10/18/2010 Town Council Study Session

This Study Session precedes the 10/21/2010 Town Council Meeting. The Council meets in Study Sessions to discuss items they may vote or take action on at the next Town Council Meeting. Staff presents information to them for this purpose. Sometimes items are discussed merely for review or information. The Public is invited but are not allowed to speak.

(Note: Since Mayor Lewis is on vacation for 2 weeks, Vice Mayor Presmyk conducted this afternoon’s Study Session.)

CONSENT CALENDAR There are about 20 items to be acted on Thursday, Oct. 21. The following were pulled for discussion today.

TRANSIT SERVICES AGREEMENT WITH THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY FOR TRANSIT SERVICES

Assistant Town Manager Tammy Rall advised that the Town’s costs for this service for FY2011 are projected to be $451,078. They were $435,339 for FY2010. Regional Funding will be around $2,303,012 for FY2011, and was $2,024,608 for FY2010. There are an estimated 181,528 total passengers for FY2011, and 165,024 rode the bus in FY2010. Additional lines are opening up, at Arizona Avenue and Power Rd. (NOTE: In November 2004, Maricopa County residents approved Prop 400, a ½ cent tax increase for regional transportation services.)

DIAL-A-RIDE PARATRANSIT SERVICES AGREEMENT

Ms. Rall advised that this service provides transportation services to ADA-certified Gilbert residents (Americans with Disabilities). She noted that the per trip cost last year was $46.58. There were 20,573 people who utilized the service. This year, the cost went down to $37.38, but 30,735 people used the service. Thus the total cost for FY2010 is $249,779 and for FY2011, it is projected to be $446,262.

Since the costs are shared with the Regional Public Transportation Authority, they will pick up $623,751 for FY2010 and $659,166 for FY2011.

It should be noted that not all trips are ADA-qualified, but all riders are ADA certified. This was a 50% increase in rides, with more increases next year as two new lines open up. Gilbert has encouraged vouchers to be used for alternatives, such as taxis and friends or family.

SOLAR OPPORTUNITY AT THE NEELY RECHARGE FACILITY

This issue was discussed at the 10/4/2010 Study Session (See Gilbert Watch). At that meeting, Mayor John Lewis identified a Town Council Committee made up of Vice Mayor Les Presmyk, and Council members Jenn Daniels and John Sentz, to investigate further and get their questions answered. Most, but not all, of those questions were answered.

At this meeting Town Attorney Bill Sullivan outlined the risks to the Town, which appear to be relatively few, and that even if the Town enters into the agreement with APS to obtain credits, which must be done no later than 10/29/2010, there are points at which the Town can back out of the agreement before the facility is built.

Les Presmyk advised that he thought that there would be a definite cost savings, even if it isn’t clear how much.

Mark Horne, Waste Water Superintendent, stated that the only fact that makes the arrangement worthwhile are the rebates offered by APS.

CONTRACT WITH HUDSON BAYLOR CORP FOR 5 YEARS RECYCLING

Did you know that the recyclables you put in the big blue cans earn money for Gilbert? Also, by NOT putting the same material into the black garbage cans, you are saving the cost of dumping into a landfill that is reaching capacity. So yes, rinse out the empty cans and recycle.

Louis Anderson, Solid Waste Manager, advised that the total revenue for FY08-09 was $700,618. Total revenue is anticipated at $790k this year.

CONTRACT WITH SUSTAIN TECHNOLOGIES FOR A CASE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM FOR PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE.

Lynn Arough, the Town Prosecutor advised that the current database system is at the end of its life (purchased in 2001), with no upgrade available, and at risk of losing data. Following an extensive RFP process, the Staff recommends the Sustain system which will integrate with police and courts. It will eliminate duplicate data entry. It should not be necessary to add additional personnel when caseloads increase.

The Cost will be $135k with $29k recurring. (This CIP had originally been approved for $190k.)

CHANGE TO ORDINANCE RELATING TO PARKS RESERVATION PERMITS

The Council is being asked to approve changing the current code relating to the use of Town indoor (gyms) and outdoor (sports fields) facilities by organized teams. According to Recreation Superintendent Rob Giles, users who have not obtained permits or paid rental fees are taking advantage of weaknesses in Gilbert’s code. These are mostly non-residents who obtain a facility on a first-come, first-served basis and proceed to stay as long as they wish, encroaching on other paying user groups who do have permits but are being forced to wait. The problem is especially serious at Discovery and Crossroads Parks.

Adjusting the code will help Park Rangers enforce time limits (45 minutes is “reasonable” if other groups are waiting to use the facility).

Also, payment of rental fees will help support the high costs of facility maintenance. (“Whoever benefits the most, pays the most.”)

PROPERTY ACQUISITION OF PARCEL 302-23-001C.

