CAC - April 25th 2016
Mayfield Village Citizens Advisory Committee
April 25, 2016
The Citizens Advisory Committee met on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at the Mayfield Village Civic Center.
Present: Sandy Batcheller, Rosemarie Fabrizio, Shirley Jay, Joanna McNally, Allen Meyers, Lorry Nadeau, Bob Haycox (Chair), Paula Lear, Mary Singer, Marilyn LaRiche-Goldstein, Patricia Russo, Loretta Williams, Sara Calo, and Mary Salomon
Absent: Joan Catalano, Merv Singer, Tom Piteo, and Kay Phillips
Also Present: Council Representative George Williams, Finance Director Ronald C. Wynne, Administrative Assistant Debbie Thomas, and Resident Ron Lear
Administration of Oath
Mr. Haycox opened the meeting and Council Representative George Williams administered the oath of office to new committee member, Sara Calo. Mr. Haycox welcomed Mrs. Calo and additional new member Mary Salomon who had been sworn-in at an earlier Council meeting.
Approval of Minutes
Mr. Haycox asked if there were any additions or changes to the minutes of March 22, 2016, which were previously provided to the Committee. There were none and the minutes were approved as written.
Village Financial Update
Mr. Haycox introduced Finance Director Ron Wynne. Mr. Wynne distributed a packet of information that he had prepared for the meeting (attached). Mr. Wynne advised that a Town Hall meeting is scheduled for May 23 at 7:00 p.m. and these sheets will be part of the PowerPoint presentation made that evening. Mr. Wynne explained that at the Town Hall meeting he will provide a more detailed financial report and Mayor Bodnar will discuss upcoming capital projects. Tonight is an informal preview of the financial portion of that presentation.
Mr. Wynne took the Committee through the presentation, as follows:
Slide 1 – Summary of General Fund receipts from 1990 through 2015. Mr. Wynne stated that, in 1990, the Village’s revenue was just below $4 million; in 2015, revenue was just below $19 million. “In the span of 25 years, we have experienced growth of 350% in our revenue stream, which I think is pretty phenomenal.” Mr. Wynne described the various periods of growth throughout the years and the impact of the 2010 tax increase and business growth. He stated that since the tax increase was passed, the economy has picked up and in the span of five years, the Village has experienced $4 million of revenue growth as the result of additional hiring in the Village as well as higher payroll dollars. “That is a 31% growth rate over five years.” A Committee member asked about the Village’s population and Mr. Wynne described that the resident population has remained constant at approximately 3,400 residents while the population of employees has grown by thousands each time Progressive expanded here.
Slide 2 – Mr. Wynne stated that this slide provides more detailed numbers for receipts over the last five years. The middle column is income and property taxes and the right column is total general fund. Taxes generate 85 to 90% of the Village’s revenue; the rest is income from various Departments. The budget number shown for 2016 is substantially lower than last year, not because we are expecting changes, but because we are budgeting conservatively. Mr. Wynne explained that since 65 to 70% of our income comes from Progressive, a sudden change could have big impact, so we do not count on that money. This approach allows the Village to use additional revenue for sewer or other projects. Mr. Wynne described the impact on revenue from grant dollars received as well as the recent loss of estate tax dollars.
Mrs. McNally asked about the impact of the loss of local government fund income and Mr. Wynne responded that the Village has been impacted much less than other municipalities and school districts.
A Committee member asked about the additional income and Mr. Wynne explained that it is derived from Parks and Recreation programs, rental income, Police Dept. fines, etc.
The Committee discussed changes in property values and Mr. Wynne commented that the Village has been fortunate and has not experienced substantial decreases.
Slide 3 – This slide shows expenses for the year matched against revenue. Mr. Wynne described that from 1990 through 2008, the philosophy of the Mayor and Council has been to reinvest money received in personnel, equipment and/or capital improvements. In 2009, as revenues decreased, more focus was put on controlling expenses and increasing reserves. Between 2009 and 2015, the gap between revenue and expenses got progressively greater as more money went into reserves.
Slide 4 – This slide puts numbers to the line on the chart. Mr. Wynne explained that now that reserves have been substantially increased, the increase in expenses since 2014 is primarily due to focus on capital needs and personnel costs.
Slide 5 – This slide adds the cost of wages and benefits. Mr. Wynne described that wages and benefits typically average 70% to 75% of total expenditures.
