1. Call to Order. A workshop of the Council of the City of Rogers was called to order by Mayor Bunting on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at Rogers Community Center, 21201 Memorial Drive, Rogers, MN, 55374.
Council present: Jay Bunting, Don Hall, Rick Ihli, Darren Jakel, and Maureen Stanley.
Staff present: Jeff Beahen, Police Chief; Gary Buysse, Liquor Operations Manager; John Seifert, Public Works Supt.; Stacy Scharber, Assistant City Administrator; Steve Stahmer, City Administrator; and Lisa Wieland, Finance Director.
2. 2014 Budget Discussion
Administrator Stahmer provided a spreadsheet and graph illustrating the history of the City's tax rate in comparison to neighboring communities. Stahmer stated the graph illustrates where the proposed 2014 rate would be and where the tax rate would be if there we no fiscal disparities.
Hall stated he would rather see a steady tax rate versus the spikes in rates as other communities have done. Hall commended staff for being able to keep the rate steady.
Bunting stated Hall made a good point. Bunting stated he likes the flat line illustrating our rate.
Jakel stated in looking at the list of neighboring cities, a majority of them are not in Hennepin County, but Dayton and Corcoran are and are the only two with City police departments, the rest are covered by their County Sheriff, with higher rates.
Stahmer commented on the cities that are outside of fiscal disparities and the communities that are subject to fiscal disparities, however the ones on the graph are net gainers.
Stahmer next addressed the budget workshop memo that was distributed to Council. Highlighted were the following:
• An increase to taxable market values
• Economies of scale through annexation
• Levy limits in place
• Fiscal disparities contribution
• Some staffing cuts have been brought back
• No use of existing fund balance
• Transfer from liquor fund to general fund; $200,000
• Keeping rate close to 40%
• Increase in building permit revenues; $8M building permit added back into the budget
• Capital sinking funds added for trails
Personnel Services Changes
• CSO Program; adding 2 part-time CSO positions
• PERA increase
• Union contract to be negotiated
• Grade level promotions; within public works maintenance
• Differential in wage scales
• Mechanic and Finance positions still remain within the budget
• Paid On-Call firefighters; increase in personnel services budget to accurately budget for the 39 members approved to date. Gets close to accurate number, but not any additional firefighters.
Hall questioned the increase in the Fire Department budget. Hall asked if the $23,700 increase in personnel service is included in the entire budget. Staff stated it is. Hall asked for an explanation in the increase in the Fire Department budget.
Feist addressed the Council stating the fire district is starting to grow. Feist explained the growth in the number of calls. Feist explained that in order to do some efficiencies in responding to calls, he is trying to grow the department to split the fire district. Feist stated he doesn't want to lose fire fighters to burn-out. Feist explained the time it takes to train a firefighter and the cost of turn-out gear to outfit a firefighter. Feist stated what he needs to talk about at the Public Safety Task Force is the ability to split the district and grow the department.
Stahmer stated that he asked Feist to prepare an explanation to the increases in the line items of his budget. Feist handed out the document he prepared. Feist proceeded through the document highlighting increases greater than 15%. Feist stated the list of items is to get the equipment necessary to run the department.
Hall thanked Feist for the explanation.
Stahmer then continued to proceed through personnel services changes:
• Intern designated to the County Road 144/Highway 101 project. Seifert provided an explanation of what the intern's duties will be, preferably a Communications major
Line Item Budgets
• Insurance increase
• Utilities increases
• Public Safety equipment and clothing
• Assessing costs; contract with Hennepin County
• Adding a second Washington DC trip
• Increase to Rockin' Rogers
Council and staff discussed whether or not to have a Fire Department/Public Ssfety open house or to wait until the Thursday of Rockin' Rogers during Community Night. Feist stated the staff is recommending holding off to the Rockin' Rogers event and 100 year celebration. Feist stated it would be fire, police, and public works event. Council agreed.
Stahmer stated anything approved tonight is still subject to final approval in December. Full-time employees are subject to Council approval. Seasonal and part-time are hired at a staff level.
Stahmer stated there is enough of a cushion in the capital sinking funds. The preliminary levy being recommended is $6.3M with a tax rate of 40.934%.
Wieland provided an explanation on the worksheets that were distributed to Council. Wieland explained the cover sheet of the Financial Management Plan (FMP) and pointed out the use of fund balance to purchase public safety building.
Wieland explained the summary worksheets to Council. Wieland then focused on the 2014 Property Tax Levy Information worksheets. Wieland explained the taxable market value information coming from Hennepin County is still changing, however not enough to make a major change to the rate.
Bunting asked for the best guess on the amount of dollars lost to fiscal disparities. Staff stated it is around $1M.
Wieland proceeded through the worksheets provided to Council. Wieland pointed out the last chart showing our tax rate remaining flat. Wieland stated what we will be looking for during the regular meeting is to set the maximum levy; the preliminary levy.
Ihli stated we would probably all agree that 40.93% is a good starting number. However 40% or under is still a goal; budget a little tighter.
Wieland stated to drop it from 41% to 40% is approximately $125,000 in the budget.
Bunting stated he would like updated information pushed to Council during the process. Ihli commented on it being hard to digest the information the night of the meeting.
Stahmer stated we will continue to have budget workshops and suggested pushing out budget information with the Friday updates.
Hall moved, Stanley seconded a motion to adjourn at 6:51 p.m. Motion carried 5-0.
Assistant City Administrator/Clerk