TO THE HONORABLE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF ELYRIA, OHIO:
The FINANCE COMMITTEE held a meeting on MONDAY, JANUARY 27, 2020
which began at 7:15 P.M.
FINANCE PRESENT: Committee Chair Stewart, Madison, Tollett, Baird, Davis, Jessie
OTHERS PRESENT: Law Director Deery, Mayor Whitfield, Safety Service Dir Brubaker, Assistant Finance Director Farrell, Water Plant Superintendent Jacob, Fire Chief Mack, Building Official Farkas, CD Manager Almobayyed, Cemetery Div Superintendent Given, Councilperson Keys, Councilperson Oswald
1. Approval of the JANUARY 13th, 2020 Finance Meeting Minutes
Ms. Davis moved and Mr. Baird second to approve the ‘said’ meeting minutes.
2. The matter of purchase and/or lease of replacement Fire Department Vehicles. (Pending Item) Referred By: Fire Chief Mack
Chief Mack said that the department is in need of a replacement apparatus. One of the engines had severe damage and is currently out of commission. The Chief got numbers and information to be able to move forward with this request. They are looking at a 7 year lease at a total cost of $550,000 and it would take one year to have it built.
Chief Mack provided a breakdown of payments for this lease.
Mr. Baird said that he’s in favor of replacing the vehicles as needed. The question is in regards to the funding of the vehicle.
Finance Dir Farrell asked Chief Mack if there is an initial payment? Chief said that the company they are working with has delayed the first payment until 2021 because they haven’t entered into a contract yet. Mr. Farrell said it would be 7 payments of $88,622 which covers the loan and the interest. Mr. Pileski reviewed these numbers with Chief Mack and he is comfortable with the dollars. They are not questioning the need. Mr. Farrell passes out a sheet that lists all the items that are currently being leased through Issue 6 monies.
He said that the concern is that we have Issue 6 monies the rest of this year and then half of next year. Everything after 2021, worst case, if we don’t have Issue 6 monies then there would be $929,535 in payments that would be due after the expiration of the Issue 6 money. So those payments would come out of the General Fund. That is the concern. There is some residual money in the fund, depending on what they do with that budget this year next will determine what is left over, in the event if it goes away on June 30th, 2021.
Mr. Jessie asked the Chief to drum-up walkers when they do the campaign for the renewal of the Issue 6 Funds. He said that we are confident that the renewal will pass but it’s good to have the numbers that show what still needs to be paid out of other funds. And it also shows what has benefitted from the Issue 6 monies.
Mr. Tollett asked something that couldn’t be heard because he didn’t have his microphone on.
It was a statement that beginning in 2024 there will only be 2 lease payments as opposed to 2020 thru 2023 where there are 4 and 5 payments each year.
Mr. Baird agreed but stated that the needs are always there and never go away. He said he has confidence in what the Chief says and it’s accurate, the need is there.
Mr. Madison agrees that the need is evident. He asked if there may be any immediate needs that will be coming to Council in the next year or so? And with Bendix on the horizon of leaving how will that impact?
Chief Mack said that a lot of the Issue 6 monies was used for the small vehicle fleet; chief, prevention, daily command vehicles. So they are good on small vehicles. Unfortunately the national standard for front line service vehicles is 10 years and we average about 7 years before it gets moved to reserve status. They will probably be looking at a replacement arial and another engine within next years. Former Director Siwierka mentioned creating apparatus plan to get everything into a rotation. Because recently purchases have been made on an as needed basis. The price for an engine truck will be going up about $10,000 each year.
Mayor Whitfield said that he has a meeting set up with Bendix on February 7th. He says that he feels we need to be more conservative with major purchases because of the uncertainty of Bendix and the uncertainty of Issue 6. His recommendation is to hold off with these pieces and to be conservative with our finances.
Mr. Baird agrees with the Mayor, but some of these major things like the fire truck will take a year to get it once it’s ordered. So, we really can’t wait too long.
Mr. Stewart said there will be around a $10,000 increase for each year.
Mrs. Davis asked for clarification on the lease of the fire truck. And she asked about the present truck… Chief Mach said that they have the 2015 and the 2016 are both leases, which are both leases. The 2015 is a 10 year lease and 2016 is a 7 year lease. Chief Mack recommends a 7 year lease because that’s about how long it can be in front line service. Mrs. Davis asked if there is something that we ‘trade-in’? Chief said that we currently have Engine 6 which is a 2006 model and is currently decommissioned. It didn’t hold up as well as it should have. It may go up on Govdeals.com at some point. In order for the Department to be able to provide service to more than one emergency at a time, it’s recommended we have a reserve apparatus. Currently we only have one which goes into rotation for repairs and when there is repairs needed, we don’t have a reserve. So essentially they would be putting one vehicle on Govdeals.com, bringing a new one in and moving the 2006 truck to a ‘reserve’ status.
Mr. Baird mentioned that Fire Prevention is getting better all the time. Structural fires have less and in part by building codes, smoke alarms. But, we still have to be prepared.
Mr. Brubaker said when we think of a lease, the normal is to turn a vehicle in after the amount of time of the lease. Chief Mack said that essentially that it’s a lease purchase, we continue to have it in the fleet, it’s just taking the 7 years to pay it off, instead of putting the money up front at the beginning. Mr. Stewart said that Finance Directors Pileski and Farrell will look at that to make sure it’s the best interest.
Mayor Whitfield said that his ultimate message is that we need to have all feet to the pavement around Issue 6 before we make any major moves on major expenses like this. Motion made by Mr. Baird and second by Mr. Tollett to authorize an ordinance to enter into a lease/purchase agreement for the Fire Dept. Truck.
MOTION CARRIED COMMITTEE REPORT WRITTEN
3.The matter of utilizing a ‘Compliance Engine’ to assist with Fire Department
REFERRED BY: Fire Chief Mack
Chief Mack said this is a web based service program that works through Fire Prevention. They work with the contractors on the fire suppression systems, alarm systems, exist signs, etc., anything that is life safety system. The Fire Prevention is responsible for those things and responsible for the record keeping of those things. They would pass off the record keeping to a third party and they will ensure compliance. The Fire Dept. is responsible for the follow-up. But on the front end it would be efficient because they would be doing all the front end work, collecting paperwork, organizing it and then they would notify the Department with anyone that was out of compliance and the Department would follow up. The agreement is no cost. The benefit allows the department to have better record keeping of what systems are in compliance and what are not. There is no cost to the city, but they do charge a fee to the alarm and fire protection system companies. It’s not an uncommon practice.
The contract will be for 3 years with automatic renewal. And if the City chooses it can add a revenue sharing program that can be added to the fees.
Mr. Stewart asked if there are other cities that use this. Chief Mack said there are a lot of cities that use this, but most are larger cities. He said the in Ohio, the city of Boardman uses the company and are satisfied with it. The fee per system is $15.
Mr. Tollett said some audit companies mandate this sort of service. For a fee of $15, the level of security, it’s definitely worth it. The fee not only saves the City money, but it saves the business time and efficiency of having the department having to come back multiple times to verify.
Motion made by Mr. Tollett and second by Mr. Madison to authorize an ordinance to enter into an agreement for record keeping for Fire Prevention Activities.
MOTION CARRIED COMMITTEE REPORT WRITTEN
4. The matter of updating Guidelines for Indigent Headstones for Cemetery Division.
REFERRED BY: Cemetery Superintendent Given
Cemetery Superintendent Given said that at the present time that when there is an indigent burial the Department picks up all the costs, the land (plot), the opening and closing to the family and also assist the funeral homes with their costs involved. What he is proposing is, if the family wants a headstone that the family would be charged a fee of $350. That way the City is recouping some funds. The City of Lorain does it this way. There are more and more indigents. In January, through the 19th, the cemetery had 4 indigent burials.
Mr. Tollett said that if they have enough money to pay for a headstone then they have enough money to assist with the burial.
Motion made by Mr. Baird and second by Mr. Madison to authorize an ordinance to amend the guidelines and fees for indigent headstones for the Cemetery Division
MOTION CARRIED COMMITTEE REPORT WRITTEN
Mr. Given wanted to bring up that the Association of Funeral Homes may be able to reimburse some of the City’s indigent burials through the Ohio Admin Code that is being updated.
5. The matter of Amendments to the Temporary Appropriations for the year 2020.
REFERRED BY: Finance Directors Pileski and Farrell
There were none for this evening.
Mr. Baird moved, Mrs. Davis second to adjourn the Finance Meeting at 7:48 P.M. MOTION CARRIED
Respectfully submitted by, Colleen Rosado