Finance Committee

Boards, Commissions & Committees

Finance Committee - December 18, 2023 Minutes


Regular Meeting Monday, December 18, 2023
The Regular Meeting of the Finance Committee of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the Commission Chambers at City Hall at 10:00 a.m., Monday, December 18, 2023.

The Finance Committee Members present or absent were as follows:

Present: Timothy Mahoney, Dave Piepkorn, Michael Redlinger, Susan Thompson, Steve Sprague, Tanner Smedshammer, and Brenda Derrig.
Others Present: Nancy Morris, Cheif Zibolski, Chief Dirksen, Desi Flemming, Melissa Perala, Wyatt Papenfuss, Jamie Bullock, and Jill Pagel.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Sprague moved the minutes of the November 20, 2023 Finance Committee meeting be approved as presented. Second by Mr. Redlinger with a ll Members present voting aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Regular Agenda

2023 City and County Sales Tax:

Mr. Sprague told the Committee that the City is having a strong November and back up to a
5.3 year over year growth.

Budget Adjustment Fire Department Recruits Approved:

Chief Dirksen stated that the Fire Department was authorized to hire 15 new firefighters to staff Fire Station 8. The approved budget provided was $615,000 to cover salary and benefits for half the year. The budget team had planned for the FFD to hire 6 firefighters in April and an additional 9 in September. The FFD runs a joint recruitment academy with the West Fargo Fire Department that is 16 weeks in length. If they start an academy in September, that group would not complete training until January of 2025. This would delay the ability to open Fire Station 8 until January of 2025. The general contractor estimates the project to be 2-3 months ahead of schedule with plans to open in October.

Chief Dirksen was asking for a slight budget adjustment for $81,996 and stated that the good thing is, there was more money coming in through a Fire Premium Tax to the tune of
$502,000 that he was not expecting.

Recommended Motion:
Approve the Fire Department budget adjustment of $81,996 to hire 15 firefighters for Fire Station 8.
Mr. Piepkorn moved to approve, second by Ms. Derrig and all members present voted in favor.

Capital Fund Roll Over Approved:

Chief Dirksen had voiced his concerns with some structural issues at Fire Station 5. Earlier in September, the Fire Department asked for some funds that he had left over in their capital account to be reallocated to hire an architect and engineering firm to begin the work to fix this problem.
The Chief said that the cost of a boiler replacement at Fire Station 3 was under budget and they also held off on purchasing gear extractors and equipment washers earlier in the year for some cost savings he would like to put towards this request.

Recommended Motion:
Approve the rollover of equipment funds in the amount of $111,347.15 and $66,703.26.
Ms. Thompson moved to approve, second by Ms. Derrig and all members present voted in favor.

Budget Adjustment-Substance Abuse Prevention Approval:

Ms. Perala presented a Purchase of Service Agreement providing funds for the collaboration with existing substance abuse prevention organizations and programs in the amount of
$187,500 for three years.

Recommended Motion:
Move $27,000 of those dollars to the Substance Abuse Prevention account.

Budget Adjustment-Opioid Prevention Approval:

Ms. Perala also presented a Purchase of Service Agreement providing funds for addressing opioid stimulant misuse and use disorders through prevention in the amount of $277,740.

Recommended Motion:
Move $100,740 of those dollars to the Opioid SOR Grant account.

Ms. Derrig moved to approve both budget adjustments, second by Mr. Sprague and all members present voted in favor.

Public Health Infrastructure and Workforce Grant Approved:
Ms. Flemming stated that the ND Department of Human Services received grant money from the Center of Disease Control. With those funds, Fargo Cass Public Health received $673,356 to be expended between 11/1/2023 and 11/30/2027.

Usage of these dollars are at the discretion of the local health department within approval categories and reported to NDDHS. Ms. Flemming asked for support to sustain their existing workforce which has been a challenge.

Recommended Motion:
Approve the usage of $140,000 of the grant funds to support and sustain current public health employees through a workforce retention bonus to be paid out February 9, 2024.

Ms. Derrig moved to approve, second by Mr. Redlinger and all members present voted in favor.

Request for Overfill Personnel Approved:

Chief Zibolski gave an overview of the several anticipated retirements and/or resignations during the first quarter of 2024. He stated it is an eight month gap to fill positions. In order to ensure the seamless continuity of public safety services, the Police Department is making an effort to be proactive and limit the amount of time between officers leaving and new officers starting.

To keep the department in full staff, Chief Zibolski stated how important it is to overfill and to take advantage of the good candidate pool he has for new positions. Based on a 20 year average, he believes the Police Department can accommodate 5 additional staff necessary for maintaining adequate coverage, upholding the safety of our community, and ensuring a swift response to emerging public safety concerns.

Further conversation ensued.
Recommended Motion:
Approve the Fargo Police Department to overfill five sworn officer positions in the January 22, 2024 Academy class due to pending resignations and retirements

Mr. Piepkorn moved to approved, second by Mr. Sprague and all members present voted in favor.

Confirm January 29, 2024:

Mayor Mahoney asked if Ms. Thompson was just confirming the next Finance Committee meeting for January and she replied, yes, the last item is just to confirm the date for the next meeting.

The time of Adjournment was 10:19 a.m.