05.21.19 Council Minutes

At the City Council
In and For Said City
May 21, 2019
Minutes of the Richfield City Council meeting held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019
at 600 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Richfield City office building located at 75 East Center, Richfield, Utah. Mayor David C. Ogden presiding.
1. ROLL CALL. Present: Mayor David Ogden, Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson, Matt Creamer, Mike Langston, Michele Jolley. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
2. MAYOR’S PROPOSED BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2019/2020 DISCUSSED. Mr. Mogan was present to discuss the Public Works Department. The Department is still undergoing a SCADA system upgrade. He stated that the water system is aging and that there are pipes in the ground that have been there since the early 1930’s. That pipe was not engineered to last for 90 years. We have a lot of leaks because the pipes are old lead joint pipes. There is going to come a point when we are going to have to do a major water project. This is something we ought to be looking at and planning for. Nephi is currently undergoing a large 14 million dollar water project including a new take and a whole new water system because they were facing the same problem with an aging system. We do the best we can to repair our leaks. It takes the whole crew to fix the problems. The leaks are costing the City a lot of money and we are losing hundreds of thousands of gallons of water a year due to the leaks.
Mr. Creamer stated that the last few years the Council has been putting into the budget for emergency repairs which has helped. We have a problem, according to Mr. Mogan, in the north end of town where we are getting sand and gravel in the system. We have discussed installing a de-sander, but it would involve a remodel of the cemetery well. We are currently looking at having to pull the pump in the cemetery well; inspect it, clean it and find out where the sand is coming from because it is starting to affect our system. The cost for this is would be roughly $40,000, so we are looking at doing this project after July. It could cost more, but the only way to know is to do this. While we are doing this we will also include a frequency drive on the well, which controls the start up.
Councilmember Christensen asked if this would come out of the water fund or the cemetery fund. Mr. Langston stated that it would come out of the water fund because it is part of our water system. We are also looking at making some modifications to the shop well so that when it starts up it does not start at full force, but starts up gradually. If we are able to do this, it would cost about $35,000. It would also help us save in the power costs and we could use it all year instead of just intermittently.
Another issue with the water system at the spring by the swimming pool we have three pumps and we should have some spares on hand. They are going to go out and it would be roughly a $15,000 cost to refurbish the pumps.
The commercial park and the spring are the only wells that run during the winter. Mr. Langston stated that Rural Water Association told Mr. Mogan that they could do a study of our system which would show what our water and sewer rates should be to cover depreciation. We do not cover our depreciation. We do not worry about making enough money to cover the wear and tear on our system.
Mr. Langston stated that we are going to have to raise rates to purchase additional water shares and to cover repair costs. Councilmember Nielson asked how many lines we replace each year. She thought we talked about doing so many sections each year. We are only replacing small sections on an as needed basis.
Mr. Mogan talked about the sewer and the recent discovery of a sink hole at the sewer lagoon. We had to transfer it into another cell and then when the old cell, which is about 70 acres, is dried out we will have a contractor come in and replace about 400 yards of 18-inch pipe. The existing line is concrete, but the new one will be plastic. This was caused by the sewer gases. He is concerned about the other major trunk lines. There are concrete lines down 500 East, 1000 South, and several areas of towns that carry the majority of the sewer flow for the City. The Council approved $32,000 a year for a sewer cleaning program. The whole town has been cleaned and we are starting over again. Mr. Mogan felt that he needed another $25,000 a year for the next couple of years to have the major trunk lines inspected. The report from the last time the lines were cleaned states that they are finding a lot of concrete aggregate in some of these pipes, which is a sign that the pipes are deteriorating. We need to look at this because this is not something that our crew can do and we do not have the equipment, so we are going to have to hire a contractor do this.
The City is also being required to account for more of our water and that has caused another unforeseen expense because we have to put meters on our water sources.
The majority of our sewer system is in pretty good shape, but we do have a lift station that will have to be replaced in the next few years. He would like to have the engineering done for this now and then the lift station could be replaced in a year or two.
Mr. Langston stated that as for our water system, our storage is good; it is our distribution system that needs to be addressed.
Mr. Mogan stated that the street sweeper is aging and we are looking at $275,000 to $300,000 for a lease purchase of another one. Mr. Langston stated that this is included in the budget for the next fiscal year and if we do a lease purchase we would have a planned expense each year over a five year period. If we are going to continue to sweep we are going to have to have a new one.
