UNION GAP CITY COUNCIL REGULAR MEETING
September 26, 2005
Call to Order
Mayor Reeves called the Regular Meeting of the Union Gap City Council to order at 7:04 p.m.
Council Members Dale Glaspey, David Butler, Dan Olson, Pat McDonald, and Toni Webb were present.
Philip Lamb, City Attorney; Dennis Henne, Public Works Director; Tim Whitehurst, Fire Lieutenant; William Rathbone, Development Coordinator; Bob Noland, Interim Finance Director; and Kathryn Thompson, City Clerk were present.
Phil Salzman, John Hodkinson, Glenn Bateman, Rick Cecil, Tony Reise, Paki Perala, Joe & Linda Jackson, Fred Thomson, Evonne Goeken, Roger Wentz, David Dalton, Debbie Matson, Mike Hunnel, Jo Collier, Sylvia Sanchez, Rick Johnson, Wayne Johnson, Pat Jones, and others were present.
Ordinance No. 2477 – Compensation for Mayor
Resolution No. 586 – Valley Mall Boulevard Phase III Local Agency Agree. with Dept. of Transportation
Final Acceptance of 2004 Water System Improvements Phase 1
Discuss Development of a Work Plan for Implementation of Paul Koch’s Final Report
Items from the Audience
Council Committee Reports
Mayor Reeves read a proclamation designating October 15, 2005 as City of Union Gap Walk Across Washington Day.
Council Member McDonald requested Ordinance No. 2477 – Compensation for Mayor be removed from the consent agenda.
Motion by Council Member McDonald, seconded by Council Member Glaspey to approve the consent agenda, with the removal of Ordinance No. 2477, as follows:
Approve the Budget Workshop Council Meeting Minutes, dated September 9, 2005, as sent out on page 4379 of the Minute Book.
Approve the Budget Workshop Council Meeting Minutes, dated September 10, 2005, as sent out on pages 4380 through 4384 of the Minute Book.
Approve the Study Session Council Meeting Minutes, dated September 12, 2005, as sent out on pages 4385 through 4386 of the Minute Book.
Approve the Regular Council Meeting Minutes, dated September 12, 2005, as sent out on pages 4387 through 4392 of the Minute Book.
Approve Claim Voucher Nos. 64475 through 64554 in the amount of $229,830.94, dated September 26, 2005 and transfer from the operating funds to the Claims Fund.
Adopt and publish Ordinance No. 2475, An Ordinance amending the 2005 Budget, adjusting certain fund income not forecast for 2005, and making expenditures and changes to various funds.
Adopt and publish Ordinance No. 2476, An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 2468 relative to minimum qualifications for the Finance Director.
Adopt and publish Ordinance No. 2478, An Ordinance establishing salaries for certain non-union personnel positions.
Motion carried unanimously. Council Members Lemon and Owen absent.
Council Member McDonald commented that the Council had an informal agreement to adhere to the three-touch rule and this item was not discussed three times. She stated she left the last Council meeting ill and was not aware this was going to be discussed or voted on and she would liked to have been present for the discussion. She also pointed out that if the change of government passes this ordinance would only be in effect from September to November 28th. She stated the Mayor is doing the duties of two positions right now, but feels this should be revisited after the election.
Council Member Glaspey informed he has received feedback from citizens that this salary increase has pushed public opinion in favor of changing the form of government, and he is not sure where the money is coming from.
Mayor Reeves stated the City is not paying a City Administrator $80,000 a year right now.
Council Member McDonald commented this ordinance reverts back to the previous salary if the change of government passes, but if there is no change in government and a City Administrator is hired, the salary does not revert back. She stated the law allows the Council to increase the salary of a strong Mayor while they are in office, but prohibits decreasing the salary.
The City Attorney agreed with Council Member McDonald, stating the law clearly prohibits diminishing compensation during the term of office so if the form of government fails the strong Mayor would continue to receive $24,000 a year for the remaining two years of his term regardless of whether or not a City Administrator was budgeted for and hired. He also informed the City Council can include funds in the budget for a City Administrator, but whether the Mayor fills the position or not is at his discretion.
