BMA in Brief – August 26, 2019

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

The documents provided to the Aldermen ahead of the meeting are available by clicking here.

The YouTube steam is available by clicking here. The stream started late and picks up in the middle of Alderman liaison reports. The full meeting is available on the city’s web page.

9. Preliminary Agenda (3:36) – Passed (4-1)

10. Ordinance No. 2019-13 Amdment to Subdivision Ordinance Chapter 17 – Section 17-56 (Streets) – Third & Final Reading – This amendment will bring the subdivision ordinance in line with the recently passed fire codes. This includes restrictions of dead end street length and cul-du-sac diameter requirements. (Postponed)

11. Professional Services Agreement – FY20 On Call Engineering Services (5:12) The proposed agreement with Kimberly-Horn & Associates for $65K. These services supplement the efforts of City Engineering Staff. KHA provides support for Traffic and Transportation Planning and Design. Approved (4-1)

BMA in Brief – August 12, 2019

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

The supporting documents provided to the Alderman can be found by clicking here.

The full meeting can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

The agenda was amended to move item 16. Apartment Moratorium to item 10.(a). Item 10 was moved to item 10.(b). Item 15. was moved to the preliminary agenda and itme k. On the preliminary agenda was moved to item 16. of the agenda.

6. Citizens to be Heard (11:51) – Six residents came forward to address the board. Three spoke against apartments, two spoke against residential sprinkler requirements and one spoke against the Farmington Park rules.

9. Preliminary Agenda (39:17) – Passed (5-0)

10(a). Resolution 19R08 – Apartment Moratorium (41:18) A summary of the timeline and history of the existing moratorium and the research completed during that time frame. The proposed resolution is based on feedback from the board at the work session. The resolution ask the planning commission to review changes removing stand alone apartments from smart growth areas and establish smart growth guild lines to retain value and minimize impact on city resources. It also places a 6 month moratorium on stand alone apartments. Alderman Sanders proposed extending the moratorium on all apartments, not just stand alone. This motion failed. Alderman Sanders also moved to change the wording to require the vertical integration apartments would requires a mix of uses in the actual building. Alderman Owens wanted the planning commission to consider this as part of their work as well as a percentage of the development. This motion failed. Alderman Sanders also asked for a motion to define “Stand alone” and “single use” terms in the ordinance, that motion passed. Alderman Massey made the motion to substitute the wording of the moratorium with the wording of the original moratorium. That motion failed. Discussion was extensive. The amended resolution was Approved (5-0)

10(b). Ordinance 2019-11 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance – Third and Final Reading (1:22:33) The ordinance to adopt a new fire code based on the 2015 international fire code. The state of TN currently uses the 2012 international fire code.  The proposed code added requirements for sprinklers on dead end streets over 750 feet.  There are also additional items to address safety of food trucks. It includes the ability for the BMA to establish a board of appeals for rulings of the Fire Marshal. Alderman Owens proposed changing the cul-de-sac radius from 96 back to 90 feet. That motion passed. Alderman Owens made a motion to change the length of the dead end street to 750 and up to 1,200 if homes are protected by sprinkler systems and/or alternate access. That amendment passed. The amendment to the ordinance was  Approved (4-1)

11. Ordinance 2019-12 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance (Residential Sprinklers) – Third and Final Reading (1:49:00) A representative of the Home Builders Association spoke against adoption of the code. The second individual spoke in favor of the proposed change. This item supports the adoption of the 2015 fire code.  The code requires sprinklers for new homes over 5,000 square feet vs. the current requirement of 7,500 square feet. It would require sprinkler systems in zero lot line homes with distances of less than 20 feet between homes.  The chief addressed directly addressed questions and some claims made during the last meeting. He listed peer city standards for sprinkler requirements around Shelby county and the state of Tennessee. Alderman Owens moved to amend the coded to change square footage for sprinkler requirements from 5,000 to 5,500 square feet to match Collierville’s code. That amendment was approved. Approved (4-1)

