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Minutes of the regular meeting held July 1, 2002 at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

 

Members Present                                 

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                                         Peggy Jones

                                                                                                            Stephanie Karlin

                                                                                                            Raymond Shuey

                                                                                                            Betty Lynch

                                                                                                            Council Member Carroll

Absent/excused

Vice Mayor, Marie Lopez Rogers

                                                                                                           

ALSO PRESENT                                           

Todd Hileman, Acting City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

                                                                         

STATEMENT BY THE CITY CLERK

 

Linda Farris, City Clerk, read the statement regarding public appearances.

 

2)                  CITY MANAGER’S REPORT

 

a.                  Introduction of Janet Stewart, Assistant to the City Manager

 

Todd Hileman, Acting City Manager, introduced Janet Stewart, Assistant to the City Manager.

 

Ms. Stewart gave a brief summary of her background and experience.

 

b.                  Update on patrol vehicles

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that there had been a number of articles about the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptors in terms of research and modifications to ensure safety.

 

Mr Cabrera, Director, Field Operations, stated that several officers have been killed or severely burned after their patrol vehicles were hit and caught on fire.  He stated that all 35 Avondale Crown Victoria cars were inspected and reinspected for anything that could protrude into the fuel tank.  He stated that he would not endanger an officers by giving them a patrol vehicle that was not safe to conduct their work.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that the cause of the fires is unknown but in all instances cars were hit at a high rate of speed.  He stated that an alternative would be to have the existing tanks fitted with a fuel bladder, but added that while this is a viable alternative, it is not a guarantee; the bladders could minimize fuel slosh and maybe punctures.  He stated that two Avondale patrol cars have been completely totaled, but the officers suffered only minimal injuries.  He stated that the Crown Victoria is a safe vehicle.

Council Member Lynch commended Mr. Cabrera and Stephen MacKinnon, Police Chief, for being proactive on the issue. 

 

Council Member Karlin inquired if the City of Avondale would assume all responsibility if the fuel tanks were replaced.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that Council Member Karlin was correct and added that currently, Ford Motor Company has the majority of the liability.  He stated that if the tanks were replaced, Ford Motor Company would be released from liability.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that the fuel cells averaged $2,500 each for 35 vehicles.  She questioned if it would be more productive in terms of cost and safety to consider vehicles other than the Crown Victoria.

 

Mr. Cabrera responded that staff conducted some research and found that officers selected the Crown Victoria as the patrol car of choice due to its size and speed.  He stated that Chevrolet and Dodge made patrol cars which were smaller, had front wheel drive and the same possibility for protrusions.  He stated that SUV’s were not certified as police package vehicles and the City would be totally liable for accidents.  He stated that Saab and Volvo made cars at $40,000 each and there were no guarantees about safety with those.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that Ford Motor Company has issued a warning indicating that they would void the warranty if the fuel tanks are replaced. He stated that the attorney general is in the process of negotiating a settlement that would require Ford to test the vehicles further and make safety modifications.

 

Council Member Jones asked if Avondale vehicles were equipped with a trailer package which provides additional protection.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that bicycle racks and trailer hitches added extra protection to the vehicles.

 

Council Member Jones indicated that a number of cities are replacing the fuel tanks and inquired  if Southwest Risk had an opinion on the issue.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, indicated that an opinion has not been solicited from Southwest Risk and added that the cities that have replaced the fuel tanks are self insured.  He stated that Ford was not completely released from liability but if a lawsuit was filed, a fuel tank modification would take them out of the mix.  He stated that the best alternative was through the attorney general to seek a compromise from Ford Motor Company rather than have voided warranties. 

