Town Council Study Session
July 8, 2009
CALL TO ORDER - at 6:00 p.m.


Paul Loomis, Mayor
K.C. Carter, Vice Mayor
Paula Abbott, Council Member
Bill Garner, Council Member
Al Kunisch, Council Member
Salette Latas, Council Member

ABSENT: Barry Gillaspie, Council Member

Council Member Abbott attended via telephone.


Discussion regarding the Oro Valley Police Department Take-Home Vehicle Policy

Click here for Item 1

Lieutenant John Teachout presented the item. He stated that many officers that take home vehicles have on-call responsibilities. He noted that this enabled officers to respond immediately at times other than during business hours.

He stated that School Resource Officers (SRO’s) have take home vehicles to keep overtime to a minimum. He noted that it allowed them to be in place at the schools during the most congested times of the day.

He stated that four K-9 officers drove vehicles that were customized for the dogs. He explained that the vehicles have remote temperature monitors to ensure that the dogs are comfortable during the summer. He noted that it was preferred that officers do not transport the dogs in their personal cars.

Lieutenant Teachout explained that the fleet typically operated in 8-10 hour shifts, five days a week. He noted that officers that take vehicles home had a sense of ownership.

He referenced a study conducted in Tacoma, Washington that found a reduction in the number of collisions with cars that were assigned as take home vehicles.

He noted that it was a benefit to offer future officers.

He explained that it decreased overtime. He stated that oftentimes an officer will answer a call after a shift on the way home. He noted that it resulted in quicker response time and better service for the public.

He stated the importance of an immediate response during a critical incident. He explained that when an officer is called back to duty, their office is in the driveway. He stated that time spent driving back to the office, checking out a key and locating a car was negated. He referenced the study in the Tacoma Police department found that, over an 8 year period, take home vehicles saved the city 21%.

In response to Council Member Kunisch’s request, he reviewed the various vehicles used by the police department:
~Crown Victoria
  *The staple vehicle; withstands the rigors of 10 hours of driving per day 
   *Cost to drive is respectable
~2 Ford Expeditions
  *Used to handle the rural attributes of the Town
  *More in touch with the community as officers are more approachable
  *Nimble; excellent for getting through construction areas and significant traffic congestion as with El Tour de Tucson
  *Used BMW motorcycles since 1998 
~Toyota Camry
  *Administration vehicles save on billing for mileage
~Flatbed truck
  *Multipurpose vehicle
~Dodge Magnum blends in with mainstream
~Nissan Altima

It was noted that:
~Mileage was tracked on a monthly basis
~Vehicles were evaluated twice a year to ascertain which vehicles were impacted (used) more than others
~All lead officers had take home vehicles
~The department reviewed the benefits versus the drawbacks and revoked 6 vehicles as it could not be justified as a good return.

Some of the criteria used to determine whether an officer could take a vehicle home was explained as follows:
~Test to be promoted to rank of detective
~Become a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) officer
~Motorcycle officer
~K-9 officer
~Sergeants that live within twenty miles of the Town
~Traffic Investigators
~Officers living in apartments usually are not granted a take home vehicle due to high incidences of vandalism
~Routine patrol officers do not take vehicles home 

Lieutenant Teachout stated that SRO’s had take home vehicles as it allowed officers to report from their residence to their duty station. He noted that it enabled the SRO to be at the school when children arrive until the majority of the children leave at the end of the day. It was noted that the SRO also traveled with school teams such as football and basketball to local games and tournaments.

Discussion noted the following:
~Off duty officers that work events outside of Town were allowed to take their vehicles with them
~The events were not reflected in the data
~The employer paying for the officer's services also pay for the use of the car at a rate of $2.00 per hour.

He reviewed the operational costs per vehicle at Council’s request. He stated that it took into account the initial cost of the car, the cost to outfit the car at a rate of 35% (the interior components could be re-used at a rate of 35%) and the auction price for the vehicle:
~Crown Victoria - .47 per mile 
~DUI cars - .48 per mile
  *Video cameras in the car
~K-9 - .49 per mile
  *Initial outfitting of the car
~Ford F-250 - .23 per mile
  *Grant funded vehicle 
  *Town is responsible for maintenance only
~Ford Expedition - .54 per mile
  *Based largely fuel
~1 Ton Ford traffic truck - .40 per mile
  *Limited use vehicle
  *Sale price will be $6500 in ten years
~Motorcycles - .46 per mile
~Chevy Impala - .34 per mile
  *Unmarked vehicle
~Dodge Magnum - .50 per mile
  *Unmarked vehicle
~Toyota Camry - .27 per mile
  *8-10 in fleet
~Ford F-250 - .47 per mile
  *Low mileage vehicle
  *Used for IT technician to work on remote feeders.

