City Council notes – 9/15/2009

The Fort Wayne City Council

Notes from tonight’s City Council meeting.

Council President Tom Smith is giving a brief overview of his time on the Plan Commission.  Councilman John Shoaff is asking if guidelines created through the Plan-It Allen and Community Development Action Plans (CDAP) is brought into the discussions.  Smith answered yes.  Councilwoman Karen Goldner is asking about validity of CDAPs because of the language used and timing.  John Urbahns, Director of  Community Development, is at the table talking about codifying some of the CDAPs into the plan.  When Plan-It Allen was adopted, the CDAPs by neighborhoods were cast aside.  They are working on the validity of the language in the CDAPs and will be bringing them back at some point to Council for approval and inclusion.  Karen – “Only thing worse than not engaging the public, is to engage them and then ignore what they input.”

S-09-09-05 – Software is City owned, not shared with the County.  Offer is open to County to also use the software.  We do have the software, this is for the annual maintenance cost.  Councilman Pape is trying to clarify what exactly it is we are purchasing.  This is for updates and help for the software.  This allows us to get the maintenance releases that continually upgrade the software, fix bugs and that sort of thing.

Karen Goldner – why is it important to have updates in payroll software?  Tax Tables  are updated.  We can produce payroll, but checks would be inaccurate.  “This is the way software works, you’re just stuck with it.”

This  is 20% of the purchase cost annually.  Mitch Harper – sounds more like an annuity than insurance to me.  Is this comparable to what private industry pays?  Response – there’s not that many payroll software companies out there.

Tim Pape – at $114k per year – more than the Mayor makes.  Paying for problem solving and updates.  We call for support all the time.  We put it in this last year.  Couldn’t hire an employee to work on it because they wouldn’t have access to the source code.

Purchased over two or three parts.  Over $1.1 million over 10 years.  Any way to audit how much we are using them and go back and say it’s unreasonable.  Advised us to take it or leave it.  Is that your Conclusion (Pape)?  No.  (Pape) so that’s your conclusion?  Yes.

I’m not happy to accept the fact that we’re under their thumb to accept this.

Tom Didier: Are all software companies like this?  Yes.  Used to be 15%, now 20%.  If we don’t continue with this?  We’d have to buy another new package and then pay 20% to them.

Karen Goldner – you have little opportunity to challenge the support.

Mitch Harper – How do they lose money on installation?  They don’t.

Karen – the company has made a large investment in the development of the software and this is the way the recoup it.

We have a company that wants to give us the software for free, we just pay the 20% maintenance fee.  Trying to get us away from their competitor.d  Mitch responded that it sounds like they are then pricing their product appropriately.

Liz – If we were to buy it and then contract it out for support?  We’d have to hire inside staff.

Greg Purcell – This is messing with your General Ledger.  Prices are comparable.  Benchmark of comparison, ask other cities and school districts, you’ll find we’re right in league.

Tim Pape – we’re in a valued position – we’re a customer.  Rather stay as a valued customer, than a victim.  If services we’re getting from them are substantial – you can always seek to renogiate contracts whether or not you have leverage.  We need to audit and see how much we are using them.  An awful lot of money.

Councilman Smith – any other entities using them?  County is using them for part of the taxes.

Mitch – when would we get a report?  Greg – you will have it before the final vote next week.

Liz – asking for decorum as they are the types of companies we’d like to have.

Mitch Harper voted against.  It was passed with the caveate that the information be provided before the final vote.

S-09-09-08 – Councilwoman Brown opposed, everyone else in favor.

S-09-09-10 – Agreement has been in place for several years.  We know exactly how much the city and county each use.  Had a reduction from last year of $30,000.

Karen – what services are involved?  We pay for certain things.  Pay for a company to do the City’s firewall.  County also uses it and are debited for it.

S-09-09-17 – Consultant is based in Indianapolis.  Construction should commence Spring 2010.  Part of the consent decree.  Which way to take the sewer flow will be determined.  Overflow prevention, relief sewer.

RFQs – we have a good idea of what the project should come in at based on other experiences and such.  Liz Brown – why isn’t that included in the RFQ?  Response – we do indicate a range.  How much of a range?  10-20% range.  Do we ever end up negotiating with someone over the range?  No.  Liz – it would be nice to know what the range was and how close it was.  Total project cost, design comes in at about 6%.

All in favor, Harper opposed.

R-09-09-19 – Roadway through the “pie”.

Liz Brown – how do we know how much they spent?  John Urbahns, they’ll provide receipts.  It is a reiumbursement agreement.  If it costs more, it will be developers cost.  If Councilmen CEDIT dollars hadn’t been put in, where would the extra $50,000 have come from?  John – may have needed to scale back or look for other sources.

Councilman Glynn Hines – what is the process going forward to determine allocation of CEDIT dollars?  John – we have put aside a certain amount for improvements.  Hines – how do you get input from Councilpersons?  They will talk with council members about projects in their districts to receive input.  Hines – how do you prioritize which district goes first?  Have to look at economics.  In this one, you’re getting about $20 million investment for $250,000 in assistance to the projects, in addition to the tax abatement.  Will be a public road.  Hines is asking that At-Large council persons be included in discussions.

Karen – Greg Leatherman, Executive Director, signed based on TIF funds, John Urbahns signed on behalf of the Mayor and CEDIT dollars.

