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City Council

City Council Special Meeting Minutes

May 27, 2015


1.         Roll Call

Mayor Roe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:00 p.m. for the purpose of 2016 Department Budget presentations.  Voting and Seating Order: McGehee, Willmus, Laliberte, Etten and Roe.  City Manager Patrick Trudgeon and was also present.  As noted by Mayor Roe, Councilmember Willmus had provided advance notice that he would be unable to attend tonight.


2.         Pledge of Allegiance


3.         Approve Agenda

Laliberte moved, Etten seconded approval of the agenda as presented.


                                                Roll Call

Ayes: McGehee, Laliberte, Etten and Roe.

Nays: None.


4.         Public Comment

Mayor Roe called for public comment by members of the audience on any non-agenda items.  No one appeared to speak. 


5.         Council Communications, Reports, and Announcements

Mayor Roe announced the opportunity for community feedback from residents and businesses on the City Council's draft strategic priority planning exercise, available on the City's website or by contacting City Hall.  Mayor Roe noted the identification of five key areas of focus by the City Council: Civic Engagement, Housing and Redevelopment; Effective Governance; Organizational Effectiveness; and Infrastructure Sustainability, with subarea targets identified for each of those focus areas.


City Manager Trudgeon advised that the City website also had a link on the front page under 'priority planning.'


Mayor Roe announced a vacancy on the Community Engagement Commission to fill a partial term, with the application deadline on June 10, interviews scheduled for June 15, and subsequent appointment, with information also available on the City's website or at City Hall.


6.         Recognitions, Donations and Communications


7.         Approve Minutes


8.         Approve Consent Agenda


9.            Consider Items Removed from Consent


10.         General Ordinances for Adoption


11.         Presentations


12.         Public Hearings


13.         Budget Items

City Manager Trudgeon briefly introduced the purpose of tonight's meeting as an initial step in developing the 2016 budget, beginning with department presentations to identify specific operational issues and priorities that will impact the 2016 budget.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that staff was seeking to present a fiscally responsible budget with limited impact to the taxpayer, as well as identifying other opportunities to provide services and/or identify any available cost savings.  Mr. Trudgeon noted that management staff had been working with their various staffs and were provided an opportunity to review programming and rationale for continuing that programming or services, rather than just continuing to do so because 'we've always done it that way.' 


Mr. Trudgeon noted that the intent tonight was for each department to provide a general discussion with trends, areas of focus, and specific City Council feedback and/or requests for additional information from those departments.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that several departments would present tonight, and the remainder present at the Special City Council meeting scheduled on June 1, 2015.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that he would use this information and solicit any additional feedback from the City Council, along with results of the priorities and initiatives outlined in the strategic planning exercise to prepare his City Manager-recommended budget intended for presentation in July of 2015 for further discussion and refinement.


Mr. Trudgeon reviewed the budget process and next steps over the next few months, reaction and other comments by the City Council at their June 15 workshop; opportunities for public feedback throughout that process; and involvement of the Finance Commission in the process before preliminary levy and budget  adoption in September and a Final Budget and Levy  enacted by December 8, 2015. 


a.            Finance Department Budget Presentation

Finance Director Chris Miller provided opening comments and then deferred to the Finance Department's leadership team and various operating departments: Finance/Accounting, License Center, and Information Technology Division.


Mr. Miller advised that the department had, over the last twelve months, performed a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) assessment as they developed a five-year strategic plan, which they would present to the City Council at a later date.  Mr. Miller advised that tonight's intent was to outline the Department's priorities and challenges, which were developed consistent with the City Council's citywide strategic planning efforts and based on City Council discussions held over a number of months.  Mr. Miller stated the department's intent was to be sure the City Council was comfortable with the information and path of the department from an individual and corporate level.


Assistant Finance Director Jason Schirmacher

Mr. Schirmacher noted the department's desire to be more proactive than reactive in several areas.


Bond Rating

One of those areas was to ensure the City maintained their Triple A bond rating through a process to address continually evolving and changing criteria, creating a challenge for the City to address that criteria.  Mr. Schirmacher stated that staff would be asking for assistance from a third party better versed in bond rating maintenance to advise the City in how to maintain that rating.


Training and Career Development / Employee Resource Sustainability

As a result of staff discussions, Mr. Schirmacher advised that the conclusion was to seek the addition of a .5 full-time employee (FTE) to perform basic duties or core functions currently performed by more skilled, advanced level employees, freeing them to concentrate on enhancing customer service levels.  Mr. Schirmacher suggested that by hiring younger, less experienced employees, while they would require more training, it would provide an opportunity for them to be more productive and grow with the organization.  Mr. Schirmacher noted the technological advances available to enhance customer service levels (e.g. radio read meters and consumption data).  Mr. Schirmacher noted some areas (e.g. business license applications and renewals) were core services, while others indicated an increased level of customer service assistance.


In order to fund and fill this proposed .5 FTE, Mr. Schirmacher stated staff's proposal to hire 2-3 part-time entry level people to cover the front counter, freeing up the current, Receptionist for more advanced duties, based on the years of experience with the City.  Mr. Schirmacher noted the entry level staff could take on the basic filing, scanning and other such duties as they staffed the front counter, allowing a shift in duties.


Finance Director Miller concurred that this was the department's attempt to fulfill unmet needs while shoring up core functions; and while adding staffing, doing so in the lowest cost way to accomplish the goals and still succeed.  Mr. Miller clarified that these positions could or would be considered through internships or seasonal employment, and would be non-benefit employees.  Mr. Miller noted this would allow the City to get some new people engaged in local government, and if or as they advanced within the organization as vacancies occurred, it would allow them an opportunity to grow with the City, but also would expose them to public accounting and financing operations.  Mr. Miller noted the need for this type of skill set in the employment marketplace.


