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Jan 29, 2018 Finance Meeting Minutes

The tape of this meeting is on file in the Council Clerk’s Office.


The Elyria Finance Committee held a meeting on Monday, January 29, 2018 beginning at 6:00 P.M. in Council Chambers.

PRESENT: Committee Chair Stewart, Members Tanner, Madison, Baird ABSENT: Lotko

OTHERS PRESENT: Mayor Brinda, Safety Service Director Siwierka, Law Director Serazin, Assistant Finance Director Farrell, Assistant Safety Service Director Brubaker, WWPC Superintendent Korzan,

1. Approval of the January 8, 2018 Finance Meeting Minutes.

Baird moved and seconded by Tanner to approve the minutes of the January 8, 2018 Finance Committee Meeting. MOTION CARRIED

Mr. Stewart said they are going to change the agenda and have Mrs. Siwierka speak on matter of the CMG Facility.

2. The matter of discussion and consideration of a new comprehensive Citywide Central Maintenance Garage Facility. (For Discussion Only)

Mrs. Siwierka started her presentation by passing out a Power Point Presentation and letting the committee know that all council will receive the Presentation.

That Power Point Presentation is attached herewith, made a part thereof and designated as Exhibit “A”.

Mrs. Siwierka stated that she and Mr. Strohsack had visited 2 complexes recently; The City of Oberlin and Best Equipment in N. Royalton. They chose to see the new facility that Best Equipment, which is one of the City’s vendors, had recently built and it is a state of the art facility. It is very energy efficient, has security cameras throughout, motion detected lighting systems, equipped with loading docks, training area, lunch area, locker rooms, very secure. Some of the City’s mechanics have thousands of dollars worth of their own tools that they use, so a secure facility would benefit them.

Mr. Madison asked what was the process that Council has adopted in the past? Mrs. Siwierka said that Council would need to pass an ordinance authorizing the Mayor or Engineering to solicit requests for proposals for the design of a new facility. She reminded the committee that this is the last building structure that has gone untouched since it was built 40 years ago. Mr. Madison asked if this is the usual process for the start of a new building project? Mrs. Siwierka said that it is the same process. Mr. Madison noticed initial estimates and asked if there are outlines or more detail of the initial estimates? Mrs. Siwierka said no, because it would depend on what the square footage will be, whether it will be built on land that is already owned by the City. That would be part of the design process. We’re not sure if the size we decide on will fit on land that we already own. Those things are yet to be determined. Obviously if we use our own land, the cost will be much less. We have costs estimates from Best Equipment from their building which was $1.8 million. But, that is a private entity which doesn’t use prevailing wage or bidding.

Mr. Madison asked if we would have those estimates before we would move forward with the formal adoption process that is requested of council? Mrs. Siwierka said that is not possible until we would know what the design would be which would be done first and then come back with estimates.

Mr. Madison said that since we are currently going through the budget process, it may be hard to discuss appropriations until we’ve established the current budget for the year. When we’re going through this budget process will we get updated information regarding the capital expenditures for the next 3 – 5 years so that we can weigh this conversation as it relates to other department needs throughout the city?

Mrs. Siwierka said the budget will be presented in the same manor as it has in the past.

Mr. Tanner said that he is glad this subject has come up and supports this matter. He said that he was at the CMG Facility a couple of weeks ago and noticed that a new facility is definitely necessary. Those diesel trucks need to be warmed up before they can be driven which is wasted time for the workers.

Mr. Baird said that he was around when the current facility was built in 1972. There is no question that the building needs to be replaced with a new facility. The financing is the big thing. But, when you get the Enterprise funds donating into it, it will be doable. If we’re talking $1.8 to $2 million dollars, to borrow that money and pay it off over a period of time, it’s what we have to do. We should move ahead, get a design, come up with what we want and what makes sense. We could work with the input of Mr. Strohsack and others for their expertise. We should come up with something that would be efficient.

