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Minutes of the Work Session of September 9, 2002 at 6:00 P.M. at the Council Chambers

 

ROLL CALL BY THE CITY CLERK

 

MEMBERS PRESENT:

Mayor Ron Drake and Council Members                      Marie Lopez Rogers

                                                                                    Peggy Jones

                                                                                    Stephanie Karlin

                                                                                    Raymond Shuey

                                                                                    Betty Lynch

                                                                                    Albert Carroll, Jr.

 

ALSO PRESENT:

Todd Hileman, City Manager

Mr. Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

 

 

2)         WATER RESOURCES AND INFRASTRUCTURE MASTER PLAN

 

Mr. Todd Hileman, City Manager, indicated that Assistant City Manager, Mr. David Fitzhugh would review the results of the recently completed Water Master Plan study prepared by RBF Engineering.  He noted that the second portion of his presentation will focus on the northeast portion of Avondale where there are some water pressure challenges, specifically in the Garden Lakes, Westwind and Crystal Gardens area.  Potential well siting locations will also be discussed.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh said he would first give a summary of the Water Master Plan, including water resources and infrastructure.  He indicated that the purpose was to first get an assessment of current population and water supply to then prepare a forty-year projection of water supply needs based on expected population growth.  Current regulations and agreements were taken into consideration as well as future potential water sources (wells or other surface water).  The team was lead by RBF Engineering; other team members included CDL, Coe and Van Lou, Corolla, a water attorney and Clear Creek and Associates.

 

Ryan Christiansen of RBF indicated that since the City of Avondale is growing so rapidly, the purpose of the study was to plan for Avondale’s future growth and ensure that the City’s future water needs are met for both residential and commercial uses.

 

Mr. Christiansen indicated that they also did an analysis of the current and projected infrastructure.  They analyzed current distribution systems, storage facilities, booster pumps, and wells, how they are operated, how they interact with the City and how well they will meet future demands.

 

The last portion of the study was the development of a capital improvement plan that outlines water resources and water infrastructure needs for the future; costs were included for future budget planning.

 

He indicated that the study area runs from Indian School Rd. south to north of the Estrella Mountains, which is the area that has experienced the most growth.  He pointed out that in order to produce the most efficient plan possible at this time, the area south of the Estrella Mountains was not included in the scope of the project as the area has grown at a slower pace.  A study to include this area and tie it into the rest of the city may be conducted at a later time when growth south of the mountains accelerates.

 

He indicated that the first step of the Water Resources Master Plan was to review the assured water supply.  He pointed out that any water provider within Arizona is required to have an assured water supply to ensure the availability of adequate water resources to meet the needs for the next one hundred years.  Failure to maintain this assured water supply can result in ADWR placing a moratorium on future development. 

 

He indicated that the main focus of this plan was to make sure that the City’s assured water supply was adequate for today and the future.  He said that in order to do that they analyzed the City’s existing water resources and they then evaluated future water resources to determine the best options and opportunities to acquire additional water resources. A conservation plan was also developed as an ideal option because it would extend the water resources that the City currently has and stretch them farther. A well prioritization guide was then developed to determine where the best potential for ground water exists in the City.  

 

Mr. Christiansen indicated that Kathy Farris, an expert in Arizona water laws, was hired as a legal consultant to review all the agreements the City has entered into and determine their effect on the City.  He said that currently the City’s main source of water is from CAP and SRP; this water can only be used in certain parts of the City on lands that were allotted SRP water. 

 

He indicated the City has an agreement with Central Arizona Water Replenishment District to replenish the City’s water supply when the City overuses its other water resources; this agreement is not currently being used.  He said that the City also has a source known as incidental recharge which is based on the amount of turf area in the City on the theory that as the parks areas are watered some of the water is going to return to the aquifer and can be used again.  In addition, the City has a ground water allowance that the City has been allowed to mine each year.

 

Mike Wilson, Project Manager, said that as the City transfers more lands from irrigation to residential use, it will be able to use some of that water allotment through a new agreement with SRP and increase the assured water supply.  He said that the City has more SRP recharge water than it can use and that as the City grows individual incidental recharge will also grow.  He noted that the large source of recharge water untapped by the City as yet is effluent from the treatment plant and if it is brought into the resource plan it can be capitalized on by the City and it will help offset water usage. He added that there is very high water use in the City and by using the effluent it will offset that usage.  He said that this would require some more development of the recharge area and they have worked with IWR, the consultant that developed the recharge plan originally for the City, recommendations have included in the report.