 

Mr. Cabrera pointed out that while the number of incidents with Crown Victorias seem high, it is not known how other vehicles would perform and that he would be more uncomfortable with the unknown; he added that research has shown that larger vehicles provide more protection in crashes.  He stated that the pressure on Ford Motor Company as a result of cancelled or delayed orders would cause change, however, this will take time.   Mr. Cabrera stated that Ford agreed to test Crown Victorias with and without the bladder systems and that a committee would be formed to study the crashes.  He stated that based on the results of that study Ford might either be willing to do something or decide to do nothing.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that he would continue to look at what was available and return to the Council on July 15th to discuss options.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if the Impala was found not to be an acceptable vehicle because it has front wheel drive and other factors.

 

Mr. Cabrera stated that Yavapai County used Impalas and the officers were not happy because of the small size and transmission problems.

 

3)                  APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Work Session of June 3, 2002

Work Session of June 10, 2002

Work Session of June 17, 2002

 

Council Member Lynch moved to approve the minutes of June 3, 2002 and continue the request for approval of the June 10th and June 17th minutes to July 15, 2002.  Council Member Carroll seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

4)         RECOGNITION ITEMS (MAYOR PRESENTATIONS)

Mayor Drake presented a certificate of gratitude to Dawn Knox, Owner of Southwest Dreams Ceramic Store, for donating four handpainted multi-tiled plaques for the Welcome to Old Town Avondale monument signs.

 

Mayor Drake presented a certificate of gratitude to Frank Scott, Owner of Scott’s General Store, for volunteering to decorate the bus shelters on Western Avenue with southwestern style artwork.

 

5)         UNSCHEDULED PUBLIC APPEARANCE

           

There were no unscheduled public appearances at that time.

 

6)         SPECIAL MEETING – PUBLIC HEARING – FINAL BUDGET ADOPTION

            TAX LEVY - RESOLUTION

The Council held a public hearing on the adoption of the final budget and property tax levy and considered a resolution approving the FY 2002-2003 final budget in the amount of $137,202,074.00.

 

Kevin Artz, Director of Budget and Finance, asked the Council to hold a special meeting and public hearing on final budget adoption and tax levy for 2002-03.  He stated that the property tax levy would come before the Council on July 15th for final adoption.

 

Council Member Lynch moved to hold a special meeting for a public hearing on the adoption of the final budget.  Council Member Karlin seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that the final budget was $137,202,074 and the tentative budget was adopted on June 3rd.  He stated that the requirements for advertising were met.  He stated that the only difference between the tentative and final budget was that the funds appropriated for the compensation plan had been distributed to the actual departments.  He stated that the tax levy was $1.27 per $100 of assessed valuation which was at $1.28 the prior year.

 

Mayor Drake asked if the tax rate was decreased.

 

Mr. Artz stated that there was a slight increase of about a 100th of a percent.

 

Council Member Karlin moved to close the special hearing.  Council Member Jones seconded the motion.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, stated that the resolution needed to be adopted before closing the special meeting.

 

Mr. McGuire read the resolution by title.  Council Member Shuey moved to adopt the resolution.  Council Member Karlin seconded the motion.

 

Motion failed.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if the tax rate would increase.

 

Mr. Artz stated that the truth in taxation notice required that the public be noticed on the primary property tax rate which increased by 2%.  He stated that the rate was going down but the levy was going up because there was so much more assessed valuation.

 

ROLL CALL VOTE AS FOLLOWS:

 

Council Member Jones

Aye

Council Member Karlin

Aye

Council Member Shuey

Aye

Council Member Lynch

Aye

Council Member Carroll

Aye

Mayor Drake

Aye

 

Motion carried unanimously.

Council Member Lynch moved to close the special meeting and the hearing.  Council Member Carroll seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

7)        CONSENT AGENDA

 

Council Member Lynch asked that Item Nos. “7.d” and “7.f” be pulled from the consent agenda for individual consideration.

 

a.                  ORDINANCE – TEXT AMENDMENT ZONING ORDINANCE – LOT WIDTH AND OPEN SPACE

            An ordinance amending the Avondale Zoning Ordinance revising the lot standards and open space requirements for all new single-family residential subdivisions at the July 8, 2002 work session.

