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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

The afternoon workshop session of the Glendale city council of February 4, 2013 was a presentation by Stuart Kent, Glendale’s Executive Director of Public Works (there’s that pesky Executive Director title again!) and the consultancy firm of Rider Levett Bucknell, Ltd. (RLB) at a cost of slightly over $100,000. The presentation was a Total Life Cycle Cost Assessment of the city owned facilities of: Jobing.com Arena; Renaissance Hotel Convention Center & Media Center; Renaissance Parking Garage and Camelback Ranch. Here is the link to the slides used for the presentation: http://www.glendaleaz.com/Clerk/agendasandminutes/documents/01PPT-TLCCAssessment-FinalFinalWorkshopPresentation.pdf  .

The afternoon session was over in the blink of an eye, and lasted for about the half hour it took to make the presentation. Councilmembers eyes glazed over and there was only one question from Councilmember Martinez on a point on which he needed clarification.  Did these councilmembers read this report? Your guess is as good as mine but I would wager most of you would say they did not read it. Well, I did – all 150 pages plus. I even had to find one of my Dad’s magnifying glasses to read all the exhibits which were compressed into teeny, tiny print to fit on an 8 1/2” X 11” sheet of paper. That was no mean feat.

The city can’t catch a break. The financial news goes from bad to worse as contractual costs of maintaining these facilities contribute to the ever-mounting bills the city must pay every year. RLB uses a 50 year life cycle for these facilities. They believe these facilities will last for 75 to 80 years. While that may be accurate, it seems that in 20 years or so the tenants will demand facility updates to remain competitive. That issue was never asked and never addressed. Here are the more important “take aways” from RLB’s Assessment.

Take Away #1: From the Workshop Council Report, Page 1: “The facilities are managed by the current tenants, with associated costs for operation and basic maintenance the responsibility of the tenants. The cost for the capital replacement and repairs are the responsibility of the city in each of the facility agreements.”

Take Away #2: The chart below is an estimate only. The figures could be higher or could be lower than projected or council may decide to delay some improvements.

Capital Improvements: Budget Recommendations, 5-Year Summary

FACILITY

FY 2015 FY 2016 FY 2017 FY                   FY 2018               2019                 Totals
Jobing.com   Arena $4.9M $3.1M $0.0M $0.3M $9.6M $17.9M
Renaissance   Convention & Media Center $0.3M $0.5M $0.6M $0.0M $0.2M $1.6M
Renaissance   Parking Structure $0.1M $0.0M $0.9M $0.0M $0.1M $1.1M
CamelbackRanch   Park $2.1M $0.1M $1.3M $0.7M $1.9M $6.1M
Totals $7.4M $3.7M $2.8M $1.0M $11.8M $26.7M

Take Away #3: Assessment Page 5: “The (arena) facility includes adjacent sitework, parking areas and a service road.” On Page 9 of the Assessment it says, “The City shall be responsible for capital maintenance of the arena Parking Area, which shall include but not be limited to striping, patching, and resurfacing. Section 8.2.1(d).” Yet the city only receives parking revenue after the first $20,000 per event goes to IceArizona. One would think there should have been some cost sharing  for repair and maintenance negotiated.

Take Away #4: Although on page 7 of the Assessment it says it provides the following, no attached facility condition assessment checklists were provided in the report. “The defective items are listed in the attached facility condition assessment checklists and evaluated in the attached facility condition assessment estimate.” It is an important omission. The NHL when managing the arena identified the roof as needing major repair at an estimated cost of $2 million. Without the defect list it is difficult to determine if immediate major roof repair of the arena is included. Defects are categorized under the following headings; 

  • Programmed Maintenance
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Unscheduled Repairs
  • Emergency Repairs
  • Deficiency Repairs”                                                                                                                                                   

Take Away #5: Page 21 of the Assessment states, “Based on review of the information received to date RLB believes the current building related Sustainment, Operations and Maintenance costs are in the region of $10,000,000 per annum (for the following items):

  • Custodial
  • Energy
  • Grounds
  • Maintenance & Replacement
  • Management
  • Pest Control
  • Refuse
  • Security
  • Telecom
  • Water & Sewer”

It continues on Page 22 with, “In addition to the above noted items there are other additional event-specific related Operational costs (direct event labor and expenses) which currently cost up to $4,000,000 per annum, depending on the number of events being held at Jobing.com Arena. At the time of commencing this TLCC Assessment RLB understood that a portion of the event related expenses were being reimbursed by the National Hockey League (NHL).” To whom?

Take Away #6: From 2003 to 2013 the Projected Arena Income was a negative $43,319,000. When you think about it, it is logical. From 2003 to 2009, 6 years, the city paid no management fee. Since then the city paid the NHL $25 million a year for a total of $50,000 million. There were revenues earned during that period but not enough to cover that major expense. What should be of concern that from 2014 to 2018, the next five years, the projected revenue income is projected to be a deficit of $20,577,000.

Take Away #7: There are 910 parking spaces in the 4 level parking garage per page 7 of RLB Renaissance Parking Structure Assessment. On Page 13 it states that the Hotel has 460 garage spaces + 240 surface parking spaces. Jobing.com Arena Management is allotted 450 of the garage parking spaces. Those are premium parking spaces for which IceArizona charges $20 or $25 per space.

