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City Council Budget Workshop Minutes March 21, 2015

MARCH 21, 2015

Mayor Russell called the meeting to order at 8:00 AM and directed the city clerk to call the roll. On roll call Ald. Barb Mask, Gene Field, Dan Nederhoff, Sue Van Kampen, and Mike Van Zuiden answered “present.” Those absent were Ald. Margaret Crosthwaite, Wes Letcher, and Howard Van Zuiden. Also in attendance were Ed Cannon- City Administrator, James Rhoades- Chief of Police, Dan Clark-Public Works Director, Melissa Wiebenga- Tourism/Community Services Director, Tammy Garibay- Utility Clerk, and Casey Simpson- Patrol Officer.

The pledge of allegiance was recited. No invocation was given.

There was no communication from visitors.

Mayor Russell asked PW Director Clark to review insurance Option 1 provided on the handout. Option 1 is a High Value Plan and was proposed by the insurance committee which had 100% employee coverage, $75/pay period for spouse, Child- $15 base amount plus $14.32 per child/pay period. City Administrator Cannon explained the other three options which included a 100/50 High Value plan (Option 2), a 100/50 Affordable Plan (Option 3), and a 90/75 Affordable Plan (Option 4). Administrator Cannon explained that even with the proposed Option 1 plan there is still a $16864 deficit, it’s unpredictable because it depends on exact coverage levels and it’s not equitable for those with more dependents. PW Director Clark said the 100/50 would be a large hit for employees with several dependents. Mayor Russell reminded the Council that according to a healthcare survey conducted with our neighboring communities, the city of Fulton is the outlier and our peers have already faced the struggle of increasing healthcare rates. Administrator Cannon also shared that there is reserves earmarked for healthcare increases in the future. Clearly, now is the time to utilize those reserves to help employees ease into the increase over the next two to three years. All Aldermen agreed a change needs to be made. Administrator Cannon recommended Option 4 because it’s equitable and affordable and the health reserves would be available 2-3 years out. Ald. Mask said she likes Option 3 which uses 60% of reserves the first year rather than 45% in Option 4. Ald. Mask motioned, seconded by Ald. Van Kampen to approve using Option 3 for employee contribution levels. Roll call vote/ 5 yes, 3 absent/ motion carried. Mayor Russell clarified that with Option 3 the reserves will not help as much in year 2 and certainly not in year 3. Ald. Mask motioned, seconded by Ald. Van Kampen to have the City Administrator draft a policy that can be used going forward so they are more efficient in this process. Roll call vote/ 5 yes, 3 absent/ motion carried.

Second item for consideration is the possibility of raising the utility tax rate. In 2012 Fulton established a 2.5% Municipal Utility Tax on natural gas and electricity. Illinois statutes limit utility tax rates to 5%. Fulton’s Utility Tax generates $123,000 and represents 7.8% of Fulton’s General Fund revenues. Raising the Utility rate to 4% will generate approximately $75,000. Ald. Mask was concerned about raising the rate since property taxes increased 1.7% and water/sewer rates will increase. Administrator Cannon said since the city isn’t selling land, they need a way to generate funds to service the loan on the Industry Center. It was decided to hold another budget workshop for March 30th at 5:30PM.

With no further business, Ald. Mask motioned, seconded by Ald. Van Kampen to continue this meeting on March 30th at 5:30PM. With voice agreement, the meeting adjourned at 9:26 AM.

Minutes recorded by,

Jackie Wilkin
Fulton City Clerk