08/16/2010 Town Council Study Session Summary

This Study Session was held for the purpose of reviewing and discussing the agenda items scheduled for the 8/19/2010 Council meeting, where actual voting takes place.

1) Fire Chief Jobusch reported on the status of the $216,900 FEMA grant needed to build Station 10. It is delayed due to having to meet FEMA’s environmental issues. Should be approved by the end of 2010, and construction completed by the end of 2011. He also advised that they could not build a fuel system at the site now, which would save fuel costs, due to FEMA’s environmental requirements. They will add this later, at a cost to the General Fund of about $60k. The department will have to purchase fuel at Circle K, etc., just as some of the older stations do.

Les Presmyk asked if we are getting the tax back on the retail fuel cost, based on exemption? Marc Skocypec stated that he would have that information Thursday night (8/19/2010 Council Meeting).

Chief Jobusch reiterated that once the building is complete, there will be no need for additional manpower, they will be reassigned from other stations. The only additional cost would be about $40k for utilities and other expenses.

2) Discussion regarding two leases of Town property to Clear Wireless, LLC, and Cingular Wireless, PCS, LLC. The monthly rents are $1100 per month and $1200 per month. The Council members questioned the term of the contracts, whether the Town was receiving a competitive lease amount in comparison to surrounding communities.

3) Fire Chief Jobusch explained his request for an extension of two ambulance contracts. All contracts have to be approved by the Department of Health Services. They keep going back and forth with DHS, which continually changes requirements. DHS (bureaucrats)is concerned about the money side, but in the process patient care issues (dispatch fees reimbursement) are being overlooked. Chief Jobusch is standing firm re standards of patient care, but the contracts have not been resolved.

4) Linda Abbott questioned employee turnover especially in Public Works. She is especially concerned there was only one person interested in the Fleet manager position. What caused such a lack of response? Mark (HR) explained that the problem hasn’t been a lack of response. On the contrary, they have had an adequate response from qualified people. They have been holding out until they could get a particular, very highly qualified individual, their top choice. He recently retired from Flagstaff. He has accepted the position at a salary not to exceed $90,227 per year.

5) Discussion relating to Greenfield and Chandler Heights landscape improvements and the Town’s partnering with the HOA’s regarding the HOA caring for plants that the Town provides.

6) Discussion relating to granting a Series 7 Beer and Wine Bar liquor license for Pocket Jacks located at 825 S Cooper Rd.

7) Discussion to amend the zoning map relating to 92-acre Main Street Commons Planned Area Development (PAD). At issue is that the original plan for this site was an employment area. The change will mean that a store, Winco, will be allowed at that site. Those against this included Councilmembers Sentz, Cooper, and Abbott.

8) Fall Odd versus Even Year Elections (continuing saga). Linda Abbott cited news articles reporting the frustration of Independents’ participation if the Council goes to Even year elections. Les Presmyk concerned about the timing of the General Plan vote. Should add it as an agenda item. November 2011 currently, but could move it up to Spring 2011? Council discussed possibility of 3/8 for Primary and 5/17 for General.

9) Street of Dreams (another "investment" of taxpayer dollars). Mr. Greg Bamford, owner and developer of Whitewing Communities, advised the Council that the 2012 Street of Dreams would be held at Whitewing at Germann Road. He requested Town "support" in this project. Whitewing owns 120 ½ acre lots, in a gated community on the South side of Germann, between Higly and Greenfield. Fve homes have been built and occupied, but no further sales. The Street of Dreams would have 3 to 8 custom homes along a single street. He expects 30k to 40k people to buy tickets to tour the homes over a period of 6 weeks. Target date for the event is the 1st qtr of 2012. He advised of a successful Street of Dreams project in the Islands in the late 1980’s.

The idea is that people at the high income level would want to utilize the same vendors and builders of these custom homes to build similar types of homes in Gilbert or in other communities. This would then generate revenue to the Town. Mr. Bamford provided a list of 12 items that he asked the Town to help with. Some are minor, some costly. Here are a few of the items:

1) Acclerate the construction of ¼-mile section of Germann Road to link up to just east of the Greenfield intersection well before the event.

2) Reduce permit fees for individual Street of Dreams houses by 50%;

3) Give priority to the Street of Dreams building permit process applications, building inspections, and issuance of Certificates of Occupancy AND defer payment until respective date of issuance of COS.

4) Facilitate placement of directional signs during the event;

5) Make sure that this specific opportunity for high-end housing is part of the economic development package used in attracting new businesses to Gilbert;

6) Assist in putting Whitewing in touch with recruitment decision-makers for high end employers in Gilbert.

Discussion followed the presentation. Mr. Bamford needs an answer from the Council in 30-60 days. Marc Skocypec will consult with Town Staff and the Town attorney, and run it though the Economic Impact Model and present a Cost Analysis in 2 weeks (8/30/2010).