t use yet.
Mr. Wilson thanked Chief Williams for being a super steward over his dollars and he appreciates it and he is sure the citizens of Monroe appreciate it as well.
Chief Holmes noted that they have a total of 182 full time employees, 10 part-time which consist of call taker who work in the radio room, dispatchers and receptionists. There are currently 11 vacancies and 6 are police officers, 3 are communication officers and 2 are jailors. A total of 191 full time positions budgeted and they are fully equipped on part-time right now.
Mrs. Ezernack wanted to know if they treat their overtime like the fire department or how does it work.
Chief Holmes explained that their overtime is based on trend analyst on how it’s been in the past 6 years and it’s been about $500,000. Most of that comes from the communication center which is his most pressing and critical need. They are really struggling with maintaining communication officers because it is the most stressful job on a day to day basis within the police profession. They have 9 he is trying to get to 12 and they really need 16, but the department has never had that many since he has been associated with the police department since 1985. He is pushing 12 to release some of the stress they endure by working with 2 people in the room and sometimes working all the overtime 7, 8 or 9 days in a row.
Mr. Echols wanted to know in the event that sales taxes come in 5 or 10 percent lower what do you do in that case?
Chief Holmes explained that if his budget has not been reduced significantly, but if you are asking in terms of if that does occur and if they don’t have much money and there has to be some additions or organizational restructuring he would have to look at the part-timers and lay some of those off. The jobs they do are important but they will have to get a desk worker to go up and do those duties and do double duty. Then they will have to look at how many more people do they have working behind a desk that they can possibly push to the streets. For example, there are 21 people in the investigative bureau and he would look at do they need 21 can they do with 20 or maybe 19 and put 2 people on the streets. That is the approach he has taken since he became chief and he inherited the problem he is speaking of.
Mr. Echols wanted to know what all is under Leases and Rental.
Chief Holmes explained that those are day to day things that they use to get things done or services that they do with the facility.
Mr. Echols noted that there is a 60% increase in the budget for that and what is that account for. (maintenance)
Chief Holmes explained that they pay NewWorld Software and Motorola from that account. The software program is about $10,000 a year and the NewWorld System is about $120,000 a year for the onboard computer and recording in the cars and that nature. There are scheduled software and a number of other software that they pay out of that for devices. The NewWorld Software has been budgeted since 2012.
Chief Holmes noted that this is to fund the body cam program and right now they have a request in for a grant and that is why that money has not been expended yet. He will know by the end of the month to go to the next phase to help fund that program and they should know something by July. That money was placed in small equipment to purchase the body cameras and that will cost right at $125 or 130 thousand for that.
Mr. Echols noted that the small equipment is coming whether we get the grant or not, right.
Chief Holmes said that is the plan starting this next budget year.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if we do get the grant and we budgeted for it, the revenue is not in here, is it.
Chief Holmes explained that it is not there yet but if you are asking what happens to the $150,000 that gets into the overall problem of not just his budget but the City budget and maybe even the National Budget. It is an increase in the cost of insurance and if you look from last year to this year the police insurance has gone up by $230,000 and that’s something we can’t predict. The insurance was budgeted last year based on the trend and did the same thing for the budget in this year, which was almost the same thing as last year. If there is some left over from small equipment it can help offset increases in other areas if there are any at all. If not, in law enforcement, there are a lot of small equipment needed they can buy like car cameras, side-arms and tasers etc., so all officers have best tools available to go out and do their jobs.
Mr. Wilson asked about the onboard computers and wanted to know if all vehicles had computer.
Chief Holmes explained that every officers have his or her own computer, therefore, every car that they get into they have a computer that they use for computerized dispatching and reporting to keep them in the field without going back and forth to the station to drop off paperwork.
Mr. Wilson Wanted to know how the officers are getting their calls/information.
Chief Holmes explained that most of their information is by computer, if it is a non-emergency call or none top priority call, they get it through their computer. In most cases anyone needing a report it will be ready in 3 day.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if they have anything available to help seniors or those who don’t have access to computers.
Chief Holmes explained that they give seniors copies when they come to the station and on some occasions the report is not completed in a timely manner, but that sometimes the officers leave something out and it has to go back to be rechecked and may take more time. The officer may have gone off duty and taken days off or forgotten and they are working to correct that.
Mr. Echols noted that in 2016 verses now the police are netting a 5% decrease in what your budgetary request is.
