REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE
JANUARY 4, 2011
THE REGULAR CITY COUNCIL MEETING of the City of Port Orange was called to order by Mayor Allen Green at 7:02 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call: Present: Councilman Bob Ford
Councilman Donald Burnette
Councilman Bob Pohlmann
Vice Mayor Dennis Kennedy
Mayor Allen Green
Also Present: Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager
Margaret T. Roberts, City Attorney
Robin Fenwick, Deputy City Clerk
Shannon Lewis, Asst. City Manager
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AND PROCLAMATIONS
1. Award of $1,200 to Port Orange Fire & Rescue from Factory Mutual Insurance Company for their Public Education Division and education materials.
Tonya Saylor requested approval from Council to accept the $1,200 grant from Factory Mutual Insurance Company for public education training and educational materials. She advised Council that there is no requirement for a matching amount from the City. Comments of Councilmembers: Councilman Ford thinks it’s an excellent program and agrees with accepting the grant. Councilman Burnette asked how we got selected for this grant. Tonya advised that there is a form on their website and then we were chosen. Councilman Pohlmann confirmed that the program is for senior citizens, Tonya said yes and advised Council that she has a program scheduled for 1/14/11 at Countryside Lakes Assisted Living Facility. Vice Mayor Kennedy believes the program is vitally important for the elderly.
Motion to accept the grant made by Councilman Pohlmann and Seconded by Vice Mayor Kennedy. Motion carried unanimously by roll call vote.
2. Special Recognition for Retired City Employees
Mayor Green and Councilmembers presented retired city employees with a proclamation for their service to the City.
CITIZEN PARTICIPATION (Non-Agenda – 15 Minutes)
6. Approval of Minutes
a. October 19, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
b. October 19, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Fire Services)
c. October 26, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
d. October 26, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting
e. November 3, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Police Services)
f. November 3, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
g. November 9, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Administrative Services)
h. November 9, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
i. November 16, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Fire Services)
j. December 7, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
k. December 14, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Shade)
l. December 14, 2010 – Special City Council Meeting (Fire Services)
m. December 14, 2010 – Regular City Council Meeting
7. Update on Recreation facilities
8. Construction Activity Report
Consent Agenda items #6, 7, and 8. Motion made by Councilman Burnette to approve, Seconded by Councilman Ford. All in favor by voice vote. Motion carried.
PARKS AND RECREATION ADVISORY BOARD UPDATE (Jack Wiles)
Jack Wiles reported to Council regarding their special meeting held on 12/15/10 regarding competitive baseball in the City of Port Orange. The meeting was held with coaches and parents from other cities. The issues discussed were the fact that we are losing players to these other cities where there are competitive fields. It was found in the meeting that it would be beneficial for the City to join the Babe Ruth league, which includes competitive fields.
If we decide to join the Babe Ruth league, our fields will work how they are now through age 12, but over age 12 the fields will need to be changed. If we only offer competitive baseball to players 12 and under , approximately 150 players would be lost, but we could gain four competitive teams. We discussed and would recommend to the Council that there be a requirement that those players play in our rec program if they want to play in the Babe Ruth competitive league in Port Orange. The cost to the City would be approximately $10,000 yearly, which is the cost to join Babe Ruth and covers the patches, etc. for the uniforms.
However, if we allow players above 12 years old, we would need major modifications. Mr. Wiles says they did not investigate the dollar amount but they could do that if Council wants them to. There are a lot of things to consider, for example: expense of joining the league, ages, field modifications. It appears we could play under 12 for approx. $5,000 per year after recouping some of the $10,000 through fees that would be paid by the players. If we play over 12, we'd have to come back with costs to modify the fields. Our recommendation would be to provide a competitive team.
Another reason players are leaving the City to play elsewhere is the uniforms. We need better uniforms. We could let them buy their own gray pants and get better shirts.