 

Mr. Wilson proceeded to discuss conservation and indicated that current conservation measures include distribution of water conservation kits to residents, passage of an ordinance to require low flow plumbing, and retrofitting of fixtures on multi-family apartments.  He indicated that the recommendation outlined in the report include a retrofitting rebate for landscaping and plumbing improvements that reduce water use, low water landscaping, school education programs and other programs.  He indicated that because larger homes are being built, per capita use is increasing and that water consumption must be reduced in order to be in compliance with State law.  He added that if the City does not meet per capita usage, DWR could place a moratorium on development and pointed out that part of the conservation plan is to think ahead and see what can be done if the City’s water use does exceed the limits imposed by DWR.

 

Mr. Wilson indicated that Clear Creek and Associates analyzed the City’s and DWR’s historic ground water records.  The information was prioritized based on volume and presence of contaminants to determine best well siting potential.

 

He indicated that the Water Infrastructure Master Plan relates mainly to piping, booster pumps and tanks.  He said that an inventory was taken of all the sites and booster pumps listing their horsepower, tank size and capacity; photographs were also taken.  He added that all the information was entered into a computer model that simulated how the system runs in the City and established a capital improvement program for the future.  System performance was evaluated based on field inspections, interviews with City staff and the computer model.  Through this process they were able to identify weak areas in need of upgrade.  In addition, the storage supply and booster pumps were evaluated on system liability tests and the system water modeling established in the 1996 master plan; these were revised to increase efficiency and meet the needs of a growing City. 

 

He indicated that in order to develop the water model, they looked at the existing and the future system, conducted field checks and matched the computer data with real data.  Projected infrastructure and population were then plotted to develop a CIP.  He added that areas of projected population growth were plotted based on input from staff and the general plan.  Mr. Wilson indicated that this water model can be easily updated by staff as new development takes place to determine system efficiency and to look at alternative scenarios if development happens in other areas.  It will also allow staff to trouble shoot problems such as a main break or a closed valve.  Through a database, this model will also allow staff to keep track of large infrastructure components.

     

Mr. Wilson added that three CIP’s were developed: a five-year, more focused plan; a ten-year conceptual plan based on estimated population factors; and a twenty-year long term plan. He indicated that the plan should be reevaluated after five years to incorporate actual population growth and demands.

 

He then proceeded to show a graph showing that even on the highest demand days, supply exceeds demand and indicated that this is important to note because the system is reliable even if a well were to go out of service.  Seven different tests were conducted to ensure reliable water supply.  He said that the storage requirements are a little below the average day demand but that is because there is water being pumped out of the ground reservoirs and a combination of the sources provides the City with a very reliable system.

 

Mr. Wilson indicated that a 20-inch water line across Indian School Road between El Mirage and 119th Avenue was identified in the five year CIP.   Since there is no cross connection from the west to the east side of the City, it is believed that this will help bring water across the river and also share water pressure and supply west of the river.  He indicated that the following structures were also identified in the five-year plan: a 16-inch water line on Thomas Road between 107th Avenue and 99th Avenue, a reservoir and booster station at Garden Lake and a reservoir and booster station at Coldwater Springs with wells at all of those locations.

 

Mr. Wilson concluded that he believes that the Master Plans provides an evaluation and a plan for supply and infrastructure that will allow the City to have a reliable source of water and infrastructure system for the future.

 

Council Member Shuey said that in reading through the executive summary and watching the report he did not see any mention of the possible groundwater recharge in the Aqua Fria River bed north of Camelback Road.  He indicated that in the past there has been some discussion that the City might take part in that recharge project and asked if that was factored in or if it were not would the results be different.

 

Mr. Wilson replied that he was not familiar with that project and said that he would look into that because it was not included in the recharge project.  He said that the main sources of recharge would have been SRP, CAP, and the City’s wastewater treatment plant and those recharge resources meet the City’s needs.  He said that could be an additional resource that they did not tap into and is worth pursuing.

 

Mr. Hileman informed Council Member Shuey that when the decision was made to invest in a 15% ownership stake in the NAUSP project, they looked at the effluent recharge options and projected that after ultimate build out there would be in excess of 2,000 to 3,000 acre feet of recharge annually.  The decision was made to go with 15,000 instead of 10,000 acre feet at NAUSP.

 

Council Member Lynch complimented the consultant on the study and inquired about the recommendation included in Page 1 – 11 to replace all the City water meters.

 

Mr. Christiansen replied that it should not have been a recommendation since this is a project that has already been completed.

