May 31, 2016 Work Session

Minutes of the Centerville City Council work session held Tuesday, May 31, 2016 at 5:42 p.m. in the Centerville City Council Chambers, 250 North Main Street, Centerville, Utah.


Mayor                           Paul A. Cutler

Council Members        Tamilyn Fillmore
William Ince
Stephanie Ivie
George McEwan
Robyn Mecham

STAFF PRESENT        Steve Thacker, City Manager
Lisa Romney, City Attorney (left at 5:55 p.m.)
Jacob Smith, Assistant to the City Manager
Lt. Von Steenblik, Centerville Police Department
Mackenzie Wood, Intern
Katie Rust, Recording Secretary

STAFF ABSENT        Blaine Lutz, Finance Director/Assistant City Manager


City Manager Thacker introduced Mackenzie Wood, an Intern with the City focusing on a City-wide tree and sidewalk survey.

Prosecutors Contract – Mr. Thacker explained the proposed increase to the hourly rate paid to prosecuting attorneys contracted by the City – from $75 hourly to $90 hourly in FY 2017, with an additional $5 per hour increase in each of the following two years.  The Council expressed appreciation for the prosecutors, and indicated support for the proposed increase.  The prosecutors had requested an increase from $75 per hour to $100 per hour, but agreed to the City Manager’s counter-proposal.

Budgeting and Accounting for New Revenues – The Council appeared to agree with the suggestion to deposit new revenues from last year’s drainage fee increase in the Storm Drain Capital Improvement Fund, and deposit revenues from the gasoline tax and Transportation Sales Tax in a new Transportation Projects Fund.  Mr. Thacker explained that an amount from the General Fund will also be transferred annually to the new Transportation Projects Fund.  Mr. Thacker also suggested creating a separate stand-alone fund for RAP Tax revenues to clearly account for collection and use of the funds.  The Council agreed to meet with the Parks Director in August to review cost estimates for completing the expansion of Community Park and repairing existing parks infrastructure.

Revenue Estimates – The Council reviewed FY 2017 revenue estimates prepared by staff for property tax, sales tax, and franchise fees.  Responding to a question from Councilman Ince, Mr. Thacker explained the Truth in Taxation process for property taxes.

Salary Administration Guidelines – Mr. Thacker presented benchmark analyses used by staff to help determine the market adjustment for employee pay ranges.  He recommended a 1% market adjustment to pay ranges in FY 2017.  Councilman McEwan asked if the City has an employee retention problem, and Mr. Thacker responded that the City does not have a retention problem for the most part.  However, the Police Department is experiencing pressure from other cities actively recruiting experienced officers.  Chief Child has reported that the pool of new qualified candidates has dramatically diminished in recent years.  Mr. Thacker expressed the opinion that targeted pay increases in the Police Department are needed at this time for retention.  The increases could be funded by a portion of the 3.5% allocated in the Tentative Budget for salary increases, as well as the savings from selecting a less expensive health insurance plan.  Mr. Thacker requested time to discuss with the Chief what should be done and report back to the Council.  At a minimum, he suggested the Council approve the compensation funding included in the Tentative Budget.

New Police Officer – Councilwoman Ivie said she feels the City is more vulnerable to losing police officers than losing any other position.  Councilman McEwan asked what the net impact would be if the Police Department were to lose one officer.  Lt. Steenblik explained the redistribution of duties necessary and the significant replacement time involved in losing and hiring an officer.  Councilwoman Mecham pointed out the increasing difficulty in finding quality replacements.  Councilman McEwan asked if the Department is understaffed right now, and Lt. Steenblik responded he would love to have two new officers right now.  The Police Department is shorthanded if an officer is sick or on vacation, and the officers are feeling increasingly stretched with the bigger cases the Department has been experiencing.

Lt. Steenblik explained the request for a new non-sworn employee, to be in charge of the day-to-day operation of the evidence room, emergency management, assist officers in putting together cases for prosecution, and oversee crossing guards.  The State would partially compensate the Department for the emergency management duties.  He said they would possibly be looking for an experienced, retired police officer.  Mr. Thacker agreed that staff should confirm regulations related to retirement benefits for returning retirees.  Councilman McEwan suggested the position could be “time limited and non-benefited”, with a higher hourly wage to compensate for the lack of benefits.  The position is included in the FY 2017 Tentative Budget.  Councilwoman Ivie said she thinks the new position is a great idea, but expressed concern regarding overtime in the Department.  Lt. Steenblik responded that plenty of overtime opportunities are available.  Councilwoman Fillmore requested a report from Chief Child regarding the relationship between the Police Department workload and the volume of citations processed through the Justice Court.

Councilman McEwan asked if the City could consider an open recruitment arrangement for the Police Department.  Lt. Steenblik stated that the bigger agencies actively keep open recruitment, but there are no candidates to fill the positions.  The Chief is keeping his eyes open for someone to fill a position that will open in the Department in spring when an officer retires.  Councilwoman Fillmore said she likes the idea of opening the position early.  The Council appeared to support having staff look into filling the non-sworn position by contract.

The Council took a break at 7:34 p.m., returning at 7:49 p.m.

Recommendations Regarding IT Specialist and GIS Specialist – Mr. Thacker explained the recommendation to update the job descriptions of the IT Specialist position (IT Lead/Police Records) and the GIS Specialist position (GIS Coordinator/IT Support).  Staff has scored the positions using the point factoring system used for internal equity, and recommend upgrading the first position from a Grade 13 to a Grade 16, and the second position from Grade 13 to Grade 15.  Mr. Thacker recommended the Council amend the Pay Grades for the two positions when they adopt the ordinance pertaining to the Compensation Plan.  It is also recommended the Council approve a $3,000 adjustment to the IT Specialist current salary to bring it closer to market comparisons.  Mayor Cutler stated that even with the proposed upgrades, he feels the City is under spending on IT support and systems.

