Mr. Camp noted that the total personnel expenses averaged out to about $76,700 per employee and assumed that that included the benefits. Mr. Camp noted that although I.S. does bill out the cost of conducting business, he hoped that we could continue to see some savings there so the agencies that pay that won't have to use so much of their own budgets.
Mr. Friendt asked if the City's I.S. was in a competitive range in terms of attracting qualified personnel. Mr. Thomas noted that the Personnel office really works well with them on that. Usually when we're hiring, we hire at an entry level and they go through a training process. He noted that the minimums probably are not competitive, but we have not had to hire...Personnel has worked with us. The most recent people hired are working at $30,000.00. That is competitive with the State. Are we going to pay as well as FDR? No. But there are other things that we offer that they don't.....like our retirement program.
Mr. Hubka, Budget Officer, commented to clarify, that salaries were up 9% - Personnel costs were up about 9% and about half of that is fringe benefits which will be driven by the Health Care increases.
PERSONNEL(Excluding Risk Management) Ms. Georgia Glass, Director of Personnel and Ms. Karen Eurich, a Personnel Operations Specialist, came forward to make the presentation.
Mr. Stevens asked if the Personnel office was funded 65% by the City and 33% by the County and 2% by the Public Building Commission. Ms. Glass indicated that that was correct. Mr. Friendt asked if that funding ratio was based on the number of employees? Ms. Glass answered that historically, yes. It has been that percentage for quite sometime and that was the original basis for it. In round-numbers the City has about twice as many employees as the County, though the County's numbers are creeping up. Ms. Glass noted that there might be some merit in looking into the inter-local agreement on this funding.
Mr. Friendt asked what is included under the contractual services line item. Ms. Eurich noted that most of that is the drug testing fees. It's basically a revolving fund, because all of the expenses that are incurred, we actually pay the bill to the drug testing company and then we bill back to each department their portion of the drug testing total. There are some fees that we end up having to absorb in that area, just because there are so many [inaudible] we can't bill it back to the departments.
Mr. Cook asked who gets drug tested. Ms. Glass noted that for some positions drug testing is mandatory before they can be hired, such as police officers and fire fighters. There are also various positions in the City that require driving as a part of the job such as bus drivers, Parks & Rec employees and Public Works employees who drive City equipment. There is also, because of Department of Transportation rules, a random testing pool. Mr. Cook asked if it were "required" under City ordinance, or Federal regulations? Ms. Glass explained that the Department of Transportation requires it. There are two policies - a DOT policy; and a Non-DOT policy. So, those employees who are driving backhoes, aren't covered by the Department of Transportation policies, but the City/County does have a policy under which they would be covered. Mr. Cook asked if the police and fire fighters were covered under the federal or City policy. Ms. Glass stated that Personnel does not do random testing with the Police and Fire Fighters, but just for the people who drive.
Mr. Camp asked about the revenue line for reimbursement of the drug testing [from other departments]. Mr. Hubka explained that it just went back into the General Fund as General Fund Revenue, or it gets charged against their expenditure line item. But he believed it goes back into the General Fund Revenues. Mr. Camp noted that it may not amount to a lot, but the more we can see expenses and revenues tied together, it is helpful and benefits the department. He asked if LES didn't have it's own Personnel Office. Ms. Glass noted that that was correct.
Mr. Camp asked, regarding the new ambulance enterprise fund, if that is going to be a reduction in revenues for the Personnel office? Ms. Glass indicated that it would not. She explained that the services that Personnel provides to all departments in the City and County are provided whether they are tax funded or are an enterprise fund, or are fee based...whatever. Personnel does not charge back anything to any departments. The drug testing is the only thing.
Mr. Camp asked Mr. Hubka if there was an enterprise fund. Mr. Hubka explained that Personnel is part of the Central Service allocation that all the enterprise funds pay. The EMS fund will pay that as well. It is based on the number of FTEs in relation to the City. They're allocated a share of the Personnel Department's cost. So, it's not billed directly by Personnel, but it becomes part of the Central Service cost allocation which does get billed to all those funds.
Mr. Friendt asked what the function of the Pension Officer was. Ms. Glass responded that the Pension Officer handles the police and fire pension. Mr. Friendt asked what "handles" meant. Ms. Glass stated that the Officer administers the pensions, over-seeing the investment of the money; he does all of the service to the members of the police and fire pension when they get ready to retire; he consults with them on what they need to do and takes care of all the paperwork when they retire.
Mr. Friendt asked if the City used an outside investment adviser to actually make the recommendations of investment? Ms. Glass stated that yes, the City has a relationship with Smith-Hayes. Mayor Wesely noted that they had reduced their conferences and speaker funds.