Councilmember McGehee questioned if the intent was to make openings available for younger employees, or to fill open positions as they occur to make a concerted effort to hire younger people to grow with the organization.


Mr. Schirmacher responded that as younger staff were brought on board and moved through the process they could be promoted within the department if they chose to remain versus moving on to pursue their career elsewhere.  Mr. Schirmacher advised that the intent was not to rotate staff but to provide succession planning, encouraging younger employees to grow with you and stay for 5-6 years and beyond, versus moving on after only 3-4 years.


Councilmember Etten questioned if the intent in repurposing current staff to address customer service enhancement, would the current Receptionist spend half time at the front desk and then the two proposed new employees would fill in the remaining half time.


Mr. Schirmacher responded affirmatively that the current Receptionist would be half time at the front desk and then freed-up for the remainder of her time elsewhere.


At the request of Councilmember Etten, Mr. Schirmacher provided a summary of some of the duties performed by the current Receptionist, including receipting for the Community Development Department and accepting Utility payments coming across the front counter.  Mr. Schirmacher advised that the intent was that this person would continue doing that in the morning, and then move elsewhere in the afternoon, providing more support for the City's Utility Billing functions, alerting utility customers about any significant fluctuations in their usage (e.g. leaks) available with the radio read technologies, in addition to other data available for customers using available data. 


At the further request of Councilmember Etten, Mr. Schirmacher summarized some of the additional duties of the new staffing during the afternoons at the Reception desk beyond that already listed, and including serving as a hub to direct traffic, Laserfische duties, filing, and sorting paperwork.  Mr. Schirmacher reiterated that the current staff is performing all of these duties now, but the current pay and skill level of this employee was not matching this entry-level work; and the preference was not to dedicate higher-level resources to lower-level duties.


Councilmember Etten questioned how staff retention and training efforts, and the gradients in between may affect how the department operates or if there would be associated costs not yet identified.

Finance Director Miller responded that there were already a number of positions within the Finance Department at different levels, but this was identified as the missing fundamental.  Mr. Miller opined that an employee paid at $20/hour was not needed to perform basic duties and skills could be applied to perform more advanced capabilities; while a $10/hour employee could provide low- or mid-level skills to perform those basic duties.


Specific to succession planning, Finance Director Miller advised that this provided an opportunity for exposure of employees to the City of Roseville and public government operations, something that they may have not yet been exposed to and allowing the City to capture that audience and offer them an opportunity to stay and grow with the City as they progress through their education.  Mr. Miller noted that other municipal departments have been able to capture internships and interest that employee pool; however, the Finance Department had been unable to fill that need or spark that interest level.


Councilmember Laliberte noted that, during City Council discussions, and with hiring of the Volunteer Coordinator, the hope was to expand volunteer engagement beyond traditional uses; and questioned if a front desk spot couldn't be potentially filled by a long-term and/or retired resident with needed skills.


Finance Director Miller advised that staff had considered that and while it remained a potential, one of the challenges facing the department based on their experience over the last five years was to interest volunteers in consistently performing that type of work.  Mr. Miller noted volunteers were passionate about what they wanted to do, and this entry level positions would be performing very repetitive work with few challenges.  However, Mr. Miller noted college interns were a whole different story, as they were interested in moving and advancing toward something; and expressed confidence that there would be interest on their part in such a position.  Mr. Miller advised that staff would continue to seek volunteer assistance as often as possible and as interest levels are found from that pool of opportunity; and continued to pursue avenues with Volunteer Coordinator Kelly O'Brien.


Councilmember McGehee advised that she had spoken to Ms. O'Brien about that, and she had confirmed that there hadn't been a lot of inquiry along that line.  Councilmember McGehee suggested recruiting for those services; opining that there were a number of opportunities and challenges for staff to work with residents in providing data (e.g. water services) for comparisons to utilize that wonderful software program while assisting residents in addressing their usage and conservation efforts.


Mayor Roe asked Finance Director Miller and his staff to provide additional information on other budget impacts for training and career development.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Finance Director Miller estimated the cost for a Bond Rating Consultant in the range of $10,000.


License Center Supervisors Pam Ryan and Dorothy Wrzos

In reviewing budget priorities for the License Center, Ms. Ryan noted four major goals or priorities, three of which would affect the 2016 budget.


In order to meet operational needs outlined in the Department's strategic plan, Ms. Ryan advised the need for hiring three new FTE's.  As part of last year's requirements adopted by Homeland Security and the National Passport Agency, Ms. Ryan advised that the first FTE would be for a lead or supervisory on the passport side, as the passport and the driver's license functions were now mandated to be completely separate operations with different entrances and employees to avoid any potential conflicts of interest in handling documents.  While the Center has four part-time passport employees, Ms. Ryan advised that they had not yet faced the challenge in providing separate supervision for that function.  Ms. Ryan noted that she and Ms. Wrzos could serve as Heads of Facilities, but could not touch passport functions, or provide any back-up or supervision; and someone needed to be in charge of passport staffing to pursue passport acceptance through federal site visits, handling customer complaints, and allow creation of additional revenue for the passport function, not currently available.  Ms. Ryan noted that other areas of involvement for this position could be to become more involved with the naturalization services, reach out to local colleges for study abroad programs, address travel needs of high school students through exchange programs and other needs, as well as being involved with the community to enhance revenue-generation for that function and the supervisory position.


Ms. Ryan deferred to Ms. Wrzos to address the two additional positions for License Center operations to address current voids.


Over the last five years, Ms. Wrzos advised that License Center transactions had increased by 11%, with no increase in FTE's since 2008, providing better insight for the City Council as to why they were requesting two additional FTE's in the 2016 budget. 


