|Councilmembers Present||Staff Present|
|Councilmember Neighbor||City Manager Gonzales|
|Councilmember Pflumm||Deputy City Manager Charlesworth|
|Councilmember Jenkins||Assistant City Manager Killen|
|Councilmember Kemmling||City Clerk Powell|
|Councilmember Vaught||Finance Director Rogers|
|Councilmember Meyer||Development Services Dir. Wesselschmidt|
|Councilmember Sandifer||Planning Director Chaffee|
|Councilmember Kenig||Public Works Director Whitacre|
|City Attorney Rainey|
|Parks and Recreation Director Holman|
|Deputy Planning Director Allmon|
|Management Analyst Schmitz|
|Stormwater Manager Gregory|
|Sr. Project Engineer Moeller-Krass|
|Neighborhood Planner Grashoff|
A. ROLL CALL
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Good evening. Welcome to tonight’s Council Committee meeting. My name is Stephanie Meyer. I am a Councilmember from Ward III and the chair of this committee. Besides myself, the Committee members here tonight are Councilmember Neighbor of Ward I; Dan Pflumm of Ward I; Eric Jenkins, Ward I; Mike Kemmling, Ward II -- did I say Ward II? I just really wanted all the Ward I’s. Jeff Vaught of Ward III; Mickey Sandifer of Ward IV; and Brandon Kenig of Ward IV.
Before we begin our agenda, I'd like to explain our procedures for public input. During the meeting I will offer the opportunity for public input. If you would like to speak to the Committee at any of those times, please go to the podium. I will ask that you state your name and address for the record, then you may offer your comments. So that members of the audience can hear you, I would ask that you speak directly into the microphone. By policy, comments are limited to five minutes. After you are finished, please sign the form on the podium to ensure we have an accurate record of your name and address.
I would also like to remind Committee members to wait to be recognized and turn on your microphone when you would like to speak so that we can get a clear and accurate record.
1. DISCUSS THE ASSIST NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES INITIATIVE.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: There are three items on tonight's agenda. The first is to discuss the ASSIST Neighborhood Services Initiative.
A priority identified by Councilmembers and staff over the past few years is the need to proactively work to keep neighborhoods strong. Staff has researched the issue and created a framework for a neighborhood services program. Staff has coined it the ASSIST Neighborhood Services Initiative. Doug Allmon, Deputy Planning Director, will give a presentation on the program. Staff is seeking feedback, but no formal action is required.
MR. ALLMON: Thank you for having me tonight. I really appreciate the opportunity. I think everybody knows me. But if not, my name is Doug. I work for Paul in the Planning Department.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: [Inaudible.]
MR. ALLMON: As a former county commissioner I hope so. The reason I’ve been asked here tonight is to go over a Neighborhood Services Program Initiative that’s kind of been in the works for a while now. To give you a little background, at the end of 2015, the City went through a reorganization to try to maximize our resources and the personnel that we had. Part of that reorganization involved codes and code enforcement blending with the Planning Department. And from that, at the direction of Carol, there seemed to be a really good opportunity to blend planning principles, planning skills with the enforcement side of our new department. And from that we came up with this, the Neighborhood Services Program Initiative. And it is actually called ASSIST. The idea is that we’re going to try to assist neighborhoods all over the City of Shawnee to get better and to maintain the quality that they have.
Okay. This is the first time I’ve used this, so I hope I hit the right button.
The big question is why we create this neighborhood services program in the first place. And I think the answer is actually pretty simple. We have a great variety of neighborhoods, a diversity of housing stock. We’re blessed with fantastic homes, fantastic neighborhoods, fantastic people. But as many of you know the City is aging. Some our houses are approaching to 75 to 100 years of age. Even some of our newer PUD, planned unit developments that were done in the 80s and 90s, some of those homes are approaching 30 years in age. And so it’s very important that we protect those assets. And by protecting them, I mean keeping them stable. We don’t want to see areas slide into decline. And what we’re attempting to do with this program is throughout the whole City is create a positive neighborhood perception and confidence among the residents who live in these neighborhoods. And it’s easy to say that you want to create positive perception, but you have to be able to track and monitor and understand signs of distress before they actually turn into problems. And in some cases pockets of neighborhoods can turn into decline.
So, this idea of positive neighborhood perception, why is that important. It’s really kind of commonsensical to be honest with you. There is really a lot of good research that shows people who live in neighborhoods that they appreciate and find a quality of life in, they maintain a level of decorum that leads to reduced levels of crime, high levels of health, safety and social interaction, increased property values and most importantly probably higher resident satisfaction.
There is also an interesting bit of research that’s been done that shows that once you have this positive neighborhood perception people who live there are actually inspired to do things on their own. And you see the person down the street paint their front porch or keep their lawn mowed, or keep their property, it inspires others to do the same. And the idea is, is that kind of breeds to an overall enhancement of property values and quality of life over time. So, that’s why we’re looking at doing this.
And what is ASSIST? It’s an acronym of course. We always have acronyms. But the reason we had an acronym in this case is because we want it be memorable. We don’t want it to be something that’s lost on the Governing Body or the residents who live here. And so the acronym stands for A, ALL-ENCOMPASSING, S, STRATEGIC and with a targeted focus. It’s a program that creates STABILITY in home and property values. It’s a program that fosters an INFORMED public decision-making and population base. It’s a program that promise SAFE and vibrant neighborhoods. And it’s a program that will hopefully create community TRANSFORMATION over time.
And to get into that a little further, what is the ASSIST approach? How are we going to do this? A lot of this we’ve been doing in the past to be honest with you. The City has been proactively supporting our neighborhoods forever. But what are we trying to do that’s a little different? In this case we’re looking at the ASSIST program as being a comprehensive approach rather than just something that happens around downtown for instance. And it’s comprehensive in terms of more than -- it’s not just a code enforcement strategy. The idea is that you’re going to look at code enforcement issues, property maintenance, infrastructure needs, safety, police issues, all at a neighborhood level.
The biggest change I think with this approach is that we’re trying to become more proactive versus reactive. And again, the reason for that is pretty commonsensical. If you’re proactive in stopping problems before they start, you don’t have to then be reactive and be putting out fires all the time.
The idea, too, with this approach is that it’s flexible and that we will tailor the programs that we create, obviously this is just a framework, who knows what’s going to come out of this. But we’re going to be able to tailor those programs to the particular needs in the neighborhood. As I said, Shawnee is very diverse. You have a diversity in income. You have a diversity in home size. You have a diversity in age and population in various neighborhoods. And so by looking at the targeted areas, the hope is you can tailor the programs in terms of need rather than a shotgun approach.
The other thing that we want to be with this program is measurable in our analysis and results. There’s several metrics that I’m going to show you later that are going to map and track, and hopefully use to target our resources.
And lastly, the hope is this does promote neighborhood stability by identifying trends and issues before they become problems.
So, from this framework, this initiative that Carol asked us to put together, the Planning Department was asked to come up with this idea and strategy. Again, we came up with some specific objectives and it’s more than just Letter A of being ALL-ENCOMPASSING. Neighborhood ASSIST will be targeted -- won’t be targeted strictly to one area of the City. Instead it will be a City-wide initiative that focuses on a variety of issues that are critical in maintaining neighborhood stability over time. These factors include infrastructure needs, property foreclosures, home values, crime prevention, property maintenance and many other code-related issues. And we’re actually coming up with new parameters today to add to the metrics list.
A program that’s STRATEGIC and has a targeted focus. Each neighborhood, as I said, has issues and characteristics that are inherently unique. The age of population, age and value of the housing stock, age of infrastructure, incomes, all of those shape challenges faced in a particular area. And the strategies and specific programs aimed at fostering stability must match the market dynamics presented by the particular area.
Again, STABILITY in home and property values is critical. You don’t want to reach a tipping point where things slide into decline. Creation of neighborhood stability depends on understanding key indicators that reveal trends that can lead to neighborhood decline. We’re going to analyze again a bunch of statistics and metrics to make sure that we’re focusing this program on those specific needs.
Objective 4, we want to have an INFORMED public and an informed Governing Body. The success of any neighborhood focus program requires participation by the residents who live in a particular area. We’re going to reach out to the existing homes associations and neighborhood associations to encourage their participation in the program. And the hope is that you guys are getting good information to make your fiscal funding decisions.
Again, SAFE and vibrant neighborhoods is important. This is more than just a neighborhood crime or a neighborhood watch program. I know that we do data-driven approach to neighborhood already. But things such as well-lit streets, again, properties that are maintained, all of those enhance safety and reduce crime levels and neighborhoods.