 

Mr. Wilson said that the City’s meters are already touch-read; the industry recommends that these be replaced every ten years to ensure accurate billing.  Mr. Christiansen added that the issue was included because this has been an ongoing program and it is being counted towards the conservation efforts.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers asked about the SRP water cutbacks and their effect on the City.

 

Steve Rupenthal, Water/Wastewater Superintendent, replied that water supply was based on the City’s guaranteed water supply in a drought year.

 

Mr. Svoboda added that SRP is talking about a reduction from 3 acre feet to 2 acre feet; the City’s current usage is about 2 acre feet so the reduction should not affect the City’s water supply.

 

Councilman Carroll asked if they took into account the reservoirs at Coldwater Springs.

 

Mr. Wilson replied that those reservoirs were considered but because they are located far enough south and because they are primarily dedicated to serve that development, it was determined it was important to establish more infrastructures in the northern portions of the City.

 

Councilman Carroll said that he understood then that they would be transferring water from those reservoirs to the northern area with booster pumps in those areas.

 

Council Member Jones asked for clarification regarding the conservation kits discussed during the presentation.

 

Mr. Wilson replied that this refers to conversation kits that were distributed to residents given them suggestions on how to how to conserve water.

 

Councilman Carroll asked if these kits are provided to new residents when they establish water service.

 

Mr. Rupenthal replied that the kits were originally distributed to retrofit older homes that did not have low flow toilets and showerheads.  He added that the building code now requires water conserving fixtures in new installations. 

 

Councilman Carroll indicated he believed that renters and homebuyers of older homes should be provided with these water conservation kits when establishing water service. 

 

Steve replied that they could make those kits available again and add additional conservation tips to them.

 

3)         NORTHEAST AVONDALE AREA WELL, RESERVOIR AND BOOSTER STATION SITE SELECTION STUDY

 

Mayor Drake indicated that he asked Mr. Ochoa of the Garden Lakes Homeowners Association to be present at this meeting because it will affect their area and it is important that he is aware of the findings.  He said that no action will be taken tonight, but if Council believes this is a positive thing for the community, informational meetings would be scheduled to apprise residents of the potential sites. 

Mr. Fitzhugh pointed out the three Capital Improvement Projects included in the prior presentation were brought to staff’s attention during the early phases of the study; these projects were accelerated due to the potential benefits that staff saw from these projects.   These projects are the Indian School water line that ties areas east and west of the river; the 107th Avenue that tied the areas north of the freeway to McDowell Road and improved water pressure to the Harkins, Cosco area; and the El Mirage line going from the Rancho Santa Fe booster station across the river to Coldwater Springs.  The latter being a new source with the potential of tying in one or two wells in the future.  He said that the biggest challenge with Coldwater Springs is finding wells that can tie into a transmission line to feed the proposed reservoirs.

 

Mr. Fizhugh said that the next presentation would be given by Coe and Van Lou and Ken Knickerbocker and his staff.  The presentation will be on the Northeast Avondale Water Study which is a direct result from the Water Master Plan just presented to the Council.  He noted that the area was identified as having water pressure issues.  Coe and Van Lou was commissioned to obtain additional information to identify the best site location.  He added that the purpose of the presentation is to obtain feedback from Council prior to taking the information to the public.

 

Councilman Carroll asked what is being done for the area north of Indian School Rd.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that they have a well located north of Indian School on the west side of the El Mirage alignment and when that subdivision comes in it will tie into the City’s water system so water and sewer will be provided to them.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh proceeded with his presentation and indicated that the Water Master Plan calls for an additional 4,000 gallons amounting to three to four wells and between 2.5 to 3.5 million gallons of storage by 2006.  He indicated that the area is bound by the Aqua Fria river on the west, 99th Avenue on the east, Indian School on the north and McDowell Road on the south.  He noted that the pressure varies for 40 pounds per square inch to 20 pounds per square inch at peak usage, which is a problem in two story homes when the shower is on the second floor.  He pointed out that they have received complaints regarding low water pressure and asking for something to be done to improve water pressure. 

 

He then described for the Council the criteria for finding the best location for a well in that area.  He said that of the original six potential sites, two were found to be the most viable.  The first potential site is a vacant parcel owned by the City north of Thomas Road and west of 107th Avenue; the second site is north of Thomas Road on the east side of the road commonly known as the “church property”. 

