SUMMARY MINUTES OF A BUDGET WORK SESSION
OF THE CHAPEL HILL TOWN COUNCIL
ON FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 1999, AT 12:00 NOON
Mayor Rosemary Waldorf called the meeting to order at 12:05 p.m.
Council Members present were Flicka Bateman, Joyce Brown, Pat Evans, Lee Pavão, and Edith Wiggins. Council Member McClintock arrived at 12:13 p.m. Council Member Foy arrived at 12:15 p.m. Mayor pro tem Joe Capowski arrived at 2:12 p.m.
Staff members present were Town Manager Cal Horton, Assistant Town Managers Sonna Loewenthal and Florentine Miller, Assistant to the Manager Ruffin Hall, Finance Director, Jim Baker, Engineering Director George Small, Parks and Recreation Director Kathryn Spatz, Fire Chief Dan Jones, Deputy Fire Chief Myrle Smith, Deputy Fire Chief Larry Johnson, Public Works Director Bruce Heflin, Police Chief Ralph Pendergraph, Police Captain Gregg Jarvies, Transportation Director Bob Godding, Solid Waste Administrator Gayle Wilson, Library Director Kathy Thompson, Housing Director Tina Vaughn and Town Clerk Joyce Smith.
George Small, Engineering Director, said that the mission statement of the Engineering Department was to provide technical expertise, guidance, perspective and products necessary to create and support safe, effective, efficient and quality facilities, services and operations for the Town of Chapel Hill. He said that the key services provided by the Engineering Department were:
· design and drafting
· development review
· stormwater management
· land surveying
· traffic engineering
· construction inspection
· geographic information system
· cemetery administration
Mr. Small said that the primary revenue sources were engineering permit fees, with an expected revenue of $98,000 this year, and cemetery fees, with an expected revenue of $60,000 this year. He said that the estimate for permit fees was down by $35,000 this year, but that this was an estimate depending on the market for new development, since the fees were not received until a construction permit was issued, and some developments were phased over several years. Mr. Small said that this was a very inexact projection, since it was not known how many permits might be requested.
Mr. Small said that the Department was doing very well this year, and reviewed the base budget cost estimates table. He said that the only addition he proposed was for the hiring of a Stormwater Management Engineer, partly because of federal and State regulations and partly because of Council and citizens’ concerns for stormwater management. He said that response was needed in several general areas including:
· NPDES—II regulations
· soil erosion and sedimentation control
· conveyance system improvements
· water supply watershed protection
· runoff pollution control
· floodplain/floodway delineation
· stormwater management program funding
Mr. Small said he estimated the salary would be around the $50,000 range.
Council Member Pavão asked Mr. Small if he thought that he could hire a stormwater management engineer for $50,000. Mr. Small said that he was not sure but hoped he could find a young civil engineer.
Council Member Wiggins asked how this new position would impact the problems the Town has had over the past year or so. Mr. Small said that he expected this person to develop revisions in the soil erosion and sedimentation ordinance and the related changes in controlling water quantity issues, which would come after the Corps of Engineers study. He said he would look to the new person to take a leadership role in working with the changes and to be the focus for solving problems.
Council Member Wiggins asked if hiring the engineer would be a first step in the solution of the problems or could these problems be solved without hiring a new person. Mr. Small said that the Town would have to pursue the regulatory ordinances, but that it would have to be accomplished at a much slower pace, without the new engineer.
Council Member McClintock asked how much time the new person could spend monitoring, as well as preventing, problems that have occurred in the past. Mr. Small said that these were things that the Town wanted and needed to do, and that the focus would be to identify the methods, procedures and tools needed, and to give clear guidance to the Council.
Council Member McClintock asked what the primary need was for this position: (1) the utility that the Town is contemplating, or (2) storm water management and federal rules, or (3) erosion and control problems. Mr. Small answered that all three were needed and said that now was the time move on them.
Council Member McClintock asked when the Corps of Engineers report was due. Mr. Small said probably November, and that it would be County-wide.
Council Member McClintock said that she supported the position, but also pointed out that she did not think it fair to ask for federal money for cleaning up what the Town allowed to happen in silting the streams.
Council Member Bateman asked if every engineer in the field required a vehicle and if it be purchased for less than $25,000. Mr. Small said that every engineer who worked in the field needed a vehicle, and that a Department-wide study of vehicles needed for field work found that typically the type of vehicle needed was a 4-wheel drive, such as a Blazer. Mr. Horton pointed out that often the vehicles had to go off-road.
Council Member Bateman asked what the Global Positioning System instrument was and its cost. Mr. Small said that it worked through satellites, which the government was now allowing the private sector to use for surveying, and that to purchase one that would store data would be around $8,000.
Council Member Foy asked Mr. Small if he had considered sharing the stormwater management position with the County, and to evaluate the reasons for or against sharing such a position, since there was an overlap and the County might need those same skills. Mr. Small said that he would evaluate this sharing of resources.