And lastly, hoping to come up with a program that actually has TRANSFORMATION. And the thing is to say transformation is one thing, but we want to be able to measure. Does our perception rating in the community-wide survey go up? Do we see increases in median home values over a five-year trend in a particular area? Do we see decreased rates of crime? Those are the kinds of things that we’re going to quantify and measure.
Okay. Back to the ASSIST resources, and I’m going to go over all of these. I hope I don’t bore you to death, but I think they’re all important because they all tell a story of what we’re trying to find out. The idea is to come up with four target areas. It makes geographic sense, not for political reasons, but just for geographic reasons and kind of the similarity of the neighborhoods is actually to have our four target regions be our four ward boundary districts. And so what we’re going to do in those four target areas, we’re going to map these numbers. We’re going to look at median appraised value of homes. This is used as a metric to gauge the housing and condition of the housing stock. We’re going to look at median home value trends over a five-year period to see if there are areas that are slightly or over time declining. It’s a good method to judge whether or not you need to up your code enforcement activity in a particular area. We’re going to look at absentee ownership of homes. And that uses a gauge to the amount of renter and owner-occupied units that are in an area. Often absentee owner type homes sometimes have less want to, for lack of a better word, to maintain their properties. And we’re going to look at that over a five-year percentage trend as well. Owner-occupied versus rental vacancy rates. Vacancy rates can be a very good indicator of the vitality and the desirability of a particular neighborhood. And we’re going to look at obviously property maintenance violations. This may be use to figure out if we need to target some specific assistance type programs or code enforcement activity programs in a particular neighborhood. And we haven’t put anything in place, but I could see maybe an assistance to help you paint your house if you are income eligible. Something like that would be a program that would come out of that.
Additional resource sets. We’re going to look at Part One Crimes which are major crimes. We are going to graphically show those and maybe use that to target greater police presence in certain neighborhoods. Track free and reduced school lunch program participation. The reason we do that is that it can show areas that are stressed by financial burden. We’re going to look at CDBG eligible areas, again in Shawnee. Not very many CDBG eligible areas, but it’s something that we’ll have mapped and we’ll look at. Infrastructure repair requests. We have our new CityWorks program. Those requests are geocoded. We’re going to look at what particular type of incidents are maybe being reported in a particular area and that will help us target our capital improvement dollars for reconstruction rather than short-term repair. And were going to use a Citizen Satisfaction Survey that you all are all very well aware of. And then at the bottom CityWorks and SeeClickFix, there’s going to be a data and map driven resource for us to look at.
In terms of the makeup of this team we’re calling our work team, we’ve got it a lot of talented people that work for the City and we’re going to draw resources from many departments to be honest with you because I’m not an expert mapper. We have a GIS department that can do that. I’m not very good at communication as you can tell. We have a communications manager who will help with brochures and putting together material for the program. I’m not going to go over these individually, but you can see there are people from the Planning Department. Myself, I’m in charge of creating the program, directing and leading the team. Lauren Grashoff, who works as the Neighborhood Planner has been doing neighborhood planning work around the downtown area for a couple of years now. She’s going to be the day-to-day operations person in the program and coordinate meetings and those sort of things. And then we have a litany of people from various departments. Public Works, Development Services, the Fire Marshal will be involved. Our new Police Corps officer will be involved when that person is named. And then our GIS specialist Cheryl Muller will be integral to this as well because she will be the person that will help me first find the data and then map it. We’ll have a Communications Manager. Dan will be sitting in on these meetings and helping me put together the marketing material and making sure that our social media is up-to-date and that sort of thing. And then our volunteer coordinator will be involved.
I can see all kinds of opportunities for volunteer work on this to be honest with you. Part of the program that were looking at doing is maybe creating a windshield survey tool where you actually drive neighborhoods, you look at the condition of commercial, residential properties and you rate them just as we rate our streets today. And I can see actually that being a volunteer type activity once they were equipped with the proper form and a little training to go out and do that.
And then lastly, Dave Holtwick, our business liaison, will be involved, too, because obviously the business community has to be involved.
The next steps that we’re looking at doing, there’s a lot of work that were going to have to do. The first thing, we had our first ASSIST meeting last Friday. I unveiled the program to the team members. No one threw rotten tomatoes at me or anything like that, and they were all actually pretty excited about it because I think they see the potential of what this can be over time. But we’re going to start assembling the data, specifically Cheryl and myself and Lauren will be sitting down. One of the things that came out of that first meeting was a resource that I hadn’t even thought about. Our Fire Marshal Corey Sands said, well, we actually map fire by type. And our apartment complexes, we have data on fire-smoke alarms and things like that that would be a part, they could be wrapped into this program, and something that I hadn’t even honestly thought about.
So next step is going to be creating that windshield survey assessment tool. We’re going to be doing that windshield survey assessment in our commercial and residential areas in the four target ward areas. We’re going to do a secondary pinpoint survey and hold focus groups to kind of hone in on what the Citizen Satisfaction Survey revealed. Some of the information that it revealed wasn’t enough to let us know the specific problems maybe that were being brought up from the data. And then we’re obviously going to create specific programs based on what trends and what the mapping and what the data says. And then lastly, we’re going to expand our outreach to neighborhood homes associations and we’re actually going to take ownership of the homes association registry. We have one online now, but it’s kind of a volunteer type thing. And half of the information I think on it is maybe not even correct now because their boards change and we’re not notified. So, those are our first steps.
Possible next steps and how you guys will be involved. We’re going to be, and again these are our possible next steps, but things that we’ve thought of is researching and bringing information to a committee meeting on the proactive versus reactive code enforcement policy. It’s one thing to say that you’re going to be proactive versus reactive, but you also have to have the ability to be proactive in terms of man-hours in time.
Research and bring information to a council committee on the condition of rental and vacant properties within Shawnee. We already have our rental registration program for single-family, but we’re talking about, again at your guys’ direction possibly creating a multi-family and single-family rental registration, and if possible possibly creating a rental inspection program. And that’s going to take a lot of work to put together and will require a lot of input from the decision-makers, you guys essentially.
That’s all I have. I’ve talked really fast. If you guys have questions or comments or feedback, anything.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you, Doug. Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. Just one comment, Doug. It’s on the codes enforcement end of it. And I remember the good old days when I was in the Army and every of the unit was a safety officer. We’re all safety officers. Everybody is looking for any unsafe act and reporting that information back to the command so there is -- the action that can be taken. Well, everybody in the city can be a codes enforcement officer basically because we’re all over the city. There’s over 300 people that are out there every day. Obviously, especially people like the Public Works folks and even some of the Planning people and so on are out there every single day out looking around. The police are everywhere every day. It’s not that much of a burden to while you’re out there if you just keep your eyes open. And you’re looking around and you spot violations or infractions, that’s really a force multiplier if ever I heard of one for the codes enforcement people and at no cost at all to the taxpayer of the community. So it’s just something I’d like to see us explore that as much as we can. And, you know, obviously I know that has varying degrees of effectiveness and you mentioned the idea of potentially having volunteers working in that area as well and I think that’s a good idea as well. But just throwing that out there for public consumption. Thanks.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan and then Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: Thank you. No, I think, again walking and, you know, as we all do and walk around the neighborhood, I think this is a very good idea, Doug. You guys have obviously put a lot of work into it and I think it’s going to bear fruit for us in a very positive way as far as bringing our city forward to where we want it to be and get some of these places that might be backsliding a little bit and help to bring them forward. So, good job.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. I was just going to throw out there -- some other communities have done some things where they get the building material companies involved and, you know, provide, if, I don’t know if you can do it by neighborhood or by address or something like that, but I know if you go to, you know, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and, you know, Sherwin-Williams, I mean they’ll give out some pretty hefty discounts if you’re going to start a program. So if, you know, I don’t know if you do it for like decks and gutters and paint, you know, but that’s something if you’re going to bring it to a committee meeting, if you could do a little bit of that research with those folks. But I know in some other communities that they’ve done that and, you know, the paint guy really stands behind that one because they stand to do really well on those and they give some pretty hefty discounts for, you know, for so many addresses or neighborhoods or, I don’t know, whatever you work out.
MR. ALLMON: It’s a great resource to look into.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, also Wastewater has all the return paint and they give it away for free for this type of ordeal.
