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Welcome to Kaysville City » Government » City Council » City Council Minutes » 12 June 2013

12 June 2013


KAYSVILLE CITY COUNCIL
JUNE 12, 2013

 

Minutes of a special meeting of the Kaysville City Council held June 12, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of the Kaysville City Municipal Center.

Council Members present: Mayor Steve Hiatt, Gil Miller, Ron Stephens, Mark Johnson, Jared Taylor and Brett Garlick.

Others present:  City Manager John Thacker, Recorder Linda Ross, Finance Director Dean Storey, Parks Superintendent Vance Garfield, Parks Director Cole Stephens, Power Superintendent Gary Hatch, Power Resource Manager Bruce Rigby, Margaret Brough, Art Morley, Orwin Draney and Susan Lee.

DISCUSSION OF FY 2014 BUDGET

Mayor Hiatt explained that last week the City Council held a public hearing regarding the proposed FY 2014 budget.  After that hearing, the City Council decided to hold this special meeting to discuss the budget and consider options for sources of revenue.  He asked the City staff if they recommend any changes to the tentative budget.

John Thacker stated that they do not.  He then stated that he would like to report on the condition of the City’s power system.  Several years ago, the City initiated rebuilding the central power system to provide additional capacity to meet growing demand, which the City had not been able to do prior to that because of growth on the periphery.  The City built two substations over the last few years due to power demands so that is where the resources went.  One substation was built on Schick Lane and another on Burton Lane.  Both are now in service.  Power loads are increasing in the central part of the City due to some infill.  Also, citizens are increasing the load by adding air conditioning.  Therefore, capacity needed to be added to the central substation.  With a slow down in growth recently, the City came back to the main substation on 200 North and is increasing capacity in the center bay.  That is a $1.5 million dollar two year project that is on schedule.  When completed, a larger transformer at that location will be able to handle additional load.  The City will continue to upgrade the power system as needed.

Council Member Stephens stated that it was asked at the public hearing last week if it was prudent to continue to transfer funds from the Power Fund if the power infrastructure is falling apart. 


Gary Hatch stated that he believes the infrastructure is very adequate.  The Power Department is in the process of going through the center part of the City and replacing parts.  Eventually, they will upgrade voltage.  It will be a two or three year process to fully upgrade that area.  He also explained that they have implemented a pole testing program and have tested 420 poles.  That will indicate if a pole is bad and if it is, they will replace it in a timely manner.  The process of upgrading the power system is constant and ongoing.

Bruce Rigby stated that people are concerned about what they see, such as insulation coming off the wires.  That is just cosmetic.  The wires are made of copper and are very strong and not lacking in integrity.  Some wiring can look bad, but are not in a bad condition and will be replaced eventually.

Gary Hatch stated that some people might also wonder about the condition of poles.  Some might not look good but they are in good condition.  Some may look bad because of the location and the soil in that location.  He explained that some poles that don’t look good have been tested and found to be structurally sound.

Mayor Hiatt stated that at the public hearing someone mentioned that when power was out in December 2011, an employee poked the transformer with a stick and the power came back on.  He wanted to know if this is a general practice of the Power Department.

Bruce Rigby explained that there is a high voltage fuse on a transformer that sometimes has to be re-set.  When an employee re-sets that fuse, he puts a 40’ pole into the air and hit the button.  A long pole in the air looks unsteady.

Council Member Garlick wanted to know if there is any delay in infrastructure work due to lack of money in the Power Fund.

Gary Hatch stated that there is no delay.  Improving the infrastructure is done on a schedule and in between times, additional jobs are being done.

Bruce Rigby stated that at this time a crew is replacing poles.

Council Member Johnson wanted to know how many power suppliers the City has.

Bruce Rigby stated that there are seven or eight. 

Council Member Stephens stated that some areas of the City have underground power and some areas have overhead power.  He wanted to know if developers bear the cost to bury power lines in their subdivisions.

John Thacker explained that it is up to the developer to decide which way he wants to take service because they pay for either.  Underground power infrastructure is more expensive.

Council Member Garlick wanted to know if it would cost less in maintenance if all the power were underground.

John Thacker explained that there are tradeoffs.  Underground power has it maintenance issues as well.

Bruce Rigby stated that burying power lines is five to six times more expensive.  It is easier to work on overhead lines because a lineman can visually see where the problem is.  Sometimes it takes hours to track a problem with underground lines.  Aesthetically burying power lines looks better but as a lineman he would rather work on overhead lines.  There are pros and cons both ways.

Council Member Taylor stated that another comment made at the public hearing was that other cities that came to assist Kaysville during the December 2011 windstorm said that Kaysville’s power system was in serious disarray and the worst they had ever seen.  He wanted to know if the Power crew was aware of that comment.