Mrs. Siwierka said that she, the Mayor, Mr. Pileski, Mr. Farrell have talked briefly about what the City shares amongst the Enterprise. Enterprise trucks that are out there for the most part along with several dozen police cars at any time of day or night, getting gas, replacing windshield wipers, getting light bars fixed, radio work, all those repairs are done there. A ‘car port’ was built for the sanitation trucks with electricity so the trucks can pull in and plug in, ‘to Mr. Tanner’s point, earlier’. But, they are still out in the elements. Similar with the Water Distribution Department, they have to keep a truck warm inside the garage with blacktop in it, so it’s prepared when a water main needs to be repaired at any time of the day or night and in any kind of weather. Some other trucks have very sophisticated equipment in them; garbage trucks, plows, fire trucks and they need to stored inside and be secure.

The conditions are less than ideal and safety is a concern. They don’t have the right floor jacks. Sometimes they have to put the trucks up on temporary jacks.

Mr. Stewart asked if any other facility was looked at and what is the size of Best Equipment?

Mrs. Siwierka said just Oberlin and Best Equipment have been visited.

Mr. Strohsack spoke to give details from his visits at Best Equipment. Their actual working facility is 9,600 square feet. The entire facility is around 15,000 square feet. Elyria’s working facility is about 6,200 square feet. One of the main objectives of this whole thing is to be able to bring our mechanics from the Fire Department and Waste Water so that we can ‘cross train’. As the equipment gets more sophisticated every day, when our fire mechanic happens to be out or is on vacation, we become responsible for it and there is a lot that the mechanics don’t know because it’s so sophisticated. We need everyone in one facility so everyone can learn and cover for each other.

Mr. Stewart asked if the area across the street from the current facility is an area that we should be looking at, will the landfill be an issue if we build there?

Mr. Strohsack said there are 14 acres there and the City’s salt dome is currently on that property. He feels that would be a prime spot for the new facility. We could use the old facility as the cold storage and it would be right across the street. Right now, cold storage is stored at the old DIY Building which is a trek across town every time something is needed. As far a ‘central’ goes, we don’t really want to be central in town or in a neighborhood and don’t want to be too far out, like in industrial areas.

Mr. Madison asked if there will be preliminary estimates for costs with the bids and drawings?

Mrs. Siwierka said they would do a request for proposals 1st and then a ‘not to exceed’ and okay, here are ideas, please proceed. Again we’re talking about consolidating.

The project would begin just like any other project; we would start with a referral to request for proposals for design and come back to council to decide which design to go with.

3. The matter of entering into an agreement with Walter/Haverfield for labor related legal services for the year 2018.

REFERRED BY: Safety Service Director Siwierka

Mrs. Siwierka said this is a renewal for Walter/Haverfield for collective bargaining. As a reminder to the committee, this year, 2018, the Elyria Police Patrolman’s Association Contract is up at the end of this year as well as the International Association of Firefighter’s Contract is up at the end of the year also. All other contracts are settled. But whatever wages are determined in the Elyria Police Patrolman’s Association will directly effect the FOP contract.

Mr. Madison asked what was the total amount of the contract for last year? Mrs. Siwierka said that it started at $150,000 and it ended at $225,000 which included the expenses for 2 expert witnesses because we went to conciliation and arbitration with the Fire Department.

Mr. Madison asked about the ‘do not exceed’ clause. He assumes if we hit that amount of the contract and for some reason we have to spend more money to deal with negotiations, will that come back to council before it’s expended or moves forward?

Mrs. Siwierka said that they will do their best to bring it forward, but it doesn’t get paid until Council authorizes it. She went on to say that they don’t stop in the middle of negotiations to get permission from Council. But, they certainly keep Council apprised at how much money is being spent and if they are getting close to the end amount, they would bring that back to Council to extend the amount. So, Mr. Madison said that would be once that they hit that amount is what is being voted on today. Mrs. Siwierka said it would be months before they would get to that amount.

Moved by Baird, second by Madison to recommend an ordinance for the Mayor to enter into an agreement with Walter/Haverfield for labor related legal services for 2018.


