City of Moline Committee of the Whole met Nov. 5.
Here is the minutes provided by the committee:
PRESENT: Mayor Stephanie Acri (Chair)
Alderman Scott Williams (Ward 1)
Alderman David Parker, Jr. (Ward 2)
Alderman Mike Wendt (Ward 3)
Alderman Richard “Dick” Potter (Ward 4)
Alderman Sam Moyer (Ward 5)
Alderman Kevin Schoonmaker (Ward 6)
Alderman Mike Waldron (Ward 7)
Alderman Sonia Berg (Alderman At-Large)
STAFF: J.D. Schulte, Interim City Administrator and Public Works Director
Janine Hollembaek Parr, City Clerk
Alison Fleming, Human Resources Manager
Lori Wilson, Parks Recreation Director
Greg Johnson, Parks Operations Manager
Todd Green, GIS Administrator
Bryon Lear, Library Director
Darren Gault, Chief of Police
Jeff Snyder, Fire Chief
Scott Hinton, City Engineer
Randi Haley, Utility Billing and Customer Service Manager
Jeff Anderson, City Planner
K.J. Whitley, Community Development Program Manager
Keith Verbeke, Finance Manager
Tara Osborne, Grant and Project Accountant
Rodd Schick, Municipal Services General Manager
Brian Johnson, Police Captain
Rhonda Bartz, Public Works Administrative Assistant
Dave Mallum, Fleet Manager
Steve Regenwether, Deputy Fire Chief
Arnie McCollom, WPC Operations Technician
Gary Koeller, Library Board President
Sue Blackall, Library Board
OTHERS: Derke Price, Ancel Glink
Sarah Hayden, The Dispatch
Mayor Acri called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. in the Committee-of-the-Whole Room.
Questions on the Agenda
There were no questions on the Agenda
1. An Ordinance proposing the approval of a Business District Plan for the proposed Marquis Harbor- West Business District and fixing a time and place for a Public Hearing date on the Plan and designation of the Business District. Jeff Anderson, City Planner explained that as part of the Lease Agreement for the proposed Captain’s Table restaurant to be constructed at Marquis Harbor, the City has agreed to establish a Business District pursuant to the Illinois Business District Development and Redevelopment Business District Law. As an initial step in this process, the City is obliged to adopt the Business District Plan, which describes the proposed Business District, the proposed development project objectives, project costs, and how the Business District will assist with certain eligible project costs. The ordinance will also set forth the time, place, and date of a public hearing related to the adoption of said Business District Plan. City staff wishes to set the hearing date as November 19, 2019, to move this matter forward; given that there is no City Council meeting scheduled for November 12, 2019, this item will also appear on the City Council Agenda on November 5, 2019, under “Items Not on Consent” for first reading. A motion was made by Alderman Wendt to approve. Seconded by Alderman Parker. Motion passed unanimously.
2. A Resolution authorizing approval of a proposed amendment (Substantial Amendment 1) to the City of Moline’s 2019 Annual Action Plan, approved by Council Bill/Resolution No. 1067-2019, for the purpose of program fund reallocation; and authorizing the Mayor to implement the program activity set forth in the City of Moline’s 2019 Annual Action Plan Substantial Amendment 1 upon the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) approval of said Amendment 1. K.J. Whitley, Community Development Program Manager, indicated that the City seeks to amend the 2019 Annual Action Plan (APP), approved by Council Bill/Resolution No. 1067-2019, by modifying the following activity allocations:
Community Housing Services (CHS) Program ($125,000) (ELIMINATE and REALLOCATE). CDBG funds will be used to assist income qualified homeowners with rehab projects. The proposed amendment will eliminate this activity and reallocate the remaining program funds to the 2018 Neighborhood Infrastructure Projects (NIP) activity.
2019 Neighborhood Infrastructure Projects (NIP) ($125,000) (ADDITIONAL / REALLOCATED FUNDING). CDBG funds will provide for the installation or extension of the useful life of streets, street drains, storm drains, curbs and gutters, tunnels, bridges, traffic lights/signs, landscaping, street lighting, and/or street signs that are part of more extensive street improvements; improvements to sidewalks; installation or replacement of water lines, sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and fire hydrants.