Mr. Svoboda asked if the $1500 is so essential to what you do in printing of the forms, why is it out here on a hit list; is there nothing else in the budget - $1500- even in salary savings, or anything? He noted that it bothers him when something is so essential to your operation and it shows up on a hit list. Ms. Glass noted that the reason it is on the hit list is because we don't print these PA forms every year. We print them every two years. Ms. Eurich noted that they try to print about 10,000 at a time to get a cost break. So, it just depends on how many actions are being done in a year. Every year, we have the massive cost of living increase, for which every single person gets a new PA. Then it's just really hard to predict what else is going to happen through out the years. Sometimes it's two years, sometimes we just see.
Mr. Camp noted that the solution to that is that there would be no cost of living increases & save on the printing. [Laughter]
Ms. Glass closed noting the contribution Personnel was asking the City Council to make....the additional contribution....to the Police and Fire Pension Fund. That would be $250,000. She noted that they felt it was essential in maintaining the appropriate funding for the police and fire pension. Mr. Camp noted that that item was City only. He asked, for the Common Members' benefit, that Ms. Glass review what's going to happen in the next four or five year on that, because that starts jumping up to $2,000,000.00 per year very quickly. Ms. Glass responded that the Police and Fire Pension currently has about $121,000,000.00 on hand. She thought the projections were that, to maintain 100% funding (and right now, the Police and Fire Pension is about 5% over-funded), but to maintain 100% funding, so that we can meet the future on-going obligations that we will have to the people who retire, and those who are currently retired, the City needs to continue to increase the amount that we are putting into the Police and Fire Pension Fund.
Mr. Camp asked if cost of living increases were projected in those figures. Ms. Glass indicated that they were. What they do is have an actuarial firm working on these things. So, we're constantly projecting what we think the cost of living raises will be, so we know how much payroll is going to be. Of course our actuaries are constantly calculating how long people are going to live. Normal age - average age of retirement - is 52 and if people are going to live until their 75, that's how much money you need. So, they're constantly re-calculating these actuarial tables. They're telling us based on their actuarial calculations what kind of funding we need.
Mr. Camp stated that he would appreciate an update on that information. He had a last question, asking what the cost of living has been projected recently. Ms. Glass noted that she believed they had put in a 4% this year. He asked if they did 6% this year on City employees. Ms. Glass stated that last year when we settled the contract, there was an average 10% pay increase; in the 2nd year of the contract, it was 3-1/2%; the third year of the contract will be 4%.
Mr. Workman asked where the $121,000,000 was invested. Ms. Glass noted that it was invested in a variety of things. She said that they had been working toward 30% in stocks and bonds and 70% fixed. Actuarially, they base their budget on a 7-1/2% over-all return. She noted that they have an assumed rate of turn; so if we do better than that, it's great. Quite frankly, last year we did do better. But it is not based on any one year's market fluctuations. But, she noted she would schedule a Pre-Council meeting on the subject.
PLANNING - Ms. Kathleen Sellman, Planning Director, and Mr. Kent Morgan made the presentation. Mayor. Wesely commented that the staffing situation with the Planning Department is very difficult because of the long hours. He noted that his reasoning in giving them the $75,000.00 for the Comp Plan is to build that as a base for bringing in two more planners the next year. There is a request for two more this year, but we just don't have the money for those additional two positions in this years budget. Mayor Wesely praised Kent Morgan for his efforts on the Comp Plan process. Ms. Seng added that Ms. Sellman had done a great job on the many difficult planning tasks that have been addressed since Ms. Sellman came on as Planning Director. Mr. Friendt asked what the basic split was on Planning Department Funding between the City and County. Mr. Hubka answered that it was 80%/20% according to an interlocal agreement that was negotiated many years ago. Ms. Campbell noted that there had been a committee that looked at the interlocal agreements and it was agreed to leave them alone. This 80/20 split was based on the number of zoning requests at the time that the agreement was drawn up.
Mayor Wesely noted that Omaha was just now beginning to look at merging their County and City Planning Departments. It was agreed that Lincoln was very fortunate to have that merger already accomplished and working well for the benefit of the community.
Ms. Campbell noted that the County has a mid-year review of the budget and personnel needs. If things look better at that time, we need to reconsider the FTE roster to avoid total burn-out of the staff in the Planning Department. The Planning process for Lincoln is just beginning with the Comp Plan/Stevens Creek/Beltway. After those issues are completed, then all the ordinances and resolutions relating to those issues will have to be revised. That is something that was never addressed after the 1994 Comp Plan, so there will be double the work. Mayor Wesely agreed with that.
Mr. Cook asked about the raised fees that were approved a few years ago and what percentage of actual costs was involved and what Ms. Sellman thought was appropriate. Ms. Sellman answered that it was a very small fraction of the costs. Mr. Hubka indicated that the raised fees were meant to cover the cost of the planners that were added. It amounted to about a doubling of the fees.
