Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Special City Commission Meeting Tonight (10/27) 6 p.m. at City Hall

Click title for back-up (be prepared for long download times in that the complete file is over 100 mb of data - larger than my first laptop's hard drive.)  Click here after 6 p.m. for live link to meeting.  I plan on listening from home and will comment as the meeting goes on.  There are some major items on this agenda.  I understand that Commissioner Jennings - this is the last of her meetings as Commissioner - will be asking for a consultant to examine the police and fire contracts for further budget cuts.  Oh, the powers of being a lame duck.

An additional item "D" was added at the request of Commissioner Jennings to discuss Commissioner Maxwell's Town Hall utility forums.

You can't hear Steve Carr - one of the city's financial experts describe the resolution needed for a revenue bond for the beach.  But you can hear Dee McNamara just fine.  Commissioner Maxwell says that he is for the beach project, but against the way we are financing it and, unlike others, he will not claim credit for the project or say I told you so if it turns out badly.  He was the sole "no" vote.

CM at Risk:  City Manager laying wreaths at the feet of Rachel Smithson about "fast-tracking" the project.  Morganti is the number recommendation by staff.  Mulvehill agrees with that choice.  She said that she didn't do it all herself - please.  Commission Golden echoes the same thing and is so impressed with staff evaluating the respondents.  More wreaths needed here and throwing some Commissioner Mulvehill's way too.  Commissioner Jennings has questions about the contract.  She says that she has heard "out in the community" that the contractor could abandon the project.  There is a human performance bond associated with the contract.  Staff says that it is the contract favors the owner (city.)  They keep talk about this being the "contractor" - is it?  Jennings wonders if there is a requirement to use local labor.  The Morganti representative states that they will honor every requirement of the contract and that they have already reached out to the community.  Also questions about public relations the use of social media - there will be a web cam and a monthly public website update on the progress of the project.  Everything is communicated on a "team basis."  Commissioner Mawwell is marveling that we are having this discussion within 24 hours of the information being available.  $6.5 million with architect fees.  What if it goes over the alloted amount?  There is a pre-construction period that will be extensive - they are saying that the project can be done for under $6 million - better life span for life cost will be the determining factor.  Life of building would be 40 years.  They are reassuring that the project is very doable for the price.   Tenant build-out would be after the timeline of April 2012 is over.  The Mayor needs more wreaths.  He says, "We can't afford to fail."  

Maxwell makes the motion to approve the contract.  Seconded by Commissioner Mulvehill.  And now the "all important public."  Commissioner Jennings is reaching for more wreaths.  "100% public nature of the beach" - really?  Her last meeting and recalls one of her first meetings when wrong thinking people approved the Greater Bay contract and she says she'll be at the ribbon-cutting.  Unanimous decision.

Review of Police and Fire Rescue contracts:  This is an item added by Commissioner Jennings - she is reading the back-up for the people listening on line.  She wants a complete study of all options and all combinations of police and fire rescue for cost-effectiveness.  The Mayor thanked her for the well-worded presentation.  Mayor agrees with the concept.  The City Manager thinks they can do a lot of that at the staff level.  Jennings refers to the City of Pompano Beach and their look at re-establishing a city police department, etc. and the level of services with other local governments.  Commissioner Golden makes the motion - reading something already prepared - convenient.  Jennings seconds it - it would be a consultant, the City Manager thinks it can be done at the staff level.  Lawrence McNamara says we should look into a volunteer fire department - my right hand to God!

Commissioner Jennings is talking about the use of the city logo and staff and any electioneering that was going on.  She says that it infers that the City Commission is not taking action on lowering utility rates.  She is taking him to task and saying it's ironic that he claim that given that he voted for the original contact.  She says that the City Manager should direct staff not to go.  And that it's using the city logo - what is it about the city logo anyway?  Golden is jumping in with the same complaints.   She doesn't want the staff there.  Commissioner Mulvehill asked who paid for the flier - Commissioner Maxwell said he paid it with his own money.  The Mayor said he wasn't going to comment, but asks if there is a motion.  Commissioner Jennings asks the city attorney if a motion is appropriate regarding the use of city staff.  More about the city seal...what is it about the logo?  It's not a trademark.  The City attorney is clueless and doesn't know what to say.  The City Manager says that he talked to Commissioner Maxwell and he understands that the city staff won't be used in the future.  The City Attorney says they need to create a policy on the use of the city seals.  Commissioner Golden is saying that half of the utility revenue going to the general fund isn't true.  Maxwell asks why isn't that true.  
Commissioner Jennings makes a motion for the city attorney to look into the legality of using the city seal and the use of staff or other city resources.  Seconded by Commissioner Golden.  She says it's electioneering and it's inappropriate now.  Maxwell agrees to take the logo off any material and says that the meetings will continue.  Commissioner Golden says it's misleading and she is not supporting what is being said here.  She doesn't agree with the elimination of the conservation surcharge.  "It's not a Town Hall meeting, it's your meeting."  The City Manager says that a 25% drop in utility rates in three years or now - Commissioner Mulvehill claims that there will be a 30% drop once we get out of the FMPA contract.  And, in reality, the rates could go up - City Manager says that the rates will absolutely go down.  But it's too early to tell.

Much back and forth - Commissioner Jennings suggests Maxwell look at his own actions about lowering utility rates.  Commissioner Mulvehill says that his motives are obvious - the message and the timing.

The Mayor says there is no magic bullet for lowering rates and its always talked about during the election season.  It's the single biggest issue in the city.  Tugs at the heartstrrings - he said he didn't campaign for lower rates.  Commissioner Golden says that there are other months other than October and November...the two "like" commissioners comment was too much to bear.  Maxwell says that this program is designed to go into the future, beyond election time - into January.

They are at public comment now.  I am signing off.  Please continue under comments if there is anything else I missed.