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MINUTES OF THE REGULAR BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING

 

 

City Hall                                                                                                        October 4, 2004

Council Chambers                                                                                         7:00 p.m.

 

The Mayor led with the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Present:            Mayor Kelly, Alderwoman Jepsen, Alderman Leahy, Alderman Golfin, Alderman Kramer, Alderman Robertson, Alderman Wynn, Alderman Cross.

 

                        City Attorney Murphy, City Clerk/Administrator Seemayer, Zoning Administrator Wolf and City Treasurer Reynders.

 

Absent:             Alderman Marshall, Economic Development Director Shelton and Executive Secretary Williams.

 

Mayor Kelly announced that Alderman Marshall was absent because his mother is very ill and is in the hospital.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family.

 

CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF THE AGENDA OF THE REGULAR BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING OF OCTOBER 4, 2004

 

Motion was made by Alderman Kramer, second by Alderman Wynn to approve and adopt the Agenda of the Regular Board of Aldermen Meeting of October 4, 2004.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Leahy, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Kramer, yes; Alderman Robertson, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES OF THE REGULAR BOARD OF ALDERMEN MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 20, 2004

 

Corrections:

 

Page 7 – second paragraph reads . . . “Mr. Seemayer basically establishing”.  Should read  . . . “Mr. Seemayer basically requesting”.

 

Warrant list should be reflected to read under CDG Engineers as “Engineering Services” instead of “Legal Services”.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen requested the following words be added to Stuart Clark’s comments on page 5, third paragraph.  “Mr. Clark did admit that he had not fully or carefully read the whole article”. 

 

Mayor Kelly pointed out that he is not sure if they can change somebody’s statement without them being present.  He suggested reviewing the tape again to make certain that comment was said.

 

Alderman Leahy stated that the statement he made on page 8, 5th paragraph established the perception that the Ways and Means Committee and budget could become an accumulative collection of money.  In a conversation with Mr. Seemayer after the meeting, it was explained that that was not the case.   Though they have already allocated money from last year’s budget and they plan to allocate money this year to help cover the full cost of the comprehensive plan, the fact that no money has been physically spent from last year’s money does not mean that that money just automatically carries over into the treasury account.  It goes back to general funds.  He would like to clarify that paragraph to eliminate the impression that it could become an accumulative treasury by different departments.  The paragraph on page 8 leaves you with the impression that the budget can become accumulative by departments.  That is not the intent of that paragraph which was clarified after the meeting.

 

It was suggested the paragraph be amended by deleting the word “last” and inserting “this” in the first line of the paragraph and inserting the words “over two years” after the “$90,900”.

 

Motion was made by Alderman Robertson, second by Alderman Golfin to approve and adopt the Minutes of the Regular Board of Aldermen Meeting of September 20, 2004 as amended.  All in favor none opposed.   

 

HEARING OF ANY MATTER OF PUBLIC INTEREST UPON REQUEST OF ANY PERSON PRESENT

 

Otto Lickenbrock – 2302 St. Clair Avenue came before the Board and stated he was at the last meeting and was disturbed by some of the comments he heard.  He stated that at the Board of Aldermen meeting on September 20th, 2004 several comments were made pertaining to the West Post article on the spreading of mulch on church property.  His opinion was that this was an organized attempt to discredit Alderwoman Jepsen.  The article clearly pointed out their source of irritation was the lack of storm water funding and not the spreading of mulch on church property.  The City’s help their neighbor policy has always existed and hopefully it will continue to exist providing there is a documented policy approved by the aldermanic board.  He challenged the Alderman that commented that nothing should be put in the newspaper without first submitting it to the Board for a resolution.  The Storm Water Committee members have approached the Board dozens of times over the past year and a half in attempt to resolve the issue.  At the Board meeting on September 15, 2003 the Storm Water Committee Chairman Alderman Golfin gave each member a copy of the Storm Water Sewer Improvement Factoid.  Not only did he list many of the storm water problems throughout the City, he also asked the Board to support his request to fund the storm water budget as promised to the voters in 1995 and 1997.  Not a single Board member demonstrated the ethics or courage to support his request.  When the Board is unresponsive to issues of this magnitude the newspaper should be the next step.  Residents have the right to know why nine years and $10 millions after voting for the budget flooding is now worse in many areas than it was before they voted.  He urged Alderwoman Jepsen to continue efforts to obtain the storm water funding.  Her constituents are aware and do appreciate the fact that she listens to complaints and attempts to do something about them. 

