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Joyce Clark Unfiltered

For "the rest of the story"

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

City council has now spent several workshops on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with at least one more workshop scheduled on the same topic. Why all the emphasis on the CIP?

In all government whether federal, state or local, power derives from how taxpayer dollars are spent. Having the authority to decide where money is spent is a very powerful. On a federal level a successful Congressman/woman will bring home a project like a road or federal building to a district. It means jobs and an infusion of cash into a district. On a local level one of the imperatives is to provide amenities for district residents or to get the streets fixed in a district.

In this blog I will try to explain the CIP in detail. If you aren’t interested, stop here…but if you are, please read on.

The Capital Improvement Program (CIP) is a constant 10 year plan that specifies which projects will get built and where the funding will come from. It applies to any project that costs over $50,000 and has a life span of at least ten years.

Even though it is a ten year plan, the first 5 years are the years to which you should pay attention. The second five years are placeholders and over time, they may be eliminated or moved up into the first five years, as needs and priorities change.

Where does the money come from to fund the CIP? This is perhaps, the most complicated part of the process to understand. The major categories are:

  • General Obligation Bonds (G.O. Bonds). In the Glendale election of 2019 voters were asked to approve authorization to fund certain city areas running out of authorization such as Parks and Recreation. The city only issues G.O. Bonds when there is an identified project to construct and more importantly, if the issuance of the bonds will not raise your property taxes. As an FYI, city council voted on and approved a policy of not raising your property taxes to fund G.O. Bonds. There are about 12 different categories of G.O. Bonds from Public Safety to Open Spaces/Trails to Local Drainage (streets that get flooded).
  • Pay-As-You-Go. Money for the construction of some projects comes directly from the city’s General Fund. The city’s General Fund’s monies come from various sources including city sales taxes and state-shared revenues.
  • Transportation Sales Tax. Part of the city’s sales tax is restricted and dedicated to be used only for transportation related projects such as Pavement Management.
  • Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF). The state reimburses each city a portion of what you pay in gasoline sales tax. These funds are also restricted and can be used only for transportation related projects including mass transit such as buses.
  • Development Impact Fees (DIF). These are fees paid by a developer when a new project is constructed. They are to be used in the general proximity of where the new development was constructed. Hence the need for geographical zones to ensure that the money is spent in the appropriate geographical area. Over the years the city has modified DIF geographical zones requiring checking the boundaries of the zone to see if the money can actually be spent in a certain geographical area. It must also meet stringent regulations established by the state legislature. Currently there are at least a dozen DIF funding sources dependent on the year the funds were collected and what the DIF boundaries were at the time of collection.
  • Grants. The city is always applying for grants from various governmental agencies. Many grants require the city to provide matching funds. From the feds we often get grants in Public Safety, for our airport and the annual Community Development Block Grants. Maricopa County may issue grants for flooding issues. The state may issue grants for transportation issues. This list is not all inclusive as grant opportunities come and go.
  • Enterprise Funds. This area includes water, sewer, landfill and trash collection. These areas are restricted and are dependent upon rate payers for these services. These areas tend to issue their own bonds for projects as long as restrictive guidelines are observed although there have been times when General Fund revenues have been used to help fund a major project.

So it isn’t just good enough to identify a major project in the CIP, the funding source must be identified confirming there is enough money in that fund and that it is the correct funding source for the project.

I am going to list a CIP project in some of the areas presented to city council. If you would like to see all of the projects here is the link: 01 Draft CIP 2021.02.02. I must warn you this file is approximately 300 pages but this is what city council uses to do its homework for budget workshops on just the CIP.