Kathryn Spatz, Parks and Recreation Director, said that the Parks and Recreation Department was dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all citizens and fostering a sense of community by providing superior recreation, cultural, and educational services and through the effective maintenance and protection of the Town’s natural resources. She said that the Department needed to develop a Master Plan and to redefine the Mission Statement. Ms. Spatz said that the key services provided by the Department were youth and adult sports activities, programs and special events. She said that the key facilities provided by the Department were:
· 14 parks with picnic and playground equipment
· 2 swimming pools
· 3 community centers
· 3 gymnasiums
· outdoor gardens, athletic fields, tennis courts, volleyball courts, bocce ball courts, and basketball courts
· extensive trail network and numerous open space areas
She said that the capital projects included:
· adding programs
· arts and events
· new athletic programs
· youth and adult programs at Hargraves Center
· Community Center programs
· Special Olympic programs
· partner training
· nutritional programs
Ms. Spatz said that her proposed revision of the organizational chart included:
· elimination of the Superintendent class positions
· reclassification of two Recreation Specialist positions to a Recreation Supervisor level
· creation of a half time Special Events Assistant position
· creation of an Assistant Center Supervisor at the Community Center
· expansion of a (.9) Deck Attendant position to full time
Ms. Spatz said that the key services that could be improved were:
· marketing and information services
· management of Community Center operations
· maintenance and cleanliness of facilities
· special populations programs
· after-school, camp, and teen programs
· expansion of most program areas
Ms. Spatz said that the proposed additions were a maintenance position, new Teen/Arts position, janitorial services, and a new Parks Master Plan, since the Town Comprehensive Plan’s revision was scheduled for completion in November 1999. She said the new programs planned for fiscal year 2000 included a Millennium/New Year’s event, flag football for youth and adults, swim lessons at the A.D. Clark pool, partnership with school system, UNC, YMCA and the Carrboro and Orange County Parks and Recreation Departments, and more programs.
Council Member Foy questioned the revenue summary for the Community Center. Ms. Spatz said that she would check on the figures, but added that people were taking advantage of the “fee waiver” policy, and that she proposed a sliding scale for families, adding that there was no policy now.
Fire Chief Jones stated that the mission of the Chapel Hill Fire Department was to protect life, property and the community environment from the destructive effects of fire, disasters or other life hazards by providing public education, incident prevention and emergency response services. He said that the priorities were safety, service, and employee morale. Chief Jones noted that the services provided by the Fire Department included:
· fire suppression
· first responder—emergency medical
· fire code enforcement through an inspection program
· disaster management
· public education through in-house or out-reach programs
· fire cause and determination investigations
· contact department for citizens’ inquiries/safety and environmental
Chief Jones said that revenue estimates were $850,000 of State revenue generated for fire protection services to University and Hospital properties, and $4,000 of revenue generated from special permits and inspection programs. He noted that the key cost issues for the base budget were:
· increases to health screening services for employees
· changes in Telephone account to include new technology
· addition of emergency operation center and related communications/computer equipment
· increase of 21% in Fleet Maintenance due to aging fleet and new fire pump maintenance contract
· first time full-regular replacement schedule of fire hose, radios and protective clothing
· continuation of safety and employee health projects with installation of a diesel exhaust removal system to the Elliott Road Fire Station and intercom systems to Engine 31 and 34
Chief Jones said that the services that were going well included:
· First Responder, emergency medical care and initial cardiac defibrillation
· public fire safety education programs for all target groups
· fire-fighting and hazard mitigation services
· customer service type activities for citizens and visitors
· fire and First Responder special events bicycle patrol.
Chief Jones said that the services that could be improved were:
· the number of fire units available to respond to emergencies and cover the community
· fire code enforcement record keeping and training for inspections
· routine maintenance on fire apparatus
· use of technology to enhance life safety searches in smoke and darkness
Chief Jones said that he proposed the following additions and reductions to the Department:
· Addition of six fire suppression positions to staff the proposed attack pumper to augment Tower 71 in the eastern fire district: cost for six positions—$460,864, and cost for attack pumper—$120,000. The Council had been presented detailed information in last year’s budget request for 12 additional personnel and another pumper unit, but this year the proposal had been reduced to a request for six personnel and a small attack pumper, so that the increased service demand could be met with a “two-piece” fire unit system, which was a reduction of more than 50% and would be in transition to the southern station.
· Request for a full-time fire training officer to oversee training and departmental safety programs and concerns—$63,130, which had been forecast in the Fire Department 5-year plan.
· Add-on equipment list that prioritizes equipment that could not be purchased within the base budget—$58,670—prioritized into three levels with the highest priority reflecting items such as rescue tools, thermal imager for smoke vision and replacement ladders for the fire trucks.
Council Member Evans asked when the Emergency Operations Center would be completed. Chief Jones said probably within 90-100 days.
Council Member Evans asked whether Chief Jones had discussed with the University the greater demands that would be put on the Fire Department with the University’s expansion. Chief Jones said that there had been some discussion in the meetings on the University’s Strategic Plan.
Mayor Waldorf asked when the ladder truck was due to be retired. Chief Jones said in 2007.
Mayor Waldorf asked that Chief Jones develop a proposal for the Council to deliver to the University stating that the University and the Hospital should contribute to the cost of a new ladder truck, since they had the high buildings, which needed a long ladder.
Council Member McClintock asked if the services to the University were being tracked, feeling that the Town could have a more forceful case if it had a record of services. Chief Jones said that the Task Force on Fiscal Relations did try to look at an agreement between the University and the Town to account for the costs, but it was hard to estimate as the Fire Department had to have a standby at all times. He said that the Fire Department’s calls for the University were between 27-32 percent of their calls.
Council Member McClintock asked Chief Jones who a citizen could call to find out what type of fire extinguisher or smoke detector to buy. Chief Jones said that they should call 968-2781, and the Fire Department would give them advice and even be willing to install the devices for those who were unable to do it themselves.