Mitch Harper – Agreement talks about right of way.  They are to provide for sidewalks and right turn lane on Lima Road side.  Project will be INDOT annd this requires it for INDOT at no expense.  ROW is for sidewalks or INDOT.

There is no legal description of where the roadway will go – unknown location or path.  It is not specified in the ordinance.  Terms of public road acceptance.  All of us are familiar with Apple Glenn in jefferson Pointe and substandard design.  Same in Village of Coventry.  Does this assure problems of Apple Glenn and Coventry Lane won’t happen here?  Build to same standards we would require.

Tom Didier – Send over a copy of how the street will be located.

60 foot, three lanes road.  Two travel and center turn lane.

Tim Pape – seems like the road is possibly a barrier to anything else.  It was studied and pedestrian traffic was studied and trail will be part of it.  Pape – you’re going to be bringing a lot of youth into it.

John Shoaff – talking about context sensitive design.  Are other engineering values being observed?

Liz Brown – I think it’s great to bring this type of development to an industrial area.  Understanding the traffic patterns, it will be complimentary to the development.

John – Has the pedestrian traffic been balanced with vehicle traffic?

Tim – will add value to community.  Doesn’t help 60 feet of lanes if no one wants to be on foot in the area.  If no one will want that, it doesn’t help.

Didier – This will have a tremendous amount of walkability.  A lot of traffic from out of state.   I know this is a very heavily trafficed area.  The amount of people coming from out of state with limited connectivity wouldn’t be good.  You will be able to walk to Glenbrook Commons from this area.

Shoaff – it’s a city planning problem.

Brown – It will no longer be an ugly area of town for those going to the Zoo down Wells Street.  It’s not an area to encourage people to walk across Coliseum Boulevard.  People will want three lanes of traffic.  Want it to be as safe and easy as possible.   Sometimes it’s gonna be heavily trafficked and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I’m looking forward to this spot.  This is much better than what was sitting on that gravel pit before.  As long as it doesn’t cost more than it costs, let’s move on.  “Do Pass”.

Pape – how do you get the best return from a  project?  How do we encourage pedestrian traffic?  Perhaps we’ve encouraged automobiles over pedestrians too much.

Goldner – trail on one side, no sidewalks on other.  John – Would we rather have 10 foot trail or 5 foot sidewalks one both sides of street?  Key is pedestrian traffic across a greater distance than across the street.  Karen – those areas where sidewalks are built only on one side, no one is happy with it long-term.  John – that’s one of the things we need to decide as a community.  What do we want and what can we afford?  Sidewalks on both, trail on one, sidewalk on one?  Who would pay for it?

Harper – sort of a sparse agreement and MOU, not to say that’s bad.  Not finding who bears additional costs over $250,000.  The intent is this a not to exceed contract.  Mitch – it is not clear in the documents provided.

Opposed – John Shoaff and Mitch Harper.  Abstained – Tim Pape.

R-09-09-06 – easements.  Up to $176,000 per acre.  Price is $100,00 per acre – due to ditch crossing.  Appraised value at $243K , down to $130,000.  Will connect to new sewer when it’s completed.  Already are connected.  Properties can be annexed.

Marty – will new Parkview Hospital tie in?  They’re already tied in.

Mitch – was there coordination to tie in with trails?  Yes.  This project would not tie in per Public Works.

A-09-09-11 – This feeder main will extend from water filtration plant to Lima/Cook Road pump station and holding facility.  Over 5 and a half miles long.  Two phases already completed.  Science Central to Fernhill.  Completed in 2011.  Determined would be best to include Fernhill in this because of 3 Sheets.  2,380 feet.  Follows abandoned railroad.  Pufferbelly trail will be constructed on top.  It’s the Fort Wayne & Jackson Railroad.  Also New York Central Railroad.

S-09-09-12 – API lowest bidder.  5.3% below next bidder.  Wrap up in December 2009.  7 bids, most of others weren’t close.  Won contract three out of four previous contracts.

S-09-09-13 – we need to relocate water line.  164 feet of sanitary service.  Only two bidders.  15% above engineers estimate, 13% below next bid.  Finish around March, 2010.  Funded through water revenues.

Pape – why over the engineer’s bid?  Pipe costs and gate valve cost.  Contractor noticed difficulties we didn’t see.

Brown – does it concern you?  Response – Base a lot on historical costs.  Working with other construction projects on-going.  Difficulty of work vs historical costs.  Some contractors went jointly, which reduced number.  We’re drilling them in rather than trenching.  Not many contractors can drill them.

Harper – high degree of cooperation with INDOT?  Did that increase bids?  Tight timelines.  Northern half has to be done in  90 days.  They’re going to have to put more crews and extended hours and such.  We didn’t tie down contractors by selecting methods per INDOT.

S-09-09-14 – Underground was lowest of 7 bidders.  $85,000 below next bidder, $15,000 below engineer’s estimate.  Financed through SRS bond.  Part of consent decree.  Did hold a public meeting, one person showed up.

S-09-09-18 – six bidders.  23 plan holders on the project.  Lot from out of town.  Completion southern portion by March, final February 2011.  Plan holder is one who purchases plans from Board of Public Works for consideration of bidding.

Karen – has thought been given to splitting into smaller contracts to attract more local?  Flat out exceeds abilities of local contractors.  Bid out of Rockhill Minnesota.  Other offices in the country as well.

Other comments –

Karen Goldner – Bob Kennedy – Public Works Director of the Year, by City & County Magazine.

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