 

Staff recommended that the item be continued indefinitely.

           

            b.         ORDINANCE – TEXT AMENDMENT ZONING ORDINANCE – CARPORTS

            An ordinance amending the Avondale Zoning Ordinance regarding regulations for carports in residential infill neighborhoods at the July 8, 2002 work session.

 

Staff recommended that the item be continued indefinitely.

 

c.         RESOLUTION – INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT – MARICOPA COUNTY HUMAN SERVICES – SPECIAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICES

            The Council considered a resolution authorizing an intergovernmental agreement with Maricopa County Human Services for Special Transportation Services for fiscal year 2002-2003 for $38,437.00.

 

            e.         ZONING CASE A02-385-X1 – DESERT SPRINGS VILLAGE – PAD EXTENSION

            David Ullrich, Sage Engineering Corporation, requested a one-year extension to the Desert Springs Village PAD, a 30.6 acre mixed residential development located at the northwest corner of 119th Avenue and Van Buren Street.

 

g.         RESOLUTIONS - FY 2002-2004 ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY VICTIMS OF CRIME ACT GRANT AWARD – INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT – CITY OF GOODYEAR

            City Staff requested that the Council consider a resolution accepting the Arizona Department of Public Safety Victims of Crime Act grant award for $88,957.00 with a corresponding City cash and in-kind match of $22,239.00 and a resolution authorizing an intergovernmental agreement with the City of Goodyear.

 

h.         RESOLUTION - DUI ABATEMENT GRANT ACCEPTANCE

            City Staff requested that the Council consider a resolution accepting a grant award of $78,476.00 being offered through the DUI Abatement Council and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, read the resolutions and ordinances for the above consent Item Nos. “7.c, 7.g” and “7.h” by title.  Council Member Lynch moved to continue indefinitely, Item Nos. “7.a” and “7.b”, adopt the ordinances and resolutions, and approve amended consent agenda Item Nos. “7.c, 7.e, 7.g” and “7.h.”.  Council Member Karlin seconded the motion. 

 

ROLL CALL VOTE AS FOLLOWS:

 

Council Member Jones

Aye

Council Member Karlin

Aye

Council Member Shuey

Aye

Council Member Lynch

Aye

Council Member Carroll

Aye

Mayor Drake

Aye

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

d.         2002 LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT BLOCK GRANT

            City Staff requested Council authorization to apply for $29,099.00 in Local Law Enforcement Block Grant funds with the City providing a cash match of $3,233.00.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that the item required a public hearing and that this was not indicated in the agenda.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that Council Member Lynch was correct and requested that a public hearing be held.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, clarified that the item was advertised correctly but not listed correctly on the agenda.  He stated that public comment could be taken when the public hearing was opened.

 

Mayor Drake opened the public hearing for comments.  Hearing none, Mayor Drake declared the public hearing closed.

 

Council Member Lynch moved to approve the item as recommended.  Council Member Carroll seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

 

f.          CITY ATTORNEY ANNUAL CONTRACT

            City Staff requested Council approval of a legal services agreement with the firm of Jorden, Bischoff, McGuire & Rose, P.L.C.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that while at a Policy and Governance seminar, she came upon a statement that said that the “blank”, which applied to the City Manager, Attorney, Judge or any committees, shall not cause or allow any practice, activity, decision or organizational circumstance which was either illegal, immoral, imprudent or in violation of commonly accepted business and professional ethics. 

 

Council Member Lynch added that the statement was an executive limitation which was being adopted by the ICMA and had been adopted by a number of cities across the nation.  She stated that she wanted the statement added to the City Attorney’s contract even though she believed he would not do any of that.  She stated that it was appropriate if the Council agreed.

 

Council Member Carroll and Mayor Drake stated they agreed.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, stated that the statement could be easily added. 

 

Council Member Jones stated that Avondale was not under the governance model nor had adopted it as part of their procedures.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that the City could use any part of it.

