Conny Culver, resident of Oro Valley, stated that she represented the Politician Accountability Coalition, which was a Political Action Committee (PAC PAC). She explained that PAC PAC wanted to see a change in the budget process and read a quote from the book Zero-Based Budgeting.
Carol Ruehl, Oro Valley resident, was opposed to raising taxes and added that she made it a point to not shop in Oro Valley.
Richard Tracy, Oro Valley resident, stated that he supported a reasonable tax increase for the services in the community, and he complimented Councilmember Garner on his Council-on-Your-Corner presentation.
Scott Leska, Oro Valey resident, reported that he was opposed to a tax increase because he wanted business growth in Oro Valley and higher taxes would drive businesses out.
Bill Adler, resident of Oro Valley, described a Community of Excellence as one that served the entire population, and stated that it’s cheaper to maintain quality than it is to cut it and rebuild it.
Alex Heinze, Oro Valley resident, stated that he was opposed to a tax increase and asked to have every opportunity for cuts looked at.
George Craig, Oro Valley resident, spoke against any tax increase and asked the Council if lowered costs had been addressed.
Kevin Herring, Oro Valley resident, reported that his property tax had increased by 26% in the past year and that Arizona sales tax had increased by 18%. He stated that businesses and individuals could not survive in the economy without managed spending.
Ralph Kayser, Oro Valley resident, declared that he was shocked by the prospect of tax increases in Oro Valley and upset with the solar panels in the parking lot.
David Burford, Oro Valley resident, commented that he was retired and upset by the numerous rate increases he had experienced, and was against any sales or property tax.
Mayor Hiremath responded by saying that the Council was disappointed in citizens who believed that a Community of Excellence could be created by cutting services. He added that everyone had valid opinions, but that government was responsible for providing basic services such as police and roads at an affordable price and secondly, to provide opportunities so that Oro Valley citizens would be successful.
Councilmember Solomon added that the General Fund had been cut from $32.3M in 2009 to $25.6M in the coming year. He stated that 21% of the budget had been cut and the Council was still looking for more.
Councilmember Hornat stated that neither he nor the current Council increased the property tax by 26%, that Marana had a 4% utility tax, and that Oro Valley staff had not received raises for years. He said that the state continued to sweep Oro Valley's funds and that Oro Valley had no real taxes for revenue.
Consent items A, C and G were pulled at the request of Council.
Fiscal Year 2010/11 Financial Update Through February 2011
Council approval of security upgrades for Council Chambers
Resolution No. (R)11-22, Authorizing and Approving a Line Extension Agreement for Construction of Protected Water Facilities Under Private Contract Between the Town of Oro Valley and Copper Canyon Development, LLC
Resolution No. (R)11-23, Appointing Town Manager Jerene Watson as Applicant Agent for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Arizona Department of Emergency Management, Lomas De Oro Wash Project
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Garner and seconded by Councilmember Waters approve Consent Agenda items B, D, E, and F.
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Minutes - March 2, 2011 (PULLED FOR DISCUSSION BY COUNCILMEMBER GARNER)
Councilmember Garner stated that there was a typo on page 3 of the March 2, 2011 minutes and that the resident's name was Mr. Gil Alexander.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Garner and seconded by Councilmember Hornat approve Consent Agenda item A with correction.
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Police Department - February 2011 Statistics (PULLED FOR DISCUSSION BY COUNCILMEMBER HORNAT)
Councilmember Hornat asked Chief Sharp if the dark house numbers had increased by 1,000 for the month. The Chief responded that as the weather warmed and snowbirds left, the numbers would go up.
Councilmember Waters questioned why the number of citations in the Police Department’s report were down, and Chief Sharp explained that his department was short-staffed and down three motor officers, and that they wrote the majority of the citations.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Hornat and seconded by Councilmember Waters approve Consent item C.
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Councilmember Garner stated that he pulled Item G because he did not have the full lease available to him for review, as part of the packet. He also said that a cost amount reflected in the amendment was incorrect.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Garner and seconded by Councilmember Waters continue the item to another meeting so that Council can review the first lease.
Councilmember Solomon questioned whether a continuance would harm negotiations with the landlord for a reduced lease rate. Chief Sharp stated that any delay would prolong payment of the lease at the current rate and not the reduced rate until the amendment was approved.