Mr. Camp asked if that was another fund that goes into the General Fund as opposed to being here on the Revenue. Mr. Hubka answered that it also goes to the General Fund. Mr. Camp asked if that was terribly administratively burdensome to do that, as he thought it might be in this case. Mr. Hubka answered that it is a lot easier to do that than to account for each individual revenue and tie it back to a department. He noted that it is much easier to put it into "one big pot" and forecast it as an individual item than to tie each revenue back to an individual department. Mr. Camp asked if there was some way to know where the funding comes from. Mr. Camp requested some information on that. Ms. Jean Walker added that Mr. Hubka had really followed closely the fees collection from Planning. The last budget year the fees collection were $148,000.00.
Mr. Workman noted that he wanted to honor the private time of the Planning employees, quoting Lee Iacocca who stated that "if you can't do it in 40 hours, there's something wrong". Mr. Workman wanted to make sure that there wasn't something wrong here. He went on to reiterate Ms. Seng's comments regarding Ms. Sellman's performance. He noted that until she came along, things were pretty well stalled out and in her quiet way, she had gotten everything moving again. He thanked Ms. Sellman for that.
Mayor Wesley mentioned that Infrastructure finance comes back sometime in the next few months and by the end of the year, we should have a proposal that will help with these concerns. Mr. Cook stated that much of the work that is done in the Planning Department deals with new development. That is a cost that needs to be taken into consideration along with the cost of new lots; though it is easily over-looked. He wanted to see that cost funded in the new budget.
Mayor Wesely noted that developers supported the increase last time because it sped up the process. He thought they'd support it again if they knew that it would be cutting down their time. Mr. Svoboda asked if there had been a public outcry from the developers standpoint. Mayor Wesely responded that they had supported it.
Mr. Cook noted the mention of Lincoln becoming "a transportation management area, requiring changes in the administration in each of the various transportation planning studies". Ms. Sellman noted that it means a whole lot more than what is written. The Federal Government established thresholds, based on population. It significantly changes our approach as to how we get funds; and this would involve a lot more paper work. Mr. Morgan noted that it changes the funding formula with an increase in paperwork and higher expectations.
Mr. Cook asked if this would have any effect on our planned transportation section, or on the beltway? Mr. Morgan answered that we're not officially at certified census results that will trigger the changes, but we know its coming, so we're trying to plan to that level now. Mr. Cook asked if it will occur soon and will it suddenly change what we have to do? Mr. Morgan responded that there will be subtle changes in terms of what we have to do [inaudible] being something that we're going to have to do, so we're building those into the process now.
HUMAN SERVICES & Justice Council. - Ms. Kit Boesch, Human Services Director and Justice Council Co-ordinator made the presentation.
Ms. Boesch indicated that she would be coming back to the Common after Emergency Services' presentation, noting that there was an appeal on JBC funding allocations to be addressed.
Mr. Stevens thanked Ms. Boesch for her contributions to the community after serving with her on the United Way Fund Allocations. He felt she had done an excellent job representing the government to the community and to other human services agencies. He indicated that he had a question about the grants. He asked if she had an estimation of the dollar value of the grants she had brought in over the past year. Ms. Boesch stated that right now her office is managing about $3.5 million in grants. She noted that on some of the grants they receive administrative overhead that doesn't come back into their budget, but goes into the General Fund. She commented that she will try to have that designated in next years budget.
Ms. Seng asked Ms. Boesch to give a brief history of the Human Services Department for the newer Common Members, which Ms. Boesch did, including how the grant process began. Ms. Boesch also noted that this process has put Lincoln in a very good position during this time of diminishing revenue sharing funds which has plunged some cities into truly desperate straits.
EMERGENCY SERVICES- Mr. Doug Ahlberg came forward to make the presentation. Mayor Wesely thanked Mr. Ahlberg for the great job he does, noting that there were some problems a few years ago that aren't there anymore. The Mayor noted that Mr. Ahlberg is always there, to handle any situation that requires his expertise.
Ms. Seng also offered her appreciation to Mr. Ahlberg for the fine job he is doing, noting that he has turned the whole Emergency Services operation around.
Ms. Kathy Campbell told the Common members that Lincoln/Lancaster County is the first area in Nebraska to provide warning protection in State recreations areas.
Ms. McRoy and Mr. Workman both expressed approval of the Emergency Services website as another valuable tool in getting information to the citizens quickly in an emergency situation; and for the excellent use of volunteers which so economically enhances Mr. Ahlberg's programs.
JBC - Ms. Boesch came forward to introduce Ms. Janelle Soderling and Mr. Jeff Scheer representing the Willard Community Center who presented an appeal (based on what Ms. Boesch considered to be new information) to the JBC recommendation for no additional funding for busing of their clients. The Common heard the appeal and recommended to uphold the JBC denial.
Mr. Steve Hubka came forward to request approval of the budgets presented from the joint County/City Departments. The budgets were approved.
Ms. Kit Boesch came forward to request approval of the recommendations from the JBC. The recommendations, as presented, were approved.
OLD BUSINESS - None
NEW BUSINESS - None
ADJOURNMENT - Mr. Camp called for a motion to adjourn. The motion to adjourn was made, seconded and carried by unanimous consensus
Joan V. Ray
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