In the last Wire I mentioned that perhaps instead of paying the county $2500 a month in an IGA, perhaps it would be better to hire a second person to help building inspector Joe Ward. Mr Smith, the City Manager, wrote to me in response and added information as well as his opinion that the City was getting a good deal.
In his words..
"Under the IGA with the County, the $2,500 a month pays for Paul Esparza's work on zoning permit applications, and projects with P&Z, DRB, as well as the County planner's work on zoning code amendments and GIS mapping."
He went on to say there is and has been a reciprocal agreement with the county for some time where Joe helps them as needed and the county helps handles building applications and processing when Joe is not available.
He also said:
"More recently, as a result of our work in partnership with the County, we do have help from the County when it comes to intake of permit applications, and we are gaining access to some permit management software that we haven't had access to before. We're also getting help with zoning code and mapping issues. I think those are positive things and in general, the relationship we have with the County is supportive, beneficial to the City and bringing resources to the City's aid that we didn't have before."
Although it is a good elucidation of what the City derives, it still seems to me that a second hire with proper training could add skills and could do some of the work that now goes to the county when Joe Ward is too busy. An added skill set as a back up for Mr. Ward seems prudent as well as helpful. It still seems better to me to keep that work in-house and if necessary, contract specific work with the County as needed. Joe Ward was/is clearly overloaded (71 building permits in july/aug/sept) and needs help. Perhaps where I differ is where the help should come from.
That does bring up a larger issue; that of communication from the City and to residents & businesses. At a meeting last week with the Mayor (attended by the CM) and about 50 business owners the main issue that emerged was the lack of a communication mechanism between the City and businesses. A clear desire was for the City to tell businesses what was happening, particularly in tourism. The mayor and CM agreed to meet to figure out how/what that may look like.
I think the issue of communication about city actions is becoming critical. There have been grumblings about outsourcing, lack of transparency, speed of initiating and moving complicated projects through the council, and quick voting on critical issues. It is somewhat complicated in that the CM and council wants to get moving on particular projects, some that have a long term effect, and residents/businesses that want some time to absorb the practical and economic impact. There has to be some balance. Everybody can't/doesn't need to know about everything.
That complaining is getting louder and before there is a serious adversarial situation arise, it would behoove all of us to think about ways that information can be better transmitted within our city as well as ways to illuminate and discuss issues without seriously holding back action. Work and special sessions are clearly not enough to get info out and discussion absorbed.
Several undertakings by the CM, the mayor, and the council are not getting the public air time needed to give discussion, opinions, and suggestions, about the pros and cons of specific actions. Examples mentioned to me are the way the CGIC contract was handled, the Wastewater Treatment Plant operation outsourcing and the estimated 2.5 million dollar energy savings/infrastructure project that has been mentioned, but not fleshed out in a substantial way. I recommended below that item #10 should be pulled until there is a lot more detail about what is being financed.
Don't forget the community dinner at St. Johns on Thursday. Lotsa action in town; the Home Tour, chair auction, farmers market, lotsa music and Small Town Holidays with ze tree being lit. It's a great weekend to live in our wonderful city.
Tuesday November 20 5:30
1415 Melody Lane Bldg G
Agenda: THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED AND/OR CONSIDERED AT THIS MEETING: 1. Discussion and Possible Approval of an Agreement with JACOBS for Operational Services at the City of Bisbee Wastewater Treatment Plant. Robert E. Smith, City Manager
Of interest: The contract to run the WWTP is in the background info. Although your eyes may glaze over, it is worthwhile to see what the city is getting and getting into for the next five years.
A few things...According to the work-ups there will be a annual cost saving of about $170k to the city by having the plant operated by Jacobs. I didn't understand the document showing there were 6 WTTP employees and with Jacobs there would be 4.There are annual negotiations for fee adjustments/Appendix D. Out of scope (work other than what is detailed in the contract) compensation is cost plus 15%. One of several interesting clauses is that if healthcare costs for Jacobs increase during the annual period, that increase is passed on to the City (13.3.4).