Vice Mayor Snider asked if the Town Attorney had reviewed the lease. Town Attorney Rosen confirmed that he had gone over the lease with Councilmember Garner, and that the amendment was in proper form with the correct rent reduction calculations. He added that the amendment showed the annualized rent amount, while the town paid rent monthly.
Councilmember Waters withdrew his second on the motion to continue the item to another meeting.
Councilmember Garner stated that he could not support a lease that was not privy to the general public, and that there were additional expenditures that the Council was not privy to.
Town Attorney Rosen communicated that there was not a conflict because the amendment reflected everything that was in the original lease that had been changed (which was the rental rate for the remaining term and the extended term).
Councilmember Gillaspie declared that he would like to know what the terms of the original lease were regarding termination of the lease because he thought it was an additional cost that might be considered for elimination in the next budget.
Town Attorney Rosen stated that all town real estate leases contained an appropriation clause which specified that if the Council failed to appropriate funds, the lease could be terminated for that reason.
Councilmember Garner alleged that the amendment never went through the Procurement department; that he was concerned about the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) clause in the contract; and that he was concerned about entering into a lease without all of the information needed to make an accurate decision.
Councilmember Solomon reiterated that the town was already obligated to the current lease and that the amendment represented a reduction in the rent, which was also a savings to the town and could be cancelled at any time.
Town Attorney Rosen stated that there would be a net savings to the town if the amendment was passed, but that the lease would be extended for an additional four years over the original agreement with a slight increase every year. He added that no other provisions of the lease could be changed until the lease expired.
Town Attorney Rosen confirmed that real estate leases and contracts did not go through Procurement as part of town code. He added that they were negotiated by the department that used the service and reviewed by legal before they were taken to Council.
The Mayor asked for a second to continue the item to another meeting so that Council could review the first lease. Motion died for lack of a second.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Hornat and seconded by Vice Mayor Snider approve item G as is.
MOTION carried, 6-1 with Councilmember Garner opposed.
Planning Division Manager David Williams stated that the public hearing was for the Steam Pump Ranch Planned Area Development amendment. He added that the Planning and Zoning Commission had unamimously approved the amendment and that the applicant was present to go into more detail. Mr. Williams reviewed the location map, showed nearby residences, and confirmed that staff had not received any protests regarding the case. Per Councilmember Hornat’s request he explained that notification was done through the public hearing process held by the Planning and Zoning Commission and a neighborhood meeting, and that notices were sent to residents that were within 1000 feet of the property, and again to residents that were within 600 feet.
Mr. Williams outlined the property’s General Plan designation and what changes were being made in the amendment which included development standards, free standing pads and convenience uses, and permitted uses. He stated that the gas station would not go through a separate conditional use permit review process but would go before the Conceptual Design Review Board.
Councilmember Waters questioned what kind of convenience uses would fit into the site. Mr. Williams answered that other than gas stations, a typical convenience use was fast-food and drug stores.
The developer’s representative, Keri Silvyn of Lewis & Roca, stated that she would be speaking on behalf of Evergreen Devco and the Steam Pump Village project, and that several of the applicant’s were also in the audience.
Ms. Silvyn reviewed the site layout and improvements that were made over the years, and explained that the current tenants suffered because of the lack of cynergy within the center. She described the center’s vision as a non-traditional, mixed-use development with office, retail and possibly residential components. Ms. Silvyn presented her proposal and specifically the building height increase to 49 feet along the back of the site and the 50 foot setback from the property line. She reported that the Wingate Hotel was 39 feet high and that the nearest resident's elevation was 1 foot below the top of the building if the height increased to 49 feet.
Councilmember Snider asked for the importance in uses in going from 39 feet to 49 feet in height.
Ms. Silvyn responded that it allowed for flexibility in the number of stories, and confirmed that 49 feet was three stories in height.
Councilmember Gillaspie requested that Condition 1 regarding the proposed gas station be revised to reflect enhanced vegetation, and Ms. Silvyn agreed to additional landscaping in the area that was being created.
Councilmember Waters asked what type of convenience uses were being considered. Ms. Silvyn related that the Baggin’s Gourmet Sandwich shop that was at Steam Pump Village was considered to be a convenience use by Town code because of their amount of takeout.