Council Member Brown asked when the report from the Task Force on Fiscal Relations would be ready. Mr. Horton replied, hopefully in the spring, probably by May at the latest.
Council Member Bateman asked how extensive the emergency weather reporting capabilities were that the Department wished to purchase. Chief Jones said that it was a satellite, which the Department would purchase the right to use, with an up-front cost of $1,200, and a monthly cost of about $300.
Council Member Foy asked if the $850,000 from the State was an annual appropriation, or if the State might decide to pay less. Chief Jones said that the amount was not guaranteed, noting that at one point in the past, there had been a reduction.
Council Member Foy asked if it was logical for the Town to ask the State to pay for the increase, since the Town was absorbing the cost. Mr. Horton said that the funding was part of a State-wide allocation to a number of university communities and other large State facilities. He suggested that the legislative delegation might be urged to lobby for an increase.
Council Member Foy asked if there were any female employees in the Fire Department. Chief Jones said that at present there were two, and in the past there had been up to six, some leaving for various reasons.
Council Member Brown asked if the $850,000 was an annual allocation. Mr. Horton said that it had to be submitted as a line item in the bi-annual budget, and that there was no guarantee.
Council Member Bateman asked if the Council should write a letter to the University regarding the fire-ladder truck.
Mayor Waldorf said that she thought Chief Jones could bring a proposal to the Council to send to the University. Mr. Horton felt it would be better to wait until the completion of the Task Force on Fiscal Relations’ study, that the University had told him there would be no discussion until this study was completed.
Council Member Evans said that she appreciated the addition of a smaller ladder truck for homes that were difficult to reach.
Mayor Waldorf said that there had been confusion as to whether the “two in/two out” OSHA regulations were mandatory or not. Chief Jones answered they were mandatory.
Mayor Waldorf asked how the addition of the six new positions would affect the effectiveness of the Fire Department to deal with the annexation of the southern properties in 2000. Chief Jones said that it would take 12 additional personnel to staff the southern fire station. He noted that to hire all 12 at once would dilute the quality, and it was best to hire six in this budget year in order to train and absorb them into the system and then the other six later, to assimilate them into the system by steps.
Council Member Brown asked if the Department had done any work to project the tax revenues that would be generated in the southern properties in relation to the new fire station and the services it would need to cover. Mr. Horton said that there was no specific proposal, but the tax revenues projected from Southern Village annexation would cover the new personnel in the new fire station, as well as costs of additional police officers and refuse collectors which would be needed. He said that if the Council decided to proceed with the annexation, the Town would need to generate a very detailed plan for compliance with North Carolina law, which would include projections of all service costs as well as all revenues expected.
Council Member Brown said that she had been very impressed with the Fire Department.
Mayor Waldorf said that she had never had a complaint about the Fire Department.
Bruce Heflin, Public Works Director, said that some of the items on the list were not necessarily requests but for the Council’s information. He said that the total Public Works budget requests totaled $7.9 million, plus the costs for fleet replacement, which would be about one-half million dollars. He said that the main issues were: (1) growth of the Town, with so many large developments, and no growth of the resources levels and the service levels; (2) recruitment, retention and turnover of qualified personnel, as the Town had to compete with the service businesses; and (3) safety management.
Mr. Heflin said that the mission of the Management and Support Services Division was the overall administrative support necessary for achievement of the Department’s operational goals and objectives. He said that the key service issues were overall management and administration and landscape architecture and urban forestry services. Mr. Heflin said that the proposed addition was for a new Safety and Training position.
Mr. Heflin said that the primary mission of the Field Operations Division was provision of safe, well maintained rights-of-way and sound infrastructure throughout the Town. He said the key services of the Division focused on traffic, construction, streets and rights-of-way/drainage. Mr. Heflin said that the key problem was the additional street mileage and proposed the addition of a new street maintenance crew.
Mr. Heflin said that the primary mission of the Internal Services Division was provision of fleet maintenance services and facilities maintenance services to all Town departments except for Transit’s fleet, Solid Waste’s landfill equipment fleet, and Housing’s facilities. He said areas needing improvement were preventive and facilities maintenance for buildings, and the ability to manage capital projects. Mr. Heflin proposed the addition of a new Project Manager position.
Mr. Heflin said that the primary mission of the Landscape Division was maintenance of grounds at Town facilities, including public housing, recreational areas, entranceways and cemeteries. He said that the areas needing improvement were public housing and downtown cleanup. Mr. Heflin proposed additional resources and positions.
Mr. Heflin said that the primary mission of the Sanitation Division was the collection and hauling of municipal solid waste generated within the Town of Chapel Hill. He said that yard waste collection was falling behind as a result of growth in the Town, turnover of personnel, and an increase in the quantities of waste collection, with a dramatic increase in yard waste. Mr. Heflin said that residential and commercial collection remained steady, noting that if Southern Village was annexed, the first year costs for that area would be $30,000. He proposed the acquisition of routing software.
Council Member Wiggins asked Mr. Heflin if the Department was prepared to address the suggestions made by former employee Howard Baldwin regarding residential refuse collection at an earlier Public Hearing. Mr. Heflin said that the Department was working on some options to provide service, which would include some of Mr. Baldwin’s suggestions.
Council Member Pavão asked if Streetscape was planned for 1999. Mr. Heflin said it was, noting that one of the issues was that some of the facilities were underground, and the Town was trying to resolve issues with Duke Power, who would be responsible for a big part of the expense. He said that they hoped to begin construction by May, and to report to the Council soon.