Councilman Pohlmann stated he is a major baseball fan and would love to see us gain a competitive league, but thinks we should not knock out the middle school age group. The players over 12 are usually more "into" the sport than the younger ages. He would like to see us move toward competitive for all ages, but wants to see the numbers regarding the costs relating to the fields. He also stated he is annoyed that the Blazers are not more of our Port Orange kids. People need to step up to the plate to get these types of good programs up and running. Vice Mayor Kennedy agrees with Councilman Pohlmann that we need to include middle school students. He wants to see how to make it work for competitive baseball for all ages. Vice Mayor Kennedy asked where we are with the private company. Mr. Parker advised Council that the parks built with grant dollars can't be used exclusively by a private group but they can schedule time slots. Councilman Pohlmann asked if we can use high school fields. Mr. Parker said we can but it’s always a scheduling problem. Councilman Burnette agreed that we need competitive baseball and he’d certainly love to see it. His boys play competitive baseball, unfortunately, it’s in another city. He believes we would have inter-league play available with the other cities who offer competitive leagues, and he sees lots of Port Orange kids playing in these other cities, such as S. Daytona. He believes we can do fundraising with the families and thinks it’s fantastic, all for it. Councilman Ford is convinced sports are great for kids, helps keep them out of trouble, but we need to set visions and figure out how to use our resources. He believes partnering may be a solution to some of our problems. Vice Mayor Kennedy suggests we pool our resources with the City and other cities to take it further. Mayor Green stated that we need to develop another field since the current fields are partnered with soccer, softball, etc. We need to find a piece of dirt and get others to help make it happen. Money needs to be raised, we need to keep the kids involved without burdening the taxpayers. Mayor Green believes we need to get our people involved.
PUBLIC UTILITIES (Roger Smith)
9. Nixon Lane Area Utility Improvements Bid Award #B-11-01
Motion to Approve Nixon Lane Bid to Eden Construction in the amount of $1,017,010 for Bid #B-11-01 by Councilman Ford. Seconded by Councilman Pohlmann.
Mr. Parker gave background to the issue regarding the bid process for Nixon Lane. Westwind is the apparent low bidder but did not properly acknowledge receipt of addendum #2. Westwind has appealed the City’s decision to disqualify their bid. Westwind’s position is that the pricing of addendum #2 is included in their bid price because they assumed they would have to do those types of improvements and their bid would not go up. Staff has recommended that the Westwind bid be found not in compliance, and therefore disqualified.
Councilman Ford confirmed the issue and questioned the City Attorney, Margaret Roberts that if Westwind gets the bid awarded to them and they go ahead with this project, will they be required by law to complete the entire project (including addendum #2) for that price. Attorney Roberts advised that she would recommend to the Council that they sign addendum #2 to state there would be no additional cost to the City.
Councilman Burnette stated this is going to cost us a lot of money by finding Westwind not in compliance. Mr. Parker confirmed that statement.
Councilman Pohlmann asked what was the additional cost for addendum #2. Roger Smith, Public Utilities Director, stated going from his memory it was approximately $5,000-$10,000 from the other bidders. Andrew Gianini of Quentin L. Hampton Associates, Inc. confirmed the amount. Discussion was held between Councilman Pohlmann and Mr. Smith regarding the mistake.
Vice Mayor Kennedy asked if it’s possible that they missed addendum #2 and more money should have been added. Mr. Parker answered that that is not what they testified. Mayor Green stated it’s amazing how smart you are after the bid process, and is concerned that if they can’t fill in the paperwork completely, they probably can’t do the job completely and properly. Vice Mayor Kennedy doesn’t think we can accept the bid from Westwind.
Councilman Ford asked Attorney Roberts if this error is considered a major error or minor error from a legal point of view. Attorney Roberts advised that in light of the fact that they are not changing the price, it is not a substantial error.
Councilman Burnette questioned how Staff handles the bids when they come in, how are they checked. Mr. Parker explained the process. Mayor Green believes the bid price should be in a separate envelope and not opened until all of the paperwork is checked and has been received properly. Mayor Green will not vote to award the bid to Westwind and does not think it’s minor.
Councilman Pohlmann agrees with Mayor Green regarding the integrity of the process. Discussion was held regarding ways to prevent this from being an issue in the future, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the Contractor getting the proper paperwork completed and submitted.
Vice Mayor Kennedy has trouble with the fact that they didn’t follow the rules. Mayor Green agrees, the contractor has to make sure that they have filled out the paperwork correctly.
Councilman Ford doesn’t see the harm in taking the low bid.
Councilman Burnette doesn’t like it either way, but if we take a bid $54,000 higher, we are damaging our citizens.
Councilman Pohlmann says right is right, so he supports the City Manager.
Vice Mayor Kennedy agrees with Councilman Pohlmann.