 

Council Member Lynch moved to approve the contract with the overall executive limitation statement added.  Council Member Carroll seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-1. Council Member Jones voted nay.

 

8)         ZONING CASE C02-431 – INDIAN SCHOOL CROSSING – RICHARD MEESE

Richard Meese, representing Copper State Growth Properties, requested the abandonment of an existing plat and approval of a final plat for Indian School Crossing, a two (2) lot commercial subdivision, approximately 5.3 acres located on the south side of Indian School Road just east of the Corte Sierra subdivision.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that there was a request to abandon an existing plat and approve a final plat for Indian School Crossing, a two-lot commercial subdivision encompassing 5.3 acres at El Mirage and Indian School.

 

David Fitzhugh, Development Services Director/City Engineer, stated that when the property was annexed into the City it was platted for 23 single family lots but rezoned C-2.  He stated that the plat was not conducive to a commercial development and a new plat would establish two parcels and a private easement for sewage.  He indicated that there is an existing structure on the property that is separated from the balance of the property.  He added that the configuration of the site plan was administratively approved through Development Services.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she had no problem with the abandonment and asked if there would be any landscaping.  She asked if that stipulation could be added.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that was questionable since the Council would be stipulating a condition on a site plan that was administratively approved on a final plat approval.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, stated that without an amendment to the site plan approval process with respect to the landscape and other plans, it would be appropriate to have a stipulation like that.  He stated that staff could direct the applicant that the Council was looking for some screening.

 

Council Member Lynch asked how large Parcel B was and what would go on it.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh responded that Parcel B was .02 acres or less and had an existing structure on it.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that access for delivery trucks was still needed and it appeared to be pretty tight.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the site would be required to have a 20 foot width between the stalls for a delivery truck.

 

Council Member Lynch moved to approve the item as recommended.  Council Member Karlin seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

9)         ZONING CASE AZ02-548 – SITE PLAN APPROVAL – SAFEWAY PLAZA

The Council considered a request for site plan approval for the Safeway Plaza, a 15.3 acre commercial center located at the northeast corner of McDowell Road and 107th Avenue.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that there was a request to do a site plan approval of a 15.3 acre parcel located at the northeast corner of McDowell Road and 107th Avenue.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh, Development Services Director/City Engineer, stated that the request was for a portion of an 18.13 acre property; he added that plans for the balance of the property include a mini-storage facility.  He stated that the request was for a Safeway store, retail shops, convenience store and two drive-thru restaurants.  He stated that the request was for the entire site including landscaping, pad locations, parking and lighting.  Mr. Fitzhugh stated that each outlying pad would be approved through an administrative process.  He stated that per the City’s zoning ordinance, Council approval is required for convenience stores to be located at the intersection of two arterial streets.  He stated that the request would be the first convenience store at that location. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the Commission approved the request with the additional stipulation that in order to reduce truck traffic next to the residential area, the possibility of moving the driveway be studied. He stated that he was not convinced that relocating the driveway was in the best interest of the site plan or the aesthetic value of the neighborhood, adding that the unattractive side of the development would be exposed if the driveway were to be moved.  Mr. Fitzhugh indicated that it would not be ideal to route truck traffic to the back of the store and that he would instead recommend the following stipulation:

 

9.   The applicant shall consult with the Engineering Division to evaluate the proposed northern driveway on Harbor Shores Boulevard so as to minimize the impact of truck traffic on nearby residential development.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that there were eight other stipulations included as well.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she agreed with Stipulation No. 9.  She stated that there was already a mini-storage at 103rd Avenue and asked why that small portion of the site designated for  another would not be used to help with turning problems and disposals.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the applicant would make a market decision whether the site could support another mini-storage.

