October 3, 2017 at 8:27 pm #61801
Gatsas questioning why they can’t close Westbout traffic down to one lane to allow Brown Ave on ramp to stay open.
They’ve looked at it.
Gatsas: Has anyone actually looked at the traffic at those intersections before making this recommendation ?
Yup they have.
$4.5 million project
O’neil, agrees with mayor. businesses going to be hurt. Will cause a major back up to close that ramp. I avoid So. Willow St. now, this will make it much worse. We tried to change behavior during Walmart mess, but it didn’t work. It won’t work. this is going to have a major economic impact on city. Can something be done at night?October 3, 2017 at 8:31 pm #61802
Airport traffic, UPS, etc…please look at this again…have a fire station just North of there.
Katsiantonis: BTW, this is my ward, too. Agrees with Gatsas and O’Neil. Have business there myself. Will affect my traffic. Are you sure you did your homework?
Shaw: that’s my ward, that on-ramp has continuous traffic all day b/c it is the bypass around the city, as opposed to going through the city. Wants to figure out some way to keep it open. Heading 293 East is already congested going to the mall. there’s going to be congestion, but at least there’s access to that direction. Encourage businesses, traffic leaving the airport to use Wieczorek highway instead of this exit to avoid the congestion.October 3, 2017 at 8:34 pm #61803
Gatsas suggesting they merge the traffic further east to eliminate the “top lane” and keep the ramp open. this will be a nightmare.
Cavanaugh: Worked down there for 30 years. any plan to try and move traffic to Wieczorek highway?
DOT: Lots of signs.
Gatsas: That won’t work…walmart.October 3, 2017 at 8:37 pm #61804
Long: Questioning doing both spans at once or one at a time, does it make a difference?
Gatsas: looking for motion to tell the doe we want to keep the ramp open.
DOT: That’s why we’re here, to get feedback.
O;Neil…blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Long By Herbert to send a letter saying they want ramp to stay open.October 3, 2017 at 8:44 pm #61805
Finance Officer projecting 54,000 deficit, including contingency balances. Big uptick in retirements. 11 YTD v 4 last year. Severance accounting for the deficit. Radio warranty cost of $150K also coming.
Severance reserve accounts total $450K. Most of that’s been spent already.
No revenue surpluses deficits projected, yet. Expenditure deficit is pushing 630,000, severance and radio warrant. Only thing bringing deficit down is contingency, which Willard wants a big chunk of tonight. Will cause it to jump by $225KOctober 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm #61806
O’Neil asking about Willard’s request.
Sanders: He’s able to cover some of the severance with surpluses in his department. This is the amount he needs.
JKL: is there a place where the aldermen can tap into to fill the severance or contingency accounts? the economic development fund? Will this affect our bond rating if we tap the economic development fund?
Sanders: 2 accounts with 450K total just for severance, plus $500K in contingency. We probably need all of that to get through this year, at least. There are other accounts, Rain Day Fund (can’t use except for revenue short fall) Economic Development Account, Health Insurance Trust, Workers Comp trust…10 votes can use any of it for any purpose (not Rainy Day Fund…)
Will be going to issue bonds in 6 weeks. Bond rating agencies are responsible to the bond buyers, not finance officers or issuers. They see reserve accounts as their assurance that the city has reserves available in the event of bad economic situations that they can draw on to pay bonds. When you take money out of reserve accounts, they’re extremely critical. Can deflect some of it, temporary situation, but drawing off them, especially operating expenses, will not be good. So, if you’re going to do it, please wait until after we go to see them in a month and a half (can’t believe I said that into a microphone…neither can I 8-o)October 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm #61807
Gatsas: We’re 3 months into this budget, we’re going to have to work real hard. there’s 450K in the severance account. Let’s fund him the $200K we set aside and have him come back in a couple of months to see where things are and what we can do then. We’re only 3 months into the fiscal year. If we continue to pay these out, we’re going to have a run on the account from departments coming in looking from money.
Sanders: If we can generate revenue surpluses, auto registration, building permits, we can appropriate that money in the future. I’m hoping we might see some pick up on permits and registrations, but that’s not a good plan.
So, I would really treat going to the reserve accounts as a desperate, severe situation. Shouldn’t do that unless it really it is. Once we take it out of the reserve account, we’re not going to be able to put it back.
Health insurance is also going to be a challenge. So, we’ve got a lot to work through. Severance is a contractual matter, evergreen regardless of contract status.October 3, 2017 at 8:58 pm #61808
Hirschmann, we authorized 138 K to fire, but it’s not transferred yet?
Sanders: that’s another 138 K. 4 more have retired. (knew that was coming.)
Shea: We should never, ever consider the Rainy Day fund as an option to pay off anything. That’s set up for us to get the best bond rating we can get. We should never ever tinker with that. We can find the money elsewhere. We need a decent bond rating and we won’t get that if we tap the Rainy Day Fund. It’ll sink so low, it won’t make any sense to bond. Our bond ration is so important to the city.October 3, 2017 at 9:00 pm #61809
Sapienza: Glad we’re shining a light on severance issue. An additional 138K for fire? It’s getting worse all the time. 157K for solicitor, 226K to police…the point is, this is a big monster.