Council Member Pavão asked if the work would be in-house or by contract. Mr. Helflin answered in-house.
Mayor Waldorf asked how long the construction would take. Mr. Heflin answered about eight weeks, with completion by mid-summer.
Council Member McClintock asked what was the most needed crew additions. She said most of the complaints that she had received about collection of yard waste. Mr. Helflin said that they were considering several options, one of which might be a change to collection services, but it was not in the budget yet.
Council Member Brown asked about sanitation and if recycling for commercial could be an improvement for Waste Management. Mr. Heflin said that recycling was doing well with residential waste and might be for commercial.
Council Member Brown said that there was going to be a presentation on energy-efficient projects, and that the Town was hoping to work with Durham. She asked if this presentation would be too late for consideration of energy-efficient lighting in the project. Mr. Heflin said that it could be considered, but that the Town leased the lighting from Duke Power. He said that he would discuss the issue of energy-efficient lighting with them. Mr. Heflin said that the Town could own its own lights, but then would have to provide regular maintenance to them.
Council Member Bateman asked if the proposed additions list on page 8 of the memorandum was in priority order. Mr. Heflin answered that it was.
Council Member Bateman asked, in reference to the request for an additional Traffic Assistant, if there was a person doing signs now. Mr. Heflin said that it was difficult to maintain signs in a college town, because of vandalism. He said that there were certain requirements from the State and that it was hard to keep up with them because of a lack of staff.
Council Member Bateman asked how many miles of unpaved streets were in Town. Mr. Horton said that there were 4.4 miles and 37 streets.
Council Member Bateman said that she was in favor of curbside pickup of trash.
Council Member Pavão asked if the street signs were ever washed, or just replaced, that he saw many signs molded over so that they could not be read. Mr. Heflin said that usually the signs were worn out and replaced, but that his staff could look at the signs that were molded over.
Council Member Brown asked if a metal gauge could be inserted in the street signs so they could not be bent over.
Council Member Evans, referring to the General Fund Revenues chart, asked what revenues were generated by traffic signals and rights-of-way mowing. Mr. Heflin said that the Town had a contract with the State for reimbursement.
Council Member Evans asked Mr. Heflin if he had received the report from Athens, Georgia. Mr. Heflin said that it was being prepared distribution to the Council.
Council Member Evans noted that garbage collection at Southern Village was contracted and suggested that it could remain under contract after it was annexed for the time being. She asked Mr. Heflin if there was an estimate of cost for reducing or adding the number of leaf pickups per year. Mr. Heflin said that if the Town added to the leaf pick-up he would need to add a crew; to reduce, he was not sure, but said that the Town does not add staff for leaf pick-up.
Council Member Foy thanked Mr. Heflin for good management in savings by reducing one of the Construction Worker positions. He asked Mr. Heflin to interpret the graph on page 14 of the memorandum. Mr. Heflin said that it was for the Council’s information, noting that the allocation depended on the size of the building.
Council Member Foy asked what a full-time crew would do in the downtown. Mr. Heflin said that the full-time service usually ended at noon, and he would like to extend the service through the rest of the day, because the trash piled up after the lunch hour and in the afternoon.
Council Member Foy asked how much coverage that would be. Mr. Heflin said that it would be five days per week, two full-time groundskeepers and a contractor for weekends.
Council Member McClintock asked how a Landscaper’s time, such as Curtis Brooks, was allocated. Mr. Heflin said that two-thirds of Mr. Brook’s time was spent on development related issues, and one-third on architecture work and design services for the Town.
Council Member McClintock asked if the Department had done a cost analysis on whether it was better for the Town to own or to lease the downtown lights. Mr. Heflin said that this analysis would be included in the report. He said that there had been a large turn-over in the Duke Power personnel which the Town had been working with and that had slowed the process down.
Council Member McClintock asked Mr. Heflin what he meant by pulling out roads in developments. Mr. Heflin said that the roads were built to standards but because of factors such as poor soil and heavy construction traffic they needed to be replaced. He said that the Town had raised its standards for roads.
Council Member McClintock asked if the Department had adopted a plan for a program on street lighting. Mr. Heflin said that they were using the program they already had and tried to address requests as they arose.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked whether the requested street maintenance crew would work on State roads, and if the requested street cleaning would be on State roads. Mr. Heflin said that the street maintenance crew would not work on State roads, but that the street cleaning would, to some extent, such as mowing rights-of-ways and snow and ice removal.
Mayor pro tem Capowski said that he would support the street maintenance crew and the street cleaning, especially as a bicycle rider, as he noticed trash on the roadsides more than a motorist. Mr. Heflin said that the Department did not really have a street sweeping program, but had a goal. He said that there was a single sweeper and the number one priority was the downtown. Mr. Heflin said that the Department would like to be able to do more cleaning on the sides of the roads and gutters.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked what was being done to protect the streets from construction traffic. Mr. Heflin said that street enhancing was now being done, and in the new sub-divisions they were leaving the top layer off of the road for about a year, and then the contractor must fix the deficiencies before putting the top layer down.
Council Member Evans asked if the sinking spots, such as the ones on Fordham Boulevard, were reported to the State. Mr. Heflin said that they were reported and that his Department did fix the ones on the Town streets.