Total funds being transferred from the Community Housing Services Program to 2019 Neighborhood Infrastructure Projects (NIP) is $125,000. A proposed statement of community development objectives and projected use of funds has been advertised, and projected use of funds reflects programs recommended by Citizens Advisory Council on Urban Policy (CACUP) and are consistent with the local and national objectives of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974. City staff drafted the plan amendments and completed the required publications, two public hearings and a 30-day comment period. CACUP also met on October 23, 2019, and recommends approval of the 2019 CDBG Annual Action Plan as amended. A motion was made by Alderman Berg to approve. Seconded by Alderman Wendt. Motion passed unanimously.
2020 Budget. J.D. Schulte, Interim City Administrator & Public Works Director, and Carol Barnes, Finance Director, led the budget review and discussion. Schulte provided schedules for the two budget work sessions. Schulte stated that staff is seeking Council’s review of the proposed budget and questions/direction on Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) projects, bonding initiatives, pension obligation bonds and refinancing of the TIF #7 bond.
Barnes provided an update of the 52 funds that comprise the budget, referencing various worksheets within the proposed budget binder. Barnes presented a balanced budget, and explained that when we speak to the budget in total, we normally do not include police and fire pension funds. Barnes explained that there was only a 2% budget increase. It is a sizable, but very lean, budget that includes all existing services and personnel. The main operating funds remain very stable. Staff plans to provide budget vs. actual statements on a monthly basis.
The General Fund advances funds to the TIFs for shortfalls throughout the year. Barnes reviewed this summary, with projected sunsets, and explained that when we net the total advances from the $22M General Fund balance, we have net reserves of just over $11M. That number equates to just shy of 25% (89 days), the benchmark to strive for, so the City is in a very good financial position. As we pay back advances on the TIF, we improve our net position in the general fund. The tourism fund, used for TaxSlayer Center deficits, has dipped from $1M to a projected balance of $447,000 at the end of 2020. Mayor Acri indicated that Council intentionally brought the balance down. Barnes will review this fund and make a recommendation to Council as to the appropriate balance to maintain. Detail of the library trust fund and budget was reviewed, reflecting a greater reliance on the general fund in 2020. Alderman Waldron indicated that donations made via the Birdies for Charity program should not be used to balance the library budget. Alderman Wendt stated that this revenue would still be applied to program expenses. Library Director Bryon Lear shared that program expenses of $220,000 are included in the trust fund line item. Barnes stated that the library operates on a very tight budget. There was discussion that the library debt is not yet paid off, and that the City is supporting debt service of $571,000. In review of the Park & Recreation budget, Mayor Acri requested that the Captain’s Table expense be pulled from the Administration line item, as it skews the annual comparison. In the Budget binder, Tab 6- page 2- Administration, it was noted that the current percent change of 87% appears incorrect. Barnes stated that she will review and adjust if needed prior to the next work session. Tara Osborne, Grant and Program Accountant, explained that approximately $200,000 was budgeted for Revolving Loans, however no 2019 loans were granted from this fund. Schulte explained that City Planner Jeff Anderson is working on a business support initiative that will encourage businesses to apply for these funds. The Revolving Loan Committee will review this draft next month. TIF fund review will take place during the December work session, however Schulte reviewed TIF#1 highlights now, since that fund sunsets first, and noted that, per Council direction, the Phillips Lofts rebates had been extended through 2022. Staff will verify that the total amount of these payments does not exceed the amount allowable (cap) per the Development Agreement. Barnes explained that the TIF Bond and Rebate Summary provides a snapshot, with expiration date, of each TIF. Staff will review the Home Bond retirement and (Tab 4, page 15) the SSA #6 ending fund balance. Mayor Acri stated that the debt balance should be going down by approximately $100,000-150,000 (5th Avenue Street replacement.) There will be an in-depth discussion of the CIP at the November 19, 2019, work session. Barnes noted that $7M in taxes, including Home Rule sales tax, Gas & Electric tax, and proposed Franchise fees, will support CIP projects. Proposed bond fees of $11M, and other potential revenue sources will be reviewed. Barnes noted that Available Cash Reserves were highlighted in green within the Fund Equity Statement (Tab 4, page 1) and Alderman Wendt asked that the formatting match that of Tab 11, page 1. Staff recommends a thorough review of Enterprise funds upon appointment of a City Administrator. No fee increases are being recommended for 2020. The liability fund will be looked at a little more closely. An actuarial report recommends the appropriate liability fund balance every other year. Barnes recommends that, within the next 6-12 months, a solid fund balance policy be developed that addresses all of the funds and determines target balances. Mayor Acri noted that the resources being invested in operating the City is actually $110M. Referencing a pie chart of total expenditures within Tab 1, Barnes expanded that of the $136M budget, $26M is comprised of Transfers Out, Debt Service and Internal Service Fund. Barnes explained that the total number of tax dollars proposed is the same as in the current year, which reduced the levy rate down to $2.01. If we were to keep the levy rate the same, it would allow capture of an additional $367,000 (equalized assessed value – EAV). The increase in EAV growth is higher than the decrease in the levy rate. Estimated property tax appeals are not included, and Barnes explained that those are expected from the County this week. The budget is balanced without this. Expanded Levels in Need of Additional Funding were provided for Council consideration. Grant opportunities will continue to be identified.