We have a dump truck that is in desperate need of replacement. There are several items we need to look at moving forward and one would be a new mini excavator. It could be used anywhere and this is also included in the street budget for the new fiscal year. Some of the other items that need to be replaced are in the $5,000 to $8,000 range. There are a couple of the dump trucks that we need to send out to have the beds sandblasted so they will last a few more years. There are some small items that we could do but it requires the money to do it.
Mr. Langston stated that when we purchase equipment the cost is usually split between the water, sewer and street departments because the equipment is used for all of these departments. We try to have $25,000 in the water and sewer budgets for equipment in addition to the equipment we have funded in the capital outlay for water and sewer departments.
Councilmember Nielson asked Mr. Mogan if he has a list of priorities and he indicated that he does.
Councilmember Nielson asked what happens if they have been out so long, if we could replace them if they do not come back. We can if they do not come back. Mr. Mogan stated that he would like to hire one more person for his department. His department has been down 2 workers who are out on worker’s comp claims. Mr. Creamer stated that we have hired a temp worker to help out while we are shorthanded.
Chief Lloyd stated that he has been down a couple officers. Jim Brown is retiring on June 10 and he is hoping to replace him the end of June. The other replacement he cannot get into the academy until mid July, so he will still be short an officer until end of September or the first part of October.
Chief Lloyd has asked for more money in the training budget because of how often he has to send someone to the academy. Every time he sends someone to the academy the cost goes up. In the future his concern is vehicles because they have gone up so much. This year when he ordered two vehicles and the cheapest SUV he could get was $34,500, and that does not include the cost to install the equipment needed. He wants to purchase Fords because of the repair costs and less and the mileage cost is lower. We have a fleet of trucks and they hold their value and they hold up better, but it is difficult to put someone in when they are handcuffed and arrested.
Mr. Creamer asked about the cost for dispatch. Chief Lloyd stated that the cost is just increasing every year. Last year there was a huge increase in this cost, because they made a policy that they had to have 2 dispatchers on at all times. This time they only had a 2.5% increase in salary and benefits. They are going to be going to text 911 and the computer equipment will have to be updated in the next five years, so he anticipates another increase coming.
Nephi implemented a tax just for public safety. Chief Lloyd thought that it would make more sense to have a County-wide tax to take care of the County-wide dispatch services.
Mr. Robinson told the Council that he really needs a truck for the airport and it does not have to be a new truck. Mr. Langston stated that we so have some funds in the airport capital improvement that was there for other projects and we will not have to use all of those funds, so some of these funds could be used to purchase a used truck. As for the current budget, one item that is over is the fuel which is about 200% over budget, but we have the revenue to offset that.
Todd Mullen asked the Council for an assistant golf professional. He stated that most of the golf courses have golf professionals. He feels that we are to the point that we need it. He felt that we can do more if we have more. So he needs and wants to take it to the next level. Junior golf is starting next week and he is holding 3 sessions 3 days a week. The part time help cannot help teach golf and so he needs additional help.
Councilmember Christensen asked if green fees could be increased to help offset the cost of another employee. Mr. Mullen stated that he would hate to raise them much more because we are in line with what other golf courses around us charge. Mr. Langston stated that if we were going to hire someone and pay their benefits, it would cost us at least $60,000.
Councilmember Barnett stated that looking at the historical numbers for the golf course over the past 4 years, revenues have remained flat and expenses have increased by $50,000, plus the bond. At this point our expenses are increasing but the revenue is remaining flat. Mr. Mullen stated that the expenses would not increase the full $60,000 because he would be able to eliminate some of the part-time help to reduce the cost. Mr. Langston stated that we have 4 more payments on the golf course, with one that will be due after the first of the fiscal year. Also, the money for the last payment is already there in an escrow account, so there is only 2 more that the City would have to fund. Mr. Creamer stated that we have been looking at using the money when the bond is retired toward the swimming pool.
Mr. Creamer discussed employee salaries and benefits and the step and grade program noting that it has taken 3 years to get everyone to where we thought they should be. We have not had any cost of living or any other adjustments, so staff is proposing to adjust every step and grade with an increase of $1,000 per year across the board. That would mean that all the full time employees would get $1,000 a year, as well as those employees who are moving up a step this year. This is currently included in the proposed budget.
Our broker has bid our health insurance coverage out to all of the providers that service cities. Our current provider came back with a 24% increase in cost combined with raising the maximum out-of-pocket deductible by almost double. The best option appears to be Select Health with a 2.09% increase over our current rate. This plan does reduce benefits from a $4,000 family deductible to a $5,000 deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum increases from $6,750 to $13,000. Every plan we looked at had the same kind of deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Insurance is truly becoming a catastrophic policy.
