The trustees discussed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012-2013 budget. James Wilson, City Financial Consultant, explained the strengths of the so-called 10-15 budget. That’s a ten percent cut in personnel services and a 15 percent increase in utilities. The trustees voiced many concerns regarding the rate increases. City Attorney Catherine Coke said that passing the budget doesn’t increase the rates. That’s done by ordinance. Scot Simco said he wanted to see the actual rates before he voted on the budget. Chad Osborne said each item is referred to as a “couple of bucks”, but to the end user, it sounds like a lot.
Wilson explained the the City is “going broke”. Rick Henry said he took offense at that. “We’ve been broke. We’re coming back from it.”Jack Smiley said the council tried to say these things over and over, but they were ignored. He said that two years ago the residential rate for electricity was deemed okay, but the commercial was too cheap. We need to look at our costs. Wilson said with all utilities Altus is spending more than it’s taking in. Maybe it’s not the electricity that specifically needs to go up. Maybe it’s others, but we need to keep generating money, Wilson said. Until we get information from the Prime Group (consultant doing rate study), we need to reduce the spending by $1.6 million.
Smiley suggested a 10-10 budget for now with the idea that it can be changed. Wilson explained the 10-10 plan is not sustainable. It’s not good in the long term. Most agreed it’s not sustainable.
Rick Henry compared the budget situation to a money allowance for a teen-aged daughter. If you just give and give, she will always have more needs and wants. Rick Steen said they’ve got to be able to say “No.” He feels they’ve made some positive changes in the last year and increased financial stability. “We didn’t get into this overnight,” Steen said. “We won’t get out of it overnight either.” Resolution No. 2012-11 was approved by adopting the combined budgets of the City of Altus for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013 including but not limited to the Enterprise Fund. But, the plan approved was not the 10-15 plan that Wilson suggested. The 10-10 plan passed by a four to three vote, with the dissenting votes coming from Steen, B.F. Rowland, and Simco.
The trustees approved Resolution No. 2012-12 authorizing and renewing an Agreement for Economic Development Services between the Altus Municipal Authority and the Altus/Southwest Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for FY 2012-2013 in the amount of $200,000.
Catherine Coke had been asked for a legal opinion from the Authority Counsel/City Attorney regarding the legally proper expenditures of surplus sales tax revenues from the AMA Series 2003 Interim Construction Drinking Water SRF Promissory Note to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board ($10,615,000.00) and the refinanced AMA Series 2005 Drinking Water SRF Promissory Note to the Oklahoma Water Resources Board ($4,033,700.00); and vote to approve a motion making the following determinations: a) That 2 out of the 3 purposes for which the renewal sales tax (Ord. 99-15, Section 27-70.2 et.seq. Altus Code 1980, from 2002-2009) was created have been accomplished; and b) That the remaining purpose, 10% significant job creation projects, has been placed in a Special Revenue Fund for future accomplishment; and c) That the indebtedness was paid off in Sept, 2000 and a surplus exists in the amount of over $4,000,000.00; and d) That by the authority of Attorney General Opinion #84-123 that the surplus (exempting the 10% portion placed in a Special Revenue Fund for economic development significant job creation project purposes according to the voter approved sales tax proceeds Ordinance No. 99-15) be transferred to the City’s General Fund by budget amendments prepared by staff.
Coke said that the money had been paid back. They could do a budget amendment later to put the money back into the water treatment plant funds.
Chief of Operations, Bob Stephenson brought three water-related items before the trustees. Each was approved. One authorized negotiation of an agreement with SBC Consulting Engineers of Altus for design of a project to rebuild/repair the eight multi-media filters to include an alternate for the potential inclusion of an “air scouring”system. Another to authorize staff to seek bids for construction of a water line to provide improved service and fire protection for Magnolia Holdings mobile home development and another authorizing new water service and installation of a meter requested by Janice Winters and located outside the City limits. On the last item, the trustees voted that the customer would have to pay for the cost of the installation of the line and meter.
The trustees voted to disapprove a resolution authorizing and renewing a Lease Agreement with Southwest Readymix for property located in the Bar-S Industrial Park Addition, 820 South Veterans Drive. The lease amount was found to be too low for many of the trustees. The three dissenting votes were from Smiley, Osborne and Shelton.
The trustees voted to authorize the Chairman to sign a Contract with Shoestring Enterprises, Inc. of Olustee, Oklahoma for construction of PH II new water feed to Altus Air Force Base in the amount of $68,500, contingent on funding.
In new business, Stephenson remarked on the water quality. New findings explain the discoloration. (See Altus water issues)
The AMA adjourned at 8:37 p.m. and was immediately followed by the City Council. Mike Patterson was the only one absent from the meeting.
