Finance Committee

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Finance Committee - July 24, 2023 Minutes


Regular Meeting Monday, July 24, 2023

The Regular Meeting of the Finance Committee of the City of Fargo, North Dakota, was held in the Meadowlark Room at City Hall at 10:00 a.m., Monday, July 24, 2023.

The Finance Committee Members present or absent were as follows:

Present: Timothy Mahoney, Dave Piepkorn, Michael Redlinger, Steve Sprague, Tanner Smedshammer, Susan Thompson and Brenda Derrig.

Absent: None.

Others Present: Jill Minette, Beth Wiegman, Ben Dow, Bekki Majerus, Nancy Morris, Wyatt Papenfuss, Troy Hall, Erik Johnson, Scott Olson, Jill Pagel.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Piepkorn moved the minutes of the June 26, 2023 Finance Committee meeting be approved as presented. Second by Mr. Sprague. All Members present voted aye, and the motion was declared carried.

Consent Agenda

Sole Source and PBC items Approved:

Ten requests were approved.

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

Regular Agenda

Sales Tax Analysis

Mr. Sprague reviewed the last month sales tax collection for Cass County and the City of Fargo and stated that taxes continue to move slow and moderate.

Sole Source Request for Special Consulting Services Approved:

Mr. Hall and City Attorney, Erik Johnson are requesting assistance from a third party to review the proposed Project Participation Agreement (PPA) associated with the Red River Valley Water Supply Project (RRWSP).

The PPA was prepared by the Garrison Diversion Conservation District (GDCD) and addresses the local user cost-share responsibilities. The City of Fargo has a lot at stake and this project is complex and it is critical to utilize the knowledge and expertise of a third-party specialist who needs to understand the subject matter to conduct a thorough review.

Mayor Mahoney clarified that LAWA represents all parties, but no one is working directly for the City of Fargo’s interest. Mr. Piepkorn asked who exactly is the owner of the project. Mr. Johnson stated that the agreement is with the State of ND (Garrison Conservancy), LAWA, City of Fargo (65 % of the project) and Grand Forks (17% of the project).

The motion before the Finance Committee is to approve the request and recommend this item to move forward to the City Commission. Motion included Legal Services and sole source procurement with Hamre, Rodriguez, Ostrander & Prescott P.C. for third party review of a PPA associated with the RRVWSP.

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

Transfer 2023 Water Utility Capital Budget Lines to Master Planning Budget Approved:

Mr. Hall is requesting a budget line transfer in the 2023 budget moving two unused line items to be reallocated as follows:

$125,000 from Water Meter Pilot Study and $150,000 from System Extension Improvements for a total of $275,000 to be moved into District System Master Plan Update, account 501-3051-441.74-10. Both items will not be utilized in 2023.

Mr. Sprague noted that the new Automated Meter project will be able to continue to move forward without conducting the Pilot Study.

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

Transfer 2023 Water Utility Capital Budget Line-Item Funds-Sheyenne Gate Project to Renewal & Rehab Budget Approved:

Mr. Hall is requesting a budget line transfer of $600,000 from the Sheyenne Gate project that will be funded using Fund 450 (Infrastructure Sales Tax) to the Renewal & Rehab budget, account 450-3510-510.74-10.

As part of the Bridge Replacement Project on 52nd Ave, the Sheyenne Gates at the Red River pump station will be replaced with the 52nd Ave Project that will be assessed so no immediate funds are needed.

The R & R funding will be used to replace Ultrafiltration (UF) modules in one of the UF trains in the Membrane Water Treatment Plant.

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

Transfer Funds for Osgood Site Improvements Approved:

Mr. Olson is requesting to transfer funds from the Landfill Capital Improvement budget, account 531.3074.433.73-10 to the Drop Site Improvement budget, account 531.3076.432.73-10.

The drop site was originally constructed in 2010 with perimeter berms and 4’ chain link fencing. The Solid Waste Department currently maintains twenty existing recycling drop site locations. Over the past several years the department has removed the berms and chain link fence at several sites due to maintenance and mowing issues and replaced it with a 6’ vinyl fence. Solid Waste is requesting to transfer funds from the Landfill Capital Improvements budget line to the Drop Site Improvements to remove the existing berm and chain-link fence and replace with vinyl at the Osgood site. The total project cost and amount to be transferred is estimated at $37,500.00.

Funds were saved from a Landfill Capital Improvement project that can be transferred to the Recycling Drop Site Improvements budget to complete this project.

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

Vehicle Contract Purchase 2024 Approved:

Mr. Dow explained the cost savings from being able to purchase vehicles off the State Contract however, over the past three years it has been difficult to capitalize on these contracts due to the limited supply and short window of time the contracts are available. He noted it is critical for staff to have the ability to place orders as soon as the State Contract opens. At times, the State will have these contracts open for no longer than one week and vehicles like patrol cars get procured very quickly. Another example of urgency is like the FargoDome who had two contracts canceled with lack of inventory and had to reorder with increased pricing.

Mr. Dow is requesting permission from the Committee to order 2024 budgeted vehicle replacements as soon as the State Contracts become available. He also stated that no vehicles ordered will be delivered or paid for prior to January 1, 2024.

Mr. Sprague moved to approve, second by Mr. Smedshammer, and all member present voted in favor.

Maintenance Technician and Supervisor Market Adjustments Approved:

Ms. Majerus is requesting a market adjustment for a tough market of positions, including Maintenance Technician I, II and III positions in all departments as well as the Maintenance Supervisor.

Ms. Minette stated that her department has collected data locally and throughout the state that shows that the City of Fargo’s current pay levels are lagging below both the public and private local market.

The table attached to this item shows the annual cost of the market adjustment requested. Mr. Piepkorn asked how the increases would be funded and Ms. Majerus responded that she currently has seven maintenance positions vacant that will offset the cost.

Ms. Minette would like to have the salary changes effective as of the next City Commission approval date.

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

Downtown Library Shade Cost Clarification Update:

Ms. Majerus summarized the events of the Downtown Library Shade Replacement project for the committee. The overall cost of the project came in lower than expected at $122,550 and the award was made to Amy’s Windows on July 10, 2023.

Ms. Majerus explained that there were some communication issues as to if Facilities Management or the Library would be paying the consulting costs. Ms. Majerus admitted that she also should have been included JLG’s fees in the overall cost of the project at the last Finance Committee meeting. For clarification, the total cost of the project is as follows:

JLG Architects: $42,000
Amy’s Window $122,500

Total cost of project $164,550

Mr. Sprague moved to approve, but Ms. Thompson said she had additional questions. Mayor Mahoney asked for a second which was responded by Mr. Redlinger.

Ms. Thompson questioned where the communications failure was as the scope of work from JLG did include all aspects of the project. Ms. Majerus explained changes to the project but was not able to fully explain the additional expenses or what the final cost for services would be but did state that she put a hard stop on any amount over $42,000.

Ms. Thompson requested to see the invoices before moving forward. She also asked if these services should be 402 funded.

Mr. Sprague asked if the discussion should continue after more detailed expenses are discussed. Ms. Thompson suggested that since this is 402 funded, if this is in the City’s best interest to add these funds to this project. Ms. Derrig asked, do we want to put consultant fee in a long-range fund. Due to these questions, Ms. Majerus and Ms. Thompson will work together to gather more information and come back to committee at a further date.

Mr. Piepkorn moved to modify the motion to include a collaboration between Ms. Majerus and Ms. Thompson to work on this project to review invoices and figure out the funding mechanism, seconded by Mr. Redlinger. All members present voted in favor of the modified motion.

Budget Adjustment-Insurance Reimbursement for Fargo Cass Public Health Approval:

Ms. Majerus summarized an incident from December 28, 2022, when a pipe burst and flooded 10,000 square feet at the Fargo Cass Public Health building. The expenses were estimated to be over $200,000. A claim was submitted to NDIRF for reimbursement and a check for $193,376.65 was received and deposited into the Insurance Proceeds account, 101-0000-361.18-00.

Facilities Management is asking for those funds to now be transferred to the following accounts to offset expenses.

• 101-1050-409.43-10 Building Repairs: $3,102.57
• 101-1050-109.61-10 Office Supplies: $80.00
• 101-1050-409.61-40 General Supplies: $1,329.92
• 101-6010-451.61-40 General Supplies: $673.23
• 475-1050-510.73-20 Site Improvements: $188,190.93

Total: $193,376.65

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

Discussion regarding the Finance Committee.

Ms. Thompson says Finance Commission is a gatekeeper to City Commission. Ms. Thompson asked to review what the definition of this meeting is and if it would it be beneficial to meet more often? Mayor Mahoney feels like this is a staff meeting and meeting once a month is sufficient. Mayor Mahoney also reviewed his thoughts on how Finance Committee as operated. Mr. Piepkorn feels these are not emergency items and departments should be more prepared. Mayor Mahoney appreciates the Finance Committee; it provides detailed dialog on complex financial items. Ms. Thompson mentioned that Finance is making some standard budget adjustment guidelines and forms to assist department on budget adjustments. Mr. Piepkorn thinks Finance and Administration need more time to pre-discuss some items before the meeting and requested that a Wednesday noon deadline for agenda items submitted. Departments should know where the funds are coming from for each item and show the numbers and accounts being used. Mr. Redlinger knows that there will always be calendar issues with vacations but suggested we post calendar year Finance Committee dates to get on the committee’s calendar. Ms. Derrig says with other committees they also feel under the gun. She suggested having a one-off, walk-up item added if needed. Add a number 10 (other items) Mayor suggested some preview of items between Finance and Mr. Redlinger before the meeting would help create dialog of each item. Ms. Thompson will continue to work on the budget request form and send out when completed. Mr. Redlinger would like to see budget adjustment items standardized and can possibly be added to the consent agenda.

The time at adjournment was 11:08 a.m