Council Member Bateman asked if the mowing in the rights-of-ways included the houses where there were no curbs and gutters. Mr. Heflin said that the mowing was done throughout the Town, even where there were no rights-of-ways.
Mayor Waldorf asked Mr. Heflin how the new construction crew authorized this past year by the Council was working out. Mr. Heflin said that a crew had finally been recruited in December and they were now working on the Piney Mountain sidewalks. He said that he had offered one position reduction on the construction crew, in case the Council needed to reduce the requests in his Departments, but that would slow the work down.
Mayor Waldorf asked whether there was anything the Council could do to help with the turn-over issues. Mr. Heflin thought that the pay system was the problem, and that the new system might help the salary issues.
Mayor Waldorf said that the Public Works crews picking up trash at public housing bothered her. She said that she did not think the crews should be picking up trash at public housing and asked how much time the crews spent at this activity. Mr. Horton answered about one-half of its time. He said that the Council had authorized that the General Funds be used to pay for maintenance of public housing, and that there was not sufficient funding in the Public Housing budget to pick up those costs. He said that the costs amounted to about $100,000, which was not in the budget.
Council Member Foy asked for an update on the situation with the facilities which were leased from the University. Mr. Horton said that the lease would run out in the year 2006 and that he had asked the University to extend or expand the lease. He said that they had declined to do so and that he was considering looking at other options, although he still desired to extend the lease with the University. Mr. Brooks said that the Town would need 20 acres of useable property, including seven acres for transportation and 13 for public works and solid waste, and might need to purchase more land. Mr. Horton said that it would require a major bond issue at considerable expense.
Council Member Brown asked if this had been discussed by the Task Force on Fiscal Relations. Mr. Horton said that he had made a formal presentation, but that the University decided not to take action until all fiscal considerations were finished.
Council Member Brown asked if the acreage included the Animal Shelter. Mr. Curtis said that the Town would have to add about one-and one-half acres for the Animal Shelter. Mr. Horton said that the Town would not propose to move the Animal Shelter which was operated by the Animal Protection Society.
Police Chief Ralph Pendergraph said that the mission of the Police Department was to preserve, protect and enhance the quality of life in the community by providing professional and efficient services while promoting a high degree of integrity, quality, accountability and community involvement. He said that he felt that the Police Department had a fine staff and helpful volunteers. Chief Pendergraph said that the key services were administration, uniformed patrol, and investigations, plus a lot of non-traditional services provided to citizens, adding that he was not proposing any changes in services. He said that he expects that the departmental revenues would increase 14%, but that the projections were incomplete and he hoped that the Department would receive some grant monies. Chief Pendergraph said that the proposed budget did not include funds allocated for the purchase of replacement police vehicles, which would be a baseline of $194,000. He said that there would be a 2.4% increase above last year.
Chief Pendergraph said that there should be an improvement in the narcotics enforcement program. He said that there has been an increase in breaking and entry in both automobiles and residences, which he tied into the drug problem, because people were stealing to buy drugs. Chief Pendergraph said that there was a need to increase pressure on the drug market and to attack property crimes which were still on the rise. He said that one person had asked him why he proposed the addition of a Narcotics Officer if arrests were down. Chief Pendergraph answered that in many cases there was no evidence to prosecute after an arrest. He noted that he was working with undercover agents, and although there were fewer arrests, there were more quality arrests. Chief Pendergraph said that he did not want one narcotics officer working alone, and with the addition of one position, he could have two teams of officers.
Council Member Foy asked Chief Pendergraph about qualifying for gun use, and if there was a piece of property being researched for gun target practice. Chief Pendergraph said that he had been talking with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and there was consideration for a proposal for the purchase of a firing range for all law enforcement officers in the County. He said that a firing range was necessary to qualify for State certification. Chief Pendergraph said that he recommended to the Town Manager that the Department apply Mr. Cook’s Trust as Chapel Hill’s portion of the purchase.
Council Member McClintock asked Chief Pendergraph what was being done about “dirty car” emissions. Chief Pendergraph said that was part of traffic enforcement, as were tinted windows, and that he could follow up with reports on these areas.
Council Member McClintock asked if neighborhood policing had any impact on break-ins. Chief Pendergraph said that people were more aware and tell the police what happens in their neighborhoods.
Council Member Evans said that she heard many comments about speeding, noting that she had seen a sign promising a $100 fine for speeding and asked Chief Pendergraph if that was the cost of a speeding ticket. Chief Pendergraph said that the $100 fines were for speeding in work zones.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked about the physical facilities and the deterioration of the Police Department building. Chief Pendergraph said that the Department was in the process of evaluating the use of bond monies, and that he would get back to the Council with a report. Mr. Horton said that the building was the worst public building in the Town for cost and maintenance. Chief Pendergraph said that the building would not be big enough much longer. Mr. Horton said that the building was built on an old landfill area which was not suitable for a building. Captain Gregg Jarvies said that three architects had submitted proposals and that there were bond monies available.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked what would happen to the records if the building burned down. Chief Pendergraph said that the worst thing would be if evidence was destroyed because it could not be duplicated. Captain Jarvies said that there were hard copy records stored in various buildings around the Town, and that they were currently working on scanning all records since 1961 into a computer network, which he hoped to have finished by fall.
Council Member Foy asked why the Capital figures were down for this budget estimate. Captain Jarvies answered that the figures did not include the purchase of vehicles, and that the costs for last year included costs for the computer system, which was not included in this year’s request.