Chief Holmes explained that he don’t want you all and certainly his department to lose sight of is that they got the pay increase when they got the 10% pay increase and with that came a number of other things like overtime rate goes up, money that they have on the books and time they are allowed to build up for example comp, vacation and auxiliary time. Before that 10% pay increase, the time they had on the books was $1,000 and now its $1,100 and when employees retire or resign etc., you are cashing all that time in as well and what his decision was because they got the pay increase was reduce force and move people around. That is the difference in 2016 budgeted 200 and this time 191.
Mr. Heard noted that at the last finance meeting they talked about the challenges they were presented with this budget and it was mainly insurance and pension. Also there were areas in the budget that we knew would be shortfalls as it related to those two particular line items police and fire. The departments were given what they asked for and all the other line items except those two, but because of attrition we are hoping they will be able to offset some of the cost as it relates to pension and insurance and make up some of the monies that they has to cut.
Chief Holmes noted that pension has been going up every year and he has been told that it will go down 1% this year in July. The pension now for the police is 33% which is pretty high. When he submitted the budget he budget the pension at the rate they had last year, so with the 1% decrease it should cover it. Also like the fire the police get the 2% increase mandated on top of all the pay increases; unlike the fire the police get it for everybody. There are other things that affect the budget as well such as if they cash time out and leave early, separation of pay and things of that nature. Often times, the pension change and decrease will help offset the 2% increase we will get in July. The average salary and wage of 190 people is between $55 and $60 thousand when they budget about $11 or $11.5 million dollars.
Mr. Echols wanted to know about vacation and comp. time policy; the hours the officers can accumulate each year and do they have a sale policy.
Chief Holmes explained that they can save up to 960 hours per year and carried forward as long as you don’t go over 960 hours max. You can’t add 960 this year and 960 the next year it is a max at 960. Comp-time you can max at 480 a year and cash in 150hrs per quarter. What happens is once you start getting it and max out at 480 around Christmas time or vacation time an employee may cash out 50hours or 100hours to get it down because of the anticipation of building it back up.
Mr. Echols wanted to know total hours cashed in per year, bottom-line or total hour.
Chief Holmes explained that he can’t give a total hour but the amount of time that is cashed in for whatever reason is and if you look at line item 6113-001 on page 27 under vacation pay and it is his understanding that is where all the separation pay, cash out pay, vacation pay goes in and is where some of that comes from.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if he is eliminating that policy for 2018.
Chief Holmes said no and that they don’t budget for it because you don’t know what they are going to do.
Mr. Echols wanted to know how many years prior to 2017 have people cashed out pay.
Chief Holmes said ever since he has been associated with the department since 1985.
Mr. Echols wanted to know why they wouldn’t budget some dollar amount for it.
Mr. Heard explained that vacation pay not only include what they cash out but also vacation that they actually take during the course of the year. In some budgets there is a small amount that is budgeted for purposes of cashing out and selling but they have no idea of what something like that would be and when you have a tight budget it is difficult to budget it.
Mr. Echols wanted to know year to date how much has been used in that line item, estimate, ball park, 5,000, 50, 100 or half million.
Mrs. Haynie-Rowell explained that none cash in vacation from the get go usually go to salaries and wages and that line gets reduced and you roll it down, so they don’t budget sick and vacation. It’s budgeted up in your regular salaries and wages.
Chief Holmes noted that from year to date it is $182,000 or $18,200 a month average.
Mrs. Haynie-Rowell noted that the cash in is what they really don’t budget because we really don’t know.
Mr. Heard noted that what Chief Holmes just said was $182,000 and we are talking about 10 months at about $18,200 per month on average. If you look at the number for fy2016 that number would have actually been higher than the 18,200 per month.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if cash in was dollar for dollar.
Chief Holmes said everything but sick leave for the non-sworn but if it’s him or a police officer cashing in it’s at his rate of pay. Whatever the rate of pay is that’s what it’s cashed in for. They cannot cash in vacation time unless they leave and that is for your regular pay.
Mr. Echols noted that on average per month Officers cash in 4.43 hours.
Chief Holmes noted that is kind of hard to say and of course the data interest him and he will look at it and see, but it is hard to say per officer because a lot of it comes from just a few people. Most of it comes from when people separate from the department, because part of our strategy from within the department is you save as much time as you can and when you retire you get a big check walking out the door. You get taught that from day one at the department, max out vacation and max out comp so when you leave you get a big check. So you are right when you break it down based on employees, but I don’t want it to appear every employee cashes in 4 to 10 or 12 hours monthly. You will probably have less than half actually take advantage of it, most waiting until separation time to do it or when they are maxed out and they have to or they will lose.