Take Away #8: On Page 28 of the RLB Camelback Ranch Assessment it states,  “As noted previously within this report, RLB did not receive any detailed, specific information pertaining to current Sustainment, Operations and Maintenance costs for Camelback Ranch Park. Based on RLB’s review of a 2011 Cactus Little League Facility Summary (as researched by Broughton/Heimstead) we believe the current facility related Sustainment, Operations and Maintenance costs may be in the regions of $3,800,000 per annum (for the following items):

  • Custodial
  • Energy
  • Grounds
  • Maintenance & Replacement
  • Management
  • Pest Control
  • Refuse
  • Security
  • Telecom
  • Water & Sewer”

What does all of this mean? Darned if I know. No, really, it demonstrates that there are two elephants in Glendale’s room. Check out this comparison.  It’s down and dirty because some of the numbers can only be estimated at this point but it gives one a feel for what is happening at each facility.

                                                        Jobing.com Arena           Camelback Ranch

 

Annual construction debt                    $12M                           approx. $25M

Average annual Capital                      $3.5M                                      $1.2M

Improvement Expense Est.

(over next 5 years)                          

Annual Management fee                      $15M                                           0 

Total average annual expense             $30.5M                                  $26.2M

 

AnnualEst. projected revenue            –  $3M                                      -$ .3M

Annual Est. projected deficit               $27.5M                                   $25.9M

                                        

As can be seen, the deficit numbers for each facility are pretty close to one another. Yet, I cannot begin to count the number of times that someone has said, “Don’t blame the arena for Glendale’s financial problems. Take a look at Camelback Ranch. That’s the real problem.” As you can see, each is a tremendous financial burden on the city at a time when the city faces financial crisis. There are, indeed, two elephants in Glendale’s room. 

© Joyce Clark, 2014

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This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democratic, scientific and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Section 107 of the US Copyright Law and who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use,’ you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

          

 

The Tuesday, November 19, 2013 Glendale city council workshop is jam packed and includes a Development Impact Fee update, the Fire Department Budget deficit, special project recommendations and the Ballpark Boulevard extension.

Since the Arizona Legislature changed the way all cities in the state can impose, collect and spend Development Impact Fees Glendale, like many other cities, has developed a new Impact Fee structure. Impact Fees are charged to new developments and the developers typically add these fees into the price of a home, apartment, office, commercial or industrial building. Tischler Bise is the consultant hired to prepare the study on Impact Fees. I would like to know the cost of the study for I assure you, as thorough as it is, it was not cheap.

The consultants divide Glendale into three zones. The East Zone runs the entire length of Glendale, north to south and from 43rd Avenue to 75th Avenue. It is a very large zone and is approximately 42 square miles.  The Loop 101 zone is the smallest running from Northern Avenue to Camelback Road, 75th Avenue to 115 Avenue. It is a very small zone and is approximately 13 square miles. The West Zone is all land within Glendale’s annexation boundaries and is approximately 36 square miles. Although very thorough the consultants provide no rationale for the establishment of the Zones that are essential to the study.

There is concern with the disparity of size of the zones for they comprise a “nexus.” By that is meant that development impact fees are collected and spent within each zone. With the Loop 101 Zone being the smallest there will be less opportunity to collect/spend fees to provide the same quantity and quality of infrastructure as enjoyed by the East Zone. As an equitable issue all land south of Northern Avenue from 43rd Avenue to 115th Avenue should form the Loop 101 Zone. That would remove approx. 12 square miles from the East Zone making it approx. 30 square miles and increasing the Loop 101 Zone to 25 square miles. The West Zone would remain static at 36 square miles.

The balance of the study is impressive. Their facts and figures are well grounded and formulas are used to determine what the new fee structure for state mandated infrastructure should be. Although the Development Impact Fee structure is no longer what Glendale and every other city used previously there is no choice but to work within the new state-mandated regulations. We will not see the kind of Impact Fees that helped to make Glendale what it is today but it is important that we make the best use of them possible. With the exception of the determination of the zone configuration this is exactly what this study does.

The second item of discussion is the fire department’s deficit. There is but one question to ask. Is the fire department being managed effectively by current Fire Chief Burdick? In juxtaposition the Police Department led by Chief Deborah Black is not facing this kind of deficit. What kind of deficit? How about $1,674,887 minus one-time savings netting a deficit of $1,328,070? In addition the on-going, annual deficit of over $800,000  goes to pay for overtime due to the department’s philosophy of “constant staffing.” It’s time for a study to demonstrate which brings more value to citizens – constant staffing which entails an enormous amount of overtime at time and a half pay or the hiring of more personnel eliminating the need for the constant staffing regimen and its requisite overtime pay.

That item will be followed by a presentation and discussion of recommendations that resulted from the half million dollar external audit.  The City Auditor’s and City Attorney’s roles will be part of that discussion as well as the Trust Fund Citizen Boards and departmental internal premiums for risk management.

The last item of discussion will be what to do about Ballpark Boulevard. The city in an agreement with the two baseball teams agreed to extend Ballpark Boulevard north to 99th Avenue and Maryland Avenue. The current, approved concept will cost the city $18 million to acquire land for right-of-way and construction. Mayor Weiers asked that two alternatives be considered that would come in between $6 and $8 million. Both of these alternatives would run adjacent to the city’s airport on either its west or east side. The only problem with the alternatives is that they will not replace the contractually mandated concept of connecting to 99th and Maryland. That will still have to be done. So the question is…does the city construct a stop gap measure costing $6 to $8 million now knowing that down the road it still must spend $18 million per its contract with the City of Phoenix and both baseball teams? The city has no money right now and without any demonstrated urgency it is something that can wait. Neither Phoenix nor the teams are demanding immediate action.

This is not going to be one of the council’s typical one hour or less meetings. The issues are complex and I would hope that council “has done its homework” and is prepared to ask meaningful and relevant questions on all of these complex issues…but then again, it could be wishful thinking.

© Joyce Clark, 2013

FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to :http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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