Bruce Rigby stated that during that windstorm there was a lot of open secondaries where three wires in a row can be seen.  A lot of cities have already rebuilt their secondaries and wrapped them together.  The system works just fine but what some people see as a problem may just be cosmetic.

Mayor Hiatt wanted to know the condition of the Kaysville power system.

Both Bruce Rigby and Gary Hatch stated that it is very good.

Mayor Hiatt wanted to know if they were making that comment under any kind of duress or coercion from the City Manager.

Gary Hatch stated that they were not.  He worked previously for another city and their system is pretty much the same as Kaysville’s.  He does an annual Reliability Report.  2011, the year of the big windstorm, was the lowest reliability at 99.8%.

Council Member Miller wanted to know if the Power Department has asked for funds in the last four years and had either the City Council or City staff deny them money or told them to go back and readjust their request.

Gary Hatch stated that they have never been denied any money from the staff or Council.

Dean Storey explained that last year City staff did reduce, by a small amount, their original request for tree trimming.

Council Member Miller stated that at the public hearing a comment was made that it took too long to get power back on after the windstorm in December 2011 and they mentioned that other cities, who have Rocky Mountain Power, were restored faster.  He wonders if that was because of lack of manpower or too much tree damage.

Gary Hatch explained that both he and Bruce felt there were enough people helping.  They had enough crews working to keep busy on the lines and to run parts to the crews from the shop.  He believes that they handled the situation very well and got power restored as quickly as possible with the amount of damage that occurred.  Adjacent cities to the south had more manpower but they had a little more damage too.  He believes Kaysville had adequate manpower to get the job done and do it safely.  If too many people are working doing odds and ends that he doesn’t know about, then it becomes unsafe.  The primary concern in this situation was that no one get hurt.  Broken trees that fell and hit lines and broken poles were the biggest problem.  Even new poles were broken and lines were torn down by falling trees.

Bruce Rigby stated that Rocky Mountain Power had power out to individuals longer than Kaysville did during that time.

Council Member Taylor wanted to know if not enough tree trimming was a problem in that instance.

Bruce Rigby explained that the Code allows them to trim trees ten feet from the primary lines.  When the wind is blowing that hard, trees blow close to the lines. 

Council Member Taylor wanted to know if there was anything more the City should have done to prepare for a 100 year storm like the storm that occurred in 2011.

Bruce Rigby stated that he believes the City did all they could. 

Gary Hatch and Bruce Rigby left the meeting at this time.

Council Member Garlick asked City staff if they had a recommendation on what they would delete from the budget if the Council decides not to transfer money from the Power Fund or increase property taxes.

Council Member Miller stated that the Legislature has increased the amount a city can retain in fund balance.  He wanted to know what that means for Kaysville.

Dean Storey explained that the City must retain a fund balance between 5% and 25% based on projected revenues for the coming fiscal year.  That would mean about $2.1 million dollars for Kaysville.

Council Member Miller stated that the City Council could take $265,000 from the fund balance and still be near 20% in that fund. 

Council Member Taylor stated that he considered using that money as well.  However, he has a concern with funding an operational item with fund balance.  At this time, the Council does not know what effect staffing the fire station with four instead of two will have on the budget.  He believes there are pros and cons of taking money from the fund balance. 

Council Member Miller stated that if adding employees to the Fire Department was going to be a recurring event every year he would never suggest using money from the fund balance, but this is an interesting year.  There will be a Proposition on the ballot in November that could play out one way or another and staffing that is new to the budget.  He would be in favor of using money from the fund balance this year with a more significant discussion next budget year.  He is more in favor of that than slashing a budget that is already pretty firm.  He loves the idea that the Power Fund has been able to lend funds for economic development projects with the money being returned to that fund.  Next year the sale of the Flint property will also be more clear.

Dean Storey stated that taking money from the fund balance could be done this year but he would have a concern if the Council wants to do that every year.  The City needs to make sure that there is a revenue stream. 

Council Member Garlick stated that he believes taking money from the Power Fund is the correct thing to do.  If the power infrastructure is in as good a shape as the Council has been told this evening and if the City is still paying the kind of rates they are, which is less than Rocky Mountain, it makes sense to him to transfer money.  The Council has made decisions on what they want to fund and what they should fund.  He would not want some horrible thing to happen that the City did not foresee and then the City need to dip into the fund balance and not have it available.  He believes transferring money from the Power Fund to the General Fund is the right thing to do.

Council Member Stephens stated that he also agrees that taking money from the Power Fund is the right thing to do.  He has been thinking about the Proposition coming up in November and believes that there are different ways to look at that issue.  He wants to be involved in the discussion and keep his options open.  He is willing to listen.  He was serving on the Legislature when they voted to give a rebate to the citizens.  It cost the State about 40% to send the money back to the people.  He would like to look at this issue in an open and fair way and not look like the Council is trying to do something sneaky before the November election.