Council Member Foy asked to what extent the energy-efficient requirements of the new ordinance would be considered in renovating the building. Captain Jarvies said that was one of the most critical issues, and would be the first item for the architects to consider.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked how much a police car costs. Chief Pendergraph said the basic car was $21-22,000, plus $4,500 for the radio, for a total of about $27,000.
Mayor Waldorf asked if there was anything that the Council could do to get better response from the Courts in arrest issues. Chief Pendergraph said that the biggest problem was that people fear reporting a crime, because the criminals were soon back out on the streets dealing again in drugs.
Bob Godding, Transportation Director, said that he would be covering both the Transit and the Parking Services operating budgets.
Mr. Godding said that the new mission statement of the Transportation Department was to provide safe, convenient, affordable, reliable and responsive public transportation services to residents and visitors of the Chapel Hill, Carrboro and University of North Carolina communities, be accessible, efficiently operated and supportive of a healthy environment and a sustainable local economy, connect and coordinate with other transportation means in the Research Triangle area providing an alternative for local and regional travel. He said that the key Transit services were:
· fixed route Transit service,
· EZ-Rider services for mobility impaired,
· shared ride service to supplement fixed route and EZ-Rider services, and
· Tarheel Express Service—Park/Ride Shuttle for Special Events.
Mr. Godding said that the major revenue sources were operating, federal/State, University, Carrboro, and Chapel Hill, noting that the reason the University numbers were negative was that the University pre-paid the Town for fare-free services. He said that the key revenues issues included:
· operating revenues had increased due to University bus pass sales for park/ride service,
· federal and State funding levels should increase slightly, and
· University payments were declining because the service it sponsored solely in Fiscal Year 98-99 would now be treated as system expenses.
Mr. Godding said that cost estimates changed little, and went through the various expenses in Administrative Division, Operations Division, Maintenance Division, and non-departmental. He said that the Transit services going well were:
· ridership and fares revenue remained strong,
· funding and construction of park/ride lots—140 spaces at the Carrboro Plaza had been approved and were under design, and
· the procurement for the Faircloth Buses—approved federal Capital Grant of $1,000,000 for small buses, and alternatively powered vehicles, whose options were under study.
Mr. Godding said that the services which needed to be improved or discontinued were:
· The Memorandum of Understanding Agreement with UNC and Carrboro for FY1999-00 was still under discussion, and would probably take until FY2000;
· He was recommending the discontinuing of the Cross-Town Connector Route because of poor performance;
· Funding and construction of park/ride lots at UNC-Old Fayetteville Road Site in Carrboro, for 300 +/- spaces was under discussion with the University, and was not a done deal; discussion for park/ride lot at US 15/501 in the north end of Town was for future discussion; and
· EZ-Rider Service was not meeting all standards, and was not keeping up with demand, mostly because the community had grown and trips go further distances, and were not meeting dependability standards for schedules.
Mr. Godding recommended an additional supervisor for the Operations Division, because of the current Supervisor/Employee Ratio was one of the highest of the Town’s Departments; and the EZ-Rider Service needed additional resources to consistently meet the demand. He recommended eliminating the Cross-Town Connector Route, due to poor performance, and the Saturdays-only Blue Line Route when the Triangle Transit Authority (TTA) begins its Saturday operations.
Council Member Pavão asked if there would be no regular service to the Southern Human Services Center. Mr. Godding said that there would be just shared-rider services to that building.
Council Member Pavão asked whether the new buses would be blue accent or orange accent. Mr. Godding answered they would be blue.
Council Member Brown asked Mr. Godding why he thought there would be a little more money from the State. Mr. Godding said that it was because of the new service pool for added services.
Council Member Brown asked what kind of bus was the large blue bus which had “University” written on it. Mr. Godding said that was the Hospital bus.
Council Member Brown asked if the Faircloth Grant was the same as the one for alternative fuels. Mr. Godding said that the University decided that the Town would be the grant applicant, but he would not recommend electric buses because they had a very short range, nor would he recommend natural gas as an alternative fuel because the tank was too heavy and he did not think it was safe.
Council Member Brown asked if the smaller buses that the Town was getting under the Grant were just regular buses. Mr. Godding said that there were two models—the smaller bus, and a truck or school bus model.
Council Member Foy asked what the fare was for the Tar Heel Express, if it was profitable, and if it would be possible to raise the round-trip fare to $5.00. Mr. Godding said that a round-trip fare was currently $3.00, and a one-way ticket was $2.00, which covered all costs for most events. He said that there had been very few changes in the fare rates over the years.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked Mr. Godding how many people rode the Express for basketball games. Mr. Godding said about 15-20 percent of the gate, about 3,500-4,000 people.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked if Mr. Godding was recommending a fare increase and a property tax increase of the transportation fund. Mr. Godding said that he was not. Mr. Horton said that would depend on what additional services the Council might recommend, noting that the Town would have to have some final discussions with Carrboro and the University.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked what the annual fuel bill for the Department was. Mr. Godding said that it was $200,000 for diesel fuel, and $20,000-25,000 for gas.
Council Member McClintock said that she was disappointed in the recommendation to discontinue the Cross Connector and asked Mr. Godding, when the TTA had express buses running in 2005, if the Town would have to buy a lot of buses in order for citizens to connect with the TTA route to reach their out-of-town jobs. Mr. Godding said that the TTA had not delineated where they would stop and that the Town would have to work with the TTA on that matter.