 

Andrew Truss – 2825 Brazeau came before the Board asked what park is Resolution No. 914 referring to. 

 

City Administrator Seemayer stated that Resolution No. 914 authorizes the City to apply and participate in the municipal park grant program.  They will be attempting to replace the lights at Brentwood Park. 

 

Dan Finney, Sr. – 2115 St. Clair came before the Board and stated that he had occasion to see Channel 10 two or three times last week with the September 20th meeting presented.  It was a little disturbing.  Any interest he has shown in the matter of the church has nothing to do with the church.  He is thinking about the concept of tax money for private use.  It is a no brainer and quite clear that it is improper use of tax money.  He asked Alderwoman Jepsen to make a motion to the Board that the city attorney be instructed to get an opinion on the legality of using money in that manner.  The motion should be decided by a roll call vote, so that he could find out who on the Board, if any, is not concerned about the legality of what they do.  Mr. Finney requested the City place in the newsletter the section of the City Administrator’s job description that specifically states that he has the authority to spend the money at his discretion as per a comment made at the meeting last week.  He congratulated Alderwoman Jepsen for handling the matter in the way it was handled. 

 

Bonnie Rasmussen – came before the Board and stated that as a life long Brentwood resident and self employed person she hates to see the City doing things that the City ought not to be doing, that an entrepreneur or church volunteer should be doing themselves.   Government does the things that individuals cannot do.  Government fixes sewers.  Church volunteers or Boy Scouts shovel mulch. 

 

Jerry Meers – 9006 W. Swan Circle came before the Board and stated he does not know why the church makes their property available to Brentwood Public Schools and St. Mary Magdalen for football practice.  They also open their doors for voting for the Ward 1 residents.   The separation of church and state is going too far.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that the concern is that some information was left out of the article.  You are talking about spending money to help out Mount Calvary.  This playground is open to the general public and many of the kids in that area use it.  The other key component that was left out of the article was that for the past two summers Mount Calvary has let the parks department use the playground every day during the summer for their summer camp and has not charged the City any money.  It is true that the City had an employee at the church for about four hours spreading mulch but the church has done some great things to help the community as well.  When you go to the newspaper and put in just part of the issue things are blown out of proportion.  It is wrong for the City to spend money on private enterprises.  The ordinance states that, but sometimes you have to have a little discretion.  Does that mean that when people have basements that are flooding the City will not lend them a generator to pump out their basements?  Or when the City has a storm that knocks over trees that the City will not go into front yards and cut the trees up, so that people could get their electricity turned back on.  These are things that the City does that technically they are not supposed to do.  Personally he feels it is what has helped to build this community and is something he is very proud of. 

 

Alderman Wynn stated that he made the comment about going to the newspaper.   Alderwoman Jepsen has the right to go to the newspaper anytime she would like.  Nobody could take that right away from her.  It would be good to sit down with the aldermen or the committee and make sure that they had every opportunity to work the situation out before they go to the newspaper.   It is not good to have articles that are negative if you can prevent it.  If you cannot prevent then you do it. 

 

Public Hearing Continued

 

Amending Chapter 25

 

Mayor Kelly stated the public hearing would continue to the next meeting.

 

Alderman Leahy asked what is the status of revising Bill No. 5250.

 

Mayor Kelly stated the Architectural Review Board hope to have something by the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.  They are trying to get some guidance to which direction they need to go in. 

