The following represents an unofficial account of the significant items discussed and/or voted upon during the August 10, 2015 City Council Regular Meeting. The complete agenda packet is found here and a video of the meeting can be viewed here. Draft meeting minutes will most likely be posted at the city website as part of the September 2015 Regular Meeting Agenda packet.
VI. SPECIAL REPORTS
The agenda was amended to include three reports. The first was a report from Congressman Chuck Fleishmann who spoke on his advocacy and support for Oak Ridge. I provided the second report which was a briefing on the recommendations of the Special Events Task Force regarding the Secret City Festival. That report is located here. No action was taken on this report but it will be discussed further in our August 18th work session and possibly voted on in the October regular city council meeting.
The city manager provided an update on the Jackson Square parking lot project and representatives from the contractors addressed council concerns. Final completion is expected by Sept 15th. All of council expressed concern over the delay in completion (at a cost of $1M, it will have taken up to 10 months to complete a parking lot renovation that incorporates minimal landscaping and a fountain). Though there was lengthy discussion, no accountability was achieved. Some council members, myself included, asked the city manager to conduct an after action report and return to council with a formal report that includes lessons learned and financial reconciliation.
VII. CONSENT AGENDA 4 items passed by unanimous vote
b. Resolution to continue participation in the East Tennessee Economic Development Agency, with annual membership dues in the amount of $26,116 for the 2013 calendar year. TVA reimburses the City for approximately one half of the membership dues. Therefore, the actual cost of membership will be$13,058 Notes: See staff’s previous response to what the most significant, tangible ROI benefits that the COR has realized as a result of this investment here.
d. Resolution approving an Interlocal Agreement with the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Greenway Council and appointing Roger Macklin as the citizen representative on the council. Annual dues $1,500.
a. Resolution awarding Alternate Staffing, Express Employment, Robert half, Staffing Solutions, Temp Systems, Qualified Technical Firms for furnishing as needed temporary employment services for FY16 not to exceed $150,000. Decreased $25K from last month’s proposal; significantly less than the $225K budgeted in 2014 NOTE: this represents a 33% reduction since 2014 when we budgeted $225K. Motion passed 7-0
b. Resolution waiving competitive bids and awarding chemicals contract to “best providers” up to$300,000 Baughn motioned to reduce to $260K based on the 3 year average actual costs equaling $225K. Motion failed 3-4 with Chinn, Hope and Baughn voting Yes, Gooch, Hensley, Callison and Smith voting no. Main motion passed 7-0
c. Resolution waiving competitive bids and awarding TML $1.3M for liability, worker’s comp insurance and legal services. This is an increase from FY15 which was $1.24 million –TML acts as our broker and shops for us, provides us with a $40K annual discount, refunds us when able (last year that amounted to $5,000) and provides additional services for our membership such as mediation/negotiation of claims. They also provide legal representation in most, if not all, cases brought against the city. I object to the fact that this is a no bid contract paid for by the taxpayers who already fund two city staff attorneys and, if wronged by the city, must also pay for their own attorney. This is one of the reasons one cannot successfully “fight city hall.” However, because I had no alternate solution, I chose to abstain in my vote as this required a unanimous vote to pass. After the vote, the city attorney questioned whether or not the vote would hold up as a unanimous vote and indicated he’d have to return to council with a formal opinion on the matter. Motion passed 6-0-1 with Baughn abstaining
d.Resolution approving a contract with S&C Electric Company to conduct a radio study for the electric department for $56,050 as preliminary work for implementing the SCADA system. Motion passed 7-0
e. Resolution awarding a contract to First Place Finish for abatement and demolition of 105 Waddell Place for $29,477. The city manager asked and council granted the removal of this item to be put back out for bid.
f. Resolution awarding a contract to First Place Finish for abatement and demolition of 103 Bennett Lane and 106 Pembroke Road for $33,477. Baughn motioned to defer and rebid, motion failed 5-2 with Baughn and Callison voting yes. Main motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting No. Note: though staff claimed to have contacted 13 different companies to bid on these projects, none other than FPF responded. I attempted to contact some of them this past week and could not find current contact information for at least 1/3; I did speak with two who indicated that they no longer bid on demolitions in Oak Ridge because FPF bids them at under $3,000. When I informed them that these projects were going out for about $15K each, they indicated that they definitely would have responded for that kind of money since they’d done many here in Oak Ridge in the past, to include those that require asbestos abatement, for about 1/3 that amount. Similar jobs, 1,000 sq ft or less, they say, take only a day to knock down and a day to haul off. Abatement adds 1-2 days.
g. Resolution awarding a contract to Legend Fitness for $56,397 for fitness equipment for the firehouses.90% funded by AFG grant. Motion passed 7-0
h. Resolution for an MOU with DOE to provide fire protection and emergency services at ETTP through 2019. Motion passed 7-0
i. Resolution amending Administrative Hearing Officer agreement with Hugh Ward increasing his compensation from $24 to $26K per year for his 8-10 hours per month. Motion passed 6-1 with Baughn voting No. Note: I fully support Mr. Ward’s work; however, this increase represents an 8% increase, four times that of staff’s recent increase.
j. Resolution awarding contract to Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon for engineering services related to the 8th rowing lane not to exceed $50,000. Motion passed 7-0
IX. PUBLIC HEARINGS AND FIRST READINGS OF ORDINANCES
a. Amendment to the monthly residential refuse collection fee from $7 to $10.50 Motion passed6-1 with Baughn voting No
b. Amendment to the Motor Vehicles, Traffic and Parking ordinance to align with state law as follows:
- Crash Helmets – adjusted to allow for exemptions during funeral processions or special escorts
- Safety Belts – fine increases, restrictions to exemptions for utility workers and exemptions for persons with physical disabilities which prevent proper use
- Notification of change of address – state law requires 10 day notification
- Illumination of license plate – integration into city code allows for citation to be entered into city court rather than issuing a state warrant for violation
- Texting while driving– integration into city code allows for citation to be entered into city court rather than issuing a state warrant for violation Motion passed 7-0