Council Member McClintock said that she had questions about the security in the Park and Ride lots. Mr. Godding said that there were still some problems, that his Department shared monitoring devices with the Police Department, noting that there had been some day-time break-ins in the last few months, in addition to the night break-ins.
Council Member McClintock asked if the Town got a sales tax for Transportation, how would that affect the way the Town would apply for Transportation funds. Mr. Godding said he was not sure that would affect the Grant funds.
Mayor Waldorf said that it would have a positive affect as a source of local funding and a local match for substantial federal grant funding, and that could be used for Phase II of TTA.
Council Member Evans asked Mr. Godding if the Faircloth buses had bike racks. Mr. Godding said that they could.
Council Member Evans asked how the negotiations were proceeding with the Bible Church for a park and ride lot. Mr. Godding said that there had been no discussion on the proposal as yet.
Council Member Evans asked what an average for Superintendent/Employee ratio would be in other Town departments. Mr. Godding said 10-1 or less, but that in Transportation it was over 20-1.
Council Member Evans asked if Mr. Godding could use numbers to illustrate how EZ-Rider ridership had grown. Mr. Godding said he would.
Council Member Brown asked how successful the bike racks had been. Mr. Godding said that he had asked his staff to compile these figures.
Council Member Foy asked if the parking deck was financially successful. Mr. Godding said that it was covering the debt payment on the bond funds. Mr. Horton said that the deck did not pay for itself, as it was paying off the debt.
Council Member Foy asked if the deck ever would start paying for itself. Mr. Horton said that it might possibly in 10-15 years, but that maintenance was the immediate expense. He said that the parking system overall was paying for itself, but it was possible that the deck might never pay for itself, nor was it ever intended to do so.
Council Member Foy asked if the deck met user expectations. Mr. Godding said that it was doing quite well, that the deck still had some rentals, and that the Town expected to finance maintenance with the revenues from the deck.
Council Member Evans asked Mr. Godding if the parking fines of the Town were equal to the parking fines of the University. Mr. Godding said that he would report back to the Council.
Council Member Evans asked if the Town had ever looked into adding another parking level to the top level of the deck, since sometimes people drove around the deck and could not find any parking. Mr. Horton said that this was not structurally feasible, that the deck had been designed for only a light-weight building, and that the gates were closed if there was no parking available. He said that there was usually parking on the lower level.
Gayle Wilson, Solid Waste Director, said that the Landfill budget showed an increase of about 10½% over last year, to about $5.6 million. He said that the budget was primarily supported by the Landfill fees and he recommended a fee increase of $1.00 per ton for Construction and Demolition (C&D) and Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). Mr. Wilson said that the reason for the 10% increase was the necessary construction of Cell #4 in the Landfill which would cost about $850,000. He said the budget comprised five areas: revenue, Landfill operations, non-departmental operation, and the two recycling budgets—curbside recycling and general recycling budgets. Mr. Wilson said that no new programs, positions nor additions of any kind of major equipment were included in the budget. He said that the transition issues would be quite significant once the decisions were made. Mr. Wilson said that the Department was in the process of identifying and developing a new C&D disposal facility, involved in implementing discussion of a Solid Waste Management Plan was involved with a major construction project with the new Landfill Cell with some very significant regulatory issues related to it and the completion of taking in-house some of the recycling programs. He said that some items not included in the budget were:
· Funds for reorganization, which he did not think would be very significant.
· Funding for implementation of the Solid Waste Management Plan, noting that there were funds in the current year’s budget for the consultant who was working with the Department.
· No money for the purchase or development of land for a C&D facility, but funds existed in a reserve fund and once a site was identified and selected, the recommendation would be to transfer the funds into the Operating Budget.
Mr. Wilson said that the budget had been discussed with the County Manager and that the Council would be required to adopt a 1999-2000 Landfill Fund budget.
Mr. Horton said that the budget would have to be satisfactory to the County Manager and the County and the budget was being prepared with this in mind.
Mr. Wilson said that he expected that the Landfill Owners’ Group would review the budget and would have comments and recommendations for additions to the budget, and that the Department would deal with these when they occurred.
Council Member McClintock asked for an explanation of Mr. Wilson’s statement regarding the County’s approval of the Council’s budget. Mr. Horton noted that at the Council’s retreat he had stated that last year’s budget would be the last that the Council would have to adopt for Solid Waste Management, adding that he still believed that this was true. He said that when the Landfill was moved to the County’s jurisdiction, the budget would have to be approved by the County Manager for the County. Mr. Horton said that the Council would have to formally adopt a budget because the Town would still be legally responsible as of July 1, 1999, but that it would ultimately become the County’s budget. He said that some costs, such as legal fees and special audit fee, could come into play but were minor in a budget of this size.
Council Member Foy said that the new tipping fees would then be $39 per ton. He asked why the revision revenues were up. Mr. Wilson answered that was because of additional tonnage over the original estimates, which had the greatest impact on the budget.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked if the additional $1.00 fee was all that the Town would have to pay. Mr. Wilson said that it was and would amount to about $20,000.
Council Member Foy asked if the significant reduction in contract fees was because the Town was bringing recycling in-house. Mr. Wilson said it was and there was also some extra for household costs.
