What happened at last night’s meetings

Posted on: 04/14/17

Here are my notes from last night:

Vehicle purchases – Council approved the purchase of a dozen vehicles, everything from an ambulance to an excavator. Generally, we will approve all of these vehicles all at once in a given year. The administration does its best to shop locally, and one vehicle is in fact purchased from Marhofer Chevrolet. But mostly, we need to go outside the city borders to find the best prices. When I first joined council, I was surprised by how many new vehicles were needed, but then I started looking at the maintenance costs for vehicles with over 120K miles. It’s cheaper to replace vehicles than constantly sink thousands of dollars into them. I was satisfied that each of these 2017 purchases made economic sense. Each passed council unanimously, by a 7-0 vote.

2017 road repair program – Our service director provided a spreadsheet of roads that the city intends to repave in 2017. You can see that list at the bottom of this post. The entire list probably will not be completed, because it includes $1.9MM of jobs, and the program is only funded for $1.5MM in 2017. It will depend on how the bids come in. (You may have noticed a Facebook live video from this portion of the meeting. I apologize that it was low quality. It’s hard to shoot video during the meeting without being a distraction.)

Primary elections – We again discussed my proposal to move primary elections from September to May, and Matt Riehl’s proposal to eliminate them altogether. Brian D’Antonio and I agreed that we could place both measures on the ballot. The mayor thought it would be too confusing. The mayor and John Pribonic preferred that we spend more time deliberating the topic. Given that we have had this on the agenda since December, I was ready to vote. My proposal failed by a 5-2 vote (Rasor, D’Antonio). Based on last night’s discussions, it appears that council will give voters the opportunity to eliminate primary elections. But it will not give the voters the opportunity to move the primary date. If that proposal fails in November 2017, then I will be ready to re-introduce my legislation to be decided by voters in November 2018. The good news is, we have plenty of time before the 2019 election, which is the first election that could be affected by our potential changes.

EMS fees – By a 7-0 vote, Council approved legislation to bring our EMS fees up to a market level, effective May 1. It will include an automatic 2% increase each year, to keep pace with the increased costs of labor, equipment, and supplies. Again, no resident will ever pay this fee. It’s all about getting our fair share from insurance companies. The increase helps ensure our paramedic teams are properly funded.

Next meeting – Council will meet next on April 27.

 

2017 PROPOSED ROAD PROGRAM – ESTIMATE ONLY
2017 PROPOSED ASPHALT RESURFACING PROGRAM
ROUTE ID DESCRIPTION LENGTH WIDTH AREA SQYD CAPITAL FUND
Marsh Road MA-25-3284 Kent to N River 3880.00 22.00 9484.44 $105,656.66
Clarke Drive CL-11-4901 Pebblehurst to Cul-de-sac 512.00 22.00 1251.56 $16,608.20
Pebblehurst Drive PE-11-4996 W/Clarke to Cul-de-sac 525.00 22.00 1283.33 $17,029.79
Pebblehurst Drive PE-11-4830 Call to Temp End 1624.00 23.00 4150.22 $55,073.42
Peterboro Drive PE-13-3074 Concrete to Berry to 187′ E 334.00 22.00 816.44 $10,834.16
Knob Hill KN-13-4512 Berwin to Cul-de-sac 454.00 22.00 1109.78 $14,726.78
Daisy Hill DA-13-4506 Berwin Drive to Cul-de-sac 311.00 22.00 760.22 $10,088.12
Berry Hill BE-13-4553 Peterboro to Cul-de-sac 981.00 22.00 2398.00 $31,821.46
Berwin Drive BE-13-3107 Berry Hill to 660′ E 660.00 22.00 1613.33 $21,408.89
Berwin Drive BE-13-3140 660′ E Berry Hill to Phase Line 847.00 22.00 2070.44 $27,474.74
Hawthorne Avenue HA-22-1920 Darrow to Margaret 880.00 20.00 1955.56 $21,784.94
Margaret Avenue MA-22-3349 End to End 970.00 20.00 2155.56 $24,012.94
Thorndale Avenue TH-22-1934 Yukon to Margaret 738.00 20.00 1640.00 $18,269.60
Beech Street BE-21-1837 Elm to W/Library 2nd Drive 280.00 18.00 560.00 $6,238.40
Elm Road EL-21-3764 Marc’s Driveway to Graham 200.00 20.00 444.44 $4,951.06
Elm Road EL-21-3541 Kent to Marc’s Driveway 2550.00 20.00 5666.67 $75,196.71
Maplewood Road MA-15-1929 Darrow to Stow 2940.00 18.50 6043.33 $67,322.70
Hibbard Drive HI-09-1249 Hudson to 125′ E 125.00 37.00 513.89 $6,819.32
Hibbard Drive HI-09-1271 Algonquin to 150′ W/ Sunnyside 1657.00 31.00 5707.44 $75,737.73
Hibbard Drive HI-09-1442 Darrow to 150′ W/Sunnyside 2975.00 23.00 7602.78 $84,694.97
Hibbard Drive HI-09-1257 125′ E/Hudson to Algonquin 366.00 37.00 1504.67 $19,966.97
Markwood Drive MA-09-4680 Hibbard to End 960.00 22.00 2346.67 $26,141.90
Eagle Avenue EA-08-4343 Housley to Temp End 850.00 23.00 2172.22 $28,825.36
Housley Road HO-08-1300 Plover to 410′ E of Ellsworth 842.00 22.00 2058.22 $27,312.58
Mallard Avenue MA-08-4343 Housley to Temp End 850.00 23.00 2172.22 $28,825.36
Steels Corners Road ST-35-0002 end concrete to begin concrete 107.82 32.00 383.36 $5,087.19
Steels Corners Road ST-35-0004 end concrete to begin concrete 82.94 32.00 294.90 $3,913.32
Wyndham Ridge Drive WY-18-4050 Steeles to 3950 500.00 22.00 1222.22 $16,218.86
Kings Mill Boulevard KI-24-4036 Graham to Crownpoint 421.02 28.00 1309.84 $17,381.58
Crown Pointe Drive CR-24-3175 E/Bishops to E/Queensbury 435.00 22.00 1063.33 $14,110.39
Crown Pointe Drive CR-24-3209 E/Queensbury to S/Courtwood 520.00 22.00 1271.11 $16,867.63
Courtwood Way CO-24-3190 Crown Pointe to Cul-de-sac 210.00 22.00 513.33 $6,811.89
Queensbury Circle QU-24-4008 Crown Ponte to Cul-de-sac 475.00 22.00 1161.11 $15,407.93
Darrow Road DA-35-3451 just south of Kent Road to just north 442.79 48.00 2361.55 $31,337.77
Kent Road KE-35-3352 begin 5 lanes to end 5 lanes 650.00 56.00 4044.44 $53,669.72
$1,007,629.03
2017 PROPOSED CONCRETE OVERLAY PROGRAM
ROUTE ID DESCRIPTION LENGTH WIDTH AREA SQYD CAPITAL FUND
Saybrooke Boulevard SA-13-2929 Wexford to Bike Trail 1605.00 22.00 3923.33 $60,497.80
Hampton Circle HA-13-0000 Saybrooke to Cul-de-sac 334.00 22.00 816.44 $12,589.57
$73,087.37
2017 PROPOSED ASPHALT RESURFACING PROGRAM –  OTHER INFRASTRUCTURE
ROUTE ID DESCRIPTION LENGTH WIDTH AREA SQYD CAPITAL FUND
Silver Springs Park Stow Road entrance Full depth repair and resurface 400.00 21.00 933.33
Silver Springs Park Bow Wow Beach Full depth pavement install 260.00 20.00 577.78
City Hall Parking Lot Mill and resurface 12100.00 $157,058.00
$157,058.00
2017 PROPOSED ASPHALT FULL AND PARTIAL DEPTH REPAIR PROGRAM
ROUTE ID DESCRIPTION LENGTH WIDTH AREA SQYD CAPITAL FUND
Water break repais 1000.00 $60,000.00
Full Depth repairs 3000.00 $122,460.00
Meadowbrook Boulevard ME-04-1579 Hibbard to Hudson 4225.00 22.00 1000.00 $40,820.00
Full depth subdivision repairs 3000.00 $122,460.00
$345,740.00
2017 PROPOSED CONCRETE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
SUBDIVISION DESCRIPTION AREA SQYD CAPITAL FUND
30″ Combination Curb and Gutter Eastwicke 1000.00 $35,000.00
24″ Combination Curb and Gutter Kenwood 750.00 $25,500.00
24″ Combination Curb and Gutter Silverwood 700.00 $23,800.00
Concrete Street Replacement Concrete Street Replacement Program 3000.00 $234,000.00
$318,300.00
TOTAL QUANTITIES SUM $1,901,814.40