Slide 6 – This slide breaks down personnel cost into greater detail. Mr. Wynne commented that the Village’s headcount of full-time employees has remained constant and we have greatly reduced the number of part-time and seasonal employees. Mr. Wynne stated that, in 2016, we are anticipating three additional hires—one in Police, one in Dispatch and one in the Fire Dept. We have always staffed police and fire with 75% full-time and 25% part-time. The Affordable Care Act requires that healthcare be offered to part-time employees that work over 29 hours a week. The Village is provided healthcare to five permanent part-time employees who average 36 hours per week and has kept the remaining part-time employees under the 29-hour average. Mr. Wynne explained that this causes many part-time employees to seek full-time employment elsewhere, making it increasingly difficult to staff with part-time employees. As a result, the Village is adding full-time hires to make scheduling easier to control. The downside is an increase in costs.
Mrs. LaRiche-Goldstein asked why the permanent part-time employees were not just made full-time. Mr. Wynne described the Civil Service process and the need to test to become a full-time employee. He stated that long time part-time employees might not score in the top ten. These employees are not provided with vacation or other benefits. Mr. Meyers asked if these employees pay a percentage of the healthcare costs and Mr. Wynne responded that all employees pay a portion of the premium, depending on the type of coverage they have.
Mrs. Russo asked if any Departments had been reduced or consolidated. Mr. Wynne responded that there have been many reductions in part-time and seasonal employees, particularly in the Parks & Recreation Dept.
Mr. Haycox commented that the medical and dental costs have remained consistent. Mr. Wynne explained that since joining the Cuyahoga County health plan, our costs have remained under control.
Mrs. McNally commented that there are less employees since 2011, but salary costs have increased. Mr. Wynne explained that yearly increases have been 2% to 2-1/2% and the decrease in employee numbers is mostly part-time. The cost of full-time employees is greater than part-time.
Slide 7 – This slide reflects reserves or the rainy day fund. Mr. Wynne stated that, from 1990 to 2008, reserves were in the $2 million range. In 2008, reserves went below $1 million and the Village started looking more at expenses and residents were approached for a tax increase. Mr. Wynne explained that the State Auditor recommends three months of revenue in reserves, or approximately $4 million. The Village has been able to save more than the recommended amount and currently has $12 million in reserves.
Slide 8 – This slide provides more detail on the General Fund balance. Mr. Wynne commented that the Village has been able to keep increasing reserves, reducing debt and still complete capital projects.
Mrs. Salomon asked if there has been consideration given to reducing the income tax. Mr. Wynne said there has not and explained that it is employees working in the Village that pay the income taxes.
Mrs. McNally asked if the community is worried about Progressive ever leaving? Mr. Wynne said that is why we have built the reserves as much as we have. We received many questions about a contingency plan during the tax increase conversations.
Mrs. Calo asked if the Village has a written reserves policy or investment policy. Mr. Wynne stated that there is not a written reserves policy, but there is a written investment policy.
Mr. Haycox asked about reserves or asset studies and described the benefits. Mr. Wynne responded that he has worked with other Department Heads to develop a 5-year capital project plan.
Slide 9 – This slide shows outstanding debt. Mr. Wynne explained the rationale for not paying down all debt too quickly as much of it is covered by assessments and TIF revenue. Mr. Wynne described the reason for prior bond purchases.
Slide 10 – Mr. Wynne reviewed the capital projects completed in 2015. He stated that all were completed in cash and without incurring additional debt. He also discussed upcoming projects for 2016.
Mr. Wynne concluded his presentation and asked if there were any questions.
Mrs. Nadeau commented about Council’s recent discussions about giving themselves healthcare coverage and doing so by ordinance. She stated that she has questions about this and asked if Mr. Wynne could estimate what the cost would be if all seven Council members chose to take healthcare. Mr. Wynne responded that, worst case, if all Council members elected family coverage, the cost would be approximately $20,000 per year each or $140,000. Mrs. Nadeau asked Mr. Wynne if neighboring communities provide healthcare for part-time Council members. Mr. Wynne responded that some communities do, but none of our neighboring communities.
Mrs. Nadeau stated that, due to her concern about this issue, she went back through recent Council and Caucus minutes and cut and pasted the portions where this issue was discussed. She found that the comments refer to an ordinance that was written in 1980 that gave healthcare coverage to the Mayor. She noted that nowhere in these discussions was it mentioned that healthcare for Council part of the ordinance. She also stated that the ordinance was never codified so it is not on record. Mrs. Nadeau stated that she has questions about this. “You will see in the minutes that the Mayor does not currently get healthcare and was not offered healthcare because Mayor Rinker was not taking healthcare.” Mr. Wynne responded that Mayor Rinker had received healthcare for a while and several years ago decided he did not feel comfortable with taking it and he declined it. “As you said, the ordinance was not codified and Mayor Bodnar was not offered healthcare”. Mr. Wynne added that there has not been extensive discussion about this issue and it would have to be reviewed by the Law Dept. Mrs. Nadeau responded that part of her concern was that, at the Council meeting, the healthcare discussion was folded into ordinance review and was not discussed separately. She wanted to make the Committee aware of the issue and is trying to gather facts. Mrs. Russo complimented her for being so diligent. Mrs. LaRiche-Goldstein commented that she has a relative that was a Council person who still has coverage through the Village. Mrs. Nadeau stated that that was probably through PERS. Mr. Wynne agreed.