Michael Anderson, Staff Engineer from Westwind Contracting acknowledges that they did not acknowledge the Addendum #2, pled his case to the Council. Mayor Green asked Mr. Anderson how he would know to include the items on addendum 2 if they had not received it. Mr. Anderson answered because they are good contractors and knew the work would need to be done. Mayor Green disputes that and doesn’t believe the price of the work was included. Mr. Anderson respectfully requested that Council see the mistake as a minor error and grant the bid to Westwind as the low bidder. Attorney Joe Lane representing Eden Construction disagrees with it being a minor irregularity, explained the laws of the Court regarding minor irregularity and argued Westwind should not get the bid but Eden should. Mr. Lane read from State guidelines regarding minor irregularities.
Attorney Roberts suggests that Council discuss whether or not they will consider the bid protest from Masci Corporation regarding the 3% local bidder preference. Mr. Parker gave some background. Discussion was held regarding the local bidder preference and the amount that would be considered (approx. $27,000 according to Mr. Gianini). Eden is from Longwood and Vice Mayor Kennedy would love to support our Volusia County bidders but now that would put him in a position to accept a $54,000 mistake and another $27,000 local bidder preference on top of that. He doesn’t like the bid at all and would like to redo it altogether. It’s troublesome to put on our taxpayers and he doesn’t like to rely on email for bid documents. He has a hard time spending $80,000 additional to do what is probably right.
Councilman Pohlmann stated Port Orange has a good reputation for doing the right thing, he supports Eden’s proposal and denies Masci’s request for 3% waiver.
Councilman Burnette supports the 3% local bid preference, but in this case he can’t vote for it because of the $54,000 error.
Councilman Ford supports the 3% local bid preference because he believes the money will come back to us in the long run, but doesn’t have to get that far since he believes the Westwind error was inconsequential.
Mayor Green likes the local preference but it has advantages and disadvantages. He believes contractors need to follow the rules and Masci is overloaded.
Vote taken by roll call, Motion carried with a 3-2 vote. Councilman Burnette and Councilman Ford voting no.
10. Resolution No. 11-1 – Budget Appropriations
Resolution No. 11-1
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF PORT ORANGE, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA, APPROPRIATING OPERATING AND CAPITAL FUNDS FOR VARIOUS CITY OPERATIONS; SETTING FORTH REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Motion to approve Resolution No. 11-1 made by Councilman Pohlmann, Seconded by Vice Mayor Kennedy.
Councilman Burnette says we need to be careful when accepting grants and feels there’s no problem with taking them as long as they are for a legitimate cause. Mayor Green agrees and says the grant needs to be free from strings so that the administrative costs don’t outweigh the grant.
Motion carried unanimously upon roll call vote.
11. Resolution No. 11-2 – Early Retirement Program for Eligible Employees.
Resolution No. 11-2
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY OF PORT ORANGE, VOLUSIA COUNTY, FLORIDA, ESTABLISHING AND APPROVING AN EARLY RETIREMENT/SEPARATION PROGRAM; ESTABLISHING FOUR (4) RETIREMENT/SEPARATION DATES; PROVIDING FOR CONFLICTING RESOLUTIONS; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE.
Motion to approve Resolution No. 11-2 as amended made by Vice Mayor Kennedy, Seconded by Councilman Burnette.
Attorney Roberts advised of the changes to the Resolution that was provided to Council members prior to the meeting. Vice Mayor Kennedy asked how many people would be affected by this proposal. Mr. Parker advised nine employees have signed a notice of interest.
Vice Mayor Kennedy asked what the savings is proposed to be and will any of the positions remain open and unfilled. Mr. Parker advised approx. $100,000, and it would depend upon the agreement with the police and fire contracts as most of the employees are police officers. Councilman Pohlmann thinks they should get figures before agreeing to it and stated that the new hires would go into the pension plan that is hard to fund now. Mr. Parker confirmed that that is technically true but there are also other options, like attempting to hiring reserves or retirees who are ineligible to participate in that pension plan. Vice Mayor Kennedy agreed that it would be nice to put this off until we fix the pension problems. Councilman Ford advised that negotiations are complete with the police and if approved, the new hires will come in at the 1999 rates. Mr. Parker confirmed that, but advised it is not approved yet. Councilman Ford believes there is an opportunity to save money. This needs to be made public to the police since the deadline is tomorrow.
Mayor Green called for the vote. Motion carried unanimously upon roll call vote.
