June 28, 2022 Council Meeting and Work Session

Agenda (click to open)

View the meeting (click to open)



This worksession had to do with capital wants (not needs) over the next 2 years. It was massive and frustrating. I didn't notice a new kitchen sink, but I probably didn't dig hard enough. Previous Councils have used the strategy of having the council pull out what they think isn't needed. That usually resulted in nothing being pulled out. My opinion is, the council should come up with a dollar amount and the department heads should prioritize their lists. If there's something really important above that amount, I'd need a lot of convincing but I'm open to it.

The taxpayers (you) have 2 significant things going for you this year; The city received $350k in money from the federal government (covid) and the city had a debt payment ($325k) that was being paid out of taxes that was paid off. So right there we have $675k available without any increase in overall taxes. Since we have an additional 15% more houses, that would mean a substantial tax rate reduction.

So the tug of war starts...

Item E (Transportation plan)

This was a continued discussion on the infamous X road layout between 117th and 125th. It was pretty clear at the joint council / planning commission meeting that a majority of the members didn't like it for a number of reasons. At least one member of the council didn't think we should mess with it because it was "already decided", and the remainder didn't seem to have an opinion.

SRF (our transportation consultants) presented plans that removes the X and routes the parkway up to Zanzibar and adds a possible bypass for Fernbrook. Even if this bypass is used it won't impact Fernbrook until 2050+ according to our current Comp Plan. It'll take approximately 22 acres of residential off the tax roles (and add new maintenance costs). So, I'm not a fan.

More work is needed for the current plan, but it's looking like another joint council / planning commission meeting will happen in August.

Item F (Concept plan)

The property here is situated between 81, Dayton Parkway, and Territorial. The concept plan is for a 131,000 sq. ft. warehouse. The planning commission has already seen this plan and had a few comments about road access, building orientation, etc. At least one member mentioned the property is possibly better positioned for retail. While the current proposal is allowed, a few of us agreed that we've had our fill of warehouses and would like to look at possibly opening up more areas for commercial / retail south of 81. I suspect we'll have that zoning up for discussion in the near future.

Item G (Fire and Police Department presentations)

This was a continuation of the presentations the council received at the last meeting. It was primarily a discussion on the past year activities and what to expect over next year. If you want to see those presentations (Power Points), let me know.

Item H (RFP on Organization Assessment)

This was also a continuing discussion regarding staffing needs in city hall. Primarily to get an outside opinion on Administrator, Planning Director, and possibly an additional assistant. The point of this discussion was to select the consultant. We went with DDA (if you're reading along in the Agenda 🙂 This passed 4-0 with an abstention.

Item I (R-3 zoning code adjustments)

Not much to see here. A limit (30%) was placed on the number of lots in a development that are below 62 feet. That limit used to be there but was inadvertently removed with some previous edits. There was also some adjustments made for townhomes in that zone. This passed 5-0.

Item J (Outdoor Storage in Industrial districts)

Another continuation of zoning code cleanup in Industrial districts. This was specifically aimed at adjusting the amount of outside storage is allowed. There was also some clarification of terms that caused some initial concerns. This passed 5-0.

Item K (City Staff Salary Adjustments)

This one is always messy. Discussing / debating how much people should get paid in open meetings is just one step up from discussing disciplinary action. There were certainly lots of questions and concerns about methodology. It doesn't help that position titles and responsibilities vary with every municipality so comparisons aren't very helpful. Most of these resulted in grade changes that resulted in very minor salary adjustments. Those are typically done to allow people to move up in steps if they're limited in their current grade. If that's confusing, you're not alone. How government implements grades and steps is pure dumbness. However, it's the hand we're dealt and I wouldn't argue with anybody claiming it's done for obfuscation. A few others were aimed at salary increases for retention. The amount of people jumping between government and government or government and private sector is significantly increasing. With that in mind our administrator thought it important to take a stab at trying to figure out if people are being paid appropriately and the result was this. In the end it'll add $22k to taxes and about $6k to fees. This passed 4 to 1 (I said yes).

As always, feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.