MR. ALLMON: That’s all I had. If you guys think of things over time, I’m readily accessible. You guys have my email and my phone number. Please call me with anything you think. I just want to end this by saying this initiative is really to kind of protect the wonderful things that we have. We’re starting out so high compared to other communities that sometimes start out here. And that’s something that we need to keep in the back of our minds is that we have very stable neighborhoods now and this is intended to really just make them better rather than fix a problem.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Just real quick. You talked about trying to improve the database of associations. And I would probably start with Curry Management, what did they change remain to? They bought out, I can’t remember, whatever the new company is. They probably manage half the neighborhoods --
MR. ALLMON: Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: -- the bigger ones like ones out west. And so if you look at the big management companies who manage the associations you’re going to get probably 60 to 70 percent of them. And they have all the current information, all the current officers. It’s a great resource to ding, get current on all that and then going forward you kind of have it.
MR. ALLMON: I’ve actually been on their website to find homes association information before and it was in some ways more readily accessible than the one we have. So, it’s a good source.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I know they’ve got a lot of them. And there’s about three companies that seem to manage, I don’t know, 80 percent of the neighborhoods, so.
MR. ALLMON: Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Carol.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: I would ask, and Doug mentioned in that last slide, two things that I’ve heard conversations about. And before we push forward we want to get some of this data gathered first. But, you know, our current code enforcement policy, property maintenance policy is complaint driven. And so we had -- do we want to bring forward a discussion and have a discussion about being more proactive in our code enforcement and property maintenance? Okay.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yes. Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I just may have a little bit different opinion. I think we’d start off with trying to be as proactive as possible setting out programs so that people can get paint and building materials and things like that to be energetic as opposed to -- because I could find something on every house.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Absolutely.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: And I know people have gone out and done that, you know what I mean? You know, if we make it more of a, you know, energetic, you know, make our community better thing, I think you’re going to have a lot better feel because I know that there has been certain, you know, homes in Ward I that, you know, I mean, they’ve been to court and they’ve, you know, once they get on the negative side they don’t want to do anything. So, and I’ve seen some letters and I’ve brought them in, you know what I mean, that we’ve sent the people about grass or about, you know, their tree limbs. And I just want to be as positive as possible, you know what I mean? Because they’re all people and they all live here and they’re all good people. And if we just start off being energetic about it I think people -- everybody is going to fix up their properties.
MR. ALLMON: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey and then Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, if you remember a few years back we had like the codes gestapo. Everybody was complaining about the Codes Department because, you know, if you had half your grass taller than the other half they complained. You know, and then they would go out and people would write code -- or complain about people’s property and they’d come in with 20 more of somebody else’s. And it got to be a really big hassle for the staff along with the public. And we got -- we actually moved to the complaint-based codes. You know, I agree with Dan. We keep this positive instead of reversing. You know, getting it around to where it’s -- they’re going to start calling our phones, you know. You get the neighbors and they get 25, 35 complaints because their paint is chipping off the door and there’s something going on, you know, we’re liable to start something different. But if we keep it positive. You know, one thing I’ve seen in some of the communities are some of the houses, which granted Shawnee does not have that many of, that are really downgraded, and maybe or maybe not abandoned. There are several houses in Shawnee that do not even have utilities on because the water line is broke in the yard and there’s different things and people – and we don’t even know about it. That’s where the rental inspections could come in and help on some of this. But if you watch somebody, and I did this one period of time when I was on the Planning Commission. I took that house on Circle Drive and it should have been condemned and tore down, it was really bad, and fixed it all up and it became the best one in the neighborhood. So, right around the corner another guy was fixing his up, making it better.
MR. ALLMON: That’s that inspiration.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: Next door they started siding all their houses and Circle Drive became great. There are three or four houses that they didn’t do much to, but everybody started working on the house, cleaning them up and it brought the value of all the houses up. If for some reason that we could go in there and get possession of a house and let somebody buy it for what we have in it, but they have to live in it for a certain period of time if they fix it up, and they’re going to fix it up nice. Seriously, they would.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. Those are great ideas.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: And when they fix up a house nice and put some money into it the rest of the neighbors are going to start fixing theirs up. And that’s a known fact. It just happens. It’s just a thought. If there is something that could be thrown out there to possibly do that. And we could get our money recouped plus we’re going to dress up a neighborhood. That’s what I have.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: But that paint you brought up earlier that’s a great idea. For someone that maybe doesn’t have the, you know, the wherewithal to even get a discount, you know, from Sherwin-Williams or from Home Depot or Lowe’s or any of the other ones, you know, that paint thing is free. And, you know, once you kind of mix all that stuff together it kinds of turns into an earth tone. So, and it’s free. So, that’s a great idea.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I don’t necessarily agree with that as far as, you know, I mean, you can have free materials but you can’t ignore the fact that they’re violating codes. I get, you know, I’ve had people call me because the City has gone after them on a codes violation expecting me to run -- go to bat for them and my answer is, but you have a codes violation. With ownership comes responsibility. No different than driving a car. You can’t drive around with bad brakes. Chances are you’re going to cause an accident. It’s not fair to the people around you. I mean, you know, I kind of heard Eric jump in real quick and I think Eric and I have talked about this before, you’ve got to be proactive on codes violations. The complaint driven system sounds great except nobody wants to complain on their neighbor. They’re afraid that they’re going to find out that they’re the -- their neighbor is going to find out they’re the ones that complained. You’ve got to be proactive on codes. When you go around and look at the other cities around us that are proactive on codes violations, you don’t have nearly what we have. This last summer I drove around, I saw more uncut grass than I’ve ever seen. And there are certain people that know how to work the system. There are many people in Shawnee that know that I don’t have to mow until I get a letter and then it’s going to take 30 days. And they can time it exactly. They can mow the grass about three times in a year and get away with it because they time it and they wait for the complaint. I’m sorry. Codes violations are codes violations. I mean, yeah, you can positive, you can be upbeat, but I guarantee you there’s more people out there in this community with nice properties who spend the effort to maintain their properties, they’re in the majority. The codes violators are in the minority and I don’t really want to look out for them. I really don’t care if they get letters from the City. That’s their problem. They’ve got to maintain their property. It’s not fair to their neighborhoods who are spending the money maintaining their property. We have to get stronger on code enforcement. We have got to.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I’d like to see it tempered to a certain extent. I mean, if somebody has got a little -- a minor issue out there, coming over and beating you over the head with a hammer seems a little out of place. But if you’ve got some egregious code violations I think that’s what really we’re talking about. When you look at the satisfaction survey our citizens filled out this is an area they were -- they expressed some concern about it. It’s one of the few areas they really expressed a lot of concern about. So, I think we do need a proactive codes enforcement program. But I would like to focus on the big items rather than going down in the weeds on some of these really small issues and stuff. I think for those just a simple remainder perhaps, knock on the door and say, you know, hey, by the way, did you notice that your gutter is falling off up here or something like that and try to do it in a neighborly sort of way and see if you can get support and compliance from doing that. You get these people that are just -- I think a lot of problems obviously come from rental properties a lot of times. And when it gets to that situation where it’s starting to be a blight on the neighborhood and it sort of drags the neighborhood down, we need to be all over that. We really do. And if their neighbors hadn’t squealed on them yet on the fact that we’re doing it on a reactive basis, then we need to be proactive on that one and do it ourselves and get after them.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Just to kind of throw something in on that. I mean, I think what originally I wasn’t necessarily meaning like the rental properties, I’m talking about, you know, maybe some elderly person that really doesn’t have the wherewithal to put a gutter on or, you know, maybe not -- maybe somebody at the house doesn’t even have a job, you know what I mean. So, I mean, if we just keep things positive and try to get people to, you know, do things like that I just think it would be great.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You realize what doing that [inaudible; talking off mic] that’s very nice of the City staff.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: We do. We do quite a bit of that. We’re going to gather data for a few months and then we’ll bring a policy, the code enforcement policy forward for more robust discussion at that time. And by then we might even have some good -- even better ideas on how to balance that regulatory versus being helpful, so.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay.
MR. ALLMON: Part of that “I”, I know it’s an acronym, but Informed, education of the public. Sometimes people may not realize that peeling paint is a code violation. Just education would be part of the program and be proactive and educate our residents I think will help some. It’s not going to fix everything, but I’ll help.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. Brandon.
