SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING MINUTES
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – CITY HALL
1000 CITY CENTER CIRCLE
FEBRUARY 22, 2011
THE SPECIAL CITY COUNCIL MEETING (Goals Workshop) of the City of Port Orange was called to order by Mayor Allen Green at 5:30 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call: Present: Councilman Bob Ford
Councilman Donald Burnette
Councilman Bob Pohlmann
Vice Mayor Dennis Kennedy (arrived 5:50pm)
Mayor Allen Green
Also Present: Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager
Margaret T. Roberts, City Attorney
Robin Fenwick, Deputy City Clerk
B. GOALS WORKSHOP
Ken Parker, City Manager, recapped items from last week to confirm desires of the council. The goals of the Council as Mr. Parker understands are (in no particular order): 1) finance, 2) community appearance, 3) public safety, 4) sports, and 5) volunteerism. Mr. Parker suggests holding a general neighborhood perseverance workshop with code enforcement staff to discuss what code enforcement is doing to rate the neighborhoods. Mr. Parker advised Council that City Staff must check into documents and slopes regarding the removal of fences from ponds, etc. Mr. Parker understood Council's wishes to be that they want community development to come and discuss the future of Port Orange. Council also talked about creating and maintaining a sense of place. Council wanted to hold meetings with small business owners to discuss their needs rather than the City telling them what they must do. Mr. Parker asked Council if there was anything he missed.
Councilman Pohlmann wants to focus on prioritizing these five (5) areas and believes these issues do cover their priorities as previously discussed.
Mayor Green believes we need to address revenue and spending because without money, we won’t be able to get our goals done.
Councilman Burnette concurs with Mayor Green that Council needs to get our finances in order first. He is pleased that Council is moving forward on the Dunlawton issues and believes the Council needs to multitask.
Councilman Ford asked what are our goals in finance? He wants to set priorities within finance; after that we can decide how to spend those funds.
Mr. Parker advised Council that he met with staff to see what the projections are regarding the values within Port Orange. They believe there may be a 12% drop in value of property values again this year and would suggests that a 12-15% range would be a good starting point, which would show approximately a $600,000 drop in property taxes. Mr. Parker has instructed staff to prepare for something in that range as far as reductions go for this year. He has a concern with the telecommunications tax because it is tied with home phones that people continue to turn off and turn to their cell phones for complete phone service. Sales tax is another concern. He and City Staff are preparing now to bring that type of information to Council very shortly. Mr. Parker wants to provide information for this year’s budget and years to come. Another fund of concern is the building fund.
Councilman Pohlmann stated that they all agree that their top priority is finance. Asked if the $600,000 figure mentioned by Mr. Parker is from ad valorem taxes. Mr. Parker confirmed yes, but he is not sure how the commercial properties are going to change things.
Shannon Lewis, Assistant City Manager, explained the drop in property value with US Food Services as an example of the issue with the commercial properties.
Mr. Parker is hoping that the commercial property values have stabilized.
Councilman Burnette advised that Walmart’s property value went from $14 million in 2008 down to $10 million in 2010 per the property appraiser's website.
Mayor Green believes Council needs to keep the quality of the City and the safety. If Council keeps delaying things in infrastructure it may back fire.
Councilman Ford believes the second stage of the finance goals should include policies and goals on how we spend our revenue and make needed cuts. He believes we need to avoid cutting the boots on the ground; we need to pay attention to infrastructure. He wants to look at reducing administration overhead and discretionary spending rather than a flat 10% in each department. He wants to be able to tell staff they are safe if they are doing a good job.
Mayor Green has to work with constants and variables. He wants to know what the constants are that cannot be changed, and then wants to know what is variable.
Councilman Burnette concurs with Councilman Ford and Mayor Green that he doesn't want to cut to the bone. He believes we need to target beyond asking for a flat rate reduction from every department. Let’s be more creative with the cuts.
Councilman Pohlmann agrees that city appearance is another priority and supports that. He’s not sure how we are going to get rid of anything, we have to have police and fire, have to have public works.
Vice Mayor Kennedy agrees that finance has to be our #1 priority. Infrastructure and appearance have been cut so much that now it is becoming an issue and we need to come up with an appearance solution. If we don't address the infrastructure soon it is going to become a big issue in a few short years. We have got to find the money somehow. He believes public safety is another big ticket item. Vice Mayor Kennedy doesn't think we are going to find a whole lot of money to cut, we are pretty much cut to ground zero now.
Councilman Ford asked Mr. Parker if there is any way we can use TPO project money to help with our appearance problems.
Mayor Green asked Mr. Parker if he has enough direction. Mr. Parker answered yes.
ADJOURNMENT: 6:08 P.M.
Mayor Allen Green
Kenneth W. Parker, City Manager