5/16/2011 & 5/19/2011 Town Council Study Session & Meeting

THREE MEMORANDA OF UNDERSTANDING WITH 3 UNIONS APPROVED FOR ONE MORE YEAR

All three MOU’s were passed by the Council. Rating a #10 on the Gilbert Watch “Incredulity Meter,” Council Member Abbott stated that she “respects the Constitution and the First Amendment and the right for people to assemble and belong to organizations, and so I support the right of our employees to belong to organizations in which they want to be affiliated.”

This was her rationalization for voting for all three MOU’s, interpreting the Right of “the people to peaceably assemble” to include “employees meeting with their union representatives at their place of work, during work hours, while being paid their full salaries.”

She inferred that to vote against the Union contracts was to vote against the employees’ First Amendment Right to assemble?

Is this what she is teaching in her high school Civics class? We’re DOOMED.

Council Member Daniels voted against the SEIU Memorandum. She based her decision on SEIU’s highly publicized boycott of Arizona. (That was, in fact, SEIU’s intention: hurt Arizona’s economy. This must be how “they aid in developing trusting relationships and create a culture of leadership” that Manager Skocypec was talking about at the last meeting.) She also stated that, even though the local organization may not have taken part, the dues that the Town of Gilbert deducts from each employee who belongs to SEIU assists the National organization, in essence supporting the boycott.

Council Member Ben Cooper stated that he was voting for the MOU’s “in deference to the amount of time that has been put into the process.” True, it took 1180 hours to put together the MOU’s. So, the more time you spend on something, the more likely it is that Mr. Cooper will vote “Yes”? A fascinating statement from an otherwise thoughtful Council Member.

GW NOTE: Even though the MOU’s were renewed, the Ordinance itself, authorizing 3rd party representation, can come up for a vote of the Council anytime, even though it doesn’t renew until 2014.

2011 INTEGRATED WATER RESOURCES MASTER PLAN WAS REDUCED FROM ORIGINAL QUOTE OF $700K DOWN TO $499,932.

Water Resources Manager Rall provided a summary of the scope of work and the benefits of having a Master Plan. When asked how she was able to get the price reduced by $200k, she noted that redundancies were eliminated, and staff worked with the consultant to keep the work focused on priorities.

GW: We were going to spend $200k on redundant, unfocused, low priority work?

COMMUNITY SERVICES FUNDING FOR OUTSIDE AGENCIES

Twenty-seven non-profit organizations representing Gilbert residents in need asked for $1,727,054 from the taxpayers. Of this, $331k would be taken from the General Fund (Gilbert taxpayers). The rest would come from various federal and county taxpayer-funded sources.

The Community Services Committee (CSC) was charged with the responsibility of deciding how much money would be awarded to the various organizations. Cuts were made to several funding requests.

After much discussion the Council decided to take $10k from the Neighbor to Neighbor program, reducing the general fund by that amount. However, Council Member Linda Abbott managed to obtain $5k for the Arts, including $4k for Copperstar and $1k to the Gilbert Visual Arts League. The CSC had not recommended any funds for these groups.

Council Member Ben Cooper wanted $300k for the Human Capital Program and $50k for Front Runner added back. Following comments from Jim Torgeson, Chair of the CSC, $100k was awarded to Human Capital.

Most other cuts were approved.

AFFORDABLE RENTAL MOVEMENT (ARM) OF SAVE THE FAMILY FUNDING APPROVED BY COUNCIL

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors allocated $300k in CHDO (Community Home Development Organization) funds to ARM of Save the Family for the Town of Gilbert. There is no direct financial impact to Gilbert’s General Fund, although the funds are extracted from all Maricopa County taxpayers. This is one of those conundrums of “I don’t believe it’s right to use taxpayer dollars to pay for someone else’s housing, but if we don’t use the funds here in Gilbert, they go to another community.”

Council Member Daniels voted against it stating that her concern is that once a home has been designed as low income it would have a negative impact on the residents of the neighborhood.

BUDGET REPORT FOR PERIOD ENDING 3/31/2011

Budget Administrator Dawn Irvine advised that FY2010-2011 Budget was balanced without lay-offs, salary reductions, furloughs, or salary increases. Even though there are higher than the usual number of vacancies, some of those will be filled. Expenses have been kept down, and sales tax and state shared revenues are increasing.

BUDGET: FY2011-2012

The Preliminary Budget in the amount of $613,291,580 was adopted by the Council. Final approval is set for June 9, 2011.

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