COUNCILMEMBER KENIG: I agree with everything that’s been said really. Appreciate the work you’ve done and putting this research together and seeing what comes out of this. I think one of the biggest benefits to this will the increased communication with HOAs especially. I know that a lot of HOAs have their own provisions. And so when they’ve enforced those provisions they have in their own bylaws and constitutions, but you have a violation that goes beyond that and it’s an actual code violation oftentimes having been on an HOA board there’s confusion as to what’s actually a violation, what isn’t, should we report it to the City, how deep do we want to get into it. But just by having those conversations, and I think that direct outreach, putting faces to people that work in the City, that work in Codes will kind of help alleviate that. And so there’s going to be a more proactive approach by the HOAs as well and by some of those neighborhoods that are very involved already at the City level to make that call, you know, say, hey, we have an issue in the neighborhood. We’ve tried to address it one-on-one, we haven’t been successful. But I think that’s, you know, those connections are key, so I’m glad to see that come about, so thank you.
MR. ALLMON: Thank you everyone.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you. Before we move on I will just ask if there is anyone in the audience who would like to speak to this item? All right. Seeing none, we will move on.
2. BUDGET PRESENTATION – STORMWATER UTILITY
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: The second item tonight is the budget presentation on Stormwater Utility. The condition of the City's stormwater system has been an increasing concern. Over the past few years, several presentations have been given identifying needs and costs. With street maintenance adequately funded now, it is time to give attention to stormwater. Staff has identified present and future challenges based on the current status of the program. Doug Whitacre, Public Works Director and Mike Gregory, Stormwater Manager, will review the inventory of the system and recommend alternatives to address the problems with the current system.
MR. WHITACRE: Good evening. Tonight we’re going to take a look at the 20-year Strategic Plan for our Stormwater Utility. The presentation will provide the current status of the program, identify present and future challenges and then recommend some solutions to meet the program needs for further discussion coming into budget time. I’m going to tag team here with Mike Gregory who is the Stormwater Manager. I’m going to have him go through -- give an overview of the current status of the program and then I’ll step back in and kind of go through the alternatives that we’ve put together. So, I’ll give it to Mike.
MR. GREGORY: Okay. Thanks. Well, the stormwater program has been going on for quite some time, and it includes a lot of different efforts by many of the different departments and different people. The program covers basically these four areas, and that’s -- these are from, directly from our Comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan that the City Council has voted on several times as we upgraded over the years. We mainly handle -- and these areas are kind of interrelated. We handle flood plain regulation, which is like FEMA and different regulations, building regulations and studies of watersheds and flood plains. The important part of our work is the water quality and pollution control efforts that we use to help comply with the EPA’s program, our requirements for clean water. The EPA has passed, you know, the EPA handles the legislation of the Clean Water Act and they passed that down to the state and the state passed it down to us, and so we have a state water permit that we use and they have quite a bit of regulations. And they’re increasing their requirements. For instance, the amount of pollutants we have in a stream and how we can take care of that and how we can affect it. So, the other aspect of our program is flood mitigation which you’ve seen a lot of our projects come through. And we, for the last 20 years we’ve done 60 or more flood mitigation projects and they really have been a successful program using Parks and Pipes Sales Tax fund and Development Services handles a lot of -- most of those contracts. And we get matching funds from the county, about a 75/25 split. So, it’s really a beneficial and good program. But it mainly handles just -- we only qualify for those if we have flooding, if we have streets that are flooding, homes that are flooding and we compete with other cities based on the priority rating based on how much flooding we may have. And the last area which is really -- takes a huge amount of our effort is the storm drainage system maintenance. We have our field crews. We have contracts that we put out to help maintain the system that aren’t really flooding people, but they’re in disrepair. And as our infrastructure continues to degenerate or rust out and different things like that, the importance of maintaining our system is just increasing.
Our system, and here is a little summary of it. In stormwater pipes, we have about 178 miles of pipe. Out of that is about 101 miles of steel or corrugated metal pipe, that’s what CMP stands for. And we have 71 miles of RCP or RCB which is reinforced concrete pipe or boxes. So, you can see that’s the huge majority of the kinds of pipe we have. There is quite a bit of difference between CMP and RCP pipe. The basic difference is, is that steel rusts out and concrete doesn’t. So, CMP has a much shorter life of say around 35 years average, and RCP can last over 50 years.
Open channels is another big part of our system. We have about 100 miles of drainage ditches and drive culverts. We have 13 miles of concrete channels or riprap channels. Improved channels is what we refer to them as. And then we have 173 miles or so of natural streams and lakes and ponds. And all of these things, the pipes and all the channels, they’re all interconnected. And then sprinkled out throughout the whole system are about 9,900 storm inlets or curb inlets, area inlets, open pipes. And that’s where the stormwater all starts into the system is through all those different inlets. That’s why we call them inlets.
So, we’ve been working on -- the inventory has been completed for a few years now and it’s really great. It took almost eight years to get all that surveyed and figured out. Here is a map showing the corrugated metal pipes that are in the City. Just the green lines are just those pipes. And the average age of those is about 31 years. So, the whole system’s average age is almost to its expected life. Of course, there are -- a lot of the pipes are much older and a lot of them are in good shape, too.
Then reinforced concrete pipe. You can see it’s in the blue. It’s spread out over the City pretty much evenly as this corrugated metal pipe is. And the average age of that is around 20 years. In fact, since I started here we’ve always allowed CMP pipe, steel pipe to be installed by development. And then back in 2012, we changed our rules and we no longer allow it. So, only reinforced concrete pipe can go in or special kinds of plastic pipe in some circumstances.
Now, all these pipes since we’ve got them all inventoried, we’ve been out inspecting them. And really the only way to do it is to video inspect them with a camera that rolls through them. This is common practice amongst all the cities. We do about 50,000 feet a year more or less, about a 20-year rate of getting pipes inspected. And we use this rating scale, which is not too complicated, you know, is it good or new, fair with minor defects, or does it need repair or more monitoring, you know, is it rusted out but not all the way? How long is it going to last? It’s very subjective on our part to figure these things out. And then does -- or rated 4. Does the whole thing need to be replaced or lined. And sometimes we can’t line them even because they’re so broken up we can’t even do that because there’s a big hole underneath.
And then from those come the unfortunate emergences that we’ve been experiencing like Holliday Drive and just out in the front of the church where I go on Quivira, on Quivira about 72nd, we had a cave-in there. And it’s a thing that you can’t hardly predict even though you know that the bottom of the pipe is rusted out. You don’t know what’s going on around it necessarily. But as soon as we find a road that’s settling or anything like that, that gives us a clue.
Because we’ve done about 20-21 percent of the system, we’ve been able to start looking and analyzing just how much data through all that data just how much of our pipe is, you know, what kind of condition it might be in. From all the years that we’ve done we -- you can see the yellow line on the -- the red solid line there. What’s it say? Here we go. This red solid line. That shows how much we’ve done in the past years up to around 20 percent of the system. And then of those, you can divide it up into those four ratings that 20 percent. So, we found that about -- of all of them that we’ve inspected about 8½ percent are rated 4 of pretty bad. Then 3-rated pipes are about 23 percent. And then we have rated 1 pipes of about 31 and then also rated 2 pipes 36 or so percent. So, we feel pretty confident. As you can see the last couple of years’ worth of percentages are fairly flat. And so we’re feeling confident that -- more confident that about 8½ percent or a little more of the system is rated a level 4.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Mike.
MR. GREGORY: Yeah.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: On this chart are you extrapolating this out where you’re estimating out of all the pipes out there there’s 8.5 percent, or is this only -- are you only focusing in on those 23 percent that you actually looked at?
MR. GREGORY: Well, this chart shows what we’ve only looked at.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: This is the only ones you’ve looked at.
MR. GREGORY: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: So, of the ones we’ve looked at 8.5 percent.
MR. GREGORY: Right.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Now, I have a question. A follow-up question would be did we start with the oldest pipes first on our inspections or are we just randomly going out and selecting areas?
MR. GREGORY: You know, we’ve tried several different ways to prioritize which ones we did first. First we started with older ones and then we started doing the arterials because we didn’t want to -- we wanted to catch anything that was going to fail. And then we saw that there wasn’t a lot of the older or newer pipes, it didn’t -- there wasn’t as much difference as you would have thought. And then we started looking at pipes in different situations that were like at the bottom of a hill. Of course most of the pipes are at the bottom of the hill. But some are steeper than others. And where they get a lot of salt from the winter running down there and they’ve rusted out. And there is just a lot of factors that go into figuring out which pipes are going to fail first. Is there a lot of sand or rocks running through there that abrade it? Different things like that. Did a utility weave its cable through it like this, which they have a few times.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. I guess I’m wondering if this could be almost considered a representative sampling or something where --
MR. GREGORY: Absolutely.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: -- we would expect maybe we could extrapolate these numbers out and say probably overall, if we looked at all 178.5 miles we’d probably be somewhere in the vicinity of these different percentages.