The plant will continue to be owned by the City. In fact at the end of the contract there are six pages from Jacobs touting the benefits of a partnership to operate the facility highlighting that it is not privatization, but outsourcing of risk.
Jacobs was advertising for a wastewater treatment operator project manager for Bisbee, the posting closed 11/14.
Info about the 77,000 employee, $10 billion firm is at http://www.jacobs.com
///////////////////////////// REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING Tuesday November 20 7:001415 Melody Lane Bldg G Background here:http://bisbeeaz.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_11202018-277 Of interest: item 5 is adopts a resolution to hold a hearing(s) in February, 2019 to seek public input about two differing proposals to pay for wastewater treatment by increasing wastewater rates to residents. This item is not a discussion of the rate structure itself. The two proposals are in the background information. Note that they are both about increases and when they will happen. Item 10 should be withdrawn. This item proposes to obtain financial services to look for and structure financing for a proposed energy saving/infrastructure projects under AZ title 34 legislation. Financial help may well be needed, but there has been not nearly enough discussion about the scope, costs, desirability of the range of energy improvements and infrastructure projects that may be proposed. There has been one work session and no communication other than that. There is no hurry on this and there needs to be much more communication about the energy projects being proposed. This is premature. Agenda: INVOCATION: A Moment of Silence PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE MAYOR’S PROCLAMATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS: CALL TO THE PUBLIC THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE DISCUSSED, CONSIDERED AND/OR DECIDED UPON AT THIS MEETING:
GENERAL BUSINESS: 1. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE: Subject to availability of funds 2. Approval of the Consent Agenda A. Approval of the Resignation of Marie Minor from the Committee on Disability Issues. B. Approval of the Appointment of Cathe Wright to the Committee on Disability Issues. NEW BUSINESS 3. Discussion and Possible approval of the Proposed Lighting Plan at Grassy Park and the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, Phase III of the Copper Queen Plaza Revitalization Project. Dwayne Wallace, Parks and Recreation Committee Liaison Kay Lynn Cummins, Parks and Recreation Committee
4. Discussion and Possible approval of a Notice of Intent to Adopt Ordinance O-18-12 Amending the City Code, Article 2.7, Youth Council; Section 2.7.2 Membership, and Providing For Repeal and Severability. Joan Hansen, Youth Council Liaison/ Youth Council Members
5. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution R-18-19; a Resolution of the Mayor and Council, City of Bisbee, County of Cochise, State of Arizona, Adopting a Notice of Intention to Increase the Wastewater Rates and setting the date for a Public Hearing of the proposed increase on February 5, 2019 at 7:00PM. Keri Bagley, Finance Director
6. Discussion and Possible Approval of Emergency Repair of the UD Garbage Truck at Mobile Maintenance and Towing, LLC for the Sanitation Department. Total Cost is $5,902.91. Dwayne Wallace, Operations Manager
7. Discussion and Possible Approval of a “Gap” Plan Billing Agreement between Health EMS and the City of Bisbee Fire Department. George Castillo, Fire Chief
8. Discussion and Possible Approval of the Notice of Intent to Adopt Ordinance O-18-13 Prohibiting The Use Of Handheld Mobile Telephones Or Portable Electronic Devices By Adding Article 9.8, Distracted Driving, To The City Code Albert B. Echave, Chief of Police
9. Discussion and Possible Approval to allow Mayor & Council to go into an agreement between AZ. Dept. of Homeland Security for Operation StoneGarden Award #160430-01 and the Police Department in the amount of $17,105 for Reallocation of 2016 Funds to include Overtime, Employee Related Expenses and Mileage. Albert B. Echave, Chief of Police
10. Discussion and Possible Approval on an Engagement of Mark Reader (STIFEL) for financial services. Robert E. Smith, City Manager
11. City Manager's Report: · Other current events (No Discussion)