Mayor Reeves stated if the form of government changes he will no longer be the Mayor and the ordinance would not apply.
The City Attorney informed if the form of government is changed on November 8th, it would become effective November 28th when the County Auditor certifies the election results and the Mayor would become the eighth Council Member. The City Council would then select a ceremonial Mayor who would receive $600 per month, and the Council should consider appointing an Acting City Manager.
Council Member Webb commented if the form of government does not change, the Mayor deserves to be compensated for the extra workload.
Council Member Glaspey stated that the appearance to the public was that the Mayor raised his own salary, and that was not well received by the citizens.
Council Member McDonald stated there was not enough time taken on this issue and suggested postponing this item until November 28th.
Mayor Reeves questioned why this is the only increase being discussed, and why this is the only increase being postponed.
Council Member McDonald informed because of the change of government issue being resolved in a matter of weeks, and not knowing if this ordinance will be providing compensation for a few weeks or two years. She stated the employees are going to be in their capacity and there is no change up in the air concerning their positions. She stated the Executive Session was listed on the September 12th Agenda, but she did not know the Council would be coming back into session and making a decision.
Mayor Reeves stated he personally talked to Council Member McDonald about the Executive Session before she left the last meeting.
Council Member McDonald said the Mayor informed her the Council would be discussing the exempt employees’ salaries, but never mentioned the Mayor’s salary or coming back into session for a vote.
The City Attorney informed he missed the last Council meeting, but he reviewed the minutes and the law and concluded that the City Council was probably not supportive of the increase if the form of government changes so he reviewed this matter with the Mayor and a couple of Council Members and then drafted this ordinance. He stated the law is clear that the salary of the Mayor cannot diminish during his term, so this increase will either expire on November 28th or in two years. He informed procedurally, this item was removed from the Consent Agenda and there is no motion on the floor.
Council Member Webb questioned when the Mayor would be compensated for the extra duties he has taken on if this item is set aside until after the election, and suggested tabling this item to the next Council meeting.
Council Member McDonald recommended establishing compensation between now and the election for the extra administrative duties and tabling this until January.
Council Member Butler stated this was already voted on last meeting by the Council Members present.
Council Member Glaspey stated he is not arguing that the Mayor should not get extra compensation, but he would like to see a new City Administrator hired as soon as possible.
Mayor Reeves informed he cannot hire a new City Administrator because the Council only funded the position for part of the year.
The Public Works Director explained this Local Agency Agreement with the Washington State Department of Transportation requires 13.5 percent matching dollars from the City.
Motion by Council Member McDonald, seconded by Council Member Webb to adopt Resolution No. 586, A Resolution authorizing the Mayor to execute the attached Local Agency Agreement with the Washington Department of Transportation concerning a portion of the funding for Valley Mall Boulevard, Phase III. Motion carried unanimously. Council Members Lemon and Owen absent.
Motion by Council Member Olson, seconded by Council Member Butler to accept the 2004 Water System Improvements, Phase 1 Project as complete. Motion carried unanimously. Council Members Lemon and Owen absent.
Council Member McDonald stated Paul Koch’s final report recommended formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee and an Employee Advisory Committee. She informed it is her understanding that the Mayor is working on forming the Employee Advisory Committee, and requested the Citizens Advisory Committee be advertised in the next newsletter. She also suggested the policy issues recommended by Mr. Koch be assigned to a Council committee or discussed in a Council study session.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the Council to hold a study session meeting to review the policy issues recommended by Mr. Koch.
Parking Lot Enforcement. Fred Thomson stated there is a severe problem with parking lot enforcement in Union Gap, and suggested “happy parking reminders” be placed on vehicles by the citizens patrol.
Handicapped Issues. Mike Hunnel stated he previously distributed materials to the City Council and talked to Council Member McDonald regarding the Image Committee focusing on senior and handicapped issues when new businesses come to town. He stated the Development Coordinator also found some businesses with doors that were in violation of the handicapped code.
4/10 Work Week. Wayne Johnson, Teamsters Local 760, informed the union supports the idea of a 4/10 work week with City Hall being closed on Fridays. He stated he also represents employees in Sunnyside and Sunnyside estimates a savings of approximately $60,000 a year by being closed one day a week.