 

He then presented a map depicting existing wells in the area.  These were color coded to demonstrate various water production levels.  He indicated that the challenge in this area is to locate a site where a booster station, reservoir, and a well could be co-located in order to avoid having a transmission line extend for a mile or more in order to get the water source to the reservoir.  Mr Fitzhugh indicated that an additional challenge is to get the well owners, RID and SRP to sign the waiver that is required from ADWR when a new well site could impact an existing well.  Talks are ongoing with SRP to possibly pair a well that will allow the City to build a replacement well for their existing well.  Through this arrangement, SRP would own and maintain the well and sell the water to the City at a reduced rate.

 

He indicated that there are very few places in that area where permission can be obtained for well siting and added that due to the fact that approximately 4,000 gallons of source water are needed, three wells would be needed.  He said issues regarding use during peak hours need to be resolved with SRP.  He indicated that the new well must be drilled within 660 feet of the old well and that both sites can accommodate that.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh described the City’s options:  1) to construct the standard 16 feet high steel tank and depress it about 5 feet; or  2) to construct a buried 25 ft tall concrete tank and depress it 17 feet.  He then presented a diagram of the site location with the various scenarios included in it.

 

Councilman Carroll asked about the height of the wall. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the existing wall is 6 feet, this would be replaced with an 8-foot perimeter wall as shown on the slide.

 

Mayor Drake asked about the possibility of building a 10-foot wall and what would the reaction be from the community.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the community could either like it or complain that dislike it because it would reduce their view of the skyline.

 

Councilman Carroll suggested the use of trees and foliage to hide the tank.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh then showed a slide depicting the tank 5 feet depressed pointed out that the only thing that can be seen above the wall is the crown from the tank.

 

Councilman Carroll commented that the tank would be a primary source of water for the Garden Lakes area; Mr. Fitzhugh agreed and added that it would be of great benefit to the community.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh pointed out that the depressed version adds about $100,000 to the construction costs.

 

Council Member Shuey commented on the muffler for a generator shown on one of the slides and indicated that the community has brought up issues regarding noise from Rancho Santa Fe area and asked if additional measures will be taken to protect residents from excessive noise.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that additional mitigation measures would need to be considered. 

 

Council Member Lynch asked there were still noise issues at Rancho Santa Fe in spite of all the efforts to mitigate the problem.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh said that was correct and indicated that staff is still trying to fix that problem.

 

Councilman Carroll asked if an engine using propane, butane or natural gas would be less noisy.

 

Carlos Cabrera, Field Services Director, replied that it would lower the noise to a certain extent but is twice as expensive as a diesel engine.

 

Ken Knickerbocker indicated that another type of engine would also be much larger and would be harder to hide, he pointed out that the cost is about $250,000 versus $150,000 for a diesel engine.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh said that the second potential site is the church site which is about 400 ft north of Thomas Rd.  A standard 16-foot steel tank (depressed by 5 feet) could be constructed.  He noted that this is a larger lot at 3 ½ acres versus two acres for the other site.  He indicated that there is a 50 feet wide strip between the edge of the property and the beginning of the wall; the City would purchase and soften the view by building an 8 ft wall on a 4 ft berm for a 12ft total height.

 

Council Member Lynch noted that there are primarily single story homes in that area.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh agreed and indicated that most of the properties in Glen Arm Farms will not face the tank.

 

Mayor Drake asked about the cost to purchase the property.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the cost of the property is estimated at $4.00 per square foot, which is high but understands the owner is open to negotiation.  He added that the property is zoned for agricultural use with no entitlement, which makes the price high on that fact alone.

 

Mayor Drake asked if it would be closer to Earl rather than Thomas.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that it would not be closer to Earl because it will be 400 feet north of Thomas Road, which leaves the owner a five-acre corner.  He said that with if the the tank depressed 5 ft the only thing that would be visible would be the crown.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers asked about the cost to depress the tank.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the cost is approximately $100,000, but that in this case it is money well spent because of the established neighborhood and the need to mitigate the site as best as possible.

 

Council Member Shuey commented on the site west of 107th Avenue and noted that there were chlorination facilities shown immediately outside the block wall and asked how they would deal with that hazard if it were placed west of 107th Avenue.

 

Steve Ruppenthal replied that they have moved away from using chlorine gas and are going to onsite generation of it.

 

Council Member Shuey noted that when it is not being generated it is in an inert state and not hazardous.

 

Steve Ruppenthal agreed and added that it will be a short generation period to provide a 12% solution for the tank making it far less hazardous.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh said that the standard well site construction cost would be about $5.3 million, including $1.8 million for the treatment of arsenic which they will not know about treatment until the well is drilled; an additional $86,000 to depress the tank and a concrete tank would raise the cost to $6.54 million.