Ms. Wrzos noted current title work and transactions for nine large automobile dealerships, and pick-up/drop-off services provided by License Center staff on several weekdays, while other companies dropped off their transactions on a daily basis.  Ms. Wrzos noted this unknown daily transition traffic continued to be a challenge in providing good customer service/turnaround time for all their customers.  Ms. Wrzos opined it was important for the Roseville License Center to concentrate on local businesses to protect it from another registrar who could offer better and faster service who could take away businesses from Roseville.


Ms. Wrzos further noted the need for an additional counter person, with wait times and lines increasing due to difficulties in meeting customer service needs based on the increased number of transactions.  Ms. Wrzos advised that the Roseville License Center had a great reputation with the state and its customers, with frequent referrals, but in order to maintain that reputation and/or build the customer base, the Center needed to better position itself in expanding that customer base and protect the current client base.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Ms. Ryan advised that she and Ms. Wrzos would work on a more detailed projection of additional revenue available that would handle the additional costs for 3 FTE's; with that information presented in the near future.


At the request of Councilmember Etten, Ms. Ryan addressed current designation of one person, typically one of the four leads, to work specifically with automobile dealers as they brought in their transactions.  However, Ms. Ryan noted this meant pulling that person from the counter to complete those operations, with someone else, usually her or Ms. Wrzos, filling in that void and taking them away from their supervisory duties.


Ms. Wrzos concurred, noting that one of the License Center's largest clients was Enterprise rentals, with daily and frequently out-of-state transactions, with the Roseville License Center currently having secured all of their new vehicles through this office, and typically requiring one of three available Deputy Registrars to process those daily rentals. 


Ms. Ryan noted the typical Enterprise registration changed every 3, 6 or 8 months depending on the resale schedule, since they didn't keep the vehicles for an entire year.  However, Ms. Ryan noted, while being lucrative, it was also time-consuming and often required several transactions for one vehicle depending on whether or not the vehicle was sold.  Ms. Ryan noted staff had performed a cost analysis for daily rental transactions and the time and money spent to perform that work; while noting this didn't take away from the Center's revenue, since this represented a huge dealership for them, with the potential of 250 ' 500 vehicles per week at $10/vehicle.  However, if the Center is unable to meet Enterprise's turnaround needs, Ms. Ryan noted this threatened the Center's reputation as well as retaining this client.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Ms. Ryan noted the Center can process more automobile dealer applications than walk-ins from the street; but the goal was to retain those dealerships through good customer service while also meeting the service needs of walk-in traffic.  Ms. Ryan noted another auto dealership in Maplewood and yet another in Roseville that the Center would like to pursue as clients; however, they were not currently in the position to do so with current staffing without jeopardizing their current clientele.

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Ms. Ryan advised that while the need for more physical space was an ongoing topic of conversation and evaluation, it was still under consideration as to how best to accomplish it.


Since transactions have increased by 11% over the last five years, but the number of employees have not increased since 2008, Councilmember Laliberte questioned if total FTE's had changed during that time.


Ms. Ryan responded that they had not, other than an additional part-time person, but  not new FTE's, as positions have fluctuated among current staff versus any increase in hours/week.


If a dedicated employee was provided to work specifically with auto dealerships, Councilmember Laliberte questioned if current staffing would be restructured.


Ms. Ryan responded that this is the Center's major priority going forward for succession planning and day-to-day operations.  If the 2016 budget provides those requested budget priorities, Ms. Ryan advised that then once they were on board, this would allow staff to look restructuring the operation.


If additional FTE's were available, Councilmember Laliberte asked if there would be an expansion in hours, including evenings.


Ms. Ryan and Ms. Wrzos responded that they would be open to either, whether for the general public or auto dealerships.  Ms. Ryan advised that currently, due to staffing constraints and the need to serve the general public, they did not allow auto dealerships to come in on Saturdays, but could do so if and when additional staffing was available to offer that opportunity.


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Ms. Ryan and Ms. Wrzos confirmed that, if more  marketing was done for the retail/consumer base for the License Center, they could handle increased business under this proposed plan; with discussions already held accordingly.


Information Technology (IT) Network Manager Terre Heiser and IT Support Supervisor Veronica Koes

Mr. Heiser introduced Ms. Veronica Koes in her role as IT Support Supervisor, a change approved by the City Council last year allowing the IT Department to define service responsibilities for operations and services.  Mr. Heiser briefly summarized the Departments SWOT analysis and development of their strategic plan.


Mr. Heiser noted, under strengths, the greatest strength was identified as the partnership and cooperation of the joint powers agreements (JPA's) within the IT Division with 41 service agreements in place with other communities and agencies, allowing the City of Roseville to maintain a more diverse and stronger staff than could be afforded on its own.  Mr. Heiser noted the value-added with the ability to leverage savings found in those shared systems.  As an example, Mr. Heiser noted the hundreds of thousands of dollars saved in updating systems for the group, and millions of dollars in savings during the seven year lifespan of this business model for the entire group. 


However, Mr. Heiser noted challenges were identified in not adjusting the necessary staffing for the IT Departments internal customer base ' Roseville Departments ' with continuing increases in computers and/or users within a single year of 10%, and a significant number of additional users over the last eight years, many represented by mobile units for staff and volunteers on the system, just in Roseville alone.  Mr. Heiser noted that currently the number of users on the network for all JPA's and the City of Roseville indicated one IT staff person to 136 users; with a population base among all agencies supported at over 300,000 users; with only fourteen IT staff to support that customer base.


