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2012-06-19 City Council Meeting

PRATTVILLE CITY COUNCIL
CITY COUNCIL MINUTES
TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012
6:05 P.M.

The Prattville City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, June 19, 2012, at 6:05 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. After the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag, Council President Renegar gave the invocation. Roll was called and all were present.

THE CHARACTER TRAIT OF THE MONTH IS HONOR: Respecting others because of the higher authorities they represent.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: City Council Meeting and Public Hearing June 5, 2012.

Council President Pro Tempore Fank made a motion to approve the minutes and Councilor Brown seconded the motion. The minutes were approved (7-0).

Council President Renegar granted a Point of Personal Privilege to State Representative Paul Beckman.

Representative Beckman stated that he and Senator Taylor have set a good precedent to come before the body to give a report.

The theme of the Republican Party is "jobs, jobs, jobs." Taxes will not have to be raised if the public sector becomes the engine creating economic growth. Last year unemployment was at 9.2%, this year it has been as low as 7.2%, and this month it is at 7.4%

Legislation was passed addressing texting while driving and copper theft. The Immigration Act was passed; the correlation is that unemployment is now at 7.4%. The DROP Program was cut. 1,200 to 1,500 teachers have been cut through attrition and layoffs. State employees are now paying 2.5% more in retirement costs. Incentives in the form of tax credits to Walter Energy in Walker County, Hyundai, and a drug manufacturing company in Opelika have generated additional jobs.

Voters will go to the polls on September 18, 2012 to vote on a State Constitution Amendment to allow borrowing $145 million from Alabama Trust Fund to balance the General Fund budget. If the amendment is not passed, the state will go into immediate proration at 12% across the board. This could result in prisoners being released and funding cuts to nursing homes, public health and public safety.

Representative Beckman addressed reapportionment. Autauga County has 53,000 residents, Prattville has 34,000 residents, and Elmore County has 79-80,000 residents. Millbrook, Prattville and the surrounding area have 45,000 residents. At this time, the city limits of Prattville, excluding the Indian Hills area, and 90% of Millbrook will remain in District 88. District 88 includes two of the fastest growing areas in the state; this will mean economic development and growth.

Council President Renegar asked for comments or questions from council members. Councilor Boles stated that he voted against the texting while driving ban because he felt it needed to be a state-wide law. He added that it is difficult to vote to cut the budget; he has voted twice to cut the budget. Regarding reapportionment, Councilor Boles stated it has been a hard fight to keep the City of Prattville whole within one district.

Councilor Wood asked Representative Beckman if the Legislature and Governor Bentley have put in place a "Plan B" if the amendment to borrow $145 million from the Alabama Trust Funds fails to be approved by voters. Representative Beckman responded there is no "Plan B." If the voters are not receptive, the state will have 12% proration.

Councilor Wood noted that the state budget was passed contingent upon this amendment being approved to borrow from the Alabama Trust Fund. At this point, the budget is not balanced.

Council President Renegar recognized Linda Beckman in the audience.

COMMENTS FROM PERSONS PRESENT REGARDING TONIGHT'S AGENDA:

Lonnie Brand, 258 Teri Lane, Prattville, asked if the hiring of three additional police officers in Item #1 is a change in the work force. Council President Renegar replied that staffing is below the acceptable level and due to the hiring freeze the Council must approve hiring additional officers. The hiring of three officers will fill vacancies created by retirements and resignations.

Mr. Brand asked if the exchange server in Item #2 will be an additional server in the budget. Finance Director Doug Moseley responded that the current exchange server, which handles all email accounts, is dying. This purchase is budget neutral expense; funding will be moved from budget line item to another budget line item.

MAYOR'S REPORT:

Mayor Gillespie requested a Point Personal of Privilege. On behalf of the City, Mayor Gillespie presented a Commendation to Petty Officer 2nd Class Markie Moon for the sacrifices she has made to serve our country.

Mayor Gillespie announced that Kellie Cook is coordinating plans for July 4th. The Korean veterans will be honored in this year's parade. The swimming pool will be open following the cardboard boat races. The festivities will include a slip and slide, a gerbil ball and a zip-line.

