November 24, 2014 Work Session






NOVEMBER 24, 2014 – 7:00 PM


Attendance: Williamson, Reinhardt, Hughes, Sippel, Tolsma, Beck, Goman, Lewin.  Bren excused.


    1. Included for review is a proposed contract for snow removal services with Beniek Property Services. The City’s existing contract with them expires at the end of the current 2014/2015 snow season. The language of the proposed contract is identical to the existing contract with the only changes being equipment hourly costs as shown on Appendix A. Beniek has provided equipment costs for four years through the 2018/2019 snow season, although our current contract with them is only for a three year term. If the council is in favor of renewing the contract with a three year term instead of a four year term Beniek has said they are agreeable to that.


Reinhardt referred to the contract in the packet and said there are minor adjustments to pricing.  Tolsma said they met and discussed and there were no major issues.  Tolsma said a four year contract was presented but a three year contract was decided as that is what the other contracts typically run.  Tolsma said the equipment changes were in line with what is expected other than the heavy duty wheel loader and it’s a piece of equipment that is hardly used.  Hughes asked about the fuel service charge and Goman said it’s for both fuel and diesel.  Williamson asked who they were getting their fuel from and Goman said he’d find out.  Williamson wondered if they’re buying in bulk and storing.  Williamson wondered if we can see their fuel invoices and Goman said only if we request it. 


Reinhardt said she thinks they do a good job and believes the council could approve it at the next meeting.  Williamson wonders about the waiver of subrogation clause in the contract.  Beck said the language “…as to the city” is odd.  Goman said this is the same language used in the last two contracts.  Williamson said it doesn’t become an issue until there’s a claim.  Beck said she’d check on it and will follow up at the council meeting.  Williamson said he would like to see documents showing the insurance and checking the dates of coverage.  Williamson asked about the state statute requiring sub contractors be named if they are utilized and there should be a time period.  Beck said they have inserted that clause with construction contracts.  Beck said there could be an addendum in the file and have them sign it to get approval for a subcontractor.  Sippel asked why this wasn’t rebid because that’s what he thought they were supposed to do with a three year contracts.  He does feel they do a good job though.  He wonders about the Tool Cat with plow and where does that fall in with equipment as it's not stated.  Goman said it’s billed at $75 an hour. Sippel said he would like to dictate in the contract that a heavy duty truck is used to plow and not the Tool Cat.  Sippel said his issue is the snow is pushed, not thrown and the street gets narrower and then the front mounted snow blower has to be paid to widen the streets.  Goman said it can be called out to show the Tool Cat for $75 per hour.  Hughes said he remembers the Tool Cat being more agile when turning.  Goman said it has a wider blade.  Sippel said he thinks the Tool Cat is fine for the corners but he’d like to see the larger truck used for the major part of the roads.  Williamson said the contract commences on November 1st and wonders if this is a date certain date.  He’d like to see the contract dated earlier.  Goman said most contracts state November 1st


    1. Included for review is a proposal from Norling’s Lake Minnetonka Landscapes to renew the beautification contract for another three year term. Norling’s is proposing to maintain all of the areas from the existing contract, and include any new areas such as lift station #5. The cost contract proposes a total increase of $2,626.47 over the entire three years of the contract, or approximately an $875 increase per year.


Reinhardt said there is an overall 3% increase and some rate increases.  She said there hasn’t been a rate increase for a while.  Tolsma said this will be worked into a contract for the council meeting.  Williamson asked about the subcontracting and that the bidder supplies a list of staff. He wonders about the temp staff used in the summer and if they are applying insecticides and fertilizers.  Goman said no, the temp help works on irrigation and weeding.  He said they do the weed killing but it doesn’t require a license.  Williamson said clarification needs to be made regarding range of dates with the contract and the cover letter as there are typos.  Tolsma said this will come on the council agenda. 


    1. Staff will have a short Powerpoint presentation for the council regarding the 2015 budget and staff wage information.


Tolsma said he has a few brief slides on the budget and he’ll have more for the council meeting.  Tolsma shows a pie chart with proposed expenditures for next year.  He said police and fire is almost half of the budget.  Tolsma said Public Works is spelled out more clearly with  contracting around 8%.  Hughes wonders where the LMCD falls and Tolsma said he thinks it’s in administration.  Hughes would like to see it specific.  Sippel said perhaps it can be grouped with Westonka Historical Society, the Gillespie Center, LMCD – Williamson thinks there must be some sort of category for these things.  Hughes wants more detail.  Sippel asked about debt service.  He wonders besides water and sewer, city hall and Channel Road.  Tolsma said the 2010 bond improvement is what this is. 


Tolsma said revenue is property tax reliant.  He said when he was in Tyler, half of their revenue was LGA.  Reinhardt wondered if they can take from the TIF district.  Tolsma said they might finally be going above the increment threshold.  Tolsma shows a slide showing the levy history. 


Tolsma shows a slide showing the percentage of wage increases going back to 2007.  Tolsma said increases have fluctuated.  He said some have been based on promotions due to certifications and an average is shown what the individual has received over the time.  Williamson said these are increments of change.  Tolsma shows a slide if the pay is graphed out what the pay is on an hourly rate.  Hughes asked what Farniok puts in a week and Tolsma confirmed its 32 hours per week for both Farniok and Lewin.  Tolsma shows a slide including benefits.  Tolsma said PERA increased a quarter of percent for both the employee and employer contribution.  He said health went down and disability stayed the same.  Overtime is shown and Goman and Lewin are the ones that get that. Tolsma said Goman’s overtime is pretty steady but Lewin’s fluctuates with elections.  Tolsma included price indexes and cost of living. 