While the IT Department continues to find some efficiencies in day-to-day operations, Mr. Heiser noted at the end of the day, the question remained as to whether current staff levels were sufficient to guarantee data security and support customers.  Mr. Heiser noted some of the dramatic changes seen over the last few months, including an increase of 100% in public safety needs based on FBI mandates related to security policies, requiring unique and identified user passwords to obtain data, with 150 secure mobile units and 300 authenticated users to access just that one public safety aspect.


In order to meet customer needs, Mr. Heiser advised that the Department's budget priority specifically addressed the City's employees and departments, and whether the department was structured appropriately to meet those needs.  Mr. Heiser noted, among those priorities, recommendations are to additionally reorganize the department to segment operations with an Operations Supervisor/Manager to serve as a counterpart to the role of Ms. Koes. 


Mr. Heiser noted another objective will be to look at priority-based hiring.  Since the IT Department, and through its JPA's, the IT Department was not only faced with meeting concerns of Roseville's five Councilmembers, but also the City Council's or Authority Boards of another 24 cities and/or agencies, looking at the same thing.  While the IT function is one single network concern for all of those bodies and every body needed to accept responsibility for what the function had become, Mr. Heiser emphasized that each body also needed to accept the same responsibility for the overall IT function, and the better position each body was in collectively than they could be individually considering the money already saved and to be realized in the future.


However, Mr. Heiser noted the need to get staffing levels up for the City of Roseville specifically, with one step taken last year in approving a dedicated position to address part of it; and making certain any agency partnering with Roseville was aware of those needs as well.


Through the Department's restructuring and hiring revisions, Mr. Heiser advised that they would be doing tiered hiring structures, since a number of IT tasks could be met with lower-level skill sets paid at a lower rate and requiring technical expertise or degrees providing they met aptitude tests.  Mr. Heiser noted this would allow the City to offer opportunities to disadvantaged people that were qualified to perform that work.  As part of this restructuring, Mr. Heiser advised that consideration was being given to how to restructure the IT Department, how to accommodate staffing, and how to build the structure for the future.


Mr. Heiser advised that he had and Finance Department staff had met with other JPA cities last Friday, and the conclusion of that discussion was that in 2016, an additional seven employees would be needed, first and immediately to address public safety mobile units and access, with field laptops shoring up services and data storage; and then in 2017, infilling front line or computer support people.  Mr. Heiser advised that other cities and agencies were presenting the same request to their City Council's or Authorities as well as this presentation tonight.


Councilmember McGehee, noting the additional person hired to meet Roseville's specific needs and in reviewing the other 41 cities/agencies, not all having their own Police Departments or other mobile needs, questioned how expenses would be divided for these additional 7 employees; and if they were intended to be housed at Roseville, was there a physical plant issue in doing so.


Mr. Heiser responded that the IT Department and its needs were divided into four major categories: computer support, server support, network operations and the management component, with every component weighed differently and depending on the number of pc's with those other agencies, or other needs specific to them and how to divide.  Mr. Heiser advised that all IT positions are weighted according to their role, and shares increased accordingly for the services required by an agency and calculated for those JPA's. 


Specific to space requirements, Mr. Heiser advised that this was a strength for the IT Department compared to other organizations, since they could work anywhere, or could be sent to other locations.  Mr. Heiser noted IT staff typically didn't worry about their work location, noting that not all IT staff was at Roseville City Hall on a daily basis at this time, and he saw no need to increase space to house additional employees.


While recognizing that tonight's discussion is very preliminary and general in nature, Councilmember Laliberte asked Mr. Heiser to look at the proposed tiered structure for reorganization and what it would look like.


Mr. Heiser clarified that this was included as part of the department's strategic plan. 


Mayor Roe sought clarification as to the revenue source for the new positions, whether they would be addressed in all JPA's and not just Roseville.


Mr. Heiser clarified that the City of Roseville's outlay would be minimal to hire the applicable expertise, while still having 24/7 access to that expertise.


Councilmember Laliberte asked if other cities had a deadline for the proposed increases for 2016 and 2017 budgets.


Mr. Heiser confirmed that they did and he had promised each of them that information ' via a one-page summary ' by today; providing a cost estimate for services and their share of hardware and capital.  As indicated in each JPA, Mr. Heiser advised that the IT Department attempted to provide this information to each agency or city by May 15th annually for their budgets; and push them to come back to the City of Roseville with their preliminary numbers by July, and no later than September.  However, Mr. Heiser noted that it was necessary to wait until December of each year to confirm their participation and how to hire accordingly at that point.


In conclusion, Finance Director Miller noted the considerable amount of information provided by the various Finance Department functions, but justified the need for the City Council to be aware of these important changes felt to be needed and the direction the Department was going over the next five years.  Mr. Miller expressed his hope that the City Council saw this as well; and advised that after consultation with and approval by City Manager Trudgeon the Finance Department would be submitting their strategic plan that should fill in some of the blanks left, allowing a better comfort level for the City Council.


Finance Director Miller encouraged the City Council to contact any of the leadership staff for questions or additional information needs, and solicited their feedback as well.


Mayor Roe noted the attendance tonight of some members of the Finance Commission, and asked that staff take advantage of their expertise and seek their involvement in proposed reorganization and division structure changes to serve as a sounding board.


While recognizing that the Finance Commission's plate is also full, Finance Director Miller advised that they would be provided with a copy of the Strategic Plans as well.


b.            Fire Department Budget Presentation

Fire Chief Tim O'Neill summarized Fire Department needs as it continued to transition from a part- to full-time department or combination in the future, and steps needed over a period of time to accomplish that goal. 


For the 2016 phase, Chief O'Neill noted the next step would be a supervisory step, with the proposed re-establishment of the Assistant Chief position, the most important step in the transition from his perspective.  Chief O'Neill noted that the Department had taken a step back to deal with union and healthcare issues and stabilize the department. 


