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City Council March 16, 2011, WORK SESSION: Agenda Summary

During Work Session city discusses gas repairs, TAD development plans, taxi cab ordinance changes and consents to police department asset forfeiture funds expenditures.

AGENDA SUMMARY:

Special Call Meeting

Item 1: Bridge Hangar and Gas Line Replacement—Mr. Mickey Watts of city’s Gas Department presented a response to Councilman Powell’s request to look into the bidding for railroad bridge crossing. Watts said his finding is that the city did follow the proper procedures in soliciting for bid contractors, with the exception of running ad in newspapers. The Gas Department sent letters to six or seven contractors; four of the contractors responded with requests for bid packages. Three showed up for the opening of bids. They also posted bid request on city’s website. The contract was awarded to lowest bid.

Councilwoman Katie Hart Smith asked why there was a $49,634 difference in the bids submitted. Mr. Watts could not provide information about the bid difference.

Councilman Tony Powell said the city has a procurement ordinance that requires advertising. Powell acknowledged that Mr. Watts is new and that this bid process was done before he joined the city, said that there are more gas contractors that should have been notified.

Mr. Watts said he would contact a lot of the gas contractors to let them know the city is accepting bids and that every bid will be considered fairly; and decisions will be based on their bids and nothing else.

Councilwoman Smith asked Mr. Watts about his findings of contractors’ perception of the city’s bidding process. Watts said contactors felt the city was showing priority to one company.  

Councilman Powell said he wants to eliminate the perception that the city is not open to doing business with everyone. He said that by awarding this bid to a company with a history of doing business with the city gives proof to the rumor that the city is not an open shop.

Powell made a motion, seconded by Councilman Peter Martin, to rebid project and to include advertising to run in newspaper(s).

Railroad permits are pending, but the city has received response from the railroad and the city has sent request for changes to the railroad, said City Attorney Lee Thompson, Jr.  Thompson said rebidding will not impact the railroad issuance of permit or response to changes.

Watts said the city is not out of compliance. He has been told that a gas pipeline is severely corroded and does need to be replaced as soon as possible. The pipe is located in one of city’s main artery and if something happens it would shut down a major highway.

Motion carried 4-0 to rebid this project.

Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson asked Mr. Watts to give council an update on pipeline inspections by contractors. Due to changes in department, solicitation for bids were not sent out. Watts said in expediting inspections he asked existing contractors to extend their contacts with no price increase to the city.  Contractors will conduct leak survey and inspections of the city’s 105 regulator stations.

Motion carried 4-0 to place this item on agenda for City Council April Regular Meeting.

Work Session

Item 1: TAD’s—Mr. Ken Bleakly of Bleakly Advisory Group, gave a Proposed Tax Allocation Districts (TAD) presentation. Two drafts of TAD Redevelopment Plans were discussed; one for the Highway 120 Corridor plan and the other is the College Corridor plan.

TAD #1 Plan: Highway 120 Corridor has 155 parcels with 192 acres. The 2010 Appraised Value is $116,661,100. The four hypothetical redevelopment projects could contain:

*376 new residential units—30 townhomes, 178 condominiums and 168 senior apartments

*118,413 sq. ft. of new retail space

*259,695 sq. ft. of office space

*475,680 sq. ft. of professional medical office space

*393,645 sq. ft. of flex space

*178 room hotel

These four proposed projects would increase the TAD’s taxable value by $78.6 million. This increase could result in an estimated $2.6 million in new property taxes annually. Potential net TAD bond proceeds could support total up to $17.4 million.

Projects proposed public investment of $17 million in TAD Bond could be used for funding: Infrastructure improvements (traffic controls, curb and sidewalk) = $7,650,000

Structured parking (if needed) = $4,250,000

Site preparation demolition, clearance, remediation = $3,400,000

Other development/redevelopment initiatives = $1,700,000

 

TAD #2 Plan: College Corridor has 271 parcels with 452 acres. The 2010 Appraised Value is $100,357,800. The five hypothetical redevelopment projects could contain:

*724 new residential units—102 townhomes, 50 condominiums and 572 student apartments

*341,510 sq. ft. of retail space

*378,234 sq. ft. of office space

*239 hotel rooms

*95,592 sq. ft. of civic/institutional space

 

These five proposed projects would increase the TAD’s taxable value by $83.5 million. This increase could result in an estimated $2.8 million in new property taxes annually. The potential net TAD bond proceeds could support total up to $18.4 million.

Projects proposed public investment of $18.4 million in TAD Bond could be used for funding: Infrastructure improvements (traffic controls, curb and sidewalk) = $9,200,000

Structured parking (if needed) = $3,680,000

Site preparation demolition, clearance, remediation = $1,840,000

Parks and Greenspace = $2,760,000

Other development/redevelopment initiatives = $920,000

Mr. Bleakly was instructed to revise TAD plans and maps to include City Council input provided during discussion.

 

Item 5: Taxi Cab Ordinance---Councilman Martin met with city attorney, but no ordinance has been created. Martin said the city fixing the existing ordinance could be to either change required insurance limit amount of coverage. This would mean taxi operators would have to provide insurance coverage for all vehicles owned or leased. Or Option B, the city could require drivers to show proof of insurance at the time they get their permits. Martin agrees the current $500,000 limit is too expensive and the city needs to change limits amount.

Council would prefer to hold the taxi company liable and not individual drivers.  

Martin said the city should create or change ordinance that requires taxi companies to show proof of insurance when occupation tax certificate is issued. He said that he would, through his business contacts, investigate required insurance limits and report them to the council. Martin will continue to work with city attorney to develop changes to the policy and ordinance.

Item 6: Expenditures from Asset Forfeiture Fund---Chief of Police Randy Johnson gave council a list of expenditures from federal provided Asset Forfeiture Fund. This list includes equipment for Police Department (ice machine, 2 paper shredders, television for Roll Call Room, and equipment for Workout Room, used by all city employees). Equipment for Officers listed includes, surveillance van, digital cameras, entry vest and equipment and 23 laptop computers with DC power cords and 23 computer docking stations; vehicle equipment and replacement canine.  Chief Johnson also requested council’s consent to spend funds for A.I.U. and Easy Drift Drivers training.

All requested expenditures totaled $360,500.00 to be subtracted from the funds balance of over $4 million. Chief Johnson said he is not sure of the exact cost of items, because they will have to go out for bid. Funds must be exhausted within three years.

The chief reminded the council that in addition to internal monitoring of funds, that the Federal Government also audits the account to ensure proper expenditures. Chief Johnson reminded council that all purchases from fund must be off budgeted items (funds cannot be spent on items requested in police department budget). Johnson also reminded council that Police Department capital outlay in this year’s city budget was cut to zero.  This fund can be used for city’s 911 equipment.

Council gave consent for all expenditures. 

At the end of Work Session council moved into Executive Session.

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