The Committee asked Mr. Williams to comment. Mr. Williams stated that at the beginning of the year we had a change of administration and Council President. After 20 years of the same Mayor and Council President, many things became normal and Council is now reviewing practices. He stressed that no one is saying that any practices were wrong, just that they need to be reviewed, including who should get healthcare. Mr. Williams stated that all is in transition and added that Council as a whole does not have a set of guidelines, bylaws or rules. Robert’s Rules are used for governing meetings but, for example, there are questions about how many meetings a Council member can miss. Mr. Williams stated that Council is going to try to review all past policies and ordinances and see where changes need to be made.
Mrs. Batcheller asked about the Community Room’s $2.2 million budget. She stated that she thought it was to cost just over $1 million. Mr. Wynne explained that that budget was established when the plan was to renovate the old building. As the cost for refurbishing increased, the Village decided to build a new building. Mr. Wynne added that the cost included moving utilities, construction costs, architectural services, demolition of the old building, etc.
Mr. Haycox thanked Mr. Wynne for the presentation and for “being such a great steward of our money and so fiscally conservative”.
Mr. Williams referred the Committee to copies of recent Council minutes and highlighted the following Council activities:
- Mayor Bodnar provided a State of the Village address at the last meeting. “To quote Mayor Bodnar, the Village is in sound condition financially and is a vibrant community. She will discuss this more at the May 23rd Town Hall meeting.”
- Working with Police and Fire, there are a lot of enhancements coming this year. Body cameras, tasers and portable radios are being implemented at the Police Dept. The Fire Chief has started to provide regular reports so that we have a better understanding of their activities.
- Recreation Director Bill Thomas is working hard to make sure our recreational facilities stay current. Parkview Pool will be getting upgrades.
Mrs. Calo commented that she did not think the Council minutes should reflect all the conversation. She felt the minutes should only reflect action as conversations could be misconstrued. Mr. Wynne responded that the Law Dept. is currently reviewing whether Council minutes should be verbatim.
- Mr. Williams asked for feedback about the need for Council to have Standing Rules. “The Council has performed satisfactorily over these years without them and are measured by being re-elected. From that perspective, do we need standing rules?” Mr. Haycox responded that he thought there should be rules so that Council would have a framework for their conduct. Mrs. Nadeau suggested consulting the internet for help with developing rules. Mr. Williams stated that he has started to go through training and has found, in discussion, that most other communities have standing rules. Mr. Haycox suggested that the Law Director might have samples from other communities.
- An application for re-zoning the property at 730 SOM has been presented. It is going through review by Planning & Zoning and, after further review by Council, may ultimately be on the ballot. The Committee discussed that the property in question is the front lawn of the Georgian Center/UH and the proposal includes adding an assisted living facility.
Mrs. Jay reported that, as requested by Mr. Regan, she attending the recent Grove Committee meeting as a liaison from this Committee. She provided an update on the pavers and stone seating being installed and discussed paving the service drive and using of the old concession trailer at The Grove to serve pizza, hotdogs and other refreshments. She added that the plan is to have pool concession staff work at the trailer. Mrs. Jay reported that the parking spaces along North Commons were made deeper and that the summer schedule has been developed and will be published soon.
Mrs. Jay advised that an architect has drawn up plans for two different types of band shells. She stated that they are quite different and there will be further discussion about pricing and practicality. She reported that the Grove Committee is applying for grants and are thinking about creating a “Friends of the Grove” group to make it easier to get donations. Mrs. Jay concluded her report stated that it sounds like a good schedule and she hopes everyone comes out.
Mr. Haycox mentioned that sign-up sheets are available for volunteers for Pancake Breakfast and Cruise Night. Mrs. Singer provided an update on the Memorial Day Tribute scheduled for May 29 at 1:00 p.m.
The Committee discussed attending a Grove event over the summer as a group and selected Thursday, July 21st when Swing-Time Big Band is performing.
Mrs. Russo commented that Mr. Thomas is seeking grant funding for tennis courts, bocce and volleyball. She did not know that the Grove Committee was seeking funding for improvements there. She asked the Committee to consider improvements to The Grove versus these other recreational improvements and to think about what improvements would bring more participation and more revenue to offset costs. She suggested this issue be discussed in the future.
The next meeting of the Citizens Advisory Committee will be held on Monday, May 23 at 6:30 p.m. Following the meeting, the Committee members will attend the Town Hall Meeting scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.