My Votes 4/8/14


Council Meeting 4/8/14

• CDBG Funding
• Non Profits/City Funding

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ITEM 1
CDBG FUNDING

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds allocation presentation.
This is a Federal Grant from HUD, about $615,000.
Staff recommends the following distributions;

Northland Hospice $20,000
Catholic Charities $30,000
Flagstaff Shelter Services $38,000

Bothhands $150,000
TGC $32,0000
Catholic Charities $27,200
Family Help Center $115,000
City of Flag Owner Occupied Housing Program $125,000
City of Flag Arroyo Park $100,000

No decision was made. Final decision to be made during the budget meetings in the coming weeks.
———————–

ITEM 2
ROAD REPAIR INITIATIVE

Flagstaff streets are in need of major repairs. It is estimated that in order to repair the streets to a good condition, nearly $50,000,000 is needed. It jumps to $65,000,000 if we wait five more years. Here are some facts the City Manager mentioned;

• The gas tax has been pegged at 18cents per gallon for 23 years. If it had been adjusted for inflation we would be receiving $8,040,000 per year and we may not be be having this discussion. Of course this assumes the state wouldn’t have swept those funds.
• Projected vehicle miles. We actually drive more miles but we’re consuming less gas. A comment was made that vehicles use the roads and should pay for the roads. I argue that we all use the roads. Even if you don’t leave your house, goods and services get to your house on our roads.
• Flagstaff has seen a 34% increase in lane miles in 15 years.
• Freeze thaw cycle is very hard on our streets. Sometimes we see a 30 degree temperature difference between night and day.
• When I was elected about two years ago the budget for street maintenance was about $1,200,000. Council was able to increase that from our existing budget to $3,600,000 in 2014. Staff has informed us that we should be at $4,500,000 per year to maintain our streets. This of course would be after repairing our existing streets at a cost of about $50,000,000.
• Citizens ranked our streets with a 33% satisfaction rate. The lowest ranked City service.

QUESTIONS
1. Current cost to repair our streets is estimated at $47,000,000. Cost in five years is estimated at $65,000,000. Are we actually looking at a higher figure since it will take years to ramp up repairs?
Staff informed us that they took into account the condition of streets and ramp up time and are confident that the $50,000,000 figure is accurate.

2. How quickly can we realistically repair these roads? If we had the $50,000,000 how many years would it take us to complete?
Staff informed us that this could be a nearly ten year project. The annual maintenance of $4,500,000 would begin right away.

MY CONCERNS/COMMENTS
1. In my opinion it is vital that we put serious money into our streets soon. It’s a safety issue and it’s also an economic issue. Past situations and policies got us here and now we have to address this issue quickly. I do have a concern with raising taxes though for the ongoing maintenance ($4,600,000 per year) and feel we should get this from our existing budget.

2. Fixing the water and sewer lines are essential but if we combine these two issues we’re looking at over $80,000,000. Are we biting off too much by combining these issues? The residents of Flagstaff only have so much capacity to absorb taxes. Would this push the issue too far and ultimately cause the ballot question to fail?

CITIZEN REVIEW COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
• $50,000,000 towards annual maintenance for 20 years [.156%]
• $47,000,000 to repair all streets (one time) to good condition [.147%]
• $38,900,000 to repair the water & sewer that are very old under the streets [.122%]
• $9,800,000 to repair sidewalks [property tax increase]
• $300,000 to address missing sidewalks [property tax increase]
• $750,000 bike improvements [.002%]
• Bus Pullouts [.008%]
• FUTS [.012%]
• Pedestrian Crossings [.001%]
• FOCUS ON EXISTING ROADS
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ITEM 3
SERVICE PARTNERS (NON PROFITS) PRESENTATION

• Victim Witness Services, total budget of $535,000, City funding request is $41,304, 7.72% of their budget.
• Northern AZ Center Against Sexual Assault (NACASA), City funding request is $15,627
• Alcohol Stabilization Unit (the Guidance Center), City funding request is $98,750
• Science Foundation of Arizona, Total budget?, City contributes $50,000.
• United Way of Northern Arizona;
Total budget is about $2,500,000, City has a contract for service for $293,000. United Way charges a fee of about $44,000 to distribute the remaining $249,000 to about 24 organizations. They also provide support and financial planning, accounting etc for this fee.
I asked several questions regarding their 2012 Financial Statement;
I asked about their $900,000 in operational expenses on $2,500,000 of income. My calculations based off of this is operational costs of about 36%, by this estimate, 36Cents of every dollar goes to administrative cost. U.W. staff told me though that their overhead is about 14% or 14 cents per $1.00.
Another question I asked was a question many constituents have asked me, which is “what does the UW CEO make per year”. At first I was directed to the organizations Form990 online to find this info. After a few minutes though the CEO stepped forward and said that Form990 only requires salaries of $100,000 or more to be reported to the IRS and that they did not have any employees that make over $100,000 per year. She added that she makes $97,000 per year.
Mayor Nabours has proposed a 10% reduction to United Way for 2015.
• Humane Society got $161,900 last year and is requesting $240,000, a $78,000 increase. I did not take a position on wether or not to fund the $78,000 increase but did suggest staff be ready with some budget options if Council decides to do so. I suggested staff look into the $1,200,000 “spec housing” fund that is currently set up. I’ve asked for at least a portion of this money to be returned to the general fund for two years now.
• Sustainable Economic Development Initiative (SEDI). City gave $20,000 last year. SEDI wants City to continue funding and stressed they provide micro loans to businesses that banks will not lend to. In my opinion this is venture capitalism funded by the tax payer. I questioned why the tax payer should continue to support this activity. SEDI claimed no tax payer funds were at risk and that they will not loan out tax payer money. I pointed out that the City tax payer would be funding the administration of this initiative.
• FACTS Program, $1,100,000 budget, 22% comes from the City, $247,319.
• Boys and Girls Club, City Funded $50,000 last year, asking for $25,000 this year.
• Coconino Coalition for Children and Youth (CCCY) $37,195 budget, $19,669 comes from the City.
• Greater Flagstaff Forests Partnership (GFFP) $19,000 dollars requested.

No decisions made on funding levels tonight. This will come in the coming weeks during our budget retreat.

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NEXT MEETING APRIL 15, 4 AND 6PM AT CITY HALL.
Some items on the Agenda…
• 4th Street Improvements
• Sign Code Amendments


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