4. The matter of the AFSCME Wage Ordinance.

REFERRED BY: Assistant Finance Director Farrell (This is a Standing Referral) Mr. Farrell reminded the committee that the AFSCME contract was renewed in the second half of 2017, effective September 1st. There are 2 sections that relate to compensation for CDL and CDL-A, which have always been combined in the past at a total rate of .40 cents per hour. Some language had changed in the contract and when the Exhibit was prepared, Mr. Farrell made an error on the rate of the CDL compensation, he thought the amount was reduced, but, in fact the rate stayed the same.

The Exhibit reflected the amount that Mr. Farrell thought it was reduced to and the amount .25 cents was put on the Exhibit, but the rate needs to go back to .40 cents because it did not change.

Tanner moved, Madison seconded to recommend an ordinance to ament the Salary Ordinance to reflect the correct wages for positions listed with a CDL and CDL-A in the current AFSCME contract.


5. The matter of a request for a Resolution of support for the Elyria City Schools Jobs Initiative to increase awareness that local laborers and trades workers can find work on the district’s rebuilding project.

(This item was removed from the Agenda and will go to Council without the benefit of Committee Report or will go Rules Committee). REFERRED BY: Councilman Madison

6. The matter of a request for a Resolution of support requesting all Ohioans to consider joining state, county, city school districts in officially recognizing January 21 as Public Education Week.

REFERRED BY: Councilman Madison (This matter was removed from the Agenda) 7. The matter of an amendment to the 2018 Temporary appropriations.

REFERRED BY: Finance Director Pileski

Mr. Farrell said there are two (2) funds affected by the Appropriation Changes. The first is the 2016 .50% Income Tax Fund. Mr. Farrell said that the City hasn’t spent any money the funds that were budgeted for marketing from that fund and the Mayor asked that prior to the permanent appropriations, she would like $400,000 to be added to the Operations and Maintenance in that fund.

And under WWPC Temporary Operations & Maintenance Accounts the calculations were not correct for the Repair & Maintenance (for the Electric Bill). There are other items in the Capital Outlay that are over budgeted so Mr. Farrell is asking to transfer funds from Capital Outlay to Operations & Maintenance in the amount of $225,985.00.

Mr. Stewart asked the Mayor to explain what the $400,000 will be used for.

Mayor Brinda said that it would mirror and extend those items that were presented at the Public Meeting in October and everyone received a memorandum as it relates to that.

The proposal for Issue 6 was to allocate $500,000 annually. Last year less than $100,000 was expended. We’re looking at a carry-over a total amount for 2018 would be in amount of the $500,000 plus. Probably a total of between $800,000 and $900,000, she is waiting for a final number from Mr. Pileski.

The City has contracted with Carnegie Management Development and Great Lakes Management for the purposes of Economic Development Services for the area of Midway Mall and Downtown as presented to Council previously. We also have budgeted for an Economic Development Director and will bring that matter back to Council as a referral for the salary for that position. The position has been declined by 2 qualified candidates twice because of the salary range. If we want to fill that position, that issue will have to be addressed. As a placeholder, it’s been included in that amount of money.

The City is looking into engaging in a major marketing initiative. We have a great story to tell; we are rebuilding all of our schools, library system, parks, focus on safety. We have $28 million dollars of investments downtown and a number of initiatives out at Midway Mall. We have met with Burgess who is helping with messaging and also will be contracting some major publications. Elyria will have a 4-page spread in Cleveland Magazine ‘Rating The Suburbs’ Issue in June. We will also be in Lorain County Pulse Magazine, Image Builders in Cleveland Magazine. Economic Development Software is included in that amount and we’re in the middle of a Website re-design.

Only about half of the overall budget for 2018 was requested and Council will be updated on all those initiatives as they go forward.

Mr. Stewart asked what the original $100,000 was used for. Mayor said they purchased some property evaluation software, and made an initial payment on the Website Design.