 

Larry Ellerman, Ellerman and Schick Architects, stated that those turning movements were already pushed back into that parcel and added that there needed to be a balance in the layout concerning the depth and the visibility of the store.  He indicated that he thought the current placement of the driveway would work well and that there would be quite a bit of buffering and landscaping along Harbor Shores Boulevard.  He stated that he agreed with the recommendations including the one to change Stipulation No. 9.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that it was a nice site and she was anxious to see a Safeway Store there.  She asked if the Safeway Store would have the same design guidelines as the rest of the property.

 

Mr. Ellerman stated that it would.

 

Council Member Lynch suggested the following condition be added:

 

10.  All exterior walls and landscaping shall be done up front.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if Harbor Shores Boulevard was constructed to handle large trucks and turning. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that Harbor Shores Boulevard was a local collector road with one lane in each direction and a turning lane in the center, and indicated that there should be enough width to handle the turns.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she was concerned it would be like the tire routing at Dysart and Rancho Sante Fe Boulevard.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the volume of truck traffic would be minimal compared to the other development and would not cause a significant problem to that street.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if all traffic going out to 107th would only be able to make a right turn because of the medians.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that there was a median break at the City complex exit.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she wanted to avoid the situation at Dysart Road and McDowell Road with the Texaco station where everyone had to make a “U” turn.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that when McDowell Road was constructed with a median, there would only be a right in, right out turning movement.  He stated that if someone wanted to turn left on 107th, they would have to go up to Harbor Shores, but added that in theory, patrons will be going back into the developments.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if someone heading east on McDowell Road would be able to cross over.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that entrance into the development could be made between Pads “2” and “3”.

 

Council Member Lynch asked if any neighborhood meetings or notices were required due to the major impact this development will have on the community.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that there was public notification, radius notification of 500 feet; no neighborhood meeting was required.

 

Mayor Drake asked if a sit down restaurant such as a Baker’s Square could be put there. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that he would note the recommendation and added that he agreed it would be a nice amenity to the site.

 

Council Member Shuey asked for clarification on the temporary traffic deterrent.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that there would be a temporary island to force people to turn right in and right out until the median is constructed.

 

Council Member Karlin moved to approve Zoning Case AZ02-548 subject to Condition Nos. “1” through “8”, revised Condition No. “9” and additional Condition No. “10.” Council Member Jones seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

10)       FEDERAL LOBBYIST CONTRACT

City Staff requested that the Council approve a contract with Parry, Romani, DeConcini and Symms for federal lobbying assistance for fiscal year 2002-2003 at a cost not to exceed $96,000.00.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that staff issued an RFQ for federal and local representation one month prior.  He stated that six proposals were received and out of those three firms have the necessary background in transportation and wastewater issues.  He stated that staff interviewed the three firms and recommended that the City renew a contract with Parry, Romani, DeConcini and Symms.  He stated that the contract was for state and federal lobbying assistance for FY 2002-03 at a cost not to exceed $96,000 and within the budgeted amount.  He stated that the final determination was made that Mr. DeConcini’s firm had knowledge of the City of Avondale and has made some staff changes that will allow it to place a greater emphasis on communication.  Mr. Hileman indicated that given the current legislative agenda, and funding priorities over the next year, he felt very comfortable recommending that the City continue the relationship.

 

Council Member Karlin asked if there was a provision concerning a possible conflict of interest when several cities compete for the same funding.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that was a specific concern with the Cardinal Stadium issue and dealings with the TSA.  He stated that Senator DeConcini and Symms stated that they would advise the City when a conflict arose, and added that the firm’s approach was “First come, first served”.  He added that the firm believed that was a fair practice when a conflict arose.  He stated that Ms. Greene worked out an excellent agreement with local representation with Mr. Wilson who had no other municipal clients at this time .  Mr. Hileman added that the firm was made aware of the City’s concern.

 

Council Member Lynch expressed her concern about the length of notice the City would be given to schedule meetings.  She added that Senator DeConcini lives in Arizona, and owes the City that courtesy.