Three items were excluded from the Consent Agenda. The rest of the agenda was approved. It included: approval of minutes for the Regular City Council Meeting on May 15, approval of purchase order for FY 2011-2012 for the General Fund totaling $49,616.52, Workers Comp Fund totaling $9,050.62, Donation Fund totaling $55.00, Airport Fund totaling
$3,517.60, Street & Alley Fund totaling $10,726.56, Emergency 911 Fund totaling $618.00, Parks Development Fund
totaling $650.00, an estimated payroll for June 7, 2012 as follows:Salaries - $348,286.00, Part Time Wages - $ 13,856.00,
Overtime - $ 6,125.46, Incentive, License Pay - $ 7,243.00, Employer Taxes - $ 25,122.00, Employee Taxes - $ 68,721.15,
Employer Benefits - $124,663.00, Employee Benefits - $ 54,767.24, Workers Comp - $ 14,922.00, for a total estimated amount of: $663,705.85; Payroll figures for May 10 comparing prior estimate and actual: Salaries - $350,332.00 $362,898.94, Part Time Wages - $ 13,856.00 $ 10,228.48, Overtime - $ 6,125.46 $ 10,732.67, Incentive, License Pay - $ 7,243.00 $ 7,872.31, Taxes - $ 29,967.00 $ 23,826.10, Benefits - $124,969.00 $127,749.22, Workers Comp - $ 15,031.00 $ 15,938.25, for a total amount of: $547,523.46 $559,245.97, Percentage of Difference 2.1% higher than prior estimate;
acknowledge monthly reports and minutes as follows: Main Street Altus, Southern Prairie Library System.
Following the approval of the agenda, the three items brought up by Chad Osborne and Perry Shelton, were considered. Two items, polo shirts for the APD dispatchers and insurance for Emergency Management volunteers and reserve police officers, were approved. One item, the payment of a bill for $3,778.53 for legal services to investigate the Electrical Superintendent was not approved. Coke said she’d have to research to see how to proceed in the matter.
The companion piece to the AMA’s budget was vote to approve Resolution No. 2012-13 adopting the combined budgets
of the City of Altus for the Fiscal Year 2012-2013, with the 10-10 plan. Three dissenting votes were made by Steen, Rowland and Simco.
Matt Coppock presented information to the council regarding the early retirement using the rule of 80, based on the age of 55 or older and number of years of credited service with the employee’s election date not later than August 1, 2012 and
the employee’s retirement date not later than September 1, 2012. This was approved.
The council voted to four to three to approve Resolution No. 2012-14 appointing a person,the City Administrator, Elizabeth Gray, to serve on the Election Committee (Board of Directors) of the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, taking the spot previously held by the Electric Superintendent. Before that, the position was held by Mike Nettles. Voting against the resolution were Henry, Osborne and Smiley.
The council voted to approve Ordinance No. 2012-8 amending the Altus Code 1980 by revising Section 2-77, Article V. Purchases, Chapter 2, to delete subsection “(a) the City Council shall be responsible for all City business” and renumbering the remaining subsections, as that is already covered by state law. This is under a purchasing section.
Council members voted to approve the renewal of the Altus Community Work Center Contract between the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and the City of Altus for the 2012/2013 fiscal year, providing a site for the Altus Community Work Center at 308 West Broadway; and providing a maximum of 100 inmates to work in certain City departments, to provide offender work opportunities in local public works projects, and authorize execution of the Contract. Mayor Webb spoke highly of the relationship the City now has with the DOC and commended their rapid response to problems as they arise.
Veronica Damron, Director of Southwestern Youth Services (SWYS) spoke before the council on three items, all which were approved. Resolution No. 2012-15 authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to sign a grant application for the Homeless Youth Transitional Housing. They approved the renewal lease between the City of Altus and SWYS for the rental of the Rotary Center, and the contract for services between the City and SWYS for Altus Municipal Juvenile Court and to pay for the
contractual services out of the separate, unbudgeted, fund for Juvenile Court fines.
The council voted to approve Resolution No 2012-16 expressing continued support and participation in the Main Street Program, and in another item, approved a Contract for Services between the City of Altus and Main Street Altus for services to revitalize, stabilize and develop the City’s downtown area, in the amount of $10,000.00, with the funds to be used for employing a Program Manager.
The council voted to approve renewal of Contract with Blackboard Connect for Citizen Notification System for FY 2012-2013 in the amount of $13,998.
In what turned out to be one of the longer items of the night, the council voted to table an ordinance to raise water rates. Since the current water quality isn’t up to DEQ standards, this item may have been unintentionally ill-timed. Various proposals were considered and finally Henry was the only one who voted for an increase.