 

Karen Smith – 8930 Harrison came before the Board and stated that supporting organizations that provide a community service is a good thing.  She is not sure about the legal aspects.  Having been part of the Storm Water Committee for a number of years and the fact that she feels that a voter obligation is not being met she is very concerned about how dollars are spent in this community.  She did not understand from the article that people were necessarily against community service.  What came out in the article was that it is important for a board and a city to understand how much of this type of work is being done.  What is being done?  Where it is being done?  What is the process under which you will decide which organizations are going to receive the service?  The church apparently gives a lot back to the community, so in exchange for that what are the services that the City is giving back to them.  Having it documented and available and something that is communicated so that everyone understands what it is the City is doing.  She feels that the newspaper is a media for which communities can let issues be known.  She does not feel they have avenues where they can sit down and communicate.  She feels disenfranchised and does not understand many times what the Board is voting on.   Committee meetings are scheduled at odd times of the day and are hard to attend.  She is not sure how they have opportunities to sit down and work through issues.  It is unfortunate that this issue has happened the way it has happened because community service can be a good thing.

 

INTRODUCTIONS, READINGS, AND PASSAGE OF BILLS AND RESOLUTIONS

 

Mayor Kelly stated Bills No. 5171, 5250 and 5253 would remain on hold. 

 

Motion was made by Alderman Golfin, second by Alderman Kramer to continue Bills No. 5171, 5250 and 5253 on hold.  All in favor none opposed.

 

Resolution No. 914 – Municipal Park Grant

 

Mayor Kelly stated Resolution No. 914 authorizes the City to apply for park grant funds.  A countywide sales tax is collected and distributed by St. Louis County.

 

Motion was made by Alderman Wynn, second by Alderman Robertson to approve and adopt Resolution No. 914.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Leahy, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Kramer, yes; Alderman Robertson, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Alderman Leahy stated he was on the park board when they last replaced the lights in Brentwood Park.  They did the majority of that replacement through corporate donations which was about 14 to 15 years ago.

 

ACCOUNTS AGAINST THE CITY

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that CDG Engineers is being paid over $18,000 including this bill and last month’s bill.  She asked what are they being paid for.

 

Mayor Kelly stated most of the cost has been for the Helen Avenue sewer.

 

City Administrator Seemayer stated the previous bill and the $9,900 portion is for study work and design on Helen Avenue.  The other amount is not storm water related.

 

Alderwoman Jepsen asked if CDG Engineers is on call.  From sitting in on a Public Works Committee meeting there is a cut off point of $10,000 and then you get bids.

 

Mayor Kelly stated that CDG Engineers has been the City’s ongoing civil engineer for related projects like this. 

 

City Administrator Seemayer stated CDG Engineers has a contract with the City, which goes back a number of years. 

 

Alderwoman Jepsen stated that some indication was given of $60,000 to $70,000 for a huge spot fix in case MSD could not come forward.  Is the $18,000 plus going to come out of that or is the additional money for this project.

 

City Administrator Seemayer stated that is the actual estimate for the construction cost and any engineering and design works in addition to that.

 

Alderman Leahy asked how did the Helen Avenue project become the number one project for the sewer committee or anybody to start looking at doing the authorization for the surveys.  He is not aware as sitting on the Public Works Committee that they have discussed and prioritized this project.  It was never on the list that they were given.  They are authorizing to pay this bill.  How was it authorized that the engineering work would be done?

 

Mayor Kelly stated that when it was brought to the attention of the Board back in May when residents started experiencing severe flooding again, that was sent to the Public Works Committee and it was discussed at Board level of evaluating the project and seeing what it would take to fix it.  Out of that came the study that was presented to the Board in August with the alternatives to fixing the problem.  Since then he has met with the residents and tried to move the project forward by having the design work done. That is a cost that either the City will be reimbursed by MSD or if the City has to build this phase it will be something the City will have to spend in order to facilitate the project.  Although it was not on the storm water project list, it is one of the more critical areas of the City.   In having the design done he is hoping it will move up the process.  MSD budgets three to five years out for projects.  For the City to get a project scheduled such as the Helen Avenue sewer project as a top priority some of the work would have to be done.  The project got a high priority because of the number of homes and businesses it affects.  The part of the project underneath the resident’s home was something that should be a top priority of the City and that is the part that is being designed, not the rest of it, just the part to get the sewer out from underneath this resident’s home.  Mayor Kelly stated that he authorized CDG Engineers to do the design part of the project.