  • Under Airport is CIPAP21010, Southwest Apron Design/Construct. All projects begin with CIP. AP stands for airport. The number refers to when it was added to the CIP. There is a Description of the project. In this case it is, “Project design and construction of southwest apron, taxi lane and access road to accommodate capacity needs.” Then there is a Justification, “Design and construction of new public apron, taxi land, and infrastructure to accommodate expansion of aircraft storage to meet capacity needs. Project required under FAA and ADOT Grant Assurances and Airport Design Standards.” The estimated cost of the project is offered and in this case is, Design from Fund 2190 slated for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 in the amount of $225,000 and Construction from Fund 2190 slated for FY 2025 for $1,800,000 for a Grand Total of $2,025,000. Fund 2190 as a funding source is an Airport Capital Grant. The city has or will apply to the FAA for a grant for this project and it may require some city matching funds but that will not be known until the grant is issued.
  • Under Arts is CIPAT20033, Municipal Arts Program. There is Carryover of $1,245,125. That means money collected from previous years has accumulated to this amount and is available. The Description is, “City Council Ordinance No. 1226 created a Municipal Art Fund which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places. This consists of commissioned, non-commissioned and the performing arts, all reviewed and recommended by the Glendale Arts Commission (via the Annual Arts Plan0. These funds are used to implement the Annual Arts Plan and maintain and restore the City’s art portfolio (when necessary).” The Justification is, “By City Council Ordinance. No. 1226, a Municipal Art Fund is created which provides for the purchase of works of art for public places.”
  • Under Drainage is CIPDR21034, Bethany Home Road SD (storm drain), 43rd to 51st Description is, “Design and construction of storm drain pipe, inlets, catch basins and other appurtenances in a ½ square mile area centered on Bethany Home Road between 43rd Ave. and 51st Ave. Design began in FY21.” The Justification is, “Project is identified in the Storm Water Master Plan adopted by the city 2011. Maricopa County Flood Control District has budgeted $4.5 million toward completion of the project.” In FY 2022 the sources of funding and expenditures are: Carryover from Fund 2160, Other Grants of $604,173; In FY 2022,Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $2,750,000; and in FY 2023, Construction from Fund 2160, Other Grants and Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction totaling $5,150,00; There is also the cost of Internal Charges from Fund 4110, Flood Control Construction of $123,500 in FY 2022 and $195,700 in FY 2023; in FY 2022 the cost of land totals $500,000 with funding from Fund 2160 and Fund 4110; Public Art in FY 2022 totals $27,500 from Fund 4110. The total cost of the project is $9,402,373 and the money comes from grants with some matching funds from the city.
  • City Hall 2nd Floor HVAC UNIT, CIPFC21048. Description is, “Replacement of the main HVAC for the second floor at City Hall.” Justification is, “The HVAC unit for the second floor of City Hall has exceeded it’s expected life cycle and has begun to fail.” The funding source is Fund 1080, General Government, Pay As You Go, and is Carryover in the amount of $44,221 that will be expended in FY 2022.

I could go on but I think you get the idea about the information that is presented to city council during the CIP budget workshops. The other categories I did not cover are Landfill, Library, Parking Lots, Parks, Public Safety, Solid Waste, Streets, Transit, Water and Wastewater. You can see the full presentation of the CIP in the link I cited above.

Mind you, that is just one part of our budget review. The other portion will be a city council review of and approval of departmental expenditures and employee salaries and benefits. We will probably wrap up budget discussions and decisions in April having taken 4 months of workshop discussions to arrive at a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2022.

© Joyce Clark, 2021       

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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.

Disclaimer: The comments in this blog are my personal opinion and may or may not reflect an adopted position of the city of Glendale and its city council.

On Monday, 24, 2017 in an all day budget workshop city council had the opportunity to review and ask questions of about half of the city’s departmental budgets. The remaining departmental budgets will be reviewed on Friday, April 28, 2017. If you would like to see the proposed Glendale departmental budget please use this link: Budget Ap 24 2017 POWERPOINT .

Generally this year’s departmental budgets are very clean. By that I mean that whatever budget increases were proposed could be justified. The biggest drivers of this year’s departmental budgets can be attributed to several factors: across the board employees received a 2.5% increase in pay and in almost every budget fire & liability insurance costs were up. For the first time some departments received a new line item for technology charges and those who were already charged for technology saw increases in this charge…in some instances… doubled.

Keep in mind no department’s budget ever starts at zero. Presently the city does not use zero-based budgeting. I have introduced it as a Council Item of Special Interest. Last year’s budget number for each department is the starting point upon which each department’s budget is based and each department’s budget is increased, decreased or remains static beyond last year’s number.

Over the past two fiscal years the departments council reviewed on Monday have seen increases in FY 2016-17 and FY 2017-18 totaling:

  • City Attorney                              14.96%
  • Police Services                            12.47%
  • Development Services                 23.90%
  • City Auditor                                13.86%
  • City Court                                  20.09%
  • Fire Department                           6.61%
  • Human Resources/Risk Mgmt      10.72%
  • Community Services                   -1.89%

The only department in this review to see a modest decrease in its budget is Community Services with a 1.89% decrease. This department is almost completely dependent on grants, especially federal grants like the Community Development Block Grant (this funds many of the services and programs offered to the poor and economically disadvantaged). So as these grants diminish slightly, so, too, does its budget.  This department has been advised by the federal Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUD) to prepare for as much as a 20% decrease in certain federal grants.

I have taken the liberty of noting some of the changes to various departmental budgets. In the City Attorney’s office there is the addition of an assistant city prosecutor. The addition of this full time employee (FTE) is to meet the increased demands of caseloads within the city’s court. The office has a line item of $200,000 for the use of outside attorneys (consultants). This amount increased from the $135,000 granted in last year’s budget.