Council amends, then approves 2017 budget

Posted on: 03/24/17

Here are my notes from last night’s city council meeting:

2017 Budget – Council unanimously approved the 2017 budget, after making 2 amendments:

First, Brian Lowdermilk made a motion to reduce the budget by $1.5 million. As you’re aware, storm-water fees were increased last year. It is likely the city will use this additional revenue to service new debt, for the purposes of major storm-water improvements. The administration said we probably won’t actually incur the new debt in 2017. Therefore, it was appropriate for Brian to make this amendment, so that the budget reflects reality. His amendment passed by a 4-3 vote (D’Antonio, Costello and Pribonic voted “no”).

Second, I made an amendment to reduce the Clerk of Court’s budget by $31,000. The clerk’s office dramatically increased its funding request last year. My amendment in 2016 reduced the allocation by $71,000. The clerk came back to us later in 2016, and obtained an extra $25,000, but she told us that the technology advances in her office would permit her funding to be reduced in later years. My amendment this year reduces the clerk’s allocation to the same level as my amendment in 2016, with two adjustments: (1) an additional reduction to reflect the fact that 2016 had 27 payrolls, and 2017 has 26, and (2) an additional allocation to reflect the fact that staff received a reasonable 2% pay increase. My amendment passed by a 7-0 vote. Then the budget passed unanimously.

As I said last month, this is a solid budget. It is VERY conservative in terms of estimating tax revenue. I say this because the budget projects 2017 to be one of the worst years in the past few decades; however, nothing in the national economy or local economy should lead us to that prediction. I suppose it’s better to receive a positive surprise at the end of the year (i.e., our revenue beat projections) than a negative one (i.e., revenue failed to meet projections). If we have a decent year on the revenue side, then we will have yet another surplus.

Seasons Road – Phase 3

Council approved a tax incentive for the third phase of the Seasons Road Business Center. This third building will be on the east side of Route 8, like the 2 existing structures, but it will be about 20% larger and 50% more expensive to build than its siblings. The first two buildings are almost full, by the way.

We expect that Phase 3 will create 60 jobs, with $40,000 in annual income tax for the city. The incentive we approved allows the “owner” to pay income taxes at the current appraised value (i.e., the value without the building) for 15 years. It’s an annual savings of $117,000 per year. I placed “owner” in quotation marks because it is really the future tenants that will be paying income taxes. By the city passing this tax incentive, it will be easier for the owner to attract tenants for the building, which is constructed on a speculative basis. The owner will also compensate the school district with an annual $55,386 payment, to make up for the district’s lost revenue.

Next meeting

Council will meet next on April 13. At that time, we will continue our discussion about increasing EMS fees and moving/eliminating the primary elections.


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