Council did vote to 1) authorize staff to advertise for RFQ (Request For Quote) for the FY 2011-2012 Audit; or 2) sign the Audit Engagement Letter with Ronald C. Cottrell, CPA between the City of Altus and the audit firm of Ronald C. Cottrell, CPA for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, and authorize the Mayor to sign the Engagement Letter.
Chief Wheeler spoke regarding a CenterPoint Energy community Partnership Grant in the amount of $2,450 for (10) VHF Handheld Radios, (3) VHF Mobile Radios and (3) Adaptors for the Altus Fire Department with matching funds from
the City to total $4,914 budgeted and approved in FY 2011-2012. Council approved the acceptance.
Council vote to approve Emergency Ordinance No. 2012-9 amending Altus Code Section 21-2 (c) to implement a summer season pass for individuals and families using a plastic ID card; having a pool party during open business hours, and
clarifying the party fees; and vote on the emergency section for a June 5th effective date. Both the passes and the Emergency were approved, due to people already applying for these passes at the pool.
The council vote to approve Resolution No. 2012-17 designating the place and times within the City in which fireworks may be discharged on July 4, 2012 as the Public Fireworks Display at the City Reservoir.
The council approved a companion piece voting on the for construction of PH II raw water feed to Altus Air Force Base in the amount of $68,500.
Planning Director Barbara Burleson brought two zoning items before council. Both were approved. Ordinance No. 2012-10 changing the zoning classification of the following property:A tract of land in the Northeast Quarter of Section Five (5), Township Two (2) North, Range Twenty (20) West, of the Indian Meridian (I.M.), Jackson County, Oklahoma, more particularly described as follows:Beginning at the Southeast Corner of Heritage Homes 5th Addition to the City of Altus,thence S 00 47’00” W, a distance of 682.96 feet, to a point on the South line of Said Northeast Quarter, thence N 89 06’27” W, along said South line of Said Northeast Quarter, a distance of 340.00 feet; thence N 00 47’00” E, a distance of 682.31 feet to the Southwest Corner of Said Heritage Homes 5th Addition; thence S 89 13’00” E, a distance of 340.00 feet, along the South Line of Said Heritage Homes 5th Addition, to the Point of Beginning, containing 5.328 acres more, or less.
from Agriculture (AG) to Suburban Residential (SR).
Council also voted to accept the recommendation of the Altus City Planning Commission (ACPC), and approve Ordinance No. 2012-11 changing the zoning classification of the following property: A tract of land in the Southwest Quarter of Section 4, Township 2 North, Range 20 West of the Indian Meridian, Jackson County, Altus, Oklahoma further described as follows:Beginning at the NW corner of Hunter Pointe Addition, Part VIII to Altus, Oklahoma thence N00 26’30” E, a distance of 530.97 Feet to a point on the East-West 1/4 Section Line; thence S88 59’09”E along said line, a distance of 626.49 Feet; thence S00 29’00”W, a distance of 547.81 Feet to a point on the North Line of Hunter Pointe Addition, Part
IX; thence N89 01’46”W along said line, a distance of 89’00 Feet; thence N00 29’00” along the Boundary of Hunter Pointe Addition, Part IX, a distance of 17.32 Feet; thence N89 01’46”W, a distance of 195.01 Feet to the NE corner of Hunter Pointe Addition, Part VIII, said point also being the NW corner of Hunter Pointe Addition, Part IX; thence continuing N89 01’46”W, along the North Line of said Hunter Pointe Addition, Part VIII, a distance of 342.09 Feet to the Point of Beginning, containing 7.67 acres, more of less. from Agriculture (AG) to Auto-Urban Residential (AR).
In executive session council received a recommendation from the Mayor regarding filling the position of Finance Director, and received an update from the IAFF on their negotiations with the City.
In open session council voted to extend an offer of employment to James Wilson.
In new business, council voted to authorize the Mayor to sign a Contract with Shoestring Enterprises, Inc. of Olustee, Oklahoma for construction of PH II raw water feed to Altus Air Force Base.
The Mayor made no appointments and City Administrator Elizabeth Gray made no comments and reports.
In City Council member’s comments and reports,
Scot Simco thanked the City employees and staff for the hard work on the budget.
B.F. (Jr.) Rowland thanked employees and James Wilson for his work on the budget.
Rick Henry echoed Scot and Jr.’s comments. He said that the budget was missing one element, growth. “That will be the elixir that fixes it,” Henry said.
Mayor Webb said that he appreciated all the work and good discussion. He was grateful that the meeting would adjourn before 10 p.m. and with that the meeting adjourned at 9:57 p.m.