MR. GREGORY: Absolutely.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Can we make that statement?
MR. GREGORY: We’re starting to feel very confident that that’s the case.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Okay.
MR. GREGORY: And it wouldn’t vary hardly any at all I don’t think since these are cumulative points you see.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah.
MR. GREGORY: And so it’s just started to flatten out on its own. And so --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, you can see where I’m coming from because if we’ve looked at all the bad ones first and we’re coming up with these numbers, we’ve got a lot of good ones and maybe these numbers aren’t quite so bad as we think. But if we’ve been kind of random in a sense looking at them, then these numbers are pretty -- like a representative sampling almost and we can at least say we’re in the ballpark on each one of these.
MR. GREGORY: Well, over the last several years we’ve been looking at the arterials and making sure that we’ve looked at pipes that were going to be involved with the mill and overlay program so that we can -- when we mill and overlay we don’t come in the next week and dig it up and put in a new pipe. We’ve put a lot of effort into doing that. And so we think it’ll work out. We’re doing a good job on that as well. So, I would say that it’s not --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Excuse me, Mike. Mike. Just a second. Mickey.
MR. GREGORY: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: One thing that you just brought up was [inaudible; talking off mic].
MR. GREGORY: I was exaggerating about that a little bit.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: [Inaudible; talking off mic]. Do you hold them accountable if they cut into the corrugated pipe?
MR. GREGORY: We do. So, when we look at all the different hundreds, you know, thousands of feet of pipe and we find any one point where a utility has gone through we set those aside in a list and we give them to our utility manager and they contact the utilities to come in and do those repairs. And, you know, we find lots of things. We find pipes that are clogged up or we find collapsed ones that we need to fix right away. Or we find raccoons and everything else in there. So, it’s pretty interesting. But as Councilmember Jenkins was saying, we feel that this is going to be a good representative of future -- what we’ll find in the future.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Dan and then Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So, you brought up something earlier and I think it’s something that we talked about in the past with using Insituform and, you know, and we’re using mostly concrete pipe now. There is a lot of other products out there that are on the market today that you can get, you know, quicker and they are less costly to install. And so if we’re going to do our research I hope we’re going to look at that again as opposed to, you know, just using concrete pipe. I mean, I don’t have a problem with concrete pipe, I think it’s great. I just think that, you know, when you’ve got one product and you don’t have a lot of options, you know. Because we talked about, you know, on the corrugated metal pipe, if we can get some inserts, you know, and some of those polyurethane or polypropylene or whatever you want to call them, those pipes will go through there. If they’re failed you can’t do that. I understand all those, but we do need to look at some of those other pipes because I know a lot of other communities are doing it. A lot.
MR. GREGORY: Well, I totally agree. And the restriction we have with concrete pipe is for new development or any new work that we do because we want the product, the pipe and the whole system to last 50 years, a hundred years. That’s where we can do the best for the community. But when we’re repairing the pipes, anything that works good gets an opportunity to be used. Cynthia is right here. We often bid out three or four -- we have bid out three or four different alternatives and we kind of know now which ones are cost effective. Even like the Quivira Road project, the collapse we had there, we looked into two different kinds of lining and different things and we decide -- and then we found out from just talking to the different contractors the best price we were going to get was for complete replacement. So, it’s good. It’s the way we think, too. We don’t want to spend more than we have to. So, we’ve tried pushing liners through there. We’ve done a spiral-wound plastic pipe. We have Insituform which folds an epoxy in there that they heat up and hardens. So, there’s a lot of really cool things out there and they’re mostly more expensive than just a complete replacement. But it just depends on the size and everything. So, we’re getting quite a bit of experience doing it that way. I think, was there someone else? I’m sorry.
So, we were glad to have these charts to really start showing us what’s going on and it gives us a lot of confidence in figuring out things. Our current program has remained the same for quite some time. We get about a 1,720,000 through our utility fee. And that varies a few dollars either way depending on what’s going on. And then we are currently transferring 750,000 from the General Fund into our program to help pay for all the miscellaneous snow removal and all that that all of our -- the Stormwater crews and different things that we do.
As I mentioned before, the video inspection is about on a 20-year cycle, nine or ten miles a year.
Pipe replacement. Currently for the last couple of years we’ve gotten about $600,000. Mainly because we upped the General Fund transfer. And that $600,000 does about a quarter of a mile a year. And so at that rate to get all the 4-rated pipes, the 8½ percent of the whole system remaining, it would take about 60 years.
Our CSRs maintenance that we do includes inlet clearing and pipe, clearing clogs and driveway culverts and ditching and different things. But we really have been -- only have been able to be reactive. As much as we’d like to be proactive and that we’ve had using the rating scale for pipes is almost the same as it is for work orders. And what we’ve decided that on lower work orders we just can’t -- we’re not getting to them, so those things aren’t being addressed, ditching and several different things. And Doug is going to talk a little bit more about that.
Also clearing the channels. That’s that fifth item right there. So, we’d like to be more proactive. But right now we’re pretty much reactive.
Every year, let’s see. When we turn in our stormwater utility fee it’s for about 21,000 parcels. And ERUs are about 48,000. So, that’s -- just to give you an idea of how many -- how much tracking we do of the impervious area of the properties, of the homes. Doug is going to go ahead and talk about the rest of that, of our proposal and you can -- I’ll be ready for any questions you have later, too.
MR. WHITACRE: We’ll go ahead and look at the current needs. Basically what we are looking at is sustainability of the stormwater system is really not feasible with the present structure that we have, fee structure that we have where 57 percent of our stormwater pipes have exceeded their life cycle expectancy at this point just because of the age and the amount of time they’ve been out there.
Major failures are occurring that can or will affect major trafficways within the City. And just I went back and had Mike pull some data for me. The last three years, ‘13, ‘14 and ‘15, we spent about $850,000 on emergency repairs where we had to go out and repair pipe because a street was going to be affected or shut down. Well, as you know as you voted just a couple weeks ago, in 2016, we’ve already identified $1.2 million just for the two pipes that we’ve got that are failing. And both of those, I don’t want to elaborate on it. But if you take the one out there on Holliday Drive as an example from a Public Works Director that’s a major nightmare. And where I’m going with that is, what is there about 600, they tell me 600 trash trucks that come off there and go into the landfill on a daily basis. Think about what that would do and how many millions we would damage by sending those trucks another way route to get around to the dump if we had to close that little short section. And so that’s where I’m looking at it. Is not only do -- when we have to close a road down, obviously it’s, you know, an inconvenience to everyone from a standpoint there. But it can generate more damage to us and I’ve faced that in other positions that I’ve been in, that where you’re facing more damage out there because you drive all that heavy traffic into other areas that really you don’t need it there but you have to because of the failures that you’ve had.
And then lastly is the backlog of the Citizen Service Requests and like that that need to be addressed. Again, we’re reactive. We prioritize those. And right now that’s how we’re handling them is if it’s a severe enough situation and we can work it into the schedule, that’s what we’re handling based on our current status.
The alternatives that I’m going to go through. First of all, in all three alternatives, and we came up with three just based on using that chart that we had with the 8.5 percent of 4-rated pipe and the 23 percent of the 3-rated is how we kind of developed our alternatives and I’ll take you through them. But all three alternatives include the following three components and so I don’t want to just keep repeating it every time I go into another alterative, is that the same fund -- and it’s at the same funding level.
First, we would initiate a two-year project to tackle the current backlog of deferred maintenance projects. And right there we’ve got about six major projects that have been on the books for quite a while. They’ve been unfunded. That’s about $5.5 million worth of work. And then there’s about $2.3 million and then when with some 4-rated pipe that we already know we need to address. So, there’s roughly $7.8 to $8.8 million in backlog that we’re trying to take care of.
Then the next three items is basically is to inspect and repair and move us from a reactive mode to more of a preventive maintenance mode where we’re trying to get out ahead and maintain what we’ve got rather than just having to react and then do emergency repairs. And that would be related to our stormwater structures, those 10,000 structures that we’ve got out there, 9,900. It’s just keeping them up and running and proactively making sure they’re clean, cleaned out and operating and functioning properly. And this would also help us in staying ahead of the mill and overlay program so that we make sure that again we’re not mill and overlaying a street and then end up having to tear it apart.
The improved channels, again, is to inspect and repair there. And that’s primarily just to address again stream backups, you know, with the debris, stuff that goes down in there, making sure it’s cleaned out, cleared out so that we don’t have the backups and then cause flooding in the neighborhoods or in the areas where the channel services.
