July 10, 2019

President Scott Decker called the meeting to order at 8:00 AM.

Present were: President Scott Decker, Vice President Jason Fridrich and Commissioners Sarah Trustem, Nicole Wolla and Carson Steiner.
Absent: None

A. 2020 General Fund Unbalanced Budget
Administrator Joe Gaa states the personnel budget is potentially important this year and in the future years. He states the staff has had quite a discussion on the wage study options and some perspective on that issue.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson outlines the budget agenda to set the preliminary budget statement. Ms. Carlson states this would set the tax levy appropriations. In August the City has to enter into the county what the amount is needed for the 2020 budget.

Accountant Robbie Morey discusses the general fund balance, oil impact transfer, sales tax transfer along with delinquencies in the budget and interest revenue fund.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson does present the personnel request, the original request along with the revised personnel request.

Administrator Joe Gaa discusses the changes in the revision of the personnel requests which include museum changes to the Curator, Custodian and City/County Planner.

President Scott Decker states Jay Elkin from the County has requested that the City take the lion's share of the Planner Steven Josephson. Mr. Elkin's states Mr. Josephson was not in favor of permitting in the ETZ. Mr. Josephson does all the duties except for inspections. The County does hire out for inspections. President Decker is questioning why the City would not do the permits and inspections. President Decker does not feel the City should take on more than 50% of the County Planner.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson states the 2020 budget does have the Planner at 50%.

Administrator Joe Gaa does state there were changes to the Fire Department, Police Department, Solid Waste, Streets, Building and Codes and other departments. He also does start to discuss the wage study and the changes to the wages.

President Scott Decker discusses the wage scale and pay increases

City Administrator Joe Gaa states the Municipal Court would like to look at the building security and video software. Also discussed was the HR applicant tracking program, risk management program, engineering traffic speed/counters, museum needs along with the programs with Dickinson State University.

Commissioner Jason Fridrich questions whether keeping up with the website is the most efficient way to use the IT. He feels there could be other things that IT could be working on instead of the website.

Deputy City Administrator discusses contract with DDA and Sunrise Youth Bureau.

Commissioners Sarah Trustem would like for the City to hold off on the DDA contract commitment. She feels at this time the nonprofit organization the City should be having some justification for the contract. At this time there have been interviews for a new director.

City Administrator Joe Gaa discusses the Friendship Park and the dedication of funding. The City will write an MOU for $250,000.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson discusses the library and the offset for operations that was written into the 2019 budget. She states the library lost about $350,000.

City Administrator Joe Gaa discusses the wage study and the current scale. He also discusses the skill base pay.

President Scott Decker discusses adding a paramedic to the staff and 5 firefighters on at all times.

Fire Chief Bob Sivak does not feel that the City should run an advanced life response system. He feels that if the City takes on the medical field they will get eaten up. Chief Sivak states the City is losing volunteers and it is difficult to gain any volunteers. He states the response level is only increasing in the City. He is hoping to have a shift on duty for both stations at some time in the future.

President Scott Decker discusses the pay scale for the Fire Department and hire a Deputy City Manager for Safety that would be over the Fire and Police Departments. He discusses the pay scale and the increases that would happen every five years.

IT Manager Aaron Meyer presents a power point in regards to the different wages presented by President Scott Decker and City Administrator Joe Gaa. He states he would like to be consistent in the pay and incorporate the skill base pay into the salary. Mr. Meyer explains the savings for long term employees and for paying the insurance.

Fire Chief Bob Sivak states this pay scale that is proposed today is hard to digest. He has some concerns about the position changing. He states 65% of the Fire Department are volunteers. Volunteers save the City of Dickinson a couple of million dollar each year. He states working for the Fire Department is not an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job. He states the responsibilities of a Fire Marshal are very significant and feels this person would leave the Fire Department if they would be demoted. This is not a fair assessment of where this position should be. Fire Chief Sivak states this is the first time that he has seen this information. He states the Fire Marshal are in charge of 30 people.

Administrator Joe Gaa visits about wages affecting the budget. He states no reclassifications would be completed today. He is concerned about the pay currently received by staff.

President Scott Decker states the City needs worker bees and not a lot of chiefs.

Fire Chief Bob Sivak discusses this is the first time he has heard about having a level of management of Step 12 and to eliminate the Police and Fire Chief.

Public Works Director states that the increase to starting pay is a good move. He states the quality of life is what we do due for the Community but if the City can't provide a wage for people to live here this is not going to give the quality of life to people that already live here.

Commissioner Jason Fridrich states this is the first time the Commission has seen this pay scale presented by President Decker. He states receiving no pay raise for five years is a concern.

Administrator Joe Gaa states there are several different pay scales presented and the thought of no pay raise for five years is something to think about. He also suggests retirement contribution, health care increase, etc. Administrator Gaa states he will take this study to the Executive Team for discussion.

Commissioner Sarah Trustem thanks President Decker for doing a great job on the pay scale but feels 5 years for a pay raise is quite concern.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson visits about the sales tax and that the City of Dickinson should raise their taxes to 7%.

Commissioner Sarah Trustem is getting a lot of feedback that the City likes to spend money and is not very conservative. She does not know if six quality of life projects in five years. She states it is what people think is what matters. She states Parks and Rec is looking at raising their taxes. Commissioner Trustem states the school bond will be coming up for election on September 10, 2019.

Commissioner Carson Steiner states the City has not raised property taxes in over 10 years. He feels the City made a mistake by not raising property taxes.

Deputy City Administrator Linda Carlson would states the City can go up to 105 mills but are only at 45 mills. Ms. Carlson discusses how the City would support the library and the museum with the hospitality tax. She states there are a lot of project that need to be maintained such as water systems, streets and others. She states there is a lot of money in the building fund and these funds may need to roll onto future years. She questions the Commission if they would like to leave the request at $5,724,000 and submit this total to the County. The total mills current budget is 48.12.

President Scott Decker discusses the training center and hopefully will start building it by the fall of 2020.

Deputy City Administrator revisits about the items needed to be looked at such as delinquency total from the County; website and searchable code software; gather 3/5 year pay increase with COLA and/or health benefit; and also work with Executive Team to go over some classification and wage study.

Commissioner Carson Steiner states this is the best process of looking at a wage study that has been done in many years.

MOTION BY: Carson Steiner
SEONDED BY: Sarah Trustem
Adjournment of the meeting at approximately 1:30 PM.

DISPOSITION: Roll call vote. Aye 5, Nay 0, Absent 0
Motion declared duly passed.

Rita Binstock,
Assistant to City Administrator
Joe Gaa, City Administrator
Scott Decker, President
Board of City Commissioners
Date: August 6, 2019
(Published: July 27, 2019)