09/15/2011 & 09/19/2011 Town Council Study Session & Meeting

Consultant Contract with Tischlerbise
Towns and cities in Arizona must meet the challenge that SB1525 has placed upon them to no longer charge home builders (passed on to home buyers) System Development Fees for certain types of infrastructure projects. Some cities have charged fees for questionable projects, and the State Legislature has put a stop to the abuses. In the process, the Legislature has also restricted the size of parks and made other changes that will affect Gilbert.

Gilbert requires a third-party consultant to update the development fee study in compliance with the SB1525 requirement in time for the January 2012 deadline.

The fee for this is $131,200.

Chamber of Commerce contract for “expanded tourism related services”
J. W. Rayhorns, Chairman of the Board of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, needs to work on his sales technique. When it looked like the Council wasn’t going to bow to his spectacular presentation and the five-times-the-previous-cost-contract, he proceeded to badger the Council members into agreeing with the Chamber’s proposal. When that didn’t work, he began that all too familiar hard selling technique called, “I’m not going to take no for an answer.”

Basically, J.W thought he could sell the Council on quintupling their contract award if he presented a dynamite proposal that would greatly expand the Chamber’s offerings.

J.W. cited lots of plans and activities. (I don’t recall any measurable results from previous efforts.)

He brought forth representatives from San Tan Village, Hyatt Place Hotel, Hampton Inn Suites, etc., extolling the virtues of the Chamber’s various and sundry activities.

Even the ever tactful Mayor John Lewis was beginning to show cracks in his gracious demeanor after the “hard selling” Rayhorns kept after the Council for the approval he thought he deserved.

Vice Mayor Daniels asked that a Request for Qualifications process be followed. She stressed the issue of transparency be addressed in the contract process.

Council member Jordan Ray suggested an RFQ or RFP.

It was noted by Senior Tax Auditor Olsen that the Town’s bed tax is 3%. This is over and above the state and town’s sales tax. Anything in excess of 2% is supposed to be used for tourism.

A business man and member of the Gilbert Small Business Alliance stated that unpaid volunteers are most effective, not paid Chamber staff.

The truth is, it is incumbent on all Gilbert citizens to promote Gilbert. We are becoming the shining Town upon the Hill! Well, it’s a valley, but our economy is shining far brighter than all the cities around us!

In the end, the Council voted to continue the item to October 6, and extend the contract to October 31, 2011, with prorated payments.

Gilbert Days. Gilbert Promotional Corporation. “Some Special Events are more special than others”
Ben Cooper reported on the “special” meeting he and other Council members had with the GPC. Town of Gilbert staff estimated the costs associated with GPCs contract. There is a shortfall, but if private fundraising efforts are stepped up, the required funds could be raised. This will likely involve some Council members being required to fund-raise on behalf of the GPC. The reimbursement contract will come before the Council on 10/6.

Once again, the GPC had a year to gain local community support to put on its parade and various Gilbert Days shin-digs, but can’t swing it. So, the Council has come to the rescue. (See previous Gilbert Watch posts on the chronically incapable GPC 10/26/2010 Town Council Special Meeting Summary

The GPC reimbursement agreement will come before the Council on October 6, 2011.

Report on Efforts of Town Staff to Save Taxpayer Dollars
Town Manager Patrick Banger noted that the Clerk’s office has created an elections calendar to quickly assign election dates and activities. Employees from Community Services and Finance worked together to provide an online refund form, thus eliminating the need for paper processing. Employees from the Water division of Public works salvaged parts from an abandoned well and used them in an existing well thus saving the taxpayers $15,000.

Both Patrick Banger and these Town employees are helping all of us in this difficult economy.

Go here to read the Town of Gilbert’s Minutes

Go here to view the videos of Council Study Sessions and Meetings