Council ideas for different/additional 2020 priorities:
Pull $60,000 Library Trust reimbursement by contingency or Revolving Loan Fund
$100,000 transferred from the RLF earmarked for downtown business bridge loans/financing
Remove: $50,000 for commercial Deere 5210 lawn mower, $18,000 for boat motor, $30,000 JD Gator - staff to respond and possibly reduce by fleet budget by $100,000 at their discretion.
$60,000 façade improvement addition, $30,000 for tree plantings,
$30,000 from storm water reserves for tree bank initiative seed funds – mandated replacement of trees removed. This would apply to developers who remove trees. They would pay $ per tree into the fund for reforestation elsewhere in the City.
Target a 1% reduction in the property tax rate, capturing an additional $205,000 of the EAV.
$100,000 for road diet and resulting traffic cameras needed.
$30,000 for school district/City joint branding marketing effort funded from the contingency
Defund $200,000 from comp plan and fund $150,000 in form based code
$25,000 for each Police Training (crime-free housing)
$25,000 for Fire Equipment Replacement
Remove $25,000 for downtown WiFi (Check to see if MediaCom is already working on this)
$5,000 for DNA testing of cold cases
$109,205 for Budget Manager – funded, at least in part, via consolidated billing/accounting services and from contingency
There are county funds available for some initiatives
A tiered franchise fee is proposed to fund the $11 million, 6-mile road improvement initiative over 4 years (annual debt service = $3,250,000). Utility companies would be charged the fee for use of the public right-of-way. There was discussion. Staff will add a.5% utility growth factor. A 5% franchise fee (gas & electric) would generate $2,715,000 annually, with each 1% generating $543,000. Other incremental tax increases were discussed, as well as reallocation of $1.5M in debt service dropping off in 2023 and additional tax revenue of approximately $550,000 generated after expiration of TIF #1. Any combination of franchise fees, tax and debt service drop-off could generate the funds needed for the initiative. The franchise fee renegotiated now will remain unchanged for 25 years. Corporation Counsel will investigate ways to keep the door open, perhaps building in renegotiation periods or fee escalation at intervals during the term of the agreement. Staff is recommending TIF #7 bonds be refinanced to defer principal payments for three years, with a resulting savings of $371,000. There was discussion. Alderman Schoonmaker moved to direct staff to pursue refinancing as discussed (Tab 11, page 8 - Scenario 2). Seconded by Alderman Potter. There was discussion. Alderman Schoonmaker suggested forming a new RFQ policy, for bond issuance companies, sometime in the future. Motion passed unanimously.
Barnes reviewed the potential impact of issuing taxable general obligation pension bonds, which could result in an annual savings of $2.6 million over the 20-year term. This does not come without risk, but the potential savings deems in worth consideration. There is talk at the state level of pooling all assets, thus increasing the return on investment, and minimizing risk. Barnes recommends forming a police and fire pension team to drill down into this bonding option and decide if it should be pursued. Alderman Schoonmaker stated that bond rates are projected to run up for 10-12 years and then decline. The accrued liability is slowing down while the catch-up payments are speeding up. Alderman Schoonmaker suggested engaging outside resources to investigate options. Price explained that there is an actuarial adjustment in favor of cost reduction. Price will suggest ways to affect future policy. Moody’s opinion and information from other municipalities doing this will be useful. Staff will pursue this and bring back information.
Staff will work from Council’s direction this evening, and asked that additional questions be provided by Thursday of this week.
The meeting adjourned at 9:44 p.m.