The situation where we save sick and vacation leave until we retire is a crazy system. In the real world, that pays wages, so it’s basically a wash. In the city, we save it up and cash it in at retirement for big dollars. That’s the kind of structural adjustment we need to change. It’s not going to happen overnight, but that’s where our thinking has to go. We can’t afford this anymore.October 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm #61810
O’Neil: This is our own fault. The budget didn’t cover severance. WE have put the city in this position by not passing a responsible budget. I don’t want to play this game about not filing positions. People want police on the streets and fire houses open. Not even had snow yet, public wants full crews out there plowing.
We have put the city in this position. Long had it in his budget, but the budget we passed didn’t.
Herbert: Who took it out?
O’Neil: We didn’t get enough votes.
Herbert: We eventually passed the extra $2 million and a few other things in Long’s budget and now we’re having problem with severance. Majority thwarted by veto threat. Want the public to know that Long’s budget covered this business, but the fact that we did not have 10 votes to override veto should be known. Public has no idea why it’s not.October 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm #61811
Herbert saying bond rating agencies don’t like tax caps because it “hobbles” city’s ability to raise revenue to take care of business. Says Sapienza is right to raise issue of severance.October 3, 2017 at 9:09 pm #61812
Gatsas: I protect the taxpayers. That’s who I protect.
Herbert: Not being protected very well. We’re short money.
JKL: There were aldermen didn’t want to take money out of the economic development fund to fund schools. You just heard Sanders say all the problems that come when you tap reserves.
Shea: In the middle stands perfection. If we approve a contract we can’t financially justify, how do we manage funding? We need to analyze what’s going to happen before we approve contracts. Forethought is extremely important before we vote. Don’t put the blame on B if we do A. Thought has to go into what our decisions will result in and vote accordingly. (In other words, this is what we get for voting for those pay raises. We couldn’t afford them.)October 3, 2017 at 9:13 pm #61813
Hirschmann: I sounded the alarm about the health trust because the budget underfunded health insurance by $1.5 million. It’s not severance, it’s many things we didn’t fund.
Sapienza: I’m not trying to shine a light on a lack of funding, I’m shining it on a system that does things in a bizarre way. People don’t understand this severance situation because it’s so peculiar and odd. It doesn’t exist in other places. Public is going to want change once they know what’s going to happen.
Gatsas: Wants to see a report itemizing the individual severance payouts so people can see who’s getting what.
O’neil: this is not contractual. City Solicitor got severance and he’s not union.
Gatsas: Police contract took all available funds. $2.5 million.
(Oh, Danny, it absolutely is a contractual issue…those severance payouts are absolutely detailed in EVERY contract.)
Gatsas: I could have funded the severance, but I decided to fund the police pay raises instead so we could work through the budget rather than have to lay people off up front.
Shaw: If we’d taken money out of economic development fund, we’d have money for severance (right use one time capital dollars for operating expenses…wow.)October 3, 2017 at 9:19 pm #61814
After all that, Willard’s request goes unanimously on a voice vote, but not before Hirschmann opposes a simple rezoning on Day St. Wow.
School Board’s request to approve moving forward on moving district offices to West passes. O’Neil asks about “a parking plan” for “all those employees.” Another a@##$%3e who doesn’t look at parking lots.
O’Neil saying there will be war if public can’t park to use tennis courts at West. (He’s got to be drunk…there’s no way parking will every be a problem with parking there.)
Shea gets it right…just looking to proceed with getting a plan with numbers together. Just 45K for the plan.
Sapienza: Why does analysis show savings in the early years and cost in the later years (difference between when the bonds would be paid off.) That’s what he’s being told.October 3, 2017 at 9:31 pm #61815
But, now there’s a kerfuffle over whether or not the district has $45k in its budget to do the project. Gatsas wants the district to find it and pay itself back with the bonded funds.
Long: Do they have it in his budget?
Hirschmann: They have money in ____ line item (didn’t hear.)
O’Neil: so we’re changing the facility plan again?
Gatsas: the should be able to find the $45k in a $167 million budget.
Long: can we give them the $45K and pay ourselves back when it’s bonded.
O’Neil: But we approved a facilities plan (Hirschmann says its $6 million) why can’t they use those moneys?
Vargas: I respectfully correct the record. I don’t have $6 million to spend. I need the $45 K.
O’Neil keeps pushing, sounding like Gatsas (they’re trading Kool Aid jokes)
Vargas: I’m trying to be efficient by doing this so I don’t have to come back month after month. I don’t have the latitude you have in the latitude in my budget that you have in the city budget. If you want me to take it out of the operating budget, that’s what we’ll do. But, I’d like you to give me the latitude make the changes that are needed to make this happen.
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.