Museum Director Position – Museum Director position needs to be assigned a pay range.  Mr. Thacker stated that staff is not yet ready to make a recommendation.

New Water Department Position Request – Mr. Thacker explained that Randy Randall, Public Works Director, has the most extensive, in-depth knowledge of the City water system and its workings.  He said Mr. Randall has encouraged employees to acquire that knowledge and skill but with limited success.  As Mr. Randall approaches retirement, he has requested the City hire an individual with electrician experience and knowledge to shadow him and learn the operation of the water system – especially the telemetry – to retain the institutional knowledge within staff when he retires.  Mr. Thacker said he is not convinced the Public Works Department needs an additional staff member long-term, and expressed a desire to reevaluate department staffing to maintain the overall work force size after the initial training is completed, in conjunction with the expected retirement of another employee in 2017.  Mr. Randall has been working on documentation of the water system.  The Council discussed whether the Public Works Department needs a full-time electrician on staff, but acknowledged this may be helpful in understanding and learning the City’s organically grown system.  Councilman McEwan commented that documentation before Mr. Randall retires should be a priority.

Mayor Cutler stated he would like to see more sharing of responsibilities between the Parks Department and the Public Works Department.  Councilwoman Fillmore agreed that department integration should be priority.  She mentioned that department cooperation might help solve the Parks Department difficulty of being short-handed every spring.

“Line-of-Duty Death Benefits” For Police Officers and Firefighters – The Council will need to make a decision by next June and notify the State if the City is going to participate in a State “insurance” pool for Line-of-Duty Death Benefits for police officers.  Mr. Thacker explained how the arrangement would work.  The cost to participate in the State pool would be an estimated $2,300 per year.  The Council discussed the cost versus the benefit of participation.  Reading the documents provided, Councilman McEwan pointed out that payment is due by June 30, 2017 for the coverage period beginning July 2017.  Councilwoman Fillmore said she would lean toward including the amount in the FY 2017 Budget.  Councilman McEwan agreed.

Contingency Amount – Mr. Thacker explained that the Council Contingency Budget in the FY 2017 Tentative Budget is $42,184.  He informed the Council of factors that might affect that amount.

Questions from the Council – Mr. Thacker answered questions from the Council regarding the Tentative Budget.

•    Councilwoman Ivie asked about budgeting for garbage can replacement, and Mr. Thacker explained how the amount is estimated.  The black garbage cans cost approximately $80 each.
•    Mr. Thacker briefly explained the City’s payment arrangement with URMMA for insurance services.
•    The $5,000 allocated by the Council in the FY 2016 Budget for deer mitigation was not used and will be reappropriated.  Trapping and shooting can begin again in August, but the DWR has expressed the opinion that deer will most likely not enter the traps until October.
•    Councilwoman Fillmore requested a realistic approximation of revenues and costs generated by the Justice Court.
•    Councilman McEwan suggested it would be useful and educational for the Youth Council to present a report of their budget on a quarterly basis.  Councilwoman Fillmore responded she likes the training inherent in the idea, and suggested the quarterly budget presentation could be internal.  She repeated her suggestion that individual Council members occasionally visit Youth Council meetings to offer training.  Mr. Thacker agreed to talk to the Youth Council Advisor.  Mayor Cutler suggested the Council discuss budgets with the new Youth Council when they meet for a work session together in September.
•    Chief Child has requested an additional crossing guard to work only the morning shift at the Parrish Lane/Main Street intersection to improve student safety in the Centerville Elementary school zone.  Speaking from experience, Councilwoman Mecham emphasized the need for trained crossing guards in the school zones.  The Council indicated support for the new position. Councilman Ince suggested the City look into purchasing remote switches for the flashing school zone signs for crossing guards.  Councilwoman Mecham agreed with the suggestion.
•    Referring to the earlier discussion of Line-of-Duty death benefits for police officers, Councilman Ince suggested the City consider investing in a life insurance policy for the Police Department rather than participate in the State pool.  He agreed to provide Mr. Thacker with more information.
•    Councilman Ince stated that in the past he has felt the City pays employees too much.  However, after six months on the Council, he said he no longer thinks that is the case.  He said he is inclined to support Mr. Thacker’s proposal regarding employee pay raises.  Councilman McEwan stated that zero turn-over in an organization raises red flags, either for good or for bad.  He said that, from his perspective, annual raises are not expected in the private sector and other areas of the public sector.  Councilman McEwan commented that organizationally turnover is not a bad thing.  Councilwoman Fillmore commented that if the Council is comfortable with turnover, the positions will need to be more competitive in the marketplace.  The Council discussed how to handle potential turnover of key management positions in the next several years.  Councilman McEwan said he is mostly supportive of the pay raise matrix used by Mr. Thacker, with the exception of giving an increase for the “needs improvement” category.  Mr. Thacker responded that reducing the “needs improvement” category to zero increase would make it less likely that a manager will put someone in that category and send the necessary message.  Councilman McEwan suggested eliminating the “needs improvement” category and expanding the range for the “meets or exceeds expectations” category, with the implication that the lower end of the range indicates improvement is needed.  Mayor Cutler said he likes the current structure of the matrix, and he sees value in the “needs improvement” category, but he is in favor of expanding the range for the “meets expectation” category.  Councilman Ince said in his opinion the “needs improvement” increase should be less than market adjustment.


Mayor Cutler adjourned the work session at 10:07 p.m.  A public hearing for the FY 2017 Budget will be held on June 7th.
____________________________        ___06-21-2016________
Marsha L. Morrow, City Recorder             Date Approved

Katie Rust, Recording Secretary