Ms. Silvyn continued her presentation and showed Quik Trip renderings that were similar to what was on the agenda for approval that evening.
Mayor Hiremath opened the public hearing. There were no speaker request cards, so Mayor Hiremath closed the public hearing.
Ms. Silvyn confirmed for Councilmember Hornat that the amendment only required free-standing convenience use tenants to go through the Conditional Use Permit process.
Councilmember Garner questioned whether a canopy and a free-standing building counted as one, and Mr. Williams confirmed that it did (a canopy is not counted as a separate pad).
MOTION: A motion was made by and seconded by to
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Planning Division Manager David Williams stated that the purpose of the amendment was to address the deficiencies in recreation areas within subdivisions, and he presented a powerpoint in which he answered questions from Councilmembers that were asked at a previous Town Council meeting.
Mr. Williams confirmed that Town staff, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and the Planning and Zoning Commission all recommended adoption of the code amendment, with the addition of one change on page 12 of 12 to item G from the word "property" to "park area," or "park areas."
Councilmember Solomon expressed his concern about the Federal Fair Housing Law regarding discrimination related to the code’s requirement from the applicant of a statement for an "anticipated demographic profile of the residents."
Town Attorney Rosen commented that if the developers were concerned about being faced with discrimination charges because of the statement, they could state that 100% of the subdivision was anticipated to be occupied by families with children and there would be no discriminatory intent. He added that the Town’s Zoning ordinance was not the basis for marketing the property, so he did not think that liability would follow the requirement.
Vice Mayor Snider echoed Councilmember Solomon’s concern and suggested that the Town get an opinion from a real estate attorney or eliminate the requirement of a demographic statement from the developer.
Councilmember Gillaspie asked if the point of the provision was to know up front what the developer’s proposed product was going to be on the property, not the demographics of the population. He added that builders targeted a product for a certain property and developed a marketing and business plan that explained the people they would draw.
Mr. Williams confirmed that builders knew their target market ahead of time. He also suggested that if the developer was seeking flexibility in the subdivision, a statement and supporting information could be provided to the Town that justified their request.
Councilmember Solomon requested that the developer not have to provide demographics, but rather have a discussion with staff regarding the physical type of housing and the appropriate type of recreational area that would serve the housing.
Town Attorney Rosen stated that the solution was to strike the phrase "demographic profile" wherever it appeared in the amendment, but still allowed the builders to submit statements to the Planning Department that described the subdivision and tailor the recreational amenities to the product.
Councilmember Solomon referred to page 2 of 12, item C.1, which required one acre to every 85 dwelling units and asked how the Town came up with that rule.
Mr. Williams replied that the requirement was a standard that was established 15 years ago and that he was not familiar with the basis of it, but that it was 20% richer than Pima County standards.
Councilmember Solomon explained that if a developer were to build a subdivision with 85 lots (at a typical 6-7000 square foot lot size) it would require a total of 14-15 acres, and that 1 acre equaled 6 lots or 10% of the developed area. He added that what the Town required was a significant amount to be set aside for parks, which was a cost that would be passed on to the residents.
Councilmember Solomon next referred to page 4 of 12, and asked to clarify whether item 2.C.I was supposed to have the work "passive" in the first sentence before amenities, and whether item 2.C.II was supposed to have the work "active" in the first sentence before amenities.
Mr. Williams confirmed that those were typographical errors that would be corrected.
Councilmember Solomon referred to page 5 of 12, item 2.E.III, which described an enhanced amenity as limited to 1/2 acre. He stated that the last sentence should be struck, and that staff and developers should determine the value of the enhancement.
Mr. Williams replied that the section was added at the request of the Metropolitan Pima Alliance's governmental group, which did not wipe out other facility requirements. He added that he was comfortable with changing the language as requested. He answered a question from Council that the 1/2 acre credit was solely a recommendation from staff and that it would create a disincentive to build an enhanced facility if the whole requirement could not be met.
Councilmember Solomon referred to page page 7 of 12, items 4.A and 4.B and pointed out a discrepancy between the number of parking spaces necessary between 100 units and those with 100+ units. Mr. Williams confirmed that the correct rate of parking spaces for item 4.B was supposed to be at 4+1 per 40 dwelling units.
Mayor Hiremath opened the public hearing.