In his review of current supervision, Chief O'Neill noted supervision was done during the day from Sunday through Friday with twelve-hour shifts of two battalion chiefs, and otherwise done by part-time supervisors, which had been the make-up of the department since its inception in the 1950's.  Over the last decade, and with significant technology and workload changes, and a change in the type of calls, Chief O'Neill noted different levels of expertise were now needed.  Chief O'Neill stated that the need was now for 24/7, 365 day supervision, which he wanted to concentrate on for the 2016 budget.


As part of the plan discussed last year, Chief O'Neill noted the estimated cost for that position was $150,000, but as he progressed through the 2015 budget, it appeared that this number may not be achievable for new money  in the 2016 budget, nor would it be supported by the City Council and community, causing him to review again how to achieve it.  In looking for a create solution and in further reorganization of the Department, Chief O'Neill suggesting utilizing what was available today, and get the budget numbers down as low as possible, preferably budget neutral while still meeting the goal of 24-7 supervision.


Chief O'Neill stated that they had been able to achieve that and proposed reinstating the Assistant Fire Chief position, which while not a new position since it had been part of the department in the past, would allow the battalion chiefs back on the street while supervising, but restructuring for more operational involvement and removing a majority of their administrative duties, which this position would then assume.  Chief O'Neill advised that the Assistant Chief would work normal hours in administering the department, while the battalion chiefs would continue to run shifts, providing 24/y community service.


Chief O'Neill noted this would also address the needed succession plan, with the Assistant Chief trained an positioned to take over the Fire Chief's position, making the transition easier long-term.  Chief O'Neill noted this would also have battalion chiefs on the street with a level of experience far above that currently being provided, and available to train firefighters, and have a higher skill level staff interacting with the community on a full-time basis, significantly increasing the service level to the community.  By reinstating the Assistant Chief position and having that available, Chief O'Neill opined it would also provide internal and external customer service and stability for Fire Department employees as well.


In putting this together, Chief O'Neill advised that the reorganization would result in three battalion chiefs with the addition of one new position for the Assistant Chief, and remain budget neutral.  Chief O'Neill noted this would be accomplished by money saved on part-time supervisors and gets dollars down for 2016 and achieves Phase II of the Reorganizational Plan, as well as providing better supervision and service. 


Chief O'Neill advised that, when approved by City Manager Trudgeon, a more detailed follow-up document would follow for City Council review.


Mayor Roe asked for additional information from Chief O'Neill on the types of administrative duties performed by battalion chiefs and which of those duties would be transferring to the Assistant Chief; as well as additional information about on the supervisory role on the street.


In addressing the Assistant Chief versus current Battalion Chief duties, Chief O'Neill clarified that the Assistant would be involved in budget administration, coding invoices and the entire invoice process, personnel and/or union matters involving the Fire Department, and learning the information involved in the Chief's position.   From an operational perspective, Chief O'Neill advised that he envisioned the Assistant position also scheduling personnel using the report scheduling system to address 50 part-time firefighters with varying schedules while making sure all shifts are scheduled and meet the needs of the firefighters as well as the community; as well as addressing uniform and equipment needs for that staff.  Chief O'Neill noted other duties involved ordering equipment, administering a fleet of sixteen vehicles and their maintenance and NFPA monitoring and requirements, ordering supplies, scheduling training, developing training and getting modules ready to push out to on-duty battalion chiefs, and working with Medica on training opportunities.  On the fire prevention side, Chief O'Neill noted the need to make sure when buildings are inspected, it be done routinely and entered in the CAD system, and deal with any community relations issues, and involvement with community events and public relations opportunities.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Chief O'Neill confirmed that the Assistant Chief position would also serve as the Emergency Operations Manager and city-wide risk management with the Fire Department proposed to serve as the potential lead.



Councilmember McGehee questioned if Chief O'Neill saw battalion chiefs specialized in their own training and moving forward from that to take that training to the street level, while maintaining individual and different skill sets.  Specific to succession planning, Councilmember McGehee also questioned when Chief O'Neill retires, if he saw someone from current staff replacing a battalion chief and training that person into a higher level of specialized training while still supervising.


Chief O'Neill clarified that the Battalion Chiefs would still be available to help with their specialized skills and performing their duties.  Chief O'Neill noted it was his hope to promote from inside the organization if possible, since skills had been developed over the years and time and money invested in that training.  Chief O'Neill advised that it was not the intent to lose the current workload performed by battalion chiefs, but to simply move that expertise to the streets and would be in addition to their normal work load; and also that inspections would continue depending on and according to call volumes.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Chief O'Neill confirmed that these three positions would provide day and night shift coverage versus only having mostly daytime coverage under the current structure.


While this transition toward full-time has only been in force for 60-70 days so far, Councilmember McGehee questioned if the next phase going into 2016 and reducing the number of volunteers (part time) and increasing full-time staff would be more cost effective.


Chief O'Neill responded affirmatively, noting this was what made it a budget neutral transition by reducing part-time firefighters, it offset the increase in full-time firefighters.  Chief O'Neill noted there had not been a lot of turnover, typically 4-6 firefighters/year, but in the future, he anticipated a larger loss of part-time firefighters since the department was older and would experience a significant number of retirements over the next few years.  Chief O'Neill advised that there was no intent to fill any of those part-time positions with those retirements.


Councilmember Laliberte questioned if there were other retirements anticipated other than the Chief position that needed succession planning as well.


Chief O'Neill responded that the structure had been positioned to address supervisory roles coming up in the future, with his anticipation that a battalion chief could move into the Assistant Chief position, as that position moved into the Chief's role, allowing for a much more stable department by increasing that full-time base versus having a part-time base.  Chief O'Neill noted that other firefighters had other careers and were not interested in full-time positions beyond this role. 