On Thursday, June 21, 2012, the PDU will sponsor "Magic on Main" from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Mayor Gillespie reported that he has spoken with representatives from Wilson and Associates regarding the High Pointe Center. The area had not been marketed well in the past and there are indications that businesses are interested in locating in the center. Mayor Gillespie will have more information to report in the near future.

Coca Cola is sponsoring the "America is Your Park Campaign" in which the winning park will receive a $100,000 grant. The Mayor expressed his appreciation to department heads for searching out grant opportunities. If the City of Prattville wins, the grant funds will be used to build a splash pad at Pratt Park. On June 10, Pratt Park was in 5,324th place. Pratt Park is currently in 4th place. Citizens were urged to visit the city's website for information on how to vote for Pratt Park.

On June 28, a night-time pool party is planned as a fund-raising activity for Pratt Pool. Electronic devices will be available for citizens to vote to support Pratt Park. Mayor Gillespie added he is impressed with how the community has come together to support this grant opportunity.

Mayor Gillespie asked Leisure Services to submit a resolution at the next council meeting to allow an overnight campout at the canoe trail park. A tourism group plans to go down the canoe trail and wants to camp out overnight. There is an ordinance in place that does not allow overnight camping in city parks.

The Mayor asked that the Council move forward with Items # 1 and 2. Item #2 will allow the City to purchase a critical piece of equipment.

Council President Pro Tempore Fank asked if a Facebook account was required to vote for Pratt Park. Mayor Gillespie responded that citizens could vote from the home page of the City's website.

Councilor Boles expressed appreciation to Teresa Lee for her work with votes for Pratt Park. Councilor Boles asked that every one vote for Pratt Park at the 4th of July event.

REPORT FROM COUNCIL ON SPECIAL COMMITTEES:

Councilor Brown reported that the Street Committee met to discuss the importance of making the Prattville roadways safer for bicyclists, along with budget and staffing needs for the upcoming year.

REPORT ON STATUS OF CITY FINANCES:

Interim Finance Director Doug Moseley presented the Council with a Revenue & Expense Report through the month of May 2012, as attached. The Revenue Report shows revenue running in-line. Lodging tax is still down, but it is up from last May. If the 1-percent sales tax increase is pulled out, sales tax is up 0.79% from last year; this is basically flat for the year. With developments throughout city, the city should see a bump.

The Tax Breakdown Comparison compares the major tax accounts to last year. If the 1-percent sales tax increase is removed, the amounts up or down are dollar for dollar.

The May Unaudited Expenses by Department reports shows that most departments are at or below budget for the year. This is a positive sign that departments have cut expenses. Year-to-date, the city has spent $1.3 million less on salaries and benefits than last year. For 2012, personnel costs are down 9.9% from 2010.

The Wastewater and Sanitation Enterprise Funds are both continuing to run in the black. Year-to-date, the Wastewater Department is net up $376,690. A monthly transfer to Wastewater Reserve has been established to assist the staff to better manage their funds. This reserve will be used to pay the State Revolving Fund debt service. Year-to-date, the Sanitation Department is running in the black by $125,802. Both departments are over-budget on revenue and under-budget on expenses.

The Accounts Payable Aging Reports shows that at June 11, 2011, the City owed the Group Health Account $1.683 million and owed vendors $1.323 million. As of June 19, 2012, the city owes the Group Health Account $335,000 and owes vendors $30,108. This is a drastic turnaround.

Department heads have submitted budget requests for FY2013 and those requests have been compiled into one document. The Mayor and Finance Director are reviewing those requests; there will have to be a few cuts made to the budget requests. This budget calls for the sales tax to sunset as anticipated. The sunset will more drastically affect next year's budget. If the tax sunsets, it will require that an additional $4 million be cut from the budget.

Councilor Wood asked if Mr. Moseley was referring to the tax reducing from 1-percent to ½-percent. Mr. Moseley responded he was referring to the tax reduction and eventually the sales tax increase will fall off. The sunset of the sales tax increase will require a $2 million cut from the FY2013 budget and a $4 million cut from the FY2014 budget.

