The agenda for the council meeting of September 24, 2013 is jam packed with expenditures. This will be the first meeting that begins at 6 PM and incorporates both citizen comments and a prayer at the start of the meeting. There are 21 items on the agenda. All but three items are on the consent agenda and will be voted upon as one motion. Expect it to be another speedy meeting with little to no comment from councilmembers as they wend their way through the consent agenda.

There are some big ticket expenditures of note. Water and wastewater items are always large. The city will be paying Salt River Project and the Central Arizona Project $3.5M for raw water this year. It would be interesting to see which organization gets the lion’s share. Traditionally Central Arizona Project water is very, very pricey. In the past, for every dollar of SRP water the city would spend $8 on CAP water. We can assume that most of that $3.5M went to CAP. The city also is a partner in the Sub-Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (SROG) operated and maintained by Phoenix. There are 5 cities that are in the group and share costs pro-rated upon the population of the member cities. This year’s bill for Glendale is $3.7M. Add another $100,000 for the city’s annual membership dues in the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA). In the blink of an eye the city will spend over $7M on water and wastewater treatment.

Speaking of membership dues the city will pay $88,250 this year to remain a member of the League of Arizona Cities and Towns. This is an annual fee that has increased by $3,250 over the past 5 years.

The final bill for the external audit came due and is $513,406.87. Imagine, over a half a million dollars spent to confirm what had already been revealed: that legally inappropriate fund transfers had been made; that council was not informed or lied to about them; and that former City Manager Beasley gave a sweet deal to two of his inner circle – Lynch and Carmicle. The results have been sent to the AG’s office and according to a September 22, 2012 story in the Arizona Republic, nothing will come of it. That’s a lot of money spent to place blame and not even on the absent cast of characters. Of course, Councilmember Alvarez was expecting the mayor and several councilmembers to be tarred and feathered as a result of the external audit.

Not to be forgotten are those pesky attorney’s fees. Apparently there was no one within the City Attorney’s Office capable of finalizing the arena management deal with IceArizona. The city paid Dickinson Wright Mariscal Weeks $60, 565.45 for their services to do so. Add that to the $15M a year for arena management. There are sure to be other bills related to the arena that are not part of the management contract per se.

Did you know that the city spends an average of $625,000 a month for electricity and natural gas? That totals over $7.5M a year. Since it is an amount over $50,000 a month, the City Manager is requesting council authorization to pay these bills without having to bring them back to council monthly. This is an area where there could be a considerable amount of waste. The informal poll on the left asks if it’s time for citizens to review the city’s ordinary annual expenses. Hey, can’t someone turn the lights off when leaving a room?

©Joyce Clark, 2013

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