At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Chief O'Neill noted that he anticipated some additional costs in 2016 due to IFF union coming on board and related contractual items, even though it had been built into the 2016 budget, and depending on the final determination and recommendation of the City Manager. 


Councilmember Etten thanked Chief O'Neill for his thorough review and how he presented this proposal, opining that this was a great read of what the City Council was looking for from staff, not only for the annual budget, but also leadership growth.


Mayor Roe concurred, and asked if there was any personal feedback to-date from firefighters as to whether or not this was a good approach to take.


Chief O'Neill reported that part-time staff seemed happy, since this allowed more flexibility with their schedules next year and they were not committed to as many hours, allowing them more time for their main career and family.  Chief O'Neill noted the value of their commitment and the need to balance their service to the community with the amount of time they provide and interest in adapting accordingly.


Councilmember McGehee noted the addition of the building services contract by Chief O'Neill.


Chief O'Neill opined that the regional opportunities for shared services and partnerships with and among area fire departments were better than he'd ever experienced during his 27 years with the Department.  Chief O'Neill noted discussion were ongoing in how to provide service at today's budget levels in every Ramsey County municipality while still trying to improve service levels to communities by working smarter rather than harder.  Whether that is through continued auto aid agreements, or by working toward dispatching the closest unit no matter its jurisdiction, Chief O'Neill noted the discussions continue and he may have something additional on that front to bring to the City Council later this year.  Chief O'Neill reiterated his appreciation for the climate of cooperation and relationships on the county level not previously found.


Regarding community engagement, Chief O'Neill noted continuing efforts to find ways to engage community through special events, working with other organizations, or other methods that will become available with stabilization of the Roseville staff, and able to be expanded further.


Chief O'Neill noted there would be additional specialized hazard training with other fire departments due to the increased oil shipments moving through, even though Roseville was better prepared that others based on the tank facilities in the community, but being new to other municipalities.  Through a countywide training grant from Texas A & M, Chief O'Neill noted this training would be broader since any event would not be local and require a wider response for some events.


As far as budget challenges, Chief O'Neill advised that the Department was seeking additional monies in 2016 for EMS and building maintenance contracts.  Chief O'Neill advised that many of the disposables used by the EMS were provided through an equipment exchange program with Allina, but current discussions suggest they would prefer not to continue that arrangement, causing the City to absorb that cost in the future.  Chief O'Neil noted the need to continue to review whether or not a change in the medical direction for the community is part of the future as alternatives were continued to be reviewed, with those costs dropping back to the Fire Department, and not currently covered.


Consistent with past action by the City Council, Chief O'Neill noted the Fire Department would propose adding the new Fire Station to the McGough building maintenance contract at $8,000.  Chief O'Neill reported that it was not done this year, as the current Fire Marshal served in that role performing most of their maintenance and saving substantial money for the  City.  However, Chief O'Neill noted the upcoming retirement of that position and need to provide some level of expertise and a suitable and professional replacement schedule provided and available from McGough.


Councilmember McGehee asked the timeline for the Fire Department to complete the asset management program.


Chief O'Neill advised that he didn't see its completion this year, even though vehicle maintenance schedules are included now.  However, Chief O'Neill advised that he anticipated several additional categories being added this year, but would depend on the expertise provided by McGough and suggested it could be in place by this time next year.

At the request of Councilmember Laliberte, Chief O'Neill advised that vehicles were included in the asset management program, but equipment had yet to be added, even though included on the CIP, with categories being buildings, equipment and fleet.


At the request of Councilmember Etten, Chief O'Neill confirmed that the intent for the McGough maintenance contract would start with the staffing changeover, estimated to be approximately this time next year for that pending Fire Marshal retirement.


Insurance (ISO) Ratings for the City were briefly addressed, with Mayor Roe and Chief O'Neill noting the Roseville ISO rating was the highest rating (Level 3) for a part-time department in the State of MN.  Chief O'Neill advising that the only way to get a better rating (Level 2) was to bring on more full-time firefighters; with the next rating occurring in 2019/2020.


c.            Parks & Recreation Department Budget Presentation

Parks & Recreation Director Lonnie Brokke summarized budget priorities and challenges as detailed in his written report.


Among budget priorities, Mr. Brokke reviewed staged approaches for increasing hourly wages for part-time and seasonal employees scheduled to reach a cap in 2016 at $9.50/hour as applicable.  Mr. Brokke noted the ability to attract interns to the department presented more of a challenge, as most cities were offering paid internships now, while the City of Roseville had not been paying in the past.  Mr. Brokke noted he was currently investigating the possibility and resources available to include a stipend in the budget to attract a pool of interns.


Mr. Brokke also addressed 2016 budget implications as facility operations, management and coordination needs come forward in 2016 with all new and renovated park buildings coming on line; with tweaking and analysis of those needs scheduled during 2016 for refinement in the 2017 budget.  Mr. Brokke noted that this included professional facility coordination through McGough for park buildings and the skating center.  Mr. Brokke reported a high level of interest so far in the new facilities, with Assistant Director Jill Anfang handling inquiring, showings, and reservations, all of which took a considerable amount of her time.  Therefore, Mr. Brokke was seeking a half-time position to coordinate and promote facility use in the 2016 budget.


Regarding projected Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) needs listed as a 2016 budget priority, Councilmember Etten noted the funding set aside last year and asked if it had been used or if it remained available.


Mr. Brokke responded that, since development of the EAB Management Plan in 2011, $100,000 had been set aside, with only $25,000 used to-date due to the award of grant monies, using those funds for matching funds.  At the request of Councilmember Etten, Mr. Brokke clarified that the intent was to continue building that fund to address future anticipated EAB mitigation and tree replacements.