Mr. Stewart clarified that they are looking at moving $400,000 and some of that is for Carnegie Development for the area of Washington Ave and the Mall area and marketing. Mayor Brinda said yes.

She also said it’s to be used for the salary of $97,000 for an Economic Development Director. $85,000 has been budgeted for the base salary and a supplemental salary of $12,000 is on the books for a Grant Writer and if we add those 2 together, it would be a salary of $97,000 which would exceed the base salary of the Community Development Director. The minimum going rate for this position is $105,000 which exceeds lots of salaries, including the Mayor’s salary.

Mr. Madison asked for clarification; Council is being asked to take money from Issue 6 to put into the Operating and Maintenance and Economic Development?

Mr. Stewart said, Yes, that is what is being proposed.

Mr. Madison said that he recalled a firm came in and Council was able to look at some concepts and recalls conversations about the Economic Development Director Position.

He said that this is the 1st time he has heard of the Marketing Initiative. He recalled that a referral had been made by one of his collages regarding marketing. He asked if the administration has reached out to that councilman as related to his referral? Mayor Brinda answered Mr. Madison’s question, “no”.

Mr. Madison asked if there will be a conversation with that councilperson?

Mayor Brinda said that they will make a presentation to all of council, as related to the marketing campaign. She said they are just in the process of beginning to develop it and everyone will have an opportunity to weigh in on it. The council member who made the referral has not passed on any thoughts or suggestions related to that marketing referral. Marketing was one of the purposes of Issue 6 when it was presented to the community. So, it’s an appropriate use of those funds. The initial concept for the marketing was mentioned at the public meeting. Again, she said they will bring forward the campaign for council to look at to review and provide input.

Mr. Madison apologized and thought the referral was to talk about a marketing plan and some concepts and he thought that it was going to come to council to have a broad conversation. It appears that by putting it in this particular package, that we are going to find out information on the other side of things. He asked “how is that transparent”? And how is that working with council and the council member who made the referral to make sure his voice and every other voice is part of that conversation.

Mayor Brinda said that a presentation will be made to council and council’s input will be embraced.

Mr. Stewart said that what will happen, is the administration will initiate $150 – $175 thousand in a marketing plan and it will come to council, and at that time, council can weigh in on what is presented and if council wants to make recommendations at that time, they can at that time. The money has been sitting there and we need to do something, He asked the Mayor to breakdown what the money will be used for.

Mr. Baird said he thinks the appropriate way of doing this is being followed. As he recalls, Mr. Craig said, “why aren’t we doing something”? Now the Mayor has come up with some ideas and the money has been set aside for this. Council will have the final word on what it’s spent on, whether council agrees or disagrees. He feels there is quite a bit of transparency. He feels they are moving in the right direction.

Mayor Brinda reminded the committee that Mr. Craig’s referral was the revamping of the website and that action was taken on after he made that referral and it was discussed at the public meeting.

Baird moved, Madison seconded to authorize an ordinance to amend the 2018 Temporary Appropriation Ordinance.

Nay (2) Madison and Tanner

Aye (2) Stewart and Baird This matter will go to Council as a Minority Report. Law Director Serazin explained since the committee report was a 2 to 2 vote. As a result of that it can go forward to council an a minority report and would have to be passed as a higher standard but can go forward and council can consider it.

Mr. Farrell will prepare 2 exhibits, one is for the electric bill at WWPC Plant.Mrs. Siwierka wondered if this time of the year, (being early in the year) if it would be a good time to go through pending items and see what needs to be addressed. There are some older items that may need to be removed or what needs to be re-addressed. Mr. Showalter asked recently about the light bulb issue on Rt. 57. Mr. Stewart said that will go back to committee at the next meeting and that everyone else should look at pending items to see what should be discussed or removed.


Baird moved, Stewart seconded to adjourn the Committee Meeting at 7:05 P.M.

MOTION CARRIEDRespectfully Submitted by, 

Colleen Rosado, Secretary