12. Working session regarding City’s vision statement
Mr. Parker gave a background regarding the current Vision statement, which was done via citizen participation last year (August, 2010).
Mayor Green believes we need to be specific with long term and short term goals and stop the bleeding from the economic problems, while still maintaining the level of service we have currently and still preparing for the future.
Councilman Ford advised that he spent a long time looking over the Vision and thinks the goals need more accountability. He wants each object to have a person attached to it and we need to prioritize the goals. He kept coming up with volunteer groups or task forces needing to handle the items. He doesn’t know how to begin to tackle these goals in a meeting like this, but wants to talk about neighborhood preservation especially in his district.
Mayor Green believes the goals will be driven by money and agrees with Councilman Ford that it would be hard to accomplish in this meeting.
Councilman Burnette pointed out that there’s no way we can accomplish everything now, but understands that this is what the citizens want for the City. He looked through the Vision statement to find things that we could do now and what we can do later. Each of us has something we can bring to the table to make the goals and objectives happen.
Councilman Pohlmann agrees that the statement is a continuously changing document and knowing the restrictions we have (finances), he would personally like to see the spirit of volunteering come back. He is willing to volunteer to umpire baseball games. There is something everyone can do an hour or two a week to help the community, he believes. He would like to see a volunteer group be formed with a volunteer coordinator. He would also like to see us work towards some passive recreation areas. Thinks we should ask our city employees to volunteer within the city, ask boy scouts, girl scouts. He wants to see access to Spruce Creek become available, wants to see the Riverwalk project move forward and thinks we could do that through grants. Councilman Pohlmann believes we should tap into the retired community for volunteers.
Vice Mayor Kennedy wants to change directions with the Vision statement, which gives us glowing accolades and would like to see us work on a Mission statement instead, which would include getting this City back to a solvent position and somehow we need to prioritize the things that make this city function day to day. Pensions are a big issue, he believes, and it needs to be the Council’s mission to resolve those types of problems. The traffic problems at the Pavilion need to be fixed, need to consider working on the infrastructure.
Mayor Green agreed with all that it is too difficult to go into in one session, thinks they should consider one item at each meeting to work on and should use the business community and the Chamber to assist.
13. Comments/Concerns from Council Members
Councilman Ford will bring up an area of the city that needs to be addressed as to cleanliness and is reasonably achievable. Mayor Green wants to get rid of the port-o-let at the causeway.
Councilman Burnette has received questions from the citizens. One was that Willow Run does not have a yellow flashing light for the school zone. Mr. Parker will check into it. It may be a county issue. Second question was when will the Rose Bay dredging be done and the B-23 project?
Shannon Lewis, Assistant City Manager reported that Rose Bay is supposed to be done this month and B-23 depends upon the Rose Bay completion date. We are currently working with the attorney to finish the contracts; bidding will go out on the seawall of the canal once we know when we will start the project.
Mayor Green advised that there was an issue with a homeowner regarding the dredging but he will get more information to Mr. Parker. Councilman Burnette wants to make sure the stakeholders are all informed regarding the meeting for Town Center on January 11, 2011. Also asked if there are otters in the B-19 canal. Mayor Green advised that it is possible, it depends on the rain levels. Mr. Parker advised that there is no work being done yet.
Councilman Pohlmann believes there is a great opportunity in Port Orange to reverse ill feelings people may have toward government and it begins with volunteering and getting people involved.
Vice Mayor Kennedy agrees with Councilman Pohlmann and feels if we can start with some interest in a few things, it will snowball and others will join. He believes most of the people in Port Orange chose to live here and want to make it better. Asked about the status of the census. Mr. Parker advised that we have not gotten anything yet from the state. Vice Mayor asked when we will start our budget workshops. Mr. Parker advised that one is coming in the end of January.
Mayor Green wants to recognize people in the community for volunteering on a regular basis. He is not pleased with the fire department or the management of the fire department and believes the leadership needs to be changed. He believes the City needs to move forward or make radical changes, although he’s not sure how. Mayor Green believes when a department can dictate to their boss, something is wrong.
Councilman Ford suggested it’s better to take the time now rather than in court later. Make a plan involving the fire people. He’s just as frustrated as everyone else. Mayor Green said that’s part of the problem, we had gone through the process for input. Mr. Parker reminded that Council should be sure to differentiate between the people and the union and agrees there is a process.
Mayor Allen Green
Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager