The City of Rolla agreed to take on technical services with external entities one year at a time to allow for future consideration of the extra workload.
Rolla’s Finance Director Steffanie Rogers presented three technical assistant contracts to the Rolla City Council for the city to provide accounting services for the Rolla Public Library, the Phelps County Emergency Services Board and Edgar Springs Rural Fire Protection District.
The first contract Rogers presented at the Rolla City Council meeting Dec. 17 was the final reading for an ordinance authorizing the City of Rolla to provide accounting services for the Rolla Public Library, with the stipulation the city provide these services through 2022.
Rolla currently provides technical services for 13 separate entities in the area, and there is a concern over the additional workload, so before the final reading of the first ordinance, Rolla City Administrator John Butz made the suggestion to amend the technical assistant contract between the city and the library to a one-year extension through Dec. 31, 2019, which would allow time to review all of the city’s current contracts.
“We can revisit this and probably look at all of them and see if it makes sense doing that kind of work for up to 13 different entities,” said Butz. “Some make sense for us to do, others make less, and some like the library take a lot more time than some of the other ones.”
City council member Brian Woolley asked why the entities aren’t using private county services instead of the city’s services, and Butz explained that these tend to be small organizations, volunteer boards, sometimes with a staff member and some cases not even a full-time staff member to keep the books.
The different bodies used private county services at one point and eventually ran into difficulty obtaining information, management and technical support. Over time the various organizations became concerned and the organization would then approach the City of Rolla for technical assistance, said Butz.
“We’ve been doing the Phelps County Emergency Services Board since you basically spun off dispatch services, and that sort of snowballed into picking up entities, where the services we can provide public entities can be very valuable for them, it’s just become a lot to manage,” said Butz.
Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits supported Butz’s perceptive long-range view by explaining that the city currently provides services to sewer districts and also provides services to a couple of what are essentially volunteers in the neighborhood.
“Some started off small and became bigger, Rolla Rural is a fine example, today they have a revenue stream, and they are probably ready to be on their own,” said Magdits.
Rolla city council member Steven Jung asked Rogers how much time the finance department is spending delivering services to the 13 entities, and how much the City of Rolla is billing these 13 total entities.
Each separate entity has their own separate answer to that question, said Rogers, but in general, the library is one of the most demanding organizations, since Rogers and her staff provide human resources services as well as full accounting services.
While the Phelps County Emergency Services Board requires minimal services, and Rogers normally meets with the board once a month to do checks. On average between four to ten checks per month, said Rogers.
“The other one we will address tonight is Rolla Rural. We do five checks per month and Rolla Rural doesn’t require benefits administration. I attend one or two board meetings mostly for the budget, the second I think Lance and I attended one because they had a legal issue, so very minimal,” said Rogers. “Once I get an organization cleaned up if they are having issues, I hand it over to one of the people in my staff.”
Rolla’s finance department ends up billing Rolla Rural around $5,000, Edgar Springs is billed $1,500 almost like CPA medical billing, the Rolla Public Library is billed around $5,000, and for the total 13 entities the city provides services to the city is reimbursed $25,000 to $35,000, said Rogers.
For the final reading, Magdits suggested the city pull the multiple entities together with the same one-year stipulation. The city then could take a step back and look over how much time is required by the city’s finance department to administer these services versus how much money the city is receiving for the services provided.
Then after reviewing each entity the council would come back and look at renewing and extending some of the organizations contracts.
“I think the ones we are renewing we would just say let’s do one year and we will come back and spend a little bit more time and look into them deeper, otherwise we are in this for four years and we don’t even look at it for another three and a half years at this point,” said Butz.
Rolla city council member Woolley said it makes sense providing services for entities that are located within the city like the library, but Woolley wasn’t sure if providing services to Edgar Springs made sense in the long run.
For the final reading by the Rolla City Council, the motion to amend the contract with the library to provide services through 2019 was agreed upon by the council.
The final reading of the ordinance authorizing the mayor of the City of Rolla to execute on behalf of the City of Rolla the technical assistant contract between the City of Rolla and the Rolla Public Library as amended per motion was unanimously passed.
The first reading of the ordinance authorizing the mayor of the City of Rolla to execute on behalf of the City of Rolla the technical assistant contract between the City of Rolla and the Phelps County Emergency Services Board as amended per motion to 2019 was passed.
The first reading of the ordinance authorizing the mayor of the City of Rolla to execute on behalf of the City of Rolla the technical assistant contract between the City of Rolla and the Edgar Springs Rural Fire Protection District as amended per motion to 2019 was also passed.