11/11/2010 Town Council Meeting Summary

These are highlights. See "11/08/2010 Town Council Study Session” for discussion of other items, most of which passed tonight. To view the video of the entire meeting, go here: http://gilbert.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=4
To read the Minutes, go here: http://www.gilbertaz.gov/minutes/ssearchMin.cfm
If you cannot access either, complain here: Collin.Dewitt@gilbertaz.com

FARMERS MARKET – STATE-APPROVED PRIVATE ENTERPRISE

Principal Planner Linda Edwards gave a sales pitch, complete with a slide presentation, extolling the virtues of the Farmers Market and its local produce and other items that has the blessing of the Town. You will not only find locally produced fruits, vegetables, and canned items, but you will also find a booth offering FREE compost bins, courtesy of the Town of Gilbert. Ms. Edwards joyfully explained how customers wanted to BUY them. (What a concept, that people are willing to spend their own money for something that has value to them.) But she quickly rejected their offers of money, “Oh No! They’re FREE!”

Not exactly. They were paid for by Gilbert taxpayers. I researched this over a year ago and discovered that the Town purchases the “Earth Machine” compost bins from a company by the name of Norseman that sells to municipalities. You can find them here: www.earthmachine.com. If you or I bought one of these it would cost us at least $160 including shipping. But the Town buys them for about $40 and hands them out to any resident who asks for one. They even deliver for FREE.
Stop and think what this does to local businesses. How can they compete?

ZINKE LAND DEAL POST-MORTEM AUDIT AND APPRAISAL

Town Manager Collin DeWitt said that the final audit and appraisal will both be presented to the public on 12/31/2010.

Though not stated at this meeting Mr. DeWitt advised me that the formal written policy concerning Land Acquisitions will coincide with the Administrative Audit completion. Also, decisions concerning land acquisitions will now be a Public Hearing agenda item, not merely listed with other Consent Calendar items.

CONTRACT TO APPROVE $4.5 MILLION FOR QUEEN CREEK ROAD IMPROVEMENTS

Approved with Consent Calendar vote.

CHANGE ORDER TO INCREASE CONTRACT BY $3,865

Approved with Consent Calendar vote

CHANGE ORDER TO INCREASE CONTRACT WITH ARCADIS BY $161,275

Approved with Consent Calendar vote.

GW NOTE: In the study session summary I was concerned about the high hourly rate, but since then received clarification from Council Member Sentz: “The $125 rate is paid to the person at about $60 per hour. That is what seems to be the going rate for a program manager. The difference goes into payroll taxes (FICA), fringes, insurance and overhead for Arcadis along with some profit.“ He added that a breakdown should have been provided (to Council) and that he is working to that end.

Also, the Town Staff plans to move these functions from outside contractors to in-house. Are you sure that Government can provide these services more cheaply than private enterprise?

AN “OPTIONAL” SERVICE UTILITY FEE INCREASE THAT MAKES SENSE

Moved to 12/9/2010

MAYOR LEWIS TAKES A PRINCIPLED STAND

The issue before the Council was whether or not to approve alcohol sampling privileges at Sam’s Club. Mayor Lewis drew the line and said, “No!” He encouraged the Council Members to also vote No. He felt that sampling should be done in traditional places where alcohol is sold primarily, such as a wine shop. He had no problem with restaurants offering wine with meals to maintain their competitive edge. But when it came to places that everyone frequents, grocery stores and big chain stores, he felt that Gilbert suffered a breakdown in its family oriented atmosphere and image. He went on to say that he would shop, and ask all of his friends to patronize, only those stores that do NOT provide sampling. Even when the representative from Sam’s Club explained that the sampling area was roped off and that people who wished to sample were required to show ID and complete paperwork, and that they received a very small serving, it didn’t matter. Mayor Lewis went on to cite a situation in which a child was observed running around with an empty sample cup saying, “this is good!” The vote from the Council was 3-3, which means it didn’t pass. This means that the Council offered a “no recommendation,” which will go to the State Liquor Board. The Board will make the final decision.

Lewis, Cooper, and Crozier voted No. Daniels, Abbott, Sentz voted Yes. Presmyk was absent.

FIREWORKS APPROVED BY 6-0 VOTE OF COUNCIL

After hearing from various Fireworks representatives who pointed out the relative safety of consumer fireworks, including noting that there are 30 times more injuries from riding a bicycle, the Council voted to approve fireworks with some restrictions. Basically, they will be allowed during celebrations of Independence Day and New Year’s.

STICKING IT TO PROPERTY OWNERS FOR THE BILLS THEIR TENANTS LEAVE BEHIND

Moved to 12/9/2010

UNIFIED BUSINESS LICENSE

After being the subject of much discussion and confusion at previous meetings, this item passed 6-0. With passage, it means that all commercial users, including home-based businesses and industrial users within the Town, are required to register their business with the Town on a yearly basis. First time registration is $35; annual renewals are $15.

Ms. Daniels stated her concerns regarding the ability of Technology Services to be prepared for phasing in subsequent tasks on schedule. Customer Support Services Manager Thompson reassured her that staff is prepared.

BUDGET REPORT FOR JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER 2010

No report was given. Council approved it 6-0. You can view the Budget Report here:
http://www.gilbertaz.gov/townmanager/BudgetReports.cfm

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