 

Council Member Lynch asked about other disadvantages to the concrete tank.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the cost would be increase by $1 million, but that with proper maintenance it has a life of 50 years versus 25 years.

 

Council Member Shuey commented that he has read articles about places where there is a fully depressed tank and a playground is built on top and asked if that would be feasible in this situation or could it be an alternative. 

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that it could be an alternative but there would be additional excavation costs and pump configuration because of the additional lift, but pointed out that the main concern would be security.

 

Mr. Knickerbocker said that a completely buried tank would not be feasible because the excavation area would be increased significantly and would extend outside the property line, he added that it would eliminate the possibility of building an additional tank at that location in the future.

 

Councilman Carroll asked about the depth of the water table in that area.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the water table is over 100 feet to the first table and 300 ft to 500 ft for quality water.

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Hileman what he wanted from Council tonight.

 

Mr. Hileman replied that he wanted Council to discuss the budget and some of the neighborhood issues.  He added that staff is ready to organize community meetings to get input from Glen Arm Farms, Garden Lakes, and Crystal Garden residents, and to order the renderings.  But pointed out that the decision needs to be made regarding the preferred well siting location.

 

Mayor Drake asked about putting it on 99th Avenue on the land owned by John F. Long.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the property does not provide all of the features, he added that improvements to the 99th Avenue well are also being planned.

 

Mayor Drake asked if the well has to be in the Garden Lakes community.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied it has to be somewhere between 115th Avenue and 107th Avenue and between Indian School and Thomas Road.

 

Mayor Drake commented that he thinks the site east of 107th Avenue is a better location because the properties immediately adjacent to that site are on the opposite side of where the generator would be placed and therefore would not be as impacted by the sound and smell from the generator.

 

Mr. Hileman commented that what makes for a more interesting discussion is the price of the property.  He said that there were some previous estimates that would have made it a simple decision, however since then the initial cost estimates are in the neighborhood of $5.5 to $5.6 million, so the basic business question for the Council is they wish to provide better screening and be farther from the property owners, especially the two story homes, with the extra $500,000 to $700,000.

 

Council Member Lynch indicated that should not even be a consideration because it is so important that residents are provided with the water supply they need.  She said that in her opinion the 107th Avenue east side site is a better site because of the distance to the single story homes.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh said that he understands that he should proceed with the public meetings and get feedback from the residents in that area.

 

Councilman Carroll asked if the five acres left will give the church enough land to proceed with their plans.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh indicated that the church has sold the property.

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Ochoa if he had anything to add.

 

Mr. Ochoa indicated that there is a committee from the Homeowners Association to review water issues and added that currently they are contemplating a joint venture with the City and SRP that would also provide water for their lakes and supplement some of the needs of Garden Lakes.  He indicated that in the absence of having that input they want to pursue that as an option.  He added that there was a possibility of a building a well by the ramada on the lake and asked if that was a possible site.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that the problem there was the distance to the City’s distribution system, he indicated that the location was being considered for a booster station, but ultimately did not provide the best hydrology for that location.  He added that they should pursue that other possible resource since they do need an additional 4,000 gallons per minute in that area.

 

Mr. Hileman indicated there are many questions to be answered regarding whether SRP would enter into that kind of arrangement with the City, but it is not worth discussing until the infrastructure is in place.  He added that the ultimate plan for the first phase of the project would be 2,000,000 gallons storage with a second one at a later time.   He indicated that once the infrastructure is in place they should be able to reach an agreement with the homeowners association and would be able to proceed.

 

Mr. Hileman indicated that the consensus from Council appeared to be in favor of moving ahead with the 107th Avenue site.  If Council desires, staff can start holding community meetings and commence talks with the property owner since construction should begin within the next fiscal year.

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Ochoa what the best would be for the homeowners association.

 

Mr. Ochoa replied that they would work together with the City on the water rights they may have with SRP.

 

Council Member Shuey asked Mr. Fitzhugh if there are any issues or concerns with Glen Arm Farms and whether they are far enough from the site that are not likely to have an issue with it.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh responded that if he were a property owner in the area, he would have some questions, but the 12-ft wall should considerably mitigate any concerns.  He pointed out that it is reasonable to expect that the character of the area will change anyway and that the well site would probably be one of the less intimidating uses.

 

Council Member Shuey asked if the well would have an impact on Glen Arm Farm’s wells.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh replied that ADWR requires that a study be conducted to determine that.

 

Councilman Carroll asked about the water production on the map in the Rancho Santa Fe and Corte Sierra areas and thought it would be higher because of the river.