Kathy Thompson, Library Director, said the key services provided by the Library were:
The General Collection
· Large print materials
· Audiovisual materials
· Trained staff
· Reference book collection
· 6 Public Internet stations, including printers
· NC Live
· Magazine Collection
· Vertical File
· Time for Toddlers
· Story Time
· Pajama Story Time
· Craft Days
· Summer Reading Program
· Battle of the Books
· The After School Book Bunch
· Special performances: 2-3 per year
· Outreach services: 16 day care centers; 5 public housing facilities
Ms. Thompson said that revenues were expected from the County, fines and fees, State aid and the Library gift fund for a total of $408,500.
Ms. Thompson said that the Library base budget cost estimates were $1,583,700, which included personnel and operations costs. She said that operations included replacement of a microfilm reader printer, a new cost for a digital telecommunications line, and a 2% increase for the materials budget to maintain the current level of service. Ms. Thompson said that the key services and programs that were going well were the on-site Children’s programs and the Public Internet services. She said the Outreach programming efforts for public housing children was not going very well and she felt it was time to start a different experiment. Ms. Thompson requested the addition of 7.5 hours to a current 30 hour per week Circulation Desk Supervisor position and the authorization of up to 240 hours annually for a contract Library I position to provide a staff of two on the Reference Deck for 64 hours per week. She said that the cost for these additions would total $10,200.
Ms. Thompson proposed the following revisions to the Outreach Service program:
· Replacement of the current public housing programs with an expanded program schedule at the main Library.
· Coordination of van transport to the Library with the Residents’ Council.
· Replacement of the bookmobile service to day care centers with deposit collections.
Council Member Evans asked Ms. Thompson if she had talked about books on tape. Ms. Thompson said that the Library had two programs: (1) one was with the federal government, which delivered to the home free of charge, and (2) the Library provided books on tape and language tapes, and that they were heavily used.
Council Member McClintock asked Ms. Thompson why the public housing programs for children were not being used. Ms. Thompson said that a survey was being distributed to residents in public housing to find out why they are not using the services. She said that a lot of the children were in school when the Residents’ Council provided the services, and that it was difficult to get children to the programs because they had to be accompanied by an adult. Ms. Thompson said that her biggest challenge was to attract the interest of the adults. Mr. Horton added that when the children came to the Library, it was a very rich experience for them.
Council Member Bateman asked if the Library Gift Fund was different from the Love Trust. Ms. Thompson answered that the Library Gift Fund was Town-controlled, and that the Love Trust was a separate entity, although the Library did receive some interest funds from it.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked if there were strings attached to the $38,000 grant from the State. Mr. Horton said he thought there were substantial strings, that if the Town accepted the State’s money it could never reduce any funding for the Library to be less than it had for the previous year. Ms. Thompson said that some of the law had been changed and was based on a formula. She felt that it was important for the Library to retain good relations with the State Library Aid because that was where the internet and technological services came from.
Council Member Brown said that in the past the Town had discussed not receiving aid from the State, but deciding it would not be the best way to go.
Council Member Foy asked if the aid fluctuated. Ms. Thompson said that it did, but that it generally stayed the same, and usually did not go down.
Mayor pro tem Capowski asked if one had to go to the Library to use NC Live. Ms. Thompson said that at present one did, but in six months it would be providing off-site services, with a password provided by the Library.
Council Member McClintock said that with the Graduated Vacation Leave Policy that she would like to see the present level of services continued.
Mayor Waldorf said that she thought bringing the Outreach Program into the Library was a good idea, and asked if this would cost more money. She told Ms. Thompson that Council Member Wiggins had requested that the Residents’ Council’s van use be accounted for to the Council, and Mayor Waldorf said that she thought it should be used for providing services for the children.
Mr. Horton said that one of the advantages to freeing up the Bookmobile was that it could be used for police, fire and other emergency services.
Tina Vaughn, Housing Director, said that she was present to answer questions from the Council on the Department’s budget proposal.
Mayor Waldorf asked Ms. Vaughn how the problem of excessive trash in public housing, which was left for the Public Works Department to pick up, would be addressed. Ms. Vaughn said that notices had been sent out to residents to identify the houses with problems with excessive trash, and that after three notices there would be a 30-day eviction notice issued to those residents not complying. She added that the Department had a good relationship with the groundskeepers who kept her Department informed of offenders.
Council Member Foy asked Ms. Vaughn about the refurbishing and the addition of central air conditioning. Ms. Thompson said that the Department had been working with a private corporation, and that a preliminary report would be taken to the Housing Board on March 23rd, and she was planning to bring the recommendations to the Council on April 26th.
Mr. Horton thanked Ms. Vaughn and her staff for their work, and said that there had been a complete change in the atmosphere of public housing in Chapel Hill.
Council Member Wiggins said that she would like to see the percentage of change for each Department listed together in order for the Council to compare them and to better understand them.
Mr. Horton said that his staff needed a little more time for their review before presenting the reports to the Council. He said that the staff could have them all in the same format and they would fix the variations in the spreadsheet analyses.
Council Member Foy said that he felt that this had been a good session and he wanted to be sure that it would be rebroadcast to the public so that the public could see what the Council was doing.
Mr. Horton said that after the Council received a status report on the budget recommendations, it would help if the Council could meet again to discuss the recommendations and give feedback to the Manager. He suggested either the week of April 5th or the week of April 12th would give time for the preparation of the Manager’s Budget Report.
Mayor Waldorf suggested that after the March 30th Public Forum on the Budget would be a good time to start the discussion.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:18 p.m.
The minutes of March 19, 1999 were adopted on the 26th day of April, 1999.
Joyce A. Smith, CMC