And then with those hundred mile of roadside ditches, again, we’re just reactive right now, but maintain just basically in making sure that we keep the sediment removed and try to maintain that original flow line so that everything is flowing correctly as it was originally designed rather than as you know the ditches fill up then pipes get full, driveway culverts, et cetera. And so that causes other issues as you move forward.
So again, those are the areas that are the same in each of the alternatives now. Now, we’ll kind of look at the three alternatives. Number one, Alternative 1 is the most aggressive. And so we felt that we needed to tell you where are we at and let you know the severity of what we’re facing out there with our stormwater system. But this program would allow us to complete -- we would try to video everything in seven years so that -- and by doing that, that allows us to really know where our, you know, like you said we’ve been looking and we know, we’re concentrating on 3 and 4-rated pipe, but we need to know where is our 1 and 2-rated pipes to make sure, because obviously as anything just like with roads, everything slides down. So, eventually they’re all going to get to a four over a period of time. So, we’re just trying to make sure that we’re out there aggressively getting it videoed. And then this one then we would repair or replace or line all of the 3 and 4-rated pipes to try to get us caught up over that 20-year period. We tried to complete the 4-rated pipes within seven years, that first seven years. And then the 3-rated pipes we would distribute and complete over the entire 20-year period.
With Alternative 2, we would again aggressively complete that video inspection within seven years. And then we would concentrate on repairing and replacing or lining all of the 4-rated pipe first and getting that under control, which again would be somewhere in that seven-year range, and then we would repair or replace the 3-rated pipe. But with that process here with this alternate we’d get about five miles less of the corrugated metal pipe replaced with Alternate 2.
And then Alternate 3 would be basically we live our video inspection as it is on a 20-year basis. Just concentrate on the 4-rated pipe and distribute that and get all of that 8.5 percent of the 4-rated, being the 4-rated pipe over the 20-year span.
And now we’ll looking at the funding requirements to accomplish these alternatives, and I don’t want you to fall out of your chairs. Alternate 1 would require on a 20-year basis $114 million. To clean up the backlog and replace all of the 4 and 3-rated pipe based on the projection that we have right now. And how we would accomplish that, we tried to look at this several different ways. We worked with Finance. And how we could accomplish that is, and again, this is just a presentation to you to get some feedback and discussion. But we would take that 7.8 million and go ahead and do a ten-year bond and just get those projects done and get those caught up. Then to accomplish the funding that we would need -- and in Alternate 1 we broke it down into the first seven years. And then years 8 through 20. And so that’s why you see two columns for that. Again, this is the most aggressive approach as we put this together. And so that’s why it’s split out that way. That would move the stormwater fee on an annual basis per ERU from $36 to $144 and then would require about 4.2 mills to try to subsidize to come up with the funding. And then with the 1.1 there that would be required for the binding which carries in all three alternatives, so I won’t keep referring to that, or a total of 5.3 mills on those first seven years. After the first seven years you could drop the stormwater fee down to $72 on an annual basis per ERC. Still take about 2.6 mills to generate the remaining monies that we would need to meet the needs for that last 13 years.
What this would do for us over time is this alternative would basically -- we could never guarantee anything, but would get us to a point where we could probably prevent emergency repairs, get into a preventive maintenance mode. And at this we would also reduce our corrugated or steel pipe from 101 miles down to 62 miles, which again would help us as we get better piping in the ground, obviously reduce the amount of maintenance and everything that we would be facing.
If you look at Alternate 2, it would require about $98 million over the 20-year period, again to address the backlog. Replace all of the 4-rated pipe and then would do a good percentage of the 3-rated pipe. And this would be accomplished again with the [recording error]. The stormwater fee would move to about $84, would take 3 mills to fund that and then we’d still have the bonding of the project there at the bottom for a total of 4.1 mills to fund this.
What this would do for us over time, again, is it would help us to mitigate all of those -- mitigate those emergency repairs and reduce them much better, you know, give us a better state there. And it would reduce this from about again from the 101 down to about 67 miles of corrugated metal pipe.
For Alternate 3, that would again require $43 million over the 20 years. And that would again, we would do the backlog, that $8 million backlog, but then we would only address the 4-rated pipes over the 20-year period. And that would be based on again a stormwater fee of about $60 and then 1.4 mills that would help to assist with that. Again, all we’re attacking is the 4-rated. So, over that 20 years we know the 3-rated is going to continue to deteriorate and we’re going to have more 4-rated by the time you get to the end of the 20 years. But this just -- this would get us out there and at least eliminate what we know is already bad.
With that, staff, we’ve looked through it, is recommending Alternate 2. It would give us -- which would provide us the resources to complete those backlog of projects, would get that 4-rated pipe replaced and would get us a good ways into the 3-rated pipe that we know is going to continue to deteriorate and hope, you know, would reduce our emergency failures and could reduce our long-range maintenance costs going forward. So, with that, I’ll turn it back over for obviously questions and discussions.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Thank you very much. Is there any discussion from the Council? I’ll just in, I have a question. Less maybe for you, maybe more for Carol. In looking at all three of these options, it looks like it includes a mill increase. So, I’m curious with the quite brilliant legislation passed by the senate today in terms of the property tax lid what that -- what does that look that through that lens?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Well, I’m not up on what was passed even today, but, you know, my comment would be overall with the tax lid looming this would be the year to do a mill levy increase knowing that in the future we’d have to go through an entire election process to get any kind of increase to our budget.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Just an editorial comment of my own. This is a perfect example of a very important project that the City needs to work on and another example that would be hindered by a property tax lid. So, that’s my editorial. Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I agree. This needs to be addressed and I’ve been talking about it for the last year, I know with Carol and others. You know, infrastructure is one of the things we absolutely cannot let get away. We saw what happened with roads when we let them get away and we’ve got the same problem with this. And I talked about that a while back was the idea of bonding up front. And money is cheap right now and we could do a large enough bond to not only fix what’s on the schedule, but get the worst of the worst and fix them before they cave in because it’s probably, I mean, an emergency repair is what, 30 percent higher maybe at times? I mean, who knows. I mean, you’re kind of held hostage by the contractor at that point. So, you know, I think we save a tremendous amount of money fixing what needs to be fixed and getting ahead of the curve. So, even bonding that money, even the interest we would pay, I think is far less than having to go and do emergency repairs every time there is a cave-in. Is there any possibility of, you know, when we’re looking at this because we’re talking about with stormwater, we’re also talking about under driveways and, you know, probably -- what’s as jet-vac, is that what’s that called? Jet-vaccing those. So, if we’re looking at this from a, and I don’t, you know, the mills I don’t think it would probably work out, but on some of these residential streets where now we have the Street Improvement Fund, do we kind of combine part of this in with, you know, instead of spending the money going and blowing out these streets, hopefully we can get curb and guttered as -- figure out a way to get a chunk and more of an infrastructure, stormwater-curb infrastructure, combine it with a percentage off the sales tax and take some of those streets and actually instead of spending the money jet-vaccing, let’s curb and gutter them and get that done. I don’t know. I don’t know if that gets too complicated, but I mean it seems like -- I hate to go and spend a whole lot of money and come back two years and say, okay, now we’re going to do this street, or if we could put that money towards the curb and gutter does that, you know, -- and I think the public, if we go to the public and say this is a need, this is where we’re at, but also we’re also going to combine this into a bigger package, does that help us on this? I don’t know, it’s food for thought.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yeah. And I would say, you know, you all approved the priority maintenance on the curb and gutter program, the SIP program. And so as we accumulate money and begin to do those streets, anytime we do those streets we’re going to eliminate -- that is going to reduce some small amount of our issues by adding -- it also is going to add more structures that we have to maintaining in the future. But every time we would do one, and certainly as we looked at one, if we could leverage some stormwater money with some of that SIP money to make some things happen sooner or bigger that would be great. And we absolutely should look at that.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, and that’s what I’m thinking. So, when we’re looking at this mill do we look at, you know, we don’t want to just start tacking on them, but I think when you look at the citizen survey that’s other things that I think is really high is streets, or not streets, but curbs and gutters. And for the first time I think, since they first -- and the last few years I’ve been going to these neighborhood meetings people are becoming very vocal about wanting curbs and gutters. And I’ve always said, you know, I want to figure out a program. And maybe now is the time to do is going into those neighborhoods and see if there is, you know, will they -- are they willing to participate. I mean, I don’t think I can sell it to the taxpayer that, you know, in my ward that, you know, I know you guys all paid for your curbs and gutters, but now I want you to pay for theirs. But I’ve gotten some input from some people who I think are interested in going to some neighborhood meetings and seeing if they can organize a benefit district. You know, if they’d match some funds I think it would kind of -- I think there’s an appetite for it. I think people are saying, hey, we want that and they understand what it’s going to do, not everybody. But I think the neighborhoods that are most aggressive are willing to go and do it. You know, can we get X-amount of dollars off a benefit district, leverage some of this, leverage some of the deals and actually go and do a neighborhood and get it done or the majority of it. I don’t know. So, I know it’s a big project and a lot to work on, but now might be a good time to make that initiative.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: You know, one thing I think, since we just had the street tax on the ballot and it was voted in, but part of that money was to come in and do some of the same things. And then to turn around and then have a mill levy increase to do the same thing all over again I think would create a problem.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Mickey, I kind of -- I tend to agree with you. I think we just -- it’s tricky for me I agree because we did just pass a renewal to Parks and Pipes and then also add on the pavement, so, yeah, I do think there is that concern for sure. Dan.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: I’m agreeing with Mickey a hundred percent.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Let me ask something.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, so let me ask you guys. We see the need here. How do you guys want to fund it? I mean, it’s easy to say, and I’m, you know, I’m not going to disagree, I think it’s a tough one. But there’s an obvious need and if we ignore it, we’re just going to continuously emergency fix everything, so how do you want to fund it? What’s your plan? Because to say no isn’t enough. You’ve got to come back with a plan that says I don’t want to do this, but let’s do this because ignoring it is I don’t think is an alternative. So, I mean, somebody speak up and say, well, let’s do this instead.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jim.