 

Council Member Karlin moved to approve the item as recommended.  Council Member Shuey seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

11)       AWARD OF AVONDALE/CASHION SIDEWALKS CONSTRUCTION CONTRACT CDBG DG 0101

City Staff requested that the Council approve a construction contract for the Avondale/Cashion Sidewalks to Down to Earth Contracting Inc. in the amount of $158,626.85.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that the request was to approve the Avondale/ Cashion sidewalk CDBG program to Down to Earth Contracting in the amount of $158,626.85.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh, Development Services Director/City Engineer, stated that there were eight bids ranging from $159,000 to $493,000.  He stated that Down to Earth Contracting is a qualified contractor and has had experience with CDBG contracts.  He added that he was concerned that the firm missed something in the contract or had to pay prevailing wages; through subsequent discussions with the contractor, he has been reassured that the contractor understands the scope of the contract and is willing to forgo some profit in order to keep his workers employed.

 

Mayor Drake asked if the contract and work was reviewed to avoid problems with change orders.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, stated that the contract documents were comprehensive and bids were placed on plans that were as complete as possible in order to reduce the need for change orders.  He added that Mr. Fitzhugh has been successful in developing a contract format that has resulted in fewer change orders.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that even if there were a couple of minor change orders, the City would still be ahead.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if the firm looked at everything that was required without overlooking anything.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh reiterated that staff has given the contractor every opportunity to reevaluate their bid and has been assured that they have not overlooked anything and that they are comfortable with it. 

 

Council Member Carroll asked if surveys and studies of the area were done.  He stated that he did not want surprises and change orders because something was blatantly overlooked.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that staff did due diligence on the plan preparation.  He added that the possibility of having change orders could not be totally eliminated, but that legitimate changes would apply to any contractor.

 

Council Member Shuey asked how the bid compared to the engineer’s estimate of the contract.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh stated that the bid was significantly below the engineer’s estimate of approximately  $280,000.

 

Council Member Carroll moved to approve the item as recommended.  Council Member Karlin seconded the motion.  Motion passed unanimously.

 

12)       PUBLIC HEARING – DEVELOPMENT FEE INCREASE

The Council held a public hearing to discuss and receive comments on the proposed development fee increase.

 

Mr. Hileman, Acting City Manager, stated that following the June 17th work session, staff prepared a series of ordinances to phase-in the development in two steps.  He stated that the first step would take place in October 2002 and phase 2 would take place in April 2003.  He stated that a public hearing was needed that evening to take comments on the City’s plan development fee increase and staging process prior to the request for Council adoption on July 15th.

 

Buddy Satterfield, Shea Homes, 8800 N. Gainey Center Dr., Scottsdale, stated that he was concerned about how an increase would affect a person’s ability to purchase a home.  He stated that a significant investment was made in the Garden Trails development at 115th Avenue and Thomas Road.  He stated that an increase would wipe out any profit.  He requested that all platted lots remain at the current development fee.

 

Mayor Drake asked if the profit was based on current home sales.

 

Mr. Satterfield stated that a $12,000 increase would be necessary in order to make a profit.

 

Council Member Carroll asked what Mr. Satterfield suggested the City do to provide services.

 

Mr. Satterfield stated that the City has operated for a long time under the current system and has not gone out of business.  He stated that he had no knowledge that an increase would occur and could not raise prices in order to cover those costs.  He stated that sales tax and property tax would ultimately make up for anything. 

 

Mr. Satterfield stated that he did not expect the fees to be doubled.  He stated that it took a couple of years to bring a project to the marketplace and that was a commitment he made two years ago in pursuing the land and starting the infrastructure.

 

Greg Loper, Dietz Crane Homes, 8125 N. 23rd Ave., Phoenix, stated that he had a lot of success in Avondale and hoped for continued success, but indicated he was concerned about the proposed increase because in his opinion, people that would consider coming to Avondale might go elsewhere instead due to the resulting increase in the cost of homes.