Council Member Garlick stated that he feels comfortable with the actions the Council took last year when they transferred funds from the Power Fund and he would feel comfortable if the Council did that again.  He believes that having that flexibility is the right thing and will help keep costs of running the City down.  It will also give tools to the City to help other funds.  He believes that is being fiscally responsible. 


Mayor Hiatt explained that he has mixed feelings.  He has heard a lot of assessments and accusations.  The City decided to do a review of the General Plan and at the same time a big development came up.  Some suggestions from citizens were that the City was trying to change the General Plan because of that development.  Therefore, the City stopped work on the General Plan to make sure it was very clear that was not what the City was doing.  He has no objection to waiting until the next budget to look at things in more detail if the City Council concurs so long as the Council is not caving in to incorrect and false accusations. 

Council Member Miller stated that he doesn’t appreciate the idea of the transfer but he does respect Council Member Garlick’s feeling about it.  He believes that the Proposition is different than the issue of transferring funds because he does not believe the Proposition will trump State law which allows cities to transfer money from enterprise funds. 

Council Member Stephens stated that if an overwhelming group of people don’t think it is a good idea to transfer money from the Power Fund that might have some influence on his thinking, however, at this time he believes the transfer is appropriate.  If the power infrastructure was not in good shape, money should be used for that.

Council Member Garlick stated that more people are asking for more services.  People have asked the Council for tennis courts and more police officers.  Then there are some people asking the Council not to raise taxes.  He believes that is the right balance.  He believes that people have interest in more services and cutting something from the budget right now would not be a prudent thing to do.

Council Member Miller stated that this decision is about choices.  The Council does a lot of things that doesn’t help every single citizen.  The City cannot have a budget that helps everyone but the Council is elected to help make those choices and stand and say this is what they believe.  The Council should receive citizen input but government is about choices.  He believes that the Council does not need to take a vote on every single option. 

Council Member Taylor stated that there will always be the perception that the Council makes decisions without paying attention to citizens.  The Council understands the budget and makes sure every service is taken care of.  He believes things are improving.  With so many unknowns, he believes that the transfer is the right thing to do.

Council Member Garlick stated that he discussed salary increases with the City Manager.  It is his understanding that unless an employee is being disciplined, every employee will receive a cost of living adjustment and merit increase without regard to their performance level.  He feels strongly that the City needs to give merit increases based on performance and not just because they are doing an adequate job.  He believes that it is unfair to those who exceed expectations to get the same increase as employees who are adequate.  He believes that fosters mediocrity.  He believes that every employee should get a cost of living adjustment but also believes that merit increases should be based on performance.  If salary increases remain the way it is, he will not vote for this budget.

John Thacker stated that merit increases are awarded based on continuous review by supervisors.  If a supervisor determines that an employee is increasing their value to the City and their contribution to the City throughout the year, then an employee is awarded an increase.  If an employee is doing adequate work, they will only get a cost of living adjustment. 

Council Member Garlick stated that that was not his understanding.

Council Member Stephens stated that he believes it may be counter-productive and hurt morale if the City only gives raises to those doing more.  Perhaps the City should identify the criteria and tell department heads how many are entitled to an increase.

Mayor Hiatt stated that the Council should trust the City Manager to implement the policy.  It appears to him that the policy in place is the most accurate.  He compares Kaysville to a city to the north who has double the property tax and a lot more than 83 employees.  He believes that Kaysville accomplishes more with less and that things get done and get done well.  He believes that the Council should set policy and then trust the staff to implement that policy.

Council Member Garlick stated that he finds it troubling that there are some people he has witnessed working nights and weekends, who constantly get awards and are recognized, receiving the same merit increase as someone who has a bad attitude.  He doesn’t believe that is fair.  The policy in place is rewarding the people not doing a good job.  

Mayor Hiatt recommended that department heads be allowed to make those adjustments. 

Council Member Miller stated that the City does not have consistent criteria across departments.  That needs to be put into place.  He believes that personnel issues in the public and private sectors are handled differently and he feels okay about allowing staff to make determinations on merit increases.

Council Member Johnson stated that each department in the City has different jobs and it may be difficult to compare who is working hardest.  He wanted to know if employee recognition is being offered.

John Thacker explained that each department is given money for employee appreciation.  Each department decides how that should be handled and it is being handled differently in each department.

Council Member Garlick wanted to know if a monetary reward could be provided to exceptional employees.

John Thacker stated that is difficult for government to do. 

The Council Members instructed City staff to move forward with this budget which will transfer money from the Power Fund.  The budget will be voted on at the next Council meeting to be held on June 18, 2013.

OTHER MATTERS

Mayor Hiatt explained that yesterday June Johnson Lance turned 99 years old and he and Council Member Miller presented her with a proclamation which proclaimed June 11, 2013 as June Lance Day. 

Council Member Stephens made a motion for adjournment at 7:45 p.m., second by Council Member Johnson and passed unanimously.