COUNCILMEMBER NEIGHBOR: It’s a pretty good chunk to chew on. And what I’m going, you know, the point is I suggested before this is just -- as someone over here suggested, you know, this is just like the mill and overlay. It got ahead of us and then we had to catch up. But it’s like the old Fram Oil filter thing, you’re going to pay me now or you’re going to pay me later, but you’re going to pay me somehow. So, I need to think, I mean, I like the idea of many different things coming or ways to do it, but I don’t know that I have, you know, an epiphany right now how to go ahead and do it. I need to think about it a little bit more, but somehow we’ve got to work on this. And the other part is I think another part of it going back to education, we need to educate our citizenry about this issue and how it is becoming one of the major things in the City.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Any other discussion from the Council? Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I would say then moving forward we should probably have a review of our stormwater funding. What does pipes, how much money is that? What does it actually pay for? And what does the Stormwater Utility fee actually pay for, how big of a program it is, and get those dollars and cents out there. Because like I said, I just asked the question, nobody had an answer. I know nobody wants to raise the mill levy, but infrastructure we can’t ignore. And our job up here is to protect the assets of the City. Our job is to protect the assets of the City more than to make sure we don’t raise taxes. Sounds crazy, but that’s really what we’re here for because they can’t spend the money unless we approve it. And we can sit up here and watch this City crumble before our eyes and we’re not doing our constituents any service whatsoever if we do that. This is a problem. And you can go drive Holliday Drive right now and you go airborne if you’re going to too fast because it’s caving in. That could, I mean, that’s a huge one. And you’re right. That’s one of those ones that if you’re going to shut down Holliday Drive, it’s going to be a mess. Actually it’s 750 trucks a day. 750 trucks a day coming into that place, you know, so what are you going to do? Run them up Holliday, get caught by trains, go up to Woodland, come all the way around or utilize the old bridge that goes over and come in onto Renner and hit that street with no, you know, narrow streets, 750 trucks a day? I mean, these are the things that we have got to get ahead of. And I think it’s great. I mean, for years we’ve waved the flag that we’re the most efficient city. We’ve got the, you know, the lowest expenses, you know, per citizen and this and that, but it’s catching up with us. You can’t keep doing that. At some point you’ve got to pay for stuff and this is that point. I mean, we’ve ignored it and we’ve just been, you know, our predecessors got a free pass. I mean, they were able to do a lot of things and keep the mill levy low and brag on it and saying, but now here we are. Now, it’s deteriorating and so, you know. I don’t want to raise taxes any more than anyone else does, but I’d love to hear another solution. I mean, I just -- I feel personally that this is something that needs to get done. We’ve had too many cave-ins and they’re very expensive when it happens.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Well, I have to concur with something that Jim Neighbor said and that is that this requires some thought. And I’m not ready to whip out my handgun and start blasting away at this moment. So, we’ve got a budget process we’re going to be going through. I know that I’ve spent a significant amount of time already and we’ve spent a significant amount of additional time in reviewing every single line item in this budget, and if you want to look at my notes I’ve got a whole bunch of highlighters already on some of these line items. And we’ve got a process to go through. Perhaps there is some ways we could fund some of these projects with what we have now with just redirecting funds in different directions and maybe we have to make our decision on something we’ve been funding maybe we can’t fund anymore. Those are some of the choices that have to be looked at. I don’t like the idea of increasing the taxes to get this because I concur very much with what Mickey said about we just -- people just voted a tax increase for Parks and Pipes. And of course, the road maintenance as well. And to turn right around a year or two later and say, well, yeah, we’re increasing your mill levy. And by the way property taxes are going up because I got my assessment. It’s up $18,000 at appraisal over what it was last year.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: That’s not the City.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yeah. It’s not all the City, the City gets some of that.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: It’s not the City, Eric. It’s not the City.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I didn’t say it was.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I’m just making it clear.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: My appraisal comes from Johnson County.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I know.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: I understand that. I’m not too dumb, I understand it comes from Johnson County.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I’m not saying you’re dumb. I’m just clarifying the point.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: But the fact of the matter is our property values are all going up, so as a whole the property values for the entire of City of Shawnee just went up a notch. And that generates additional income as well. I notice we sit here on this Council and we’re granting all kinds of freebies on people not having to pay property tax for ten-year abatements and all that kind of stuff for businesses coming in. I know School District 512 is all bent out of shape about it. There’s a lot of people getting bent out of shape about that. We give away a lot of money every year and those kinds of things as well. So, there may be some very hard decisions made. And that’s kind of why we’re here, too. We’re not just here to just increase taxes because that’s the easy solution to everything. Oh, yeah, we’ll just raise taxes and solve the problem. Well, we’ve got to quit looking at that from that perspective and try to come up with some innovative ways of doing things. And I hope we can. I’m not saying that we can, but I hope we can, and I think we should take a real hard look at it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I agree. Carol, how long has it been since we’ve had a mill levy increase?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: 2006 for the 2007 budget year. So, nine years.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Thank you. Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I just want to correct something you said, Eric, real quick is we didn’t, I mean, I don’t feel like the Parks and Pipes -- that was a renewal, that wasn’t an increase. That was already in place and they renewed it. The increase was the pavement part of it. So, Parks and Pipes has been there. You know, it’s been renewed -- that’s the third renewal, isn’t it? That’s the third renewal. Huh?
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: It’s an increase because without a renewal you don’t have one.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: Well, I understand that.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: [Inaudible; talking off mic]
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I would say it’s a maintain. It’s a maintain of funding. And that’s a sales tax. It’s not a mill levy. It’s a sales tax. But that one, like you said, the Parks and Pipes has been -- that’s a third renewal, it’s been popular. What we did increase was pavement, so I don’t think it’s fair to say that, well, you know, we just increased pavement funding, so now we’re just going to ignore, you know, we can’t get any -- we can’t generate any new revenue for Pipes because we just did this. They’re two different monsters. And as we know, and what we just were presented with, it really doesn’t make sense of going mill and overlay over a street knowing that in two years you’re going to have -- three years when you have the funding in place to tear it up and replace a pipe. And if we have this money to do mill and overlay, then we need to really get in front of the pipes part of it and make sure that before we go into that street and do it that we camera those pipes and if they do need replacing just replace them now because we’re all pretty aware of how silly it is to drive down a brand new street and then three months later you see a big trough cut through and you go, why didn’t they do that before the mill and overlay. I don’t want to be answering those questions either. You know, and, Eric, I’m not, you know, I mean the insinuation is that I want to raise -- I don’t want to raise taxes, but I don’t want to ignore the problem. And if we can find the money I’m all for it. I mean, if we can find it in the budget, let’s find it. But I know I’ve been through a few of these budget processes and I don’t think we have a whole lot of excess in there, if any. But like I said I’m open to any solutions. My thing is I don’t want to ignore it. We cannot ignore this, so let’s just figure it out and work together.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Eric.