AGENDA

1. RESOLUTION: To Authorize the Hiring of Three (3) Police Officers for the Prattville Police Department at an Annual Cost not to Exceed $150,794.00. (Sponsored By: Councilor Wood) RESOLUTION BOOK 2012, PAGE 068

Councilor Wood made a motion to adopt the Resolution and Councilor Boles seconded the motion. Councilor Boles asked Police Chief Tim Huggins if this Resolution was connected to any grant monies. Chief Huggins responded no, these personnel are budgeted. Chief Huggins informed the Council that since this Resolution was drafted, the department has had a resignation, a retirement, and another possible retirement. Council President Pro Tempore Fank clarified that Chief Huggins will come back to the council for approval to hire additional officers. Chief Huggins replied yes. Council President Pro Tempore Fank recused himself from voting on this Resolution. There being no further discussion, the Resolution was adopted with the following results:

AYES: STRIPLIN, WOOD, BROWN, MILLER, RENEGAR, BOLES
6
NAYS: NONE 0
ABSTAINED: FANK 1
ABSENT: NONE

2. RESOLUTION: To Amend the FY2012 Budget and to Authorize the Release of Funds in an Amount not to Exceed $8,365.00 for One (1) Exchange Server for the City of Prattville Information Technology Department. (Sponsored By: Council President Renegar) RESOLUTION BOOK 2012, PAGE 069

Councilor Striplin made a motion to adopt the Resolution and Council President Pro Tempore Fank seconded the motion. By point of order, it is necessary for the council rule to be suspended if immediate action is to be considered. Council Striplin made a motion to suspend the rules and Council President Pro Tempore Fank seconded the motion. The rules were suspended (7-0). There being no discussion, the Resolution was adopted with the following results:

AYES: STRIPLIN, WOOD, BROWN, MILLER, RENEGAR, BOLES, FANK 7
NAYS: NONE 0
ABSTAINED: NONE 0
ABSENT: NONE

3. RESOLUTION: To Affix the Cost of Demolition of the Dangerous and Unsafe Structure at 242 Tenth Street. (Sponsored By: Councilor Wood) RESOLUTION BOOK 2012, PAGE 070

Councilor Brown made a motion to adopt the Resolution and Councilor Wood seconded the motion. Councilor Wood made a motion to amend the Resolution to read "242 Tenth Street" everywhere it currently reads "110 Seventh Street" and Councilor Striplin seconded the motion. The Resolution was amended (7-0). Councilor Miller asked what is done with the debris from the demolished structure. City Planner Joel Duke responded that the contractor demolishing the structure is required to take the debris to a licensed disposal. If it goes to the City's landfill, the contractor will pay the tipping fees. There being no further discussion, the Resolution was adopted with the following results:

AYES: STRIPLIN, WOOD, BROWN, MILLER, RENEGAR, BOLES, FANK 7
NAYS: NONE 0
ABSTAINED: NONE 0
ABSENT: NONE

COMMENTS FROM PERSONS PRESENT:

Lonnie Brand, 258 Teri Lane, Prattville, was pleased to see that Councilor Brown's portrait had been added to her fellow councilors' portraits in City Hall.

CLOSING COMMENTS:

Mayor Gillespie stated that the City of Prattville department heads continue to impress him.

Councilor Striplin commended all departments for working as a team, especially the departments that pulled together to help the Sanitation Department when they were having problems with their equipment.

Councilor Wood saluted all departments for their work and asked that the Leisure Services Department make sure all of the parks around Prattville are in good shape for the 4th of July.

Councilor Boles urged everyone to vote for Pratt Park.

ADJOURN:

There being no further business to come before the council, Council President Pro Tempore Fank made a motion to adjourn and Councilor Brown seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned (7-0) at 7:14 p.m.

APPROVED:



___________________________
Cathy Dickerson
City Clerk


___________________________
Michael E. Renegar, President
Prattville City Council

 
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