Council Votes: Oct 13, 20 & 27 Oak Ridge City Council Meeting Summaries

It has been another busy month! For the sake of time, I’ve consolidated three of our most pertinent meetings into this one post. 

10/13/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY

 The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 13, 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 November 2014 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

VI. SPECIAL REPORTS

City Manager employment agreement to provide for a 2% salary increase (in line with the same increase given to all city employees).  This raise will set his base annual salary at $150,322.   Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “nay.” Miller motioned to extend his contract from2016 to 2017. Motion passed 5-2 with Baughn and Garland voting “Nay”

In addition to the performance issues contained within the agenda packet, the reasons for my votes are as follows:

  • Watson is already generously compensated with a total compensation package exceeding $220,000 (not including his car and travel). Last November, council approved a 10% raise for the city manager when staff was only allowed a 1% raise. Many of our city employees have children were eligible for the free and reduced lunch program in Oak Ridge Schools.
  • After receiving the 10% raise, Mr. Watson pursued another job in Houston.
  • General Fund revenues have declined slightly over the past year by about 1%
  • Debt has increased by 22% ($33M) over the past year

VII.       CONSENT AGENDA  6  items passed by unanimous vote

d. Resolution awarding a contract to Irby electrical Distributor four variable frequency drives for sewer station motors for $74,494.

 RESOLUTIONS

 a. Contract extension for employee medical insurance with the state local government health insurance program for $4,520,000 (unchanged from last year). Passed unanimously

 b. Award to multiple staffing firms for temporary staffing needs in the estimated amount of $175,000. Passed unanimously

 c. Change order reduction with Morgan Contracting for (3) EQ Basins. Contract reduced by $444,820 for a new estimate amount of $6,027,180. Motion passed 7-0  Note: To date, this is the only EPA AO-related item I have approved. I did so solely based on the cost savings unlike all other expenses which have burdened the taxpayer.

d. Transfer portion of potable water distribution system at Heritage Center and along west bear creek rod from DOE to the city. Motion passed 7-0

e. Grant application submittal to TDOT for $748,113 and 20% city match of about $150,000 to design and construct a round-a-bout at Malfunction Junction. Motion passed 7-0 Note: Since 2008, 43 crashes, 8 with injuries, most due to failure to yield

f. Contract renewal with Convention and Visitors Bureau for $225,000. Motion passed 7-0 Note: Unlike past contracts, this one contained requirements for an increase in hotel/motel revenues of 15 and a requirement that the CVB generate 3% additional revenues outside of hotel/motel tax.

g. Placeholder for Jackson Square contract removed. Voted on 10/27/14.

IX. PUBLIC HEARINGS AND FIRST READING OF ORDINANCES

a. Amendment to Ordinance Title 12, “Building Utility Etc. Codes” Motion passed 7-0

b. Amendment to Ordinance Title 13 “Property Maintenance Regulations” Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting “Nay”

X. FINAL ADOPTION OF ORDINANCES

a. Substitute Amendment to ordinance pertaining to the DOE wastewater utility billings for costs related to the EQ basin Note: Allows for cost recovery of$1.5M (up from $1.4M passed in June) from DOE to be returned to the city over a 5 year period through their utility bills. (First reading results found here) Motion passed 7-0 

b. Ordinance amending title 2, “Boards and Commissions” EQAB Motion passed 7-0

XI. ELECTIONS/APPOINTMENTS

Council voted unanimously to appoint Hope, Baughn and Hensley to the Budget and Finance Committee with Hope as Chair.

10/20/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL CALLED MEETING SUMMARY (DOE/City Relations/Obligations)

 The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 20, 2014 City Council Special Meeting. The complete agenda packet can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the November 2014 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

Efforts to direct the city manager to draft an initial letter to send to DOE requesting a Community Assistance Review as allowed within AECA 1955 failed. Council voted 5-2 with Beehan and Miller voting “nay” to direct the city manager to return to council on Dec 8th with a step-by-step plan to approach DOE with our concerns and to begin discussions.

10/27/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL CALLED MEETING SUMMARY

The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the October 27, 2014 City Council Special Meeting. The complete agenda packet can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will be posted at the city website as part of the November 2014 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.

Mayor Beehan was absent.

RESOLUTIONS

a. Resolution to accept a grant from TDOT in the amount of $35,148 to be used for traffic safety measures by the ORPD. Motion passed 6-0

b. Resolution awarding a contract to Rich Construction for revitalization of Jackson Square Parking Lot area in the amount of $1,035,225. (80% funded by TDOD grant awarded June 2012) Motion passed 6-0  Completion expected by June 2015

CLARK CENTER PARK PUBLIC FORUM

A second public forum followed the special meeting in which the city manager updated city council on the Clark Center Park transfer process and allowed for public comment. No action was taken and no copies of the presentation were provided to council or the audience prior to the meeting. It will be uploaded to the city website shortly. I will attempt to provide an update once that occurs.

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4 thoughts on “Council Votes: Oct 13, 20 & 27 Oak Ridge City Council Meeting Summaries

  1. Do you and Ms. Garland not like this city manager ? Don’t you not think you have to keep his pay up to what other comparable cities pay for similar skills if you want to keep him? Isn’t it all about supply and demand ?

    On 10/28/2014 12:38 PM, trinabaughn posted: “It has been another busy month! For the sake of > time, I’ve consolidated three of our most pertinent meetings into this > one post. 10/13/14 OAK RIDGE CITY COUNCIL MEETING SUMMARY The > following represents an unofficial account of the significant item” >

  2. There is a misbegotten mindset that affects our city leaders that money buys value. It doesn’t. How many jobs that pay a living wage have been created since Watson has been employed here? None. That is how I judge value and Watson has none at all. Clinton has created over a thousand in just the past six months. It creates hundreds every year. Poor Oak Ridge, if excuses were currency, we would all be rich.

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