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: Yes, I concur. I’m not wanting to ignore this. In fact, I classified it as the elephant in the room to a number of you. And in written documents I’ve shared with some people as well. I’ve shared it with the City Manager when I was looking at the capital improvement projects, the elephant in the room is this right now. We had two elephants standing in the room a year ago, now we’ve got one elephant left and this is it. And we’re going to need a pretty significant elephant gun to take this one on. But I don’t think we’ve exhausted all of our brain power and all of our options yet, so I’d like to do that first. I mean, to me as a very last option is to raise the mill levy. That would be a very, like we’re down to the -- our backs are against the wall and the bayonets are in our face and what are you going to do at this point? But right now I don’t feel like I’m there yet. I’ve seen some things in this budget I think we could do some things with and that has to be discussed because we have to have all our people agree with that. So, we’ll see where we stand in a few more months and we’ll go from there.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. Eric, I agree with what you’re saying, too. And I know we were kind of looking for direction tonight and I don’t know that we necessarily have any, but I -- the only -- kind of again to beat a dead horse I guess, the overarching comment I would have is as we go through this process I want to make sure we’re looking at what the lay of the land is now and what it is quite likely to be. And you’re right, the property tax amount that we bring in is going up because property value is going up. But as a part of legislation that is quite likely to pass that would be capped. So, our ability to capture that additional growth might be lost moving forward. So, those kinds of things I want us to just be mindful of so that we’re not counting on growth that we might not be able to capture. I just want us to be aware of that, so.
All right. Thank you. If there is no other discussion from the Council I would ask if anyone from the audience would like to speak to this item. Seeing none, I will move on to the final item which is the budget presentation and pre-budget discussion.
3. BUDGET PRESENTATION – PRE-BUDGET DISCUSSION
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: This budget discussion will review the Priority Based Budgeting Results and the current budgeting calendar. The goal of this discussion is to hear from Councilmembers on priorities for the budget and any information or analysis that is desired. Welcome, Carol.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Thank you. I’m going to brief. As in your packet memo tonight we’re just kind of -- it’s good when we start the budget to kind of start big picture again. What are we here to do? What’s the most important? And if you all remember, those of you who were here in April of ‘13, went through a process at a retreat and defined the results, what we’re here to do. And then following that in 2014, you all affirmed the definitions. What are the things that feed into those results, or overall goals about what we have for the community. So, I know you all are very familiar with these. You probably sleep with them next to you every night, but these are the results of the City. Things that as a city we want to be and do. What are most important. And these are in the order of the importance that you all prioritized them in the past.
So, what we’re asking this year is if you remember each of these has these bubbles around it, and those are the definitions. And the way the sentence reads is, “If we offer protection from harm, enforce the laws fairly and administer justice and reduce the occurrence of wrongdoing, then we are creating a safe community.” So, that’s how you read each of those bubbles. There’s a lot of words in those bubbles. But really when you focus in on them, they’re pretty cool and pretty meaningful. And so what we’re going to ask you all to do to review these, but I’m going to ask you to do it through a survey. So, you should get an e-mail tomorrow probably from Caitlin and it’s going to have a link in it to the survey. And what we’re asking you to look at is you go through each of those results. It will look like this. Have the little explanation at the top and then it will list each of those results. And so what we’re asking is that you read through those definitions and see if they’re still meaningful. Does any of them need to change or are they still appropriate. And the three categories is this really not relevant at all to achieving that result, is it moderately relevant, or is it really critical. And just to kind of weigh those and go through each one of them, click on the bullet. If you think of something that’s missing from up there, and again, we’ve been through this before, but this is kind of -- it’s been a few years. It’s good to come back and affirm them. Jot a note or something, a new definition or if you think something needs to be modified, edited, anything, just scratch that in there. So, each of the results are in here and the survey is all set up. So, you’ll get that. And if you could try and complete that in the next two weeks or so, then that will help inform our budget process going forward.
So, with that said, I want to talk just a little bit about the budget process. So, a few months ago, probably more than we realize now, you all worked on big prioritization sheets related to capital projects. It was kind of an after-project to the last budget process. As we looked ahead in the forecast we were going to have a little bit of mill levy starting to come available in the debt service fund, which of course could be rolled into any fund. But because we have projects that are falling off and we haven’t debt-funded many, if any, major capital projects for a number of years now. So, we last year kind of captured capital projects. And stormwater maintenance was on those. I think those are some that Councilman Jenkins was mentioning earlier, some of the conversations we had around that. So, we have the results of those from a few months ago, those of you all that submitted those.
As we started into this budget process and thinking about the stormwater crises, what’s going on with it and then just also thinking about the looming limitations that we may have on raising revenue in the future, what we’ve asked department heads to do is really define what their unmet needs are, what are the things that we really have just been getting by not doing well that we really need. Because I think it’s important for you all to see those. In the past I’ve tried to kind of sift through some of those and really just put forward what I think are the most important. But this year, not that -- they are all important. So, this year we’re going to try and do a good job of capturing those, costing those. We’re going to take into account the stormwater needs and then bring the capital stuff back in. We haven’t figured out what it’s going to look like yet, but we were going to -- ask you all to do some kind of prioritization of those things and hopefully that will help in this discussion about stormwater. Again, some -- it’s not like there’s going to be a whole lot of extra money even if the tax lid weren’t to be in place which makes those decisions very hard and absolutely critical that you all make those. So, that’s what’s coming in the budget process in the next few weeks.
And so with that, I guess the last thing I would ask tonight is just I heard Councilman Vaught talked about can we see a presentation on the stormwater funding and what that all goes for and that’s a great idea. So, we will work to bring that forward as part of the budget process. And so I would ask just to open it up to what else do you want to see, what other priorities do you want us to look at, and what things do you want us to analyze. Is there anything that you can think of that you want us to look at as part of the budget process here that’s a priority.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: I think you mentioned earlier some of the capital projects that we talked about, so like the fire station. And we’re get into all that stuff I assume?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Yeah. Okay. Cool.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yes.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Great. Okay. Anyone else?
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Well, if there is no discussion from the Council, I would open it --
COUNCILMEMBER JENKINS: There will be some discussion from the Council I’m sure. In fact, I’d like to set some time with Maureen Rogers sometime in the near future going over some of the concerns that I have in the budget just to bounce those off of her and get her feedback and maybe a little explanation of them because there’s that always that possibility I could be looking at something here and not really understand the intricacies of that and why that number seems so big and that kind of thing. But I’d like to do that on that kind of a basis rather than just -- I want it all out here for public consumption necessarily like this. I mean, we handle those items with the staff.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Uh-huh. Sure. Dan.
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: And certainly would have that invitation to any of you all. If you have questions, you want to come in, sit down, Maureen and I are glad to do that.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: So --
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Well, Dan and then Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Maureen, if you want to put together our -- I know we’ve talked about this last budget and everything, but if you want to throw out that spreadsheet that shows our debt and where, you know what I mean, where it kind of falls off in the next few years and where it’s been for, I don’t know, if you can put the last ten years and whatever we’ve got coming.
COUNCILMEMBER SANDIFER: How many mills we got coming. [Inaudible; talking off mic.]
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Yeah. If you could do that, I would greatly appreciate that.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Jeff.
COUNCILMEMBER VAUGHT: I would like to kind of -- we talked a little bit about this, Carol, actually today and so I would like to see more information on parks. As far as I know with Erfurt coming online that’s going to be -- that’s a big park and that’s going to be a lot of maintenance. And I know that Parks is -- stays pretty short-staffed. I know we contract out a lot which, you know, I think, you know, contracting out is great, but I just want to make sure we’re not to that point where do we hire somebody and get more done for less money or equal money or not. So, I don’t know if that’s a real quick one to take a look at or -- but I know we’re going to have, you know, I know on Erfurt that’s going to be a big one to maintain and keeping everything else going as well, so. And I know there’s no increase in staff on that, so someone has got to do it.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. All right. If there’s no one else, I would ask if anyone in the audience wants to speak to this item? Okay. Seeing none, I think do you have everything that you need?
CITY MANAGER GONZALES: Yeah. Thank you.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Okay. Great.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: This concludes our agenda. I will accept your motion to adjourn.
COUNCILMEMBER PFLUMM: Well, first of all thanks, those were good presentations everybody.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: All right. A motion has been made and seconded on this item. All those in favor say aye.
COUNCILMEMBER MEYER: Opposed nay. Motion passes. (Motion passes 8-0). We are adjourned.
I certify that the foregoing is a correct transcript from the electronic sound recording of the proceedings in the above-entitled matter.
/das March 27, 2016
Deborah A. Sweeney, Recording Secretary
Stephen Powell, City Clerk