Councilmember Etten noted that the Park Improvement Program (PIP) was currently well below historic numbers at $40,000; and questioned whether or not mid-level or mini-capital projects would continue to be funded from the PIP.


Mr. Brokke responded that he had included a $160,000 request as part of the original City Council's Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Task Force recommendation, even though the Parks Renewal Program had accomplished a significant amount of work in addressing park system needs.  However, Mr. Brokke noted there continued to be ongoing needs, and this money would bring the PIP up to a much higher level, and provide for things such as replacing playground mulch, safety surfaces, mulching trees and other such needs that occurred on a continuing basis.


Regarding the EAB infestation, Mayor Roe noted it had been progressing west, and since eastern cities had more experience to-date, suggested that staff contact those cities and/or their park and recreation departments for comparisons, such as a range of expenditures and over what period of time, and comparables with other communities experiencing faster or slower infestation and mitigation.  Mayor Roe opined his would provide a more accurate amount of money needing to be set aside based on their experience.


Mr. Brokke advised that staff had done review, and had found those costs to vary tremendously, but offered to provide that report containing helpful information to the City Council as requested.


Regarding the CIP Task Force discussions and past recommendations, Mayor Roe suggested there was a need to clearly identify those things that should be part of the CIP and those that should be part of the PIP (e.g. tree mulching) and/or what needed to be a consumable or maintenance item for the maintenance budget.  While recognizing that there would be grey areas, Mayor Roe opined that there were some areas that needed further review and refinement (e.g. interior or exterior painting).  After those refinements are made, Mayor Roe noted the intent was that the PIP would be eliminated and become part of either the CIP or Park Maintenance Budget; and suggested moving toward that goal as quickly as possible to provide uniformity across citywide budgeting processes.


Councilmember McGehee concurred with both of Mayor Roe's points, seeking further clarification from Mr. Brokke on the needs for the EAB program.

Mr. Brokke advised that he would like to see the EAB budget at $175,000 total to address future needs.  At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Brokke clarified that, since 25% of the city's boulevard trees are Ash, or approximately 2,500 trees, he would suggest their replacement if and when they needed removal due to EAB. 


Councilmember McGehee agreed that it would be nice to have the report from other cities and whether or not this amount was realistic.


Budget Challenges

At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Brokke advised that the Parks & Recreation Department was responsible for plowing sidewalks and trails throughout the City, with a total of 78 miles, with 38 miles of those sidewalks versus pathways.  Mr. Brokke noted that the pathways within the parks were accessible by trucks and plows versus using other machines to accomplish that task.


Mr. Brokke publically thanked Parks & Recreation Department staff for their efforts during the Park Master Plan process in covering for the lack of a separate construction manager.


At the request of Councilmember Etten, Mr. Brokke noted the shared position and payment for the Golf Course Superintendent and Club House Manager, both paid directly from the Golf Course, even though they work in and share efforts in other areas.  For instance, Mr. Brokke noted the ice person at the Skating Center would go to the Golf Course during certain times of the year (e.g. irrigation issues beyond the expertise of their personnel, or park maintenance staff for specific needs).


Councilmember Laliberte noted conversations held earlier in 2016 regarding elimination of the City's Leaf Pick-up Program; and asked if Mr. Brokke had also reviewed park and recreation programs that may no longer make sense.  If not, Councilmember Laliberte asked that Mr. Brokke analyze those potential things that could be swapped out for new needs or initiatives.


Mr. Brokke responded that staff evaluated programs and services continually, and noted that the department didn't provide for anything not requested by the community.  However, Mr. Brokke offered to look at them in more detail, while advising that several special events had already been discontinued, modified or reduced to bring them into line and more efficient with today's costs.  As part of building replacements, Mr. Brokke advised that he was currently looking into modifying park keeper hours and shifting staffing for summer entertainment to accommodate community needs and trends.  Mr. Brokke advised that it is a continual balancing and re-evaluation exercise based on available funding.


At the request of Councilmember McGehee, Mr. Brokke advised that currently there are no fees for open band shell.  Councilmember McGehee noted that many of these programs and activities served a much broader population than just that of Roseville.


Mr. Brokke responded that the department's primary focus is Roseville, and often attendance trends for events and activities vary from year to year.  However, Mr. Brokke opined that a larger audience usually made it a better event for Roseville residents as well.


Regarding continuing to offer some free programming, Councilmember Etten reported on comments he'd heard from residents of group homes in the community thanking the City for having free programs available since they had limited resources.  Councilmember Etten noted their request for more programs or events during the winter, opining that having free or low cost events was a valuable piece of making the programs and services accessible to everyone.


While recognizing that value, Mayor Roe noted the need to consider volunteer donations for those events or activities, such as through a contribution kiosk, to be able to continue offering them at free or lower costs for those unable to pay.


Councilmember McGehee concurred with Mayor Roe, noting the need to make programs available to everyone, but also for residents to be mindful of their costs.


d.            Administration Department Budget Presentation

City Manager Patrick Trudgeon reviewed the Administration Department's budget priorities with continued focus on core services, and continued evolvement and improvement of the communication functions.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that the 2016 budget would be basically status quo from 2015, with only some minimal inflationary increases.


Mr. Trudgeon noted one area that would require an additional or larger increase would be for new election equipment purchased by Ramsey County and cost-shared by municipalities.


With the importance of and increase in absentee balloting for Roseville residents, Councilmember McGehee asked if it continued to be cost-effective to contract our management of elections to Ramsey County, or if it was found to be budget-neutral.