 

Jerry Leavitt, Home Builders’ Association, 3200 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, stated that an increase would cause some real concern about the viability of doing business in a community.  He stated that an increase would result in a 30% increase in the cost to the builder and added that an increase of $4,504 would really be a $5,855 increase; this could prevent people from being able to purchase a home in Avondale.  He asked that future home buyers be given a break and that there be less of a shock to the building community.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that home builders built in Avondale because of the profit.  He stated that the City is interested in providing home-buying opportunities to all and inquired how many people in the low to moderate income bracket would be able to puchase a home.

 

Mr. Leavitt responded that was for each individual to determine.  He stated that the home builders did everything possible to achieve cost efficiencies and to build a better, durable home that would be affordable to as many as possible.  He stated that there was cost of doing business without the control over development fees and other expenses.

 

Council Member Carroll asked if the developers wanted the City to give to them but did not want to offer anything.

 

Mr. Leavitt stated that he disagreed and that home builders’ provided hundreds of jobs for the community in addition to sales and property tax revenue.  He stated that home builders helped to create beautiful, well-planned communities where people could enjoy where they lived, worked and played.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he would like to meet with Mr. Leavitt another time for further discussion.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that the capital budget was done very conservatively and it was important that new development be self sufficient.  She stated that other communities faced similar situations and had already raised their fees.  She stated that impact fees were needed to repair things after the developer was finished. 

 

Mr. Leavitt stated that he did not oppose development fees and understood the importance of having growth pay for growth.  He stated that with the phenomenal growth in the valley, if the developers did not pay their fair share, most cities would be out of business and added that he believed the home building community was already paying its fair share.  He indicated that teachers, policemen, firemen and other employees may not be able to buy a home in Avondale.  He stated that the since the City was trying to tax people less, it should not increase the fees as much.

 

Council Member Lynch that the budget was set low because the City did things very conservatively and added that it would not be fair to put the burden on existing residents in order to give them sewer and water services.

 

Mayor Drake stated that permit fees were start up costs.  He stated that Council Member Jones worked on transportation issues, Council Member Karlin worked on arts and environmental issues and Council Member Lynch watched every penny the City spent.  He stated that the prices of homes were increasing by things that were being done.  He stated that across the street from the Shea development, the homes went from the hundreds to starting at $119,900.  He stated that he did not think that was planned in the proforma.  He asked if that money was going to come back into the City for all of the hard work the City put in to increase profits on that project for the home builder. 

 

Mayor Drake stated that he was in favor of having the increase being levied at two phases.  He stated that when the City worked to improve the builder’s product, the City did not share in the increased profits and added that the builders had been made aware of the need to produce an increase for the City.  He stated that no one was complaining in Mesa where homes were being built for $200,000 to $400,000.  He stated that Shea missed their market and built homes that were too small, resulting in low profit margins.  He stated that the homes being built across Indian School Road in the county were not priced that low.

 

Bill Costello, 1801 N. 127th Dr., Avondale, stated that he was in favor of a one-phase increase.  He stated that the builders were complaining about money but had millions to build homes.  He stated that Avondale is a good market and if those home builders did not want to build here, others would.  He stated that he did not want to see another tax increase or have to pay more for sewer and water.  He stated that instead of making $20 million in profit, the home builders would only make $18 million and that was not a big loss.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he was in favor of phasing in the increase.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that a consultant was hired and made a recommendation that did not include a phase-in.  She stated that if a phase-in was done, builders would need to obtain permits twice.  She stated that the City could not continue to give away sewers and water and almost had to raise those fees.  She stated that the difference between the City’s capital and expense budget has to be taken into consideration.  She stated that the City could not keep putting the burden on existing residents.  She indicated that if no houses were built for a few years, more economic development efforts could be made and home builders would be begging to build houses.  She concluded that she saw no reason for two phases.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that he could appreciate the growth that had happened in the City of Avondale and that many improvements had been made since he came to the City.     He stated the swifter the increase the better.  He reiterated that developers should pay their fair share and added that no one subsidized him when he purchased his home and paid all fees when they were required.  He stated that the fees should be implemented at one time.