Mr. Echols asked Chief Holmes that he mentioned the talk from day one max out comp-time, max out vacation time and whether that was citywide or just focused on the police department.
Chief Holmes noted that he thinks that just focused on what they do by the covered policy they have and what they have in their contract and things along those lines. A very, very good incentive when he was an employee; but you have a different perspective when you become Chief. This is a very good incentive for employees without a doubt and a good motivator to recruit but it does pose some challenges when you’re looking at the big budget picture.
Mr. Wilson noted information about long term PTO bank if employee gets sick.
Chief Holmes said any officer get sick he get paid whole salary for a year full pay you don’t lose anything.
Marshall January noted that they have 18 full-time employees and 0 part-time and they receive supplement pay as well.
Mrs. Ezernack noted an increase in pension for this year and what has changed.
Mr. Heard explained that it is about $21,000 increase is due to pension.
Mr. Echols wanted to know the process for uniforms.
Marshall January explained that each Deputy get 3 uniforms each year for 18 Deputies plus 1 for the Marshall at about $300.00.
Mr. Echols noted that in 2016 you spent $3000 but only budgeting $2,600 and what happened in2016 did no one buy that year.
Mr. Heard noted that they normally purchase uniforms in May and he would have to go back and look at this figure because he is surprised that it is only $3,300.
Mrs. Haynie-Rowell noted that this is probably through payroll and may not have accrual.
Mr. Echols wanted to know how many employees buy uniforms every year.
Marshall January said they all do and buy 3.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if they had any vacancies and if they plan on filling those.
Marshall January said that would be up to the Marshall.
Mr. Echols asked about comp-time and vacation.
Marshall January said they do office comp-time and they don’t do anything with the City as far as comp-time. If a Deputy have to work over he gets that time off they don’t pay.
Ms. Wood noted under salary and wage reimbursements there is a negative number and she wanted to know if that is going to be a transfer in from the general fund for this.
Mr. Heard explained that some of these numbers are reimbursed is included elsewhere they have longevity pay, Marshall’s pay and whenever you see a negative figure they are reimbursing us. All these various components of their salary are rolled up into another line item and reimbursed into the portion that is reimbursable.
Mrs. Haynie-Rowell noted that the City pays their full salary and the Marshall’s office has funds generated and they reimburse certain elements of their salary.
Ms. Nanci Summersgill, City Attorney, noted that they have 12 full-time employees and 1 part-time and of that are 3 attorney’s with 1 part-time attorney. They are fully staffed with changes for next year for another attorney.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if there is any revenue associated with any offsets and where does the revenue come from to offset that.
Mrs. Summersgill noted that they have Pre-Trial Diversion and Bond Forfeitures and the estimated recovery on that per year is up and they will collect more than that to cover that cost.
Mr. Echols noted that they defined a new program with the Blight Program and they have some new processes that are in place and do these budgets reflect those increases in fees.
Mrs. Summersgill noted that anything that they increase would be in here and they have done a good job in increasing Bond Forfeitures and that kind of stuff over the years and the Pre-Trial Diversion has picked up. The funds for this flows into the Special Revenue Funds and the actual amount collected show $82,546.93.
Mr. Echols noted that’s actual and no money is budgeted for this fund.
Mr. Heard noted that this is a fund that they are working with where it will be done by a budget amendment.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if there are any estimates of total budget amendments revenues that they should have this year that they don’t know about rolling all these up for every department and every division.
Mr. Heard noted for the fiscal year 2018 this is the only figure that comes to mind.
Mr. Echols wanted to know is this the only one they are missing.
Mr. Head not this is the only one they are aware of right now; herein thinks change for example for the current operating at the end of the first quarter we made an increase to sales tax in an amount of $400,000. It turned around and went the other way, so we are very careful when it comes to budget amendments, but this $82,000 should be a pretty safe figure to use.
Mr. Echols noted that the last fiscal year we had a $1 million dollar deficient and the current year right now that we are finishing up in a couple of months what is the estimated surplus or deficient.
Mr. Barnes, Administrator said $1surplus.
Mr. Echols wanted to know how you are going to do that.