In Police Services the newly appointed Police Chief Richard St. John is working aggressively to fill all authorized patrol positions. Currently there are only 8 unfilled authorized and funded patrol positions. That is the lowest number I have seen in years. Through attrition during each year the city loses about 20 officers. The focus for GPD this coming year will be on speeding enforcement. It is also the Chief’s goal to reduce beat sizes within the city as soon as practicable.

Development Services includes 3 departments – building safety, code compliance and planning. The number of FTEs in Code Compliance will increase by 2.5. Despite the implementation of new strategies in the use of employees’ time and effort within Code, it is still not performing as well as hoped. I think it is time for a city council workshop to do an in depth review of code. The fact that Saturdays are not covered optimally is a cause for concern as yard sales, as an example, can only be covered on weekends. I am concerned that with development picking up considerably within the city (there are more than 8 residential development projects in the pipeline at this time) and as the economy continues to improve, the planning department does not have enough manpower to perform in a timely and effective manner.

The City Auditor department, despite its increase in funding over the past two fiscal years, seems to be static in terms of productivity and the number of audits performed annually.

In the City Court its latest initiative, the Mental Health Court, has grown dramatically. Even though our City Court has met mandated Arizona Supreme Court times for closing cases, it is disappointing to see the resolution of traffic cases within 60 days drop from 93% to an 80% rate.

Fire Department Chief Terry Garrison reported on the success of the pilot project of employing Low Acuity (LA) vehicles and 2 man staffs to respond to ordinary, non critical emergency medical calls. This initiative is long overdue. Instead of sending big trucks (with the resultant O&M costs) Glendale is using

LA vehicles to answer non-critical medical calls freeing up fire resources and avoiding the tremendous costs associated with sending ladder trucks. They should be all over the city since 80% of the calls answered by the Fire Department are medical emergency calls…but they are not.

 These Low Acuity, two man units are not part of the Automatic Aid system for as it states in Section 9.1 of the Automatic Aid agreement, “System participants recognize the importance of service delivery and personnel safety issues. The minimum daily staffing level for engines and ladders shall be four members. Henceforth this will be referred to as full staffing.”

I would love to see the fire department develop 4 man, High Acuity vehicles to respond to critical, emergencies especially when one sees the statistics. In 2017, the fire department responded to 1,220 fire related calls – everything from a structure fire to a BBQ grill fire. During the same year it answered 29,900 advanced life support or basic life support medical calls.

Another alarming statistic is this. Under the Automatic Aid Agreement on 4,300 occasions another city’s fire department responded to an emergency call in Glendale. That’s great, isn’t it? You bet it is. The closest fire unit is responding and perhaps saving your life or the life of a loved one. But there is a flip side to that coin. Glendale responded to 6,600 emergency calls in other cities, like Phoenix or Peoria. These 6,600 calls were outside of Glendale. There is an imbalance that is costing you money. In essence, Glendale taxpayers subsidize emergency services for other cities. Of the 31,120 calls to which Glendale fire responded in 2017, 7% were outside of Glendale. I believe that firefighters must answer the call in or out of Glendale but I also believe that it is time that Glendale should be reimbursed for any calls above parity. Do you think Glendale should subsidize the 2,300 calls answered in Phoenix or Peoria?

Interim Director of Community Services, Elaine Adamczyk, was an impressive presenter of her department’s budget. As an Interim Director she had an amazing grasp of all facets of her department. This is a department that saw a 1.89% decrease over two years. That is understandable. This department is almost entirely composed of grant funds such as the federal Community Development Block Fund (CDBG). If grants dry up or diminish in size, this budget reflects those changes. Ms. Adamczyk advised city council that the federal Housing and Urban Development Department has advised all grantees that the amount of grant funds could be reduced by as much as 20%.

The last department of the day to present its budget was Human Resources & Risk Management. Its responsibilities are many and varied. Perhaps one of the most critical areas for the organization is its process for hiring new employees or filling vacant positions. Many believe the process takes far too long. If a department head has done a lot of preparation work it is possible to fill a vacancy or new hire within 60 days. Often it takes much longer than that. If a new employee or vacancy were to be filled in the private sector, it can often be accomplished within a matter of a few weeks because that position often has a direct effect on a company’s profitability or lack thereof.

On Friday’s, April 28, 2017, all day budget session, department budgets to be reviewed will be Public Facilities & Events, Economic Development, Public Affairs, Mayor& Council, Innovation & Technology, City Manager’s Office, City Clerk, Water Services and Public Works.

If you have Cox Cable, you can watch the session live on Channel 11 beginning at 9 AM. You can also watch it live online by going to www.glendaleaz.com then clicking on Channel 11 TV in the left column, then clicking again on Watch Channel 11 Live on the left column.

© Joyce Clark, 2017               

FAIR USE NOTICE

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which is in accordance with Title 17 U.S. C., Section 107. The ‘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 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 material. 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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