 

Mr. Fitzhugh explained the meaning of the low water production colors on the map in that area.

 

 

 

 

4)         RECYCLING STATUS REPORT

 

Mr. Hileman said that the next item on the agenda is a status report on the City’s proposed recycling program, Director of Field Operations, Carlos Cabrera will give an update on the program.  He said that prior to ordering the containers, staff would like to have input from Council. 

 

He indicated that the community has a variety of opinions regarding container size, and that Council needs to evaluate the different possibilities and consider the costs associated with each program and the impact that container size selection might have on the grant application submitted to ADEQ.

 

Mr. Cabrera, Director of Field Operations, indicated that staff is ready to proceed with the implementation of the recycling program, however a decision regarding container size needs to be made.  He indicated that per Council’s request, they looked at the different sizes available and have brought them for Council to view.  He described the containers on display and indicated there was a large blue 90 gallon container, a large black 90 gallon, a smaller blue 65 gallon, and a 14 gallon tote container. 

 

He indicated that a resident survey conducted in 2000 concluded that the community was in support of a recycling program.  A resident committee determined that there were four options: a comprehensive curbside recycling program; drop off locations; hiring a private contractor; or no recycling program at all. Council then directed staff to begin the curbside recycling program and to hire a recycling coordinator, whose responsibilities would include program implementation including education programs for the residents, and preparation of applications for grants from ADEQ.  It is expected that the program will start in November.

 

Mr. Cabrera indicated that a variance was obtained from the County Health Department that will allow the City to drop the biweekly garbage collection to once a week and substitute the second collection for recyclables.   He indicated that the variance is for 90-gallon containers for both garbage and recyclables; there would be no additional operating costs and no additional fees to residents if the 90-gallon containers are used. Staff has applied for a $200,000 grant from ADEQ for 90-gallon containers and should be hearing soon regarding decision on that grant application, but indicated that a change in container size could affect the application.  ADEQ has advised staff to wait with any change until the grant program is completed.

 

He indicated that mixed recyclables will be accepted at the Glendale facility free of charge for the first three years.  Regarding education and equipment, he indicated that funds are available through ADEQ; the education funds are reimbursable. 

 

Regarding options, Mr. Cabrera indicated that Council may choose to go with a 65-gallon container or a 14-gallon tote container.  He said that an alternative for residents who have a concern with space would be the 14-gallon container, however the disadvantages with this container are that residents would need to carry it out and that the containers do not have a lid, which could create litter. 

 

Mr. Cabrera compared the first year costs of the three options and indicated that for the 90-gallon containers it would be $630,000, $600,000 for the 65-gallon container, and $2.6 million for the 14-gallon containers.  The latter considerably higher because due to the fact that the smaller containers cannot be picked up by the automated trucks, additional equipment would need to be purchased and 14 additional employees would need to be hired.  He indicated that annual operating costs per truck would be $17,000 to the replacement fund, insurance, maintenance and repair and fuel.

 

He noted that the 65-gallon container conserves some space but is not that much smaller than the 90-gallon container and is less efficient because it collects a smaller volume.  He pointed out that overall the 90-gallon container is the most efficient, economical and preferred by most surrounding cities.

 

He noted that of the seven cities surveyed, all offer curbside recycling and five of the seven provide a 90-gallon container, the other two provide the 65-gallon container.  Solid waste fees range from $10.75 to $20.20 not including bulk trash. The City’s fee of $14.00 is amongst the lowest.  He noted that all the cities surveyed increased fees when their recycling program was implemented.  Mr. Cabrera indicated that to his knowledge there are no cities in the Valley metro area that have manual collection.  

 

He said that in summary the program is on schedule to begin in the fall of 2002 and the budget for the additional containers was approved in 2002-2003, so even if the grant is not approved, funds are available to purchase the containers.   Mr. Cabrera indicated that the recommendation from staff is to continue with the program as planned.

 

Councilman Carroll suggested doing a trial program using both 65-gallon and 90-gallon containers to determine which is the best option.  He added that if this is not feasible then he would be in favor of using the 90-gallon containers because they are more efficient and cost effective.

 

Council Member Jones asked Mr. Cabrera what caused them to consider the 14-gallon containers.

 

Mr. Cabrera replied that it was brought to their attention because they are used in other recycling programs.

 

Mr. Hileman said that staff received information indicating that these containers were used in other states so the decision was made to include them in order to be able to answer any concerns from residents and to provide Council with more comprehensive information

 

Council Member Jones said that she would fill up the smaller containers with newspapers in a week and asked if the current equipment will handle the 65 or 90-gallon containers.

