10/8 Budget Hearing: Public Works

2010 City Civil Budget

Notes from the Fort Wayne City Council Budget Hearing on October 8, 2009.

This post covers notes from the Public Works budget discussion. The budgets covered under this discussion may be downloaded here:

  • Public Works
  • Street Department
  • Street Project Management
  • Traffic Engineering
  • Fleet Management
  • Energy and Environmental

Street Department

$900,000 less, or 8% less than 2009 budget.  Almost $600,000 in master lease for vehicles.

Marty Bender – Diesel Fuel is lower.  Larry Campbell will cover.  Fleet is in better shape, they’ve sold off some of the older equipment.

Liz Brown – Gravel and Bituminous materials – is asking about how it lines up with needs.  10 miles chip and seal, 12 miles of asphalt paving per year.  Chip and seal is on unimproved streets.  Jefferson, Washington, State, Rudisill, Old Trail and Lower Huntington Road.

Tim Pape – gas tax dollars are down.

Liz Brown – wheel and surtax increases would go where?   Goes to MBH and then Street Project Management.

Street Project Management

Safety type, widening, curbs and sidewalks included here.

Karen Goldner – some positions in worker’s comp were miscoded, so it’s a readjustment.

Glynn Hines – the project coordinators go out and evaluate requests for different potential projects.  Risk management on claims and investigations.

Mitch Harper – do we maintain metrics  on safety improvements needed for different roads that measure after the improvements?  Bob – NIRC, Northeast Indiana Regional Coordinating Council does this.  Asbestos removal is paid for out of CEDIT Bonds.

Traffic Engineering

Shan Gunawardena is giving a brief overview of his department.

Electricity is the highest increase due to charges incurred from AEP, Indiana Michigan, four surcharges since April.

Karen Goldner – talk about the surcharge.  Shan – fuel cost adjustment rider which is added to monthly bill.  There is a total of 5.  It is done with the Utility Regulatory Commission.  Several other electric providers, Indiana Michigan is the only one charging us more.

John Shoaff – how he works with NIRC.  NIRC administers all federal funding.  Creates transportation plans.  They are required to develop 30 year transportation plans.  They ask the City for their recommendations every year as they update the 30 year plans.  John is asking if citizen input shouldn’t be solicited earlier before the plans are done.

Mitch Harper – move away from buried detector loops to visual?  Emergency runs to repair LEDs in traffic signals is down from 300 to 12 or 15.   Bob – Street light technology LEDs is there, but very expensive.  It is starting to come down.

Glynn Hines – Hessen Cassel Road has a lot of truck traffic.  He gets a lot of complaints.  Who is responsible?  Complaints?  Goes to Bender for more enforcement.  They also check to make sure the signs are correctly in place.

Fleet Management

Gas has gone down considerably.  Savings of $1,442,688.  Working on hedging and saving even further.  Figure they’ll be at $3 for diesel and $2.50 for gas.  Not enough volume to hedge on diesel.  Bond Bank is working on it.  NIPSCO – already spent to date what they budgeted for the year.  Working with NIPSCO to see where the problem is at.  Cars purchased through Kelly allows for car washes which has saved money.  Keeps fleet looking much nicer.

Non-target and target has increased due to vanadlism, life cycle, accidents.  Using point system which has helped them through the tough times.  In a year or two, there will be several vehicle replacements needed which will hit at the same time.  Fleet number was at 1700, but about 30 will be taken out this month.  Try to stay standard with tools and diagnostic tools available.  Cheaper to keep it in house.  The building was built in 1954 and wasn’t built for the current capacity.  Maintenance cost is high.  They currently have 16 bays, should have 33 for a fleet of our size.

Karen – when this department has drop in budget, it’s reflected in the other budgets as well.  Contractors can buy parts cheaper than the City can.  There is no mark-up on parts coming to the City.  City can buy tires cheaper.  If an employee comes requesting a new car.  He shows them a report that shows the points on the car.  Cost, age, etc.  Then look at utilization for the next few years.  All this will show cost feasibility of possibly obtaining a new car.  The Controller relies on them to provide the information when approving new cars.  Seeing mileage go up because of annexations, hybrids have helped to keep the consumption flat.

John Shoaff – how are the hybrids working out?  GM and Ford will bring in their new models.  Even between 2004 and 2009, the hybrids have improved.

Mitch Harper – go back to natural gas…  Prices are dropping, but ours is up?  New windows, less BTUs, but the pricing went up.  Not sure why it’s gone up.  Is it something that can be done before the end of the budget process?  Possibly, you could cut and we can come back if we need it.  Long Distance charges up almost double.  Other avenues?  A lot of phone calls are to State License Bureau.  Have to go to Indy to get new plates, can’t obtain them locally.  It’s a long process now.  What used to be 2 days, is now taking up to 6 weeks for plates.  Municipal plates – it is a lot different than for citizens.

Liz Brown – Locked in 60% of the gas.  Working with FWCS, Allen County.  Mainly pulling FWCS in due to their diesel use.  Citilink is being worked on as well.  If CPI is negative, our cost does not go down.  December 2010 contract ends.  Four one-year extensions available.  It would be an RFP, not RFB.  Sometime next year decision will be made.  All vehicles except for Parks who maintains their own.

Energy and Environmental

Lids on garbage bins have probably contributed to lower garbage collections as well as the economy.  CPI lowered to 2.5%.

Liz – how many leaf collections this year?  Two (Bob).    Compacted Leaf Contracting is now included in the Solid Waste Disposal line.

Marty –  Garbage carts – for residents that want additional and new homes being built.  City doesn’t pay for stolen carts, manufacturer does.  Master lease was for original carts purchased.

Glynn Hines – On-going discussions about garbage contracts, can’t discuss it because it’s in the legal department.

Karen  – they reimburse portion of leaf pick-up to Street Department.  $766,040.

Public Works

To try to combat rising energy, eliminated one of the crews that is contracted to repair street light outtages.

Karen – eliminated 3 or 4 jobs, now have a slower response time on a public safety issue because I&M increased our cost.  (7:14)

Liz – Clarifying that it’s not just I&M raising rates that has caused the cuts as Karen suggested.  Bob responded he wasn’t saying that as other factors have contributed, not just I&M.

Mitch – asking about citizens paying twice for  hydrants.  Granted there is the hydrant charge, but additional payments are coming from Utilities to offset property taxes.   Only way to change the double billing is for the City to acquire Aqua in Aboite.

Liz – maintenance on rivergreenway is done by Public Works, anything in Parks is done by Parks and Recreation.  Asking whose department bidding for work on Renaissance Square will go through.  Not sure.

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