Mr. Trudgeon responded that, absentee balloting continued to increase, and he advised that he anticipated a significant increase for the 2016 elections, and at this point it would be difficult to determine those costs or budget impacts either way.  Either way, Mr. Trudgeon noted that Ms. Collins and Administration staff would be extremely busy during that time, which would also impact other areas of operation.  Therefore, Mr. Trudgeon noted the need to look to volunteers to assist in various areas, and he would continue to monitor it as things evolved in 2016.  Mr. Trudgeon opined the society as a whole seems to be heading toward more absentee voting, but the 2016 election year would prove very busy no matter what type of voting was chosen.


At the request of Mayor Roe, Mr. Trudgeon confirmed that the existing CIP set-aside for new election equipment should prove close to sufficient based on his analysis at this time.


Mr. Trudgeon identified a potential intern position for the department in 2016 to allow staff to be more proactive with researching and addressing special projects, such as best management practices and policies, as well as in enhancing community engagement efforts and offering more support to advisory commissions.  Mr. Trudgeon opined that there were a number of opportunities depending on their skill set, and advised that he had set aside $5,000 for this purpose in the 2016 budget, in an attempt to leverage people with fresh ideas or for special projects beyond available staff time.  Mr. Trudgeon noted that he had no new positions proposed beyond that of the intern.


Mr. Trudgeon noted his projected set-aside in 2016 of $20,000 for the community survey.

As noted in his budget challenges, Mr. Trudgeon noted the ongoing challenges in complying with rules of the Affordable Health Care Act, which may require seeking assistance from a third party to remain compliant.


While broader than just the Administration Department, Mr. Trudgeon advised that, while the City had been fortunate over the last 4-5 years in health insurance more costs were shifted to employees (e.g. higher deductibles, co-pays, and wellness programs), he noted with an uptick in claims, he anticipated resulting increased costs for 2016, perhaps as high as 10%.  Mr. Trudgeon noted the success in past years with Human Resources Manager Bacon's negotiating skills, it was a necessary consideration.


While Ms. O'Conner helps out in the Human Resources Department, Mr. Trudgeon advised that at times during the year the day-to-day operations get fairly overwhelming, with the need to hire seasonal help.  However, Mr. Trudgeon opined that he felt another option could be found to provide better internal service, and while not proposing anything for the 2016 budget, suggested that the City Council be aware of this for future reference.


Councilmember McGehee personally recognized the additional duties of that department and compliance with the Health Care Act, as well as the Fire Department union.


City Manager Trudgeon noted that additional personnel for the Human Resources function had been under discussion and consideration for some time, but would need to be seriously considered in the not too distant future.


Specific to management of volunteer support, Mr. Trudgeon noted that this still involved each department and not just Volunteer Coordinator O'Brien, as previously mentioned earlier tonight by IT Network Manager Heiser.  As part of this, Mr. Trudgeon noted those volunteer efforts may require additional hardware or kiosks and additional pressures to quantify or find the most cost-effective way to share resources, all of which were still under review and would be challenges coming forward in 2016 and future years.


Regarding implementation of the HRIS authorized last year, Councilmember Laliberte asked if it was now up and running and whether it had served to streamline Human Resource operations.


Mr. Trudgeon advised that it was now up and running, even though it had taken significant time to get it there last year.  However, Mr. Trudgeon noted the real test of the system would come with this fall's benefit renewal for 2016.  Mr. Trudgeon advised that there had been a significant amount of software challenges in importing data, but the system was in a much better place now, and anticipated it would serve to free up much of the department's time in the future.  As noted by Councilmember Laliberte, Mr. Trudgeon confirmed that this was why he was recommending the staffing hold steady for now until those operational issues were put into play.  However, Mr. Trudgeon also noted that, with only a one-person department and if that person was sick or on vacation, there were some Human Resources issues that could not wait, and while he and Ms. O'Conner tried to assist, they were limited with their other duties and often not able to provide timely responses or address critical incident responses sufficiently.


Councilmember Laliberte noted that in last year's budget discussion, she had learned that insurance premiums for single coverage was paid 100% by the City, and asked if Mr. Trudgeon could provide at various scenarios for insurance sharing or splitting that could address disparities across the board.


City Manager Trudgeon duly noted this request.


Councilmember McGehee noted the need for succession planning for both the Human Resources and Volunteer Coordinator positions, and since both needed assistance, perhaps a person could be trained in both those areas to accommodate that need and future planning.


City Manager also duly noted this request; advising that at a later date and after the 2016 budget, it was his intent to again review how the Administration Department was structured for effectiveness and the number of direct reports to him. However, Mr. Trudgeon noted this would have an associated cost and sensitivity would be needed as to the timing of any future restructuring as well.


Even though the Human Resources function was currently under the overall Accounting Function of the City, as other department reorganizations were reviewed, Mayor Roe suggested there may be overlaps that could be taken advantage as part of future reorganization to determine if there were other areas indicating a mismatch in duties and/or time, and to find possible synergies.


City Manager Trudgeon assured that he would explore all possibilities.


In conclusion, Mayor Roe expressed appreciation for staff reports, and having this discussion early in the budget process.  Mayor Roe opined good information was provided by management staff and good conversations had resulted. 


Councilmember Laliberte, with concurrence by Mayor Roe, thanked members of the Finance Commission in attendance tonight.


Councilmember McGehee thanked City Manager Trudgeon for his work with departments on their budgets, and in resuscitating the strategic plan.


14.         Business Items (Action Items)


15.         Business Items - Presentations/Discussions


16.         City Manager Future Agenda Review


17.         Councilmember-Initiated Items for Future Meetings



18.         Adjourn

Etten moved, Laliberte seconded, adjournment of the meeting at approximately 8:17 p.m.


                                    Roll Call

Ayes: McGehee, Laliberte, Etten and Roe.

Nays: None.