 

Mr. Cabrera replied that the current equipment is able to handle either of the larger containers.

 

Council Member Jones asked if it would be possible to provide the smaller containers to residents that do not have space for the larger ones.

 

Mr. Hileman replied that the recycling potential will be greater if the 90-gallon container is used since people will tend to fill the larger container if it is available.  He added that the 65-gallon container was brought in to demonstrate that in reality there is not a big in terms of storage.

 

Council Member Jones indicated that she preferred the larger container.

 

Council Member Lynch said that she agreed with that analysis and noted that her recycling container will be fuller than the garbage container.  She said that in a city with as many new homes as are being built, a recycling program will be very important.  She added that when drives through her neighborhood she sees the need for the program as much of the trash being thrown away now could be recycled.  She said that where she came from the recyclables had to be dumped manually because the trucks were not equipped to pick them up and indicated that she preferred the 90-gallon containers.

 

Council Member Shuey said that he has heard concerns from Glen Arm Farm residents about cutting back to one regular container and one recyclable container and that they would fill up both containers, so the 90-gallon would be better for them.  He added that personally he preferred the 90-gallon container.

 

Mr. Hileman said that one thing to consider is that one of the cities having the 65-gallon container is Mesa and they have the option of both containers but they also have a green container for yard waste recyclables, which is something that the Glen Arm Farm residents would probably be interested in.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said she would prefer the 90-gallon container. 

 

5)         VEHICLE USE BY COUNCIL

 

Mr. Hileman indicated that staff conducted a survey of area cities regarding vehicle use by Council. He said there was some question regarding how the City’s policy compares to other cities’ and there was a desire to have an open dialogue regarding this issue. 

 

He noted that after going through the survey there were a few options for Council to consider the first one being for Council to maintain the status quo.  He indicated that one option not included in the report is to establish a new line item for mileage reimbursement that would not count against travel budgets.  He pointed out that he would like to introduce that option prior to discussing the other possibilities. 

 

Mayor Drake said that should be done regardless of the decision made.

 

Council Member Jones said that she submits mileage reimbursement requests when she goes to Phoenix, but has not seen that charged to her travel budget.  She pointed out that there is a line item in the Council budget for mileage.

 

Mr. Hileman replied that was only for local mileage and not for travel to a conference.

 

Mayor Drake indicated that if a vehicle were taken to a Conference in Colorado then that mileage would be charged to the Council’s travel budget.

 

Kevin Artz, Finance Director, indicated mileage to a conference or training is charged to the travel budget; mileage to a meeting in town is charged to a separate line item for mileage reimbursement.  

 

Vice Mayor Rogers indicated that she raised the issue in an effort to be fair.  In her opinion it is not fair to go against the travel budget for her to go to an NLC Conference in Washington when she is not putting in mileage to go to ten meetings a week.  She said that she does not have a problem with the Mayor using the car but there has to be a balance so that his mileage and car comes out of the travel budget or establish a mileage reimbursement line item.  She added that she hears from residents that not all City vehicles are marked and she believes that all City vehicles should be marked with the City’s logo.

 

Councilman Carroll indicated that in the past there was a problem with having vehicles available for use by Council, so Council authorized the purchase of a vehicle for the Mayor and Council to use.  He indicated that due to the large number of meetings the Mayor has to attend, the vehicle was primarily assigned to the Mayor.   He suggested that another vehicle be purchased for the use by the rest of the Council.

 

Council Member Lynch said she did not understand why the issue was brought up.  She commented that on Saturday night when most of them were safe and sound either at home or at work, she received a phone call from the Mayor, when she realized he was on his cellular phone, she asked him where he was and he indicated that he and his wife were driving around the City looking for residents that might need assistance or emergency service. Council Member Lynch indicated that that is the reason why she believes the Mayor needs a car. She added that in the past she had a problem with a vehicle being assigned to a prior Mayor because the car was not used for community work or otherwise.  She indicated that she does not believe a written policy is needed because everybody is aware of the policy and she has always been provided with a car when she has needed one.  She indicated that the only thing she was told with respect to mileage was that it would go against her education budget and that due to the high cost of education, she would rather have the funds go towards that purpose.  She would be in favor of having a separate line item.

 

Council Member Lynch indicated that in the past she has asked for a list of travel distances for the most commonly traveled locations from City Hall, which is the starting point in most instances.  She added that this would eliminate the need to record beginning and final odometer readings.

