The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the March 3, 2014 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet as well as a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the April 2014 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.
IV. APPEARANCE OF CITIZENS
Multiple citizens spoke in favor of funding the visitor’s side bleachers. I asked BOE Chair Keys Fillauer what the schools had discussed as far as funding possibilities to which he replied, “The city pays all, the schools pay all, the city and schools share, we ask for donations, borrow from 2015 CIP and/or fund balance.”
VII. CONSENT AGENDA 3 items passed by unanimous vote
b. Resolution granting renewal permits to multiple persons engaged in the retail sale of alcoholic beverages
c. Resolution to apply for and accept Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program funds from TN HUD in the estimated amount of $52,492
A. Joint Resolution between the city council and BOE relating to the discrepancy over payment of the High School Debt.
My request to have a chronology and impact statement (see unmodified version here) entered into record are challenged by Hensley and Beehan. The city clerk advised me to re-submit with a request that they be entered into next month’s minutes as a communication.
My question for City Manager Mark Watson: You have stated that if passed, this resolution will require the city to make up approximately $10 million to cover the deficiency. How does this resolution stipulate that we will make up that $10.3M? Watson Response: It doesn’t
Baughn Statement and Questions for City Attorney Ken Krushenski: You have done an excellent job of disproving any and all of the BOE’s claims since this ordeal began. You’ve gone so far as to post all of the evidence on the city website that demonstrates an original agreement and understanding by the BOE to appropriate all sales tax, collected both in and outside of the city’s limits, towards the high school debt. It is unconscionable to me that 4 people can invalidate the legally expressed will of the people. Do you find this resolution, which essentially nullifies the 2004 referendum, to be legal? Krushenski’s response: YES Ethical? Krushenski’s response: Non-committal Should a citizen or citizens choose to take legal action against the city, would they not have sufficient evidence found in your data to successfully challenge this action? Krushenski’s response: Anyone can file a lawsuit
Mosby made a motion to amend to allow for the inclusion of a financial model that includes predictions of revenues that may offset the $10M cost shift from the schools to the city. Motion passed 7-0
Amended Joint Resolution passed 5-2 with Garland & Baughn voting “no”
—–Amendment made to agenda to include a resolution from the schools requesting the use of $1.75 million of their reserves to pay in part for a new technology initiative (Discovery Education/eBooks).
I questioned Dr. Borchers about the total project cost. He explained that of the $1.75 Million, $1 million would be used for “technology initiatives/technology infrastructure;” $750K would be for “teacher learning.” The 5 year contract, for which a funding source was not named, would cost $1.3 million. I asked if this initiative would provide ebooks for all students and Dr. Borchers responded that it would only provide them for middle and elementary school students. I questioned the merit of not first providing them to high schoolers who have to tote around 5-6 heavy books. I also challenged the merit of spending these kinds of funds on technology when a. we already spend $2-3 million per year on technology in our schools and b. we have so many millions of dollars in school facilities repair needs.
Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “no”
B. Redflex Traffic Solutions Contract (Red Light and Speed Cameras)
- Garland makes a statement in opposition to this contract
- Hope makes a statement in opposition to this contract in its current state
- Note: Councilman Hope departed the meeting at this point due to a family emergency. A moment of silence was observed out of respect for his father who was ill and passed away the next morning.
- Beehan, Miller and Hensley make statements in support of the contract
- Mosby makes a statement indicating opposition to this contract
- Miller makes a motion to amend the resolution to allow for contract revisions of locations, mobile units and renegotiation of fees. Motion passed 4-1-1 with Mosby voting “no” and Baughn abstaining.
- Hensley motions to postpone out of consideration for Hope. Motion passed 6-0
C. Resolution to install traffic signal at the OR Turnpike High School/Civic Center Crossing Baughn motioned to postpone until the next council meeting (in cooperation with the postponement of the Redflex issue) Motion passed 6-0
D. Resolution awarding bid of $154,620 to Guthrie Sales & Services for Two Replacement Motors for East Plant Pump Station Motion passed 6-0
E. Resolution awarding contract to Davis H. Elliot for labor and equipment for construction and maintenance of underground and overhead electric power lines in the estimated amount of $3,357,782 Motion passed 6-0
F. Resolution approving an Administrative Hearing Officer agreement. Motion passed 6-0
IX. PUBLIC HEARINGS AND FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES
First Reading of an Ordinance
Ordinance amending Title 5 “Municipal Finance and Taxation” Chapter 1 changing when property taxes are due from June 1st to July 1st Motion passed 4-2 with Mosby and Baughn voting “No”
Past efforts to change the due date revealed significant financial ramifications to immediate cash flow and long term interest losses. The finance director’s response to how much we would lose did not align with previous analysis. She claimed a minimal loss of future interest in the amount of less than $2500. I could not accept Ms. McGinnis’s statement of loss when the city will be forfeiting an entire month of revenue from annual receipts of roughly $20 million.
X. FINAL ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES
Amendment to Title 3 Municipal Court code by creating a new chapter entitled “Administrative Hearing Officer” to create an Administrative Hearing Officer Position. Motion passed 6-0