Bill Adler, Oro Valley resident, stated that he did not support in-lieu fees. He remarked that public park improvements were a capital improvement budget item for the Town and not the responsiblility of the developer. Mr. Adler added that open space should not be removed from a subdivision and then have that money spent elsewhere.
Mayor Hiremath closed the public hearing.
Mayor Hiremath referred to in-lieu fees and the space that would have been required to house a park, and asked Mr. Willilams what the requirement was of the developer for that open space.
Mr. Williams replied that the builder could use that land for development of lots or whatever the project was.
MOTION: A motion was made by and seconded by to
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Transit Services Administrator Aimee Ramsey announced that it was recommended to move forward with Option C from the five options that were presented to Council at a previous meeting. She gave the following overview on Option C:
- Required $76K from the General Fund for maintenance of effort required through legislation
- Allowed the two Sun Shuttle vehicles to continue running through a Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) contractor
- Required termination of the current intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Town was and the issuance of a new IGA with the RTA
- Eliminated the Town’s Coyote Run service and started the transition of certified ADA passengers over to Handi-car
- Started the process of educating the public on non-profit services in the community that were available to them
Ms. Ramsey explained the demographics of the Coyote Run users, the number of Coyote Run staff positions that would be eliminated, and the vehicle disposal cost breakdown. She stated that the elimination was consistent with the proposed Town Manager’s Recommended budget for FY 2011/12 and reviewed the timeline for publications and notifying the public.
Councilmember Waters requested the progress of the agencies that would be utilized by the Coyote Run riders, and asked if there would be a problem with residents who were wheelchair-bound.
Ms. Ramsey replied that the three services that would be utilized were:
- Sun Shuttle - provided curb-to-curb service for wheelchair-bound residents in Oro Valley
- Handi-Car - provided service to passengers outside of Oro Valley that were certified by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
- Interfaith Community Services - provided service to non-disabled, senior passengers outside of the area
Ms. Ramsey pointed out that the next two months would be an important time for the riders to make their challenges and concerns known in order for the Town and community agencies to help with mitigating them.
Vice Mayor Snider mentioned a conversation that she had with a Sun City resident who was a Coyote Run user. She stated that the concern was elimination of Coyote Run, and the Vice Mayor explained that it was a transition into a regional system because of the budget.
Councilmember Hornat acknowledged that the state had cut funding over a year ago and the Town had picked up the funding for 18 months. He stated that Councilmember Waters and Ms. Ramsey had done everything that they could to soften the blow for those that would be affected.
Councilmember Solomon added that the Town had found money a year ago to extend the program with no expectation of finding more, which gave time to adjust. He also inquired as to whether the transit employees would be transitioned into other departments in the town.
Development and Infrastructure Services Director Suzanne Smith responded that the Town would do everything that they could to make that happen, and mentioned the hiring freeze in place.
MOTION: A motion was made by Councilmember Waters and seconded by Councilmember Hornat direct staff to move forward with Option C as discussed February 23, 2011 and begin the processes necessary to discontinue the Transit Services Division.
Councilmember Garner stated that he would vote against the motion for the following reasons:
- The program was not vetted properly
- The education progress needed to begin a year ahead of time for a successful transition
- The Council could find $300,00 in the budget to fund transit
Councilmember Solomon asked Councilmember Garner how the Council was going to cut money out of the budget if he was going to vote against cost reductions.
Councilmember Garner responded that he had just received the budget and had not had time to digest it, that there were areas that had increased costs from the previous year, and that $300,000 could be found for transit service.
Vice Mayor Snider commented that the timing was critical and that notice was given a year ago that there would not be money in the budget to fund transit again. She stated that the town had found a creative solution and involved both non-profit community and faith-based organizations to provide service to the residents without paying for it.
Councilmember Gillaspie expressed that the people who have less are the ones that get hammered and that if there was a way to get out of the budget mess, he would vote with Councilmember Garner against the motion. He stated that there was no going back from the decision the Council made because of the capital costs it would take to rebuild the service that was in place.
MOTION carried, 6-1 with Councilmember Garner opposed.
Mayor Hiremath recessed the meeting at 8:08 PM and resumed the meeting at 8:15 PM.
Human Resources Director Betty Dickens presented information to the Council on the recommended medical and ancillary benefit providers for town employees for plan year 2011-12.