Council Member McDonald informed she spoke with the City Manager and the City Clerk in Sunnyside and the 4/10 schedule is working well for the employees and the citizens like it because City Hall is open beyond 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Mr. Johnson stated in Sunnyside the Public Works Department employees work either Monday through Thursday or Tuesday through Friday so there is still coverage 5 days a week.
Mayor Reeves questioned how many unions are involved in Sunnyside.
Mr. Johnson stated there are three unions in Sunnyside.
Council Member McDonald stated this idea was first brought up by Probation Officer Pat Gigstead and she then researched the idea and sent a letter to the Mayor and other Council Members. She pointed out this is also a commute trip reduction issue and would encourage fuel conservation.
Council Member Olson commented he also spoke with the Sunnyside City Manager and agrees this is a good idea with a real benefit to the public. He stated one issue that would need to be resolved is the floating holiday.
Mayor’s Salary. The City Attorney informed if the Council is looking for an alternative relative to the Mayor’s salary issue he has an idea to recognize the efforts of the Mayor during this transition that could be discussed further in private.
Mayor Reeves informed this is slap in the face and he does not wish to discuss the matter any further.
City Hall ADA Issues. City Employee Pat Jones informed the City Hall building is not ADA equipped for employees, she has MS and must permanently use a walker, and she would not be able to get out of the building if there was a fire.
The Development Coordinator informed City Hall is an old building with concrete walls and tight doorways, but as many adaptations as possible have been made. He informed the real answer is to provide another building.
Council Member Olson stated a new building is needed, but there is no money in the budget for one.
Ms Jones stated according to ADA no building is grandfathered in and accommodations must be made.
Mayor Reeves informed the following reports are in the packet and questioned if the Council has any questions of the departments: Public Works Department Status Report – August 2005; Fire Department Status Report – August 2005; New Businesses Report – August/September 2005; Mayor’s Report – August 2005; and the draft agenda for October 10, 2005.
October 10, 2005 Agenda. Council Member Glaspey requested discussion of Paul Koch’s final report be added to the October 10, 2005 agenda.
Council Member McDonald requested a letter be sent to the unions requesting input on the 4/10 work week and the item be placed on the next meeting agenda for the second touch.
Finance – Council Member McDonald informed there was no meeting.
Image, Service Efficiency & New Facilities – Council Member McDonald informed there was no meeting.
Regional Stormwater Policy Group. Council Member Olson stated one elected official needs to be designated as the person to sit at the table on the Regional Stormwater Policy Group. He volunteered to be the designated person, and suggested Council Member McDonald as the alternate. Council Member Olson stated the policy group is asking each jurisdiction if they would be willing to have a regional value engineering study done as well.
Motion by Council Member Glaspey, seconded by Council Member McDonald to appoint Council Member Olson as the sitting member on the Regional Stormwater Policy Group, appoint Council Member McDonald as the alternate, and agree to the regional value engineering study. Motion carried unanimously.
Council Members Lemon and Owen absent.
Public Hearing on Gas Tax. Mayor Reeves informed the Cities of Yakima, Selah, and Moxee are holding a public hearing at the Yakima Convention Center on Monday, October 17, 2005 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. regarding the gas tax, and questioned if the Council wished to be included in the public hearing.
The City Attorney informed if the Council wishes to take a public position by passing a resolution, they should declare this a public hearing.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the Council not to declare a public hearing or take a public position on the gas tax.
Rescheduling of Committee Meetings. Council Member McDonald requested the Image Committee meeting be rescheduled to Thursday, October 6th, if possible.
Council Member Olson requested staff attempt to reschedule the Infrastructure meeting due to a conflict with the Regional Stormwater meeting.
At 8:15 p.m., Mayor Reeves adjourned the Regular Council meeting to a joint meeting with the Park Board on Monday, October 3, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers of City Hall.
These minutes dated September 26, 2005 were approved at the Regular Council Meeting of October 10, 2005.
Aubrey C. Reeves, Jr.
Kathryn Thompson, CMC