 

She suggested that in order to avoid problems faced by other cities in the past, item 4C be changed from “all City vehicle and equipment will be operated by a legally licensed operator” to “a City employee or official” because spouses and children are legally licensed and it should be clarified. 

 

Mr. Cabrera commented that it might not be appropriate for policies for council to be included with policies and procedures for general employees.

 

Councilman Carroll suggested that the policy be prepared for City employees only.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers indicated that vehicle availability has never been a problem, however her concern is because the cost of traveling by plane or city vehicle should go against a travel and mileage budget.

 

Mr. Hileman said that mileage could easily be charged to a mileage reimbursement line item. 

 

Council Member Jones said that there is a standard mileage form at City Hall and mileage could easily be calculated using Mapquest.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said that the cost of travel whether by airplane or vehicle should be charged to a travel budget, however she is not aware how the cost of traveling by city vehicle could be calculated.

 

Mr. Hileman said that the travel and training budgets were combined about two years ago.  He indicated that the accounts could easily be separated again.

 

Council Member Lynch indicated that the accounts were combined in order to assess the true cost of education, i.e. seminar or workshop fee and the cost to get there; mileage to meetings should be a separate line item.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said that if the Mayor is using a car worth $10,000 and her travel budget is $7,000 that is not equality.

 

Councilman Carroll suggested that the Council’s travel budget be increased by $3,000 each in order to bring equality.

 

Council Member Lynch indicated that no one is forcing anyone to be on committees and travel around the Country and suggested that everyone stays in Arizona and take care of the people here and forget about Washington and the other places.

 

Councilman Carroll said that everybody benefits from participation in those committees.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said that her main concern is with the need to bring equality.

 

Mayor Drake indicated that if the issue is personal, he could accept it but pointed out that any change in policy would affect not only him but also future Mayors and it could result in future Mayors not being able to travel around the City during difficult times because of budget constraints.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers clarified that the issue is not personal, and understands it would be detrimental to stop any Council Member from doing their duty, but her intent is to seek equality.

 

Council Member Lynch said that in the corporate world, the issue is handled in a similar fashion with travel expenses to a conference being added to the cost of the conference and local mileage being charged to a separate account.  She added that it is unusual to hear an employee objecting to someone getting more car travel to a conference than someone getting mileage for local commuting.

 

Council Member Jones asked if what Vice Mayor Rogers was suggesting that if the annual cost of the Mayor’s car is $7,000 per year, then each Council Member should get a $7,000 annual mileage allowance.

 

Vice Mayor Rogers said that was correct.

 

Council Member Shuey indicated that the question should be which is more expensive to the citizens of Avondale - to provide the Mayor with a vehicle or to reimburse him for mileage at the IRS rate of 36.5 cents per mile and given the amount of valid business mileage the Mayor has to do, he believes it is less expensive to provide the Mayor with a vehicle than to provide mileage reimbursement. He said that it varies by position because the Mayor clearly has many more official business related events to attend than the rest of the Council.

 

Council Member Jones commented that as an example, she only submits mileage reimbursement requests on a quarterly basis for an amount between $80 and $110 per quarter, which is not a lot of money but does offset her expenses. 

 

Mayor Drake said that he does not see a consensus on any change to the vehicle policy.

 

Council Member Jones asked how that is handled for reporting purposes to the IRS.

 

Mr. Artz said that there is an additional amount added as a tax benefit on their W-2.

 

Mayor Drake asked if there were any changes to be made to the policy for the Council’s car.

 

Council Member Shuey said that he suggested that there be a separate mileage budget for Council Members for travel separate from travel for conferences.  He indicated that this would better reflect the purpose of that budget because the travel budget is for conference and seminars and should not restrict a Council Member from attending valid business meetings on the City’s behalf.  He said that it is important also to have a pool car available for Council to attend City-related functions outside of Avondale. 

 

Mr. Hileman said that if any Council Member needs a car, one will be provided for them.  He added that if there is consensus from the Council a separate line item for mileage will be established

 

Council Member Lynch asked for clarification.

 

Mr. Hileman said that regardless of whether they take their personal vehicle to Tucson for a conference or to Phoenix for a meeting they will charge it to the mileage budget so it does not impact the travel and training budgets. 

 

Mayor Drake asked Mr. Hileman to send Council a memo on the change.

 

6)         ADJOURNMENT

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

 

            Meeting adjourned at 9:30 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 special meeting of the City council of the City of Avondale held on the 9th day of September 2002.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that a quorum was present.

 

 

 

 

_____________________________

  Linda M. Farris, CMC

      City Clerk