Mr. Barnes said cutting back on expenses, holding off on new hires, on increases in overtime and holding off on major purchases etc.
Mr. Echols wanted a year to date as of December 31 where we are plus or minus.
Mr. Barnes said $1.8 million deficient.
Mr. Echols noted that as of December 31, 2016 there is a $1.8 million dollar deficient.
Mr. Barnes said that the revenues come in at the end of April.
Mr. Echols right which are property tax collections and all those things that roll up in the first quarter.
Mr. Barnes said plus transit grants come in and when you look at that the deficient comes down and it all depends on what happens, if we have a major flood or something it will go back the other way. Having all this that we can utilize and hold down expenses that is a mandate we got.
Mr. Echols noted wanted to look at trends back at December 2015 and did we have a surplus or deficient at that time of the year.
Mr. Barnes noted that we were running in a deficient.
Mr. Echols noted that we were in a half million deficient in December.
Mr. Heard noted that we were running in a deficient because that is the first month of our property tax collection. Property tax collection is primarily December, January and February, so we are talking roughly about $7 million dollar coming in for those 3 months as it relates to property tax alone. Also normally those particular months we have good sales tax revenue coming in because of Thanksgiving and Black Friday Sales, Christmas etc.
Mr. Barnes noted that this year has been an unusual year.
Mr. Echols noted that they have been down 8% in November and 4.5% in December.
Mr. Barnes noted that is very unusual.
Ms. Woods noted that the way you are looking at it right now there is a good possibility that we are going to end up at the end of this year with a surplus, right.
Mr. Barnes noted that there job is to try to end with a surplus of $1.
Mr. Echols noted that it’s okay if you break even too.
Mr. Echols noted a new car allowance this year and is that for a new position.
Mr. Heard noted that is the Assistant City Attorney car allowance and she was not receiving a car allowance in 2016. She uses her personal vehicle.
Mr. Wilson wanted to know if Ms. Baldwin was handling the Environment Court and if the revenue is up there.
Mrs. Summersgill noted that people are actually paying fines here or at Code Enforcement and so they are collecting more.
Mr. Heard noted that there are 60 budgeted full-time positions, 55 to 57 filled.
Mr. Echols wanted to know what all departments are under administration.
Management Information System
Tax & Revenue
Human Resource (HR)
Mr. Echols wanted to know how many employees are in Trash Dept. and that doesn’t include the people actually collecting trash.
Mr. Barnes noted this is on the Administrative end; they put the trash cans out.
Mr. Heard noted there are 3 positions
Telecommunication 1 person they take care of communications with South Central Bell, AT&T, CenturyLink and cell phone usage etc.
Personnel (HR) has 6 positions
Tax & revenue has 15 positions
Utility Operations 18 positions
Purchasing 6 positions
Echols wanted to know about the $100,000 actual in Utilities
Mr. Heard noted that they had a posting problem in there with items going to city expenses but the building maintenance person supposed to have that worked out, so it should be posting correctly now.
Mr. Echols wanted to know about street lighting is that a usage.
Mr. Barnes noted that this is our street lights and poles fund.
Mrs. Ezernack noted that if we needed a new light pole in a subdivision this would come out of this fund.
Mr. Barnes said yes.
Mr. Echols noted that in drainage there is an actual of $432,000 and budgeted $100,000 is this under budgeted.
Mr. Heard explained that this would imply that in 2016 we did additional drainage that we had not anticipated doing at the time we did the budget, so additional things were done.
Mr. Barnes noted that it was last year’s flood.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if these were dollars that we won’t be reimbursed.
Mr. Barnes noted some we might some we might not.
Mr. Echols wanted to know if this would come out of infrastructure.
Mr. Barnes said this is general fund stuff.
Ms. Woods wanted to know what the DBE expenses were.
Mr. Barnes explained that’s for trying to improve our DBE participation, having conferences and trying to build up the program.
Mr. Echols wanted to know about the declining capital lease expenses.
Mr. Heard noted that is a debt service.
Mrs. Ezernack wanted to know about the bad debt expense.
Mr. Barnes noted that having to do with utility.
The budgets were reviewed and discussed.
Departments not discussed were carried over to the next meeting.
There being no further business to come before the council, the meeting was adjourned at 6:00 p.m.
Carolus S. Riley
For extended details on the council meeting please call the Council Clerk Monday-Friday at 318-329-2252 to schedule an appointment to listen to the minutes.