The Council is being asked to purchase a small piece of property that was supposed to have been dedicated to the Town in a contract 20 years ago. The dedication was inadvertently left out for some unknown reason. The property, located along the southern bank of the east/west canal that runs halfway between Guadalupe and Elliott Roads, is not usable for much except a jogging path, which the Town maintains. The property has now changed hands. Suing the original owner is probably not winnable per the Town Attorney.

Marc Barlow appraised the property at $12,488. There are delinquent taxes of $51,650. Improvement district assessments amount to $9,905. Total cost will be over $74,000.

WATER. DE-ENROLLMENT FROM THE CENTRAL AZ GROUNDWATER REPLENISHMENT DISTRICT (CAGRD).

Kathy Rall, Water Resources Administrator, requested de-enrollment from (CAGRD) for the following primary reasons:

1) Gilbert no longer needs them, since in September 2010, Gilbert received the current AWS (Assured Water Supply) designation through 2025 without reliance on CAGRD. Plus, Gilbert has attained a significant amount of Long Term Storage Credit to be used to offset groundwater pumping.

2) During the 2010 Arizona Legislative Session, the CAWCD (Central Arizona Water Conservation District) successfully ran a bill which included the ability for CAGRD to levy assessments on all members. The initial assessment for Gilbert has been estimated at $175k.

PROPERTY ACQUISITIONS – discussion and direction regarding property acquisition procedures and policies.

Yes, this is related to the infamous Zinke land purchases of 1/20/2009 (See 10/7/2010 and previous GW posts). The policy to which this heading refers is the Council Policy going forward concerning all new property acquisitions.

Town Manager Dewitt indicated that this discussion was moved to an Executive Session. Thus, the public will probably never know anything about the discussions relating to the final policy.

WEED AND LITTER CONTROL OF A PRIVATELY OWNED, ABANDONED PROPERTY AT 1410 W ELLIOTT.

You and I don’t know the story behind this abandonment. What we do know is that it is a symbol of the depressed economy in the private sector outside the walls of the Town of Gilbert. Only the government can spend itself into debt and then raise taxes to pull itself out. Private industry cannot.

What was difficult for me personally was not just to see these sad photos of what looks like a ghost town, and know that somebody’s money, hard work, and dreams went up in smoke, but to also witness the contempt of some Council members and Staff for the owners.

Adam Adams, Code Compliance Administrator, showed photos of the abandoned buildings, weeds taller than a man, litter strewn about, open culverts, health and fire hazards. Many attempts had been made to find the owner, with no success. Mr. Adams advised that Staff was obtaining various quotes regarding a chain link fence. There is, however, a trustee sale coming up in December.

Ms. Abbott pointed out that she had been contacted by residents nearby concerned that the property was a serious health hazard, and that perhaps vagrants might have taken up residence there (although Mr. Adams stated that in visiting the property, there were no signs of this). She thought the Town should fence it off. Apparently, the Staff has already requested various quotes.

Town Attorney Goodwin advised that the Town doesn’t own the property and has no liability for its condition. She stated that, since a trustee sale is coming up in December, there will be an owner who can be contacted regarding safety and weed abatement.

GENERAL PLAN.

Gilbert residents will be voting on The Town of Gilbert’s General Plan at the next Spring Election, set for 5/17/2011. The existing plan was approved by voters in 2001. The State requires that the General Plan be approved every ten years. Some goals are mandated by the State; some are not.

Gilbert has identified additional elements relating to: 1) Character Areas; 2) Community Design; 3) Arts and Culture; and 4) Economic Development.

Overall planning has been going on at least since January 2010, with Open Houses held at various places throughout Gilbert. There have been many opportunities for resident comments. A committee of 56 volunteers was formed, broken into various subcommittees. A status of the General Plan was presented.

Tony Bianchi, Sub-Committee A, presented Chapter 2 Land Use and Growth Areas, and Chapter 3 Circulation.

Ted Kowalcyzyk, Sub-Committee B, presented Chapter 4 Parks, Trails, Recreation, Open Spaces, and Arts and Culture; also Chapter 5 Public Facilities and Services.

All it takes is money. Money to create it. Money to sustain it.

BUDGET – NEW FORMAT

Assistant Town Manager Marc Skocypec presented an overview of a simplified budget format. Year-to-date budget, year-to-date actual, variances and year end estimates will be included. These will be presented at Town Council meetings, with about a one month lag in order to capture expenses incurred and then actually paid.

STUDY SESSIONS

Ms. Abbott advised that she hoped for a vote by the Council on the efficiency and effectiveness of Study Sessions. Both Town Manager Dewitt and Vice Mayor Les Presmyk thought the original 90 days should be given a chance. Council member Daniels stated that she thought the Staff should be asked their opinion, too, since they are required to attend both the Study Sessions and Council meetings, and prepare information for Cuncil review. There was discussion on how the meetings could be made more effective. Mr. Presmyk stated that the 90 days should be completed before a decision is made.

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