Discussion ensued regarding:
~Crime prevention was an unintended by-product of take home vehicles. 
~Take home vehicles were repealed from command staff per the Town Manager
~The PD submitted a reduction plan of 28% which was more than the 25% requested by Council
  *The Manager returned the proposal with reductions totaling 31%
~The lifespan of a vehicle is 5-6 years; the lifespan of a take home vehicle is 7 years
~Total cost of a brand new vehicle outfitted with equipment is $41,860
  *The cost is $33,055 when outfitted with equipment from a previous car
~Fleet maintenance is currently being handled by whomever is available
  *The Fleet Manager has left the Town.
  *Consensus is that fleet maintenance will be costly in the first year.

Oro Valley resident Richard Tracy complimented Lieutenant Teachout on his presentation. He commented that the fleet was rotated so that out of 68 vehicles only 10 would be purchased per year. He noted that it cost more to maintain an older vehicle than to replace it. He stated that the allowance of take home vehicles was not the most expensive way to keep up morale. He questioned whether the fleet manager’s departure was an unintended consequence. He thanked Council for passing the budget.

Management Assistant Tory Schlievert stated that the Town Manager was willing to consider patrol lieutenants to rotate the take home vehicle benefit among them. She stated that it had been drafted in a memo that was awaiting the Manager's signature upon his return.

Mayor Loomis stated that the descriptions and criteria for take home vehicles must be written in to policy.

Council Member Kunisch stated that current service levels must be considered when reducing the number of take home vehicles. He noted that an unintended consequence could be a drop in service levels. He suggested that staff review geographical mileage as part of the criteria.

It was noted that 31% reduction equated to $44,140 cost reduction. It was explained that of 68 vehicles, 53 would be taken home. It was noted that service levels had seen some impacts already as there had been delays in response time. It was noted that a critical incident took place in the Town and the operation was compromised as the commander had to drive past the incident to obtain her vehicle. 

Mayor Loomis called for recess at 7:29 p.m. The meeting resumed at 7:35 p.m.


Discussion regarding Fiscal Year 2009/10 Water Rates Analysis Status Report

Click here for Item 2

Water Utility Director Philip Saletta introduced members of the Water Utility Commission and Water Utility Administrator Shirley Seng.

Mr. Saletta reviewed the water rates analysis process and the proposed schedule for 2009. He explained factors that affect the analysis:
~Reduced water sales
  *Less water used per customer
  *Increased number of vacant residences and businesses
  *Reduced projected growth
~Levelized water rates
  *Want to avoid rate shock in future years
~Moratorium on impact fees has been vetoed by the Governor

Mr. Saletta clarified that in the five year projections, Council approves the current year only.

He stated that Council direction was needed. He stated that Council had approved an increase for the Groundwater Preservation Fee in the budget. He stated that he sought guidance as to whether or not the base rate, the commodity rate and the groundwater preservation fee should be included in the analysis.

Water Utility Commission Vice Chair Winston Tustison stated that the memebers of the Commission wanted to provide Council with the best long term financial sustainability plan possible. He noted the Commission’s concern regarding not raising rates. He stated that over the last 6 months, 94 customers had been lost. He noted concerns regarding using financial reserves and the possibility of rate shock. He stated that water rates were compounded and could result in double digit increases resulting in rate shock.

He stated that this was a long term problem and it was likely to be a 3-5 year recession.

It was clarified that the Groundwater Preservation Fee was currently $.55/1000 gallons and would rise to $.75-$.80/1000 gallons. It was noted that the fee paid down the debt service on reclaimed water.

Ms. Seng stated that the new e-billing system saved $.52 in hard costs with additional cost savings in labor. She noted that this was tracked monthly.


Future Agenda Items - No requests.


MOTION: A motion was made by Vice Mayor Carter and seconded by Council Member Kunisch to adjourn the meeting at 8:13 p.m.

MOTION carried, 6-0.