08/15/2011 & 08/18/2011 Town Council Study Session & Meeting

GIVE BUSINESSES A BREAK
As of tonight, you no longer have to wait on the Design Review Board’s monthly meeting to approve your 3,000 square feet building addition. Staff will handle all additions up to 3,000 square feet (instead of 1,000 square feet) administratively. Also, Staff will administratively approve up to 2 residential standard plans (instead of 1). In addition, if you received an approval for your plans, the approval expires after 3 years (instead of 2).

Victor Petersen tried for 4,000 square feet; 3 residential standard plans, and a 4-year approval, plus fewer laws relating to aesthetics, but his motion died for lack of a second. (Keep trying Victor!)

FUTURE ELECTIONS WILL BE IN THE FALL EVEN YEARS
Fulfilling their campaign promises and providing their rationales, Council Members Eddie Cook, Victor Petersen, and Jordan Ray voted in favor of moving primary and general elections of the town of Gilbert from March and May, respectively, to August and November, respectively, of even-numbered years. They were joined by Mayor John Lewis and Vice Mayor Jenn Daniels.

Ben Cooper and John Sentz cast the dissenting votes, also providing their own reasons.

NOTE: Mayor John Lewis and Council Members Jenn Daniels and John Sentz are up for re-election in November 2012.

STEVE CALABRESE APPOINTMENT
Steve Calabrese was appointed as a regular member to the Town of Gilbert, Arizona Water Resources Municipal Property Corporation, term ending January 11, 2015.

9/11 EVENTS COMING UP
Several Town of Gilbert-sponsored events will be held in remembrance of 3,000 innocent Americans who were murdered in terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. Tribute Events will begin on September 3 and culminate in the September 11 Memorial Ceremony. For detailed information: http://www.gilbertaz.gov/911Memorial/#events

TOWN OF GILBERT’S BUDGET STAFF RECEIVES DISTINGUISHED AWARD!
Members of the Budget Department, including Dawn Irvine, Nicole Dailey, Laura Lorenzen, and Marc Skocypec received the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for FY beginning 7/1/2010.

Victor Petersen presented the award, stating that the Town’s budget is much easier to understand than any other municipal budget he has ever reviewed. He went on to say that the employees in the Budget Department have achieved a high level of transparency, which is important to citizens.

MARICOPA LIBRARY DISTRICT STATUS
In light of security issues and the missteps made by the Maricopa Library District, Management Assistant Melanie Dykstra provided Council with a plan of action, including a timeline, relating to options for operation of the Gilbert Library system. The timeline includes actions beginning in August 2011, with implementation set for January 2012.

The timeline involves a short-term contract with the Maricopa Library District; involvement of the Parks, Recreation and Library Board and a possible subcommittee; a customer satisfaction survey; a crime prevention analysis; a possible consultant to advise the Town; and management alternatives (ie Contracted services, Town of Gilbert operation, etc.).

Ms. Dykstra encouraged residents to take part in meetings and discussions, noting that a Customer Satisfaction Survey will be posted on the Town’s website in early September. The Survey will also be available at the libraries.

She also suggested attendance at the Parks & Recreation Library Board meetings, should residents wish to participate in discussions. You can keep up with upcoming meetings by going here: http://www.gilbertaz.gov/general/sitemap.cfm?name=menu4

ZINKE STATUS REPORT
Independent Counsel Attorney Ayers advised that Chuck Boyd in the Attorney General’s Office has gone through all available documents relating to the Zinke purchase. He has also begun interviewing those involved, including former Town Manager George Pettit. A written report will hopefully be forthcoming in about one month.

SIX MORE PARCELS DISCOVERED WITHOUT AN APPRAISAL
Council Members wanted to start with a clean slate, and so they asked Staff to research all Town acquisitions larger than an acre between the years 2001 – 2011.

Assistant Town Engineer Edgar Medina reported that of the 54 parcels purchased, 8 were purchased without an appraisal. Two of those were the Zinke purchase. Five parcels were for Fire Station facilities. One parcel was for the Public Safety Training Facility on Germann Road.

Mr. Medina could find no notes explaining why no appraisals were sought.

Eddie Cook commented that he “asked for this report in the name of transparency and trust in the Council going forward.” He stated that he was grateful to the previous Council for putting a formal policy in place going forward.

Jenn Daniels advised that there is now a checklist which includes “proper documentation” so that Council will know that an appraisal was indeed obtained.

GW NOTE: The Town (taxpayers) spent $59.2 million for these parcels that were purchased without an appraisal. This happened under the "leadership" of the previous Council that didn’t hold its employee (Town Manager George Pettit) accountable. Do you think a Corporate Board of Directors would have done this? (Except for the bobble-heads at Enron, of course. They didn’t ask any hard questions either.)

Here’s a very good article written by Parker Leavitt of the Arizona Repubic:

http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2011/08/19/20110819gilbert-bought-8-parcels-past-decade-without-appraisal.html

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