 

Council Member Jones stated that she would support the fees phase-in because she viewed it as a compromise. 

 

Council Member Lynch moved to approve the fees with no phasing in.  Council Member Carroll seconded the motion.

 

Mayor Drake stated that the item was for information and direction only.

 

Motion failed.

 

Mr. McGuire, City Attorney, pointed out that the Council will be asked to take action on the Ordinance on July 15th.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he and Council Member Jones preferred phasing-in. 

 

Council Member Lynch stated that her position was not to phase.

 

Mayor Drake stated that Council Member Carroll’s position was not to phase.

 

Council Member Shuey stated that he could see the financial merit of not having a phase-in.  He stated that the consultant was an authority on development fees and indicated the City could legitimately charge a fee of $9,999.  He added that he was also concerned by comments from the development community about the need to have time to adjust in terms of the market and the product.  He indicated that the City certainly wanted to encourage growth while covering cost.  He stated that the development community had one year to prepare for the increase and added that a six month adjustment period seemed reasonable.

 

Council Member Karlin stated that she was not ready to make a decision and suggested that staff bring two ordinances to the Council.

 

Council Member Carroll asked the rest of the Council if they were willing to compromise their constituents.  He indicated that if the fee increase was implemented at once and it caused a building slow down, there would be a reduction in fee revenue.  He stated that the home builders would put up more structures at the low cost.  He stated that the City had to have funds to do what it had to do.  He stated that he did not want his fees to be increased.

 

Council Member Lynch stated that she had originally indicated she would agree to a fee phase-in if that was the rest of the Council’s desire, however, she was now convinced that current residents could not afford a phase-in and the burden should not be placed on them.  She stated that if the fees were where they should have been, there might not have been the half-cent sales tax increase.  She stated that it was not fair that the City constantly had to go to the federal and state government for grants to be able to provide what the residents deserved. 

 

Mayor Drake asked if $9,999 was a fee that should be charged in order to allow the City to continue with the approved CIP and the $8,295 was one that forced the CIP to be pared back.

 

Mr. Hileman stated that was correct.  He stated that the CIP was planned very conservatively to give Council the option of $1,700 leeway.  He stated that the $9,999 was a maximum justifiable fee.  He stated that the $8,295 fee was one which he and Mr. Artz felt was appropriate to take care of the CIP needs over the next five years. 

 

Mayor Drake asked if any projects in the CIP were going to be eliminated if the Council went with the $8,295.

 

Mr. Hileman replied that it would depend on the number of permits that were pulled, and pointed out that there is an estimated 10% to 15% decrease in home permits over the next three years.  He stated that if there was an increase in revenues, staff would take a look at adding the projects that were not able to be funded.  He stated that it was sound business practice not to estimate fully maximized fees.

 

Council Member Shuey stated that the fees were to be used for capital improvements and not for repairing pot holes, keeping dust down or other operating expenses. He stated that a six month deferral would not create a burden on the existing tax payers in Avondale.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that the residents with dirt roads should not have to continue to live with them.  He stated that the deferred dollars would have to be subsidized for street repairs and new streets.

 

Council Member Shuey stated he would expect the home building community to strongly object to development impact fees from new development being used to do repairs and capital improvements in older, existing areas.

 

Council Member Carroll stated that a house was lost because the fire department could not get to it on the dirt road.  He stated that one of the ways to prevent that was by implementing the development fees as recommended by the consultant.

 

Mayor Drake asked that both ordinances be brought before the Council on July 15th.

 

13)       DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

There were no items for discussion at that time.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council, Council Member Carroll moved to adjourn.  Council Member Lynch seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 9:26 p.m.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                     Mayor Drake

                                                           

            Linda M. Farris, CMC

                     City Clerk

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the regular meeting of the City Council of the City of Avondale held on the 1st day of July, 2002.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.

 

                                                           

                     City Clerk