The other item proposed is that the $1,200 per year that we have been putting into the employees health savings accounts be increased to $1,800 per year.
Councilmember Barnett noted that the swimming pool budget was 35% over budget at this point. He asked what the cause for this is. Councilmember Arrington noted that it looks like most of it is part-time employees. Councilmember Barnett wanted to know why if the estimated budget for this year is $450,000 that the budget for next year is only $400,000. Mr. Langston pointed out that the utility costs are one reason. The part-time help has been reduced. Councilmember Arrington asked if we are paying them more or if we have more employees. Mr. Langston stated that we are paying them a little more. The use of the pool is up significantly. That means that if there are more people in the pool then there is a need for more employees.
Councilmember Barnett felt that the pool, golf course and even recreation needed to be consider the same as streets, water, sewer and public safety because they are things that if we are going to offer, there really is not any revenue to offset the costs. We are going to spend whatever we have to have to spend to offer those services.
Councilmember Nielson said that we owe the community streets, water, and sewer. The other things we can survive without. Councilmember Christensen stated that recreation makes Richfield a quality place to live. Councilmember Barnett pointed out that we do need these things to survive, if all we want to do is survive, but the other things make it livable. He does not just want to survive. He would rather live. Councilmember Nielson stated that it is not that she does not want these things, but we have to be able to pay for our basic needs.
Mr. Langston pointed out that we have not raised taxes for at least 40 years. He does not want to see us get to a point where we have to do a 100% or a 70% increase. The cost of living index has gone up almost 6% in the last 3 years. Councilmember Barnett stated that no one wants to address this, but that does not mean that it does not need to be addressed. He felt that we do ourselves an extreme disservice by not having inflationary property tax increase on an annual, semi-annual or tri-annual basis to try and stay current. We dig ourselves a hole. The longer that goes, the more difficult it then becomes. Small, regular increases, even though you are dealing with it on a more regular basis, are far easier to sell and far easier to implement.
Councilmember Barnett stated that the paper last week it mentioned in an editorial that there was a suggestion made to develop a parks master plan. At that time, the Council was not willing to put in the $25,000 to $30,000 that it would have cost because we did not have any money and were actually laying people off. He is somewhat chagrinned that we were given property for a park and now we are looking at spending a half-million or a million dollars on a new park. That is not our priority. We have talked about whether or not if a recreation center/swimming pool is our priority and if that is our priority, then we need to put in the curb, gutter, sidewalk, plant grass and leave it for a few years until we can afford what needs to be done there. We did make a commitment that we could develop the new park within 5 years. Councilmember Nielson noted that this time-frame was not set in stone. Councilmember Barnett thinks we should put the sprinkler system in with some grass. Whatever the latest, cool project is keeps jumping to the top and we never get done what our priorities are because we do not know what our priorities are.
Councilmember Barnett stated that at some point we need to decide what, of any of the things we have heard tonight that are not in the budget, we are going to try and add. Mr. Creamer stated that the two things in the budget he would like to know if there is a consensus for the cost of living increase and the HSA contribution. Councilmember Barnett would like to see the cost of living increased to $1,200 per full time employee. Councilmember Nielson agreed. Mayor Ogden stated that we would make it so.
Mr. Langston wanted to know if the council was okay with the equipment for the street department, which is the street sweeper and a mini excavator. Councilmember Nielson stated that we do need to look for a truck for the airport. Other Councilmembers agreed and Mr. Creamer felt that we should just move forward with that because we have the money in the capital improvement fund. As for the additional people for public works and the golf course, Mr. Langston stated that he did not know how we could fund that. He wondered about a contracted employee similar to a school teacher. They only work for 9 months, but they can be paid for 9 months or 12 months. He wondered if we could hire someone may work more significantly more than 40 hours a week as part of the contract and if that would be ok. He is not sure how that would work. Councilmember Arrington suggested splitting this person between the golf course in the summer and the rec department in the winter.
3. MEETING ADJOURNED. At 8:03 p.m., Motion: Adjourn, Action: Approved, Moved by Kathy Christensen, Seconded by Kevin Arrington. Vote: Motion carried by unanimous roll call vote (summary: Yea = 4). Yea: Kevin Arrington, Richard Barnett, Kathy Christensen, Connie Nielson. Excused: Bryan Burrows.
PASSED and APPROVED this 11 day of June, 2019.