 

Alderman Golfin stated the Storm Water Committee has been meeting for some years and has requested comments from residents about their problems with storm water.  The Committee has reviewed those things over a period of years and established a list of priorities.  What surprised he and the Committee was when Mr. And Mrs. Dories and Mr. Emas came forward in May and related their problems.  The residents had just suffered through the problem and for whatever reasons had not come forward, so the Committee was not aware of it.  They prioritized their list and passed it on to the Public Works Committee.  Having prioritized that in Public Works there is an added feature that MSD also establishes their own priorities.  MSD has recognized this is the #1 priority.  They have not recognized some of the other projects the City has in that fashion.  Certainly anyone coming forward with a problem of that magnitude they would adjust the priority list or focus on what to do. 

 

Mayor Kelly stated if the City is to move forward next year on the Helen Avenue sewer project and the Mount Calvary sewer project which both got high priorities in the initial analysis, then some other projects are going to be bumped that MSD already has scheduled because of the number of homes that are affected.  One of the benefits of MSD looking at Mount Calvary was that property is probably what is causing most of the flooding in the homes on White Avenue and Sonora Avenue as well.  The water goes down towards the sewer at Kempton and White Avenue, which is causing a lot of the flooding there.  That’s one of the reasons this got such a high priority once they looked at it and saw how much water was coming off of that water shed.

 

If MSD does not go forward on those projects the City may be able to move forward with them.  Perhaps an agreement could be worked out with MSD where the City could fund the projects and MSD could reimburse the City. 

 

Motion was made by Alderman Kramer, second by Alderman Leahy to approve the warrant list dated 10/04/04.  All in favor none opposed.

 

REPORTS OF COMMITTEES AND DEPARTMENT HEADS:

 

Mayor’s Report

 

Mayor Kelly stated he had requested the Public Works Committee look at some ordinances.  One of the issues was inspecting rental properties and giving the City the ability to inspect those on a yearly basis.  The other one is the ordinance on abandoned homes.  

 

Mayor Kelly requested the Public Safety Committee look at an ordinance from St. Louis County pertaining to domestic and family violence.  It is something they want to adopt countywide but would like each municipality to adopt an ordinance along those lines. 

 

Public Safety Committee – No report

 

Public Works Committee – No report

 

City Engineer – No report

 

Parks – No report

 

Zoning Administrator – No report

 

Ways and Means Committee – No report

 

Planning and Zoning – No report

 

City Attorney – No report

 

City Clerk/Administrator – No report

 

Director of Economic Development – No report

 

Excise Commissioner – No report

 

Library – No further report

 

Municipal League – No report

 

Waste Management Commission  - No report

 

Storm Water Management – No report

 

Communication – No report

 

Insurance Committee – No report

 

Historical Society - No report

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

 

Executive Session

 

Motion was made by Alderman Cross, second by Alderman Kramer to hold an executive session legal matter after the regular meeting.   Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Leahy, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Kramer, yes; Alderman Robertson, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

State Bill 960

 

Alderman Kramer stated the aldermen received information in the mail about differential tax rate legislation State Bill 960 going into effect in 2005 and opting out of that.

 

City Administrator Seemayer stated it does not pertain to St. Louis County.  St. County provided separate legislation, which is in effect as of 2003.  They have different rates now for property taxes for commercial and residential.  Every other county in the state had until 2005 to adopt it.  Now they are looking for legislation to opt out so they can just charge one rate like they used to. 

 

Ward 3 Meeting

 

Ward 3 meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 26th at City Hall. 

 

Executive Session – Legal Matter

 

Motion was made by Alderman Robertson, second by Alderman Leahy to enter into executive session legal matter at 8:05 p.m.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Leahy, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Kramer, yes; Alderman Robertson, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

After discussion, motion was made by Alderman Wynn, second by Alderman Leahy to return to open session at 8:29 p.m.  Roll call:  Alderwoman Jepsen, yes; Alderman Leahy, yes; Alderman Golfin, yes; Alderman Kramer, yes; Alderman Robertson, yes; Alderman Wynn, yes; Alderman Cross, yes.

 

Adjournment

 

Motion was made by Alderman Wynn, second by Alderman Leahy to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.  All in favor none opposed

 

 

                                                                                                            ss/Pat Kelly                 

                                                                                                Pat Kelly, Mayor

 

Attest:

 

            ss/Chris Seemayer       

Chris Seemayer, City Clerk