She stated that competitive benefits helped the town with recruitment, retention, morale, and organizational success. Ms. Dickens noted that United Healthcare had presented the town with a 12% renewal rate in March, which would jump to 13% if the Wellness Program continued. She stated that at that time staff asked their broker, CBIZ Benefits & Insurance, Inc., to conduct a solicitiation among local, major providers and the results were narrowed down between Aetna and United Healthcare of Arizona (UHC). Ms. Dickens pointed out that staff also took the time to compare benefits that were being provided in other public service organizations throughout Southern Arizona and confirmed that they mirrored Oro Valley’s.
The Human Resources Director mentioned that there were 295 employees and 400 dependents that were members of the town’s benefits package. She stated that staff recommended shifting to Aetna for medical insurance which would result in only a 2% increase for the town or a $43,406 budget impact. Ms. Dickens continued that Aetna would honor employee deductions that occurred between January 1 - June 30, 2011; that there were only 28 current providers that were not on the Aetna plan; that a 90%/10% coinsurance split was recommended in the shift; and that Aetna would continue to fund the Wellness Program.
Ms. Dickens reviewed the ancillary benefits and explained that there were no renewal changes in premiums or to the budget, because there were no changes to the providers.
Mayor Hiremath asked the HR Director if Aetna had a dental option and asked if it would be cheaper to get off of the Principal and offer Aetna as a rider in tandem with the medical insurance.
Ms. Dickens responded that she did not know what Aetna would provide or if it would be comparable to what Principal provided. She added that most providers had several coverages, for example Aetna probably had a coverage for vision but that it was not the same coverage that EyeMed offered.
The HR Director concluded that the staff recommendation was to move to Aetna at a 2% increase, and to offer employees a 90%/10% coinsurance split.
CM Waters asked for an explanation of the Wellness Program.
Ms. Dickens replied that it was a program that encouraged employees to monitor their health habits and:
- Provided pedometers to wear
- Provided nutritional education
- Provided a health coach once-a-week to meet for one-on-one counseling
- Provided a health coach to lead an exercise session once-a-week in a group session
- Provided annual biometrics screenings
Councilmember Hornat asked about the dential insurance and Ms. Dickens explained that there were two options that Principal provided the employee to choose from which cost the town $126,000 per year. He then pointed out that if the Council stayed with the 80%/20% coinsurance and switched to Aetna Option 1, they would reduce their costs by $43,000.
Councilmember Garner questioned why there were three options for prescriptions and asked if the town had looked at retaining a pharmacy benefit manager for bulk discounts.
Ms. Dickens explained that the three levels ranged from generic to specialty drugs based on the type of prescription and condition that the employee had.
MOTION: A motion was made by Vice Mayor Snider and seconded by Councilmember Waters return item to staff to work on suggestions made by Council.
Vice Mayor Snider stated that there were opportunities for cost savings and that it would be great to return to 90%/10% coinsurance, if it could be done at no cost.
Councilmember Gillaspie remarked that the Council could be sending a mixed message about the employees being the town’s primary assets. The town was unable to give bonuses, raises, and cost of living increases (COLA’s), and should try to make the 90%/10% happen to make the employees whole.
Councilmember Hornat emphasized that he was for any acceptable plan for the employees, but he was opposed to spending any additional monies on it.
Councilmember Solomon noted that Council had reviewed the materials regarding what percentages other municipalities covered for employee rates and asked if staff had the information on what their coinsurance splits were.
Ms. Dickens replied that of the four municipalities that were surveyed, two were coinsuring at 100%, one was at 90%/10%, and one was unknown.
Councilmember Hornat asked if the Council was under time constraints regarding a decision and Ms. Dickens responded that they were on a timeline in order to get a contract out with a provider, get materials ready for open enrollment scheduled for the middle of May, and get information loaded into the town's finance system and in place by June.
Councilmember Garner suggested that one of the scheduled study sessions should be made a special session just for the item at hand so that time is given for costs to be brought in line.
Mayor Hiremath stressed that he would do everything he could to support town employees, but that the Council needed to be prudent in the decision regarding medical benefits.
MOTION carried, 7-0.
Mayor Hiremath added to the motion that the item would be brought back to a Special Session meeting.