Williamson asked about information on salary adjustments with other surrounding cities.  Williamson said the LMCD added in pay information for the 14 member cities.  He said it showed an increase of 1-2% increases and Spring Park showed a 3% increase.  Tolsma said it’s now that they start to hear what other cities are getting.  Hughes said Spring Park has typically been higher but they’ve been playing catch up too.  Hughes said in the past, certifications have been rewarded.  Tolsma said he just puts a percentage in.  Reinhardt asked if Farniok’s was increased when she got her certification and Tolsma said he thinks it was a combination of increasing her wages to get her up to a higher level and her certification as city clerk.  Williamson said Goman’s on call and call out hours had the effect to raise his pay.  Williamson said public employees have an advantage over private employees because of the benefit packet.  Williamson said he wonders about the family coverage over single coverage.  Tolsma said for cost purposes everyone is treated as single coverage and Goman has to make up the difference for family coverage.  Reinhardt thinks it would be a good thing to look at dependent coverage. 


Sippel asked about contributions to the HSA’s.  Tolsma said yes, it’s pro-rated according to hours worked. Hughes said when looking at the percentage, that’s one measuring stick.  He wonders about weighing the actual wages.  Reinhardt said for Farniok the difference is much less.  Sippel asked if the League puts out guidance.  He said he feels like they’re throwing darts.  Williamson said he doesn’t feel comfortable knowing we are the highest increased city in the lake area.  Tolsma said he knows a lot of cities are on a step plan plus cola so if a 2% increase was given for cola, they might have gotten a step increase and that isn’t revealed.  Tolsma said merit and cola is addressed in a percentage increase.  Williamson said it’s also important to show what other incremental increases are given.  Reinhardt said she thinks a 3% increase equals out to $8K a year and she said it’s not worth deliberating over it.  She could see a larger increase for Farniok to get her up to a competitive level and an increase for Goman for the certification in the form of increased dependent benefits. Hughes agrees with Reinhardt for the 3% increase and an extra bump for Farniok and Goman.  Goman said he feels it’s easier for some to label but for others they wear many different hats and it’s difficult to label what one person does.  Tolsma agrees that Farniok deserves more.  Reinhardt thinks Tolsma is probably low too and probably should be boosted. 


Sippel asked about contributions for health care, he asked if they are tax free and Tolsma said they are tax free for Goman’s gap coverage. Tolsma said a benefit increase might be the better way to go because the SS and PERA isn’t figured.  Goman said he gets double time on the holidays and the City of Mound gets triple time. 


Reinhardt asked Tolsma for his recommendation.  Tolsma said for the performance reviews he went through with the employees and said Goman got his certification and Lewin ran an excellent election.  For Farniok she goes after delinquent utility bills and saves the city a lot of money versus other cities having outstanding dollars owed.  He said he thinks everyone works well together.  Goman said he hears the compliments too.  Tolsma said singling someone out too much can breed discontent. Hughes wonders about a stipend and Reinhardt said this is not allowed.  It’s considered a bonus. Goman mentioned Corl got a $10,000 check when she retired and Reinhardt said that was more because Bill Weeks was leaving at the same time and he was getting a big severance check and it didn’t seem right to give a poor performer a check and a good performer nothing. 


Reinhardt doesn’t like giving someone less because someone else got a certification.  Williamson said the levy has been certified and so if they’re giving one employee more, it’s got to come from somewhere.  Sippel said the pot of money allocated was 3% and he wonders how that should be distributed.  Sippel said on balance he would like to target a 3% pot of money to be distributed.  Reinhardt said if that’s the case, it should be the same.  She said this conversation should take place at budget time instead of now.  Williamson wants to know where we’re at with other cities.  Reinhardt said she feels this city is too unique to compare to other cities.  Sippel has something formed to make a motion for the next meeting.  He’s not basing it as much on performance as to what would equate, probably less for Lewin and four percent for Goman or keep him at three and bump his contribution to the family plan.  Sippel said he thinks Lewin has a healthy salary for part time.  Tolsma said Farniok could be bumped 4% and Goman going to 4% would come out of the water fund, not the general fund.  Sippel said he’s concerned about lack of incentive when it’s just an across the board increase.  He said it’s not a judgment for the present staff but it’s a precedent.  Reinhardt said the 3% scenario is laid out and maybe there can be a couple other options presented by moving Farniok up.  Sippel said maybe there can be more data presented so there is something to go on in future years.  Sippel asked Goman the percentage of the total for health care for single versus family.  Sippel suggested perhaps covering 75% of the premium.  Beck said if it’s provided for one, it probably is necessary to offer for everyone.  Williamson said this discussion should be held at budget time versus now. 


  1. MISCELLANEOUS – Hughes said he and Tolsma attended the fire commission meeting and

Pederson had some stats that should be brought up at a council meeting and maybe even asking Chief Pederson to come in and talk about duty officer shifts and the trend for hiring more full time people.  Tolsma said he doesn’t know if the general public knows they’ve gone to a duty officer program and Goman said they’re looking at future coverage


    1. December Channel 8 & 20 Schedules



Meeting adjourned at 8:33 p.m.



                                                                                    Wendy Lewin, City Clerk



Dan Tolsma, Administrator