12. Ordinance 2019-13 Amendment to Subdivision Ordinance (Streets) – Second Reading Vote  (2:05:19) The vote on this item was postponed in the last meeting. This amendment brings the design standards up to those required in the fire code. This changed the length of dead ends from 1,200 foot to 750 feet and allowing for a depth of cover of 150 feet vs. 400 and the paved cul-de-sac radius should be 96 feet vs. current standard of 90 feet. This does not remove the ability for exemptions to be requested.  There was no discussion. Approved (5-0)

13. Change Order No. 1 & 2 – Emergency Sewer Repair (2:05:57) Public Works Director Bo Mills presented the anticipated changes discussed in the 7/22 meeting. Alderman Sanders asked questions about the timeline of the approvals. The change order was Approved (5-0)

14. Emergency Purchase – Kimbrough Pumping Station Debris Removal (2:12:02) This work is for the debris that entered the system, estimated at over 30 truck loads of dirt and debris. The work was started by a vendor but cut off due to the City of Memphis stepping in to perform the work. The work is estimated at $193K but will come in lower depending on the efforts by the City of Memphis. Approved (5-0)

16. Purchase – Repair to Well No. 9 at the Johnson Rd. Water Treatment Plant (2:15:10) Requesting authorization for repairs and reinstallation of Johnson Rd. Well No. 9. for $71,869. This contract piggybacks off an agreement with Dyersburg TN. This well generates 1,800 gal/min and is on of the generator backed up wells that provide water in the event of a power outage. Approved (5-0)

17. Beer Board (2:23:39) Stoney River was cited for serving to a minor. This was a first time offense for Stoney River. They admitted Guilt and were fined $750. Swankey’s taco shop was cited for serving to a minor. This was a first time offense and they admitted guilt and were fined $750.

BMA in Brief June 10, 2019

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

The agenda packets provided to the Aldermen can be found by clicking here.

The full video of the meeting can be found on YouTube by clicking here.

Flood Update from Germantown Fire Department Chief John Selberg. (6:30)

6. Citizens to be Heard (15:52) There were a total of seven citizens that stepped up to speak. One spoke on sales tax, five spoke about the flood and one spoke about the flood and lack of cell coverage in the affected area.

9. Preliminary Agenda (41:40)Alderman Massey proposed moving items b. and c. to the regular agenda. Both failed and the the preliminary agenda was approved as proposed. The preliminary agenda was Approved (4-1)

10. Ordinance 2019-1 Adoption of FY2020 Budget Second Reading and Public Hearing (44:03)The Chairman of the Financial Advisory Commission (FAC) read a short statement into the record to document the work done by this group in helping to oversee the development of the FY20 budget. In the public hearing one member of the Financial Advisory Commission came forward to discuss the Germantown Country Club.  Approved (4-1)

11. Ordinance 2019-2 Year End Budget Adjustments Second Reading and Public Hearing (2:03:34) The public hearing did not have anyone from the community come forward to make statements on this item. An extensive list of adjustments was presented to account for changes during the year. The detailed list can be reviewed by in the Aldermen’s packets. When reviewing this list note that the changes is the total in the “Proposed Adjustment” column of the document. Approved (5-0)

12. Ordinance 2019-3 Real and Personal Property Taxes Second Reading and Public Hearing (2:17:23) – The public hearing did not have anyone from the community come forward to make a statement on this item. This Ordinance sets the 2020 tax rate at $1.95, no change from the FY19 rate. Approved (4-1)

13. Ordinance 2019-4 GMSD Year-End Budget Adjustments – Second Reading and Public Hearing (2:20:17) – The public hearing did not have anyone from the community come forward to make a statement on this item. A list of the pr Approved (5-0)

14. Ordinance 2019-12 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance Chapter 10 First Reading (2:22:53)The ordinance to adopt a new fire code based on the 2015 international fire code. The state of TN currently uses the 2012 international fire code.  The proposed code added requirements for sprinklers on dead end streets over 750 feet.  There are also additional items to address safety of food trucks. It includes the ability for the BMA to establish a board of appeals for rulings of the Fire Marshal.  Approved (5-0)

15. Ordinance 2019-12 Amendment to Fire Prevention Ordinance Chapter 10 – Residential Sprinklers – First Reading (2:29:27) – This item supports the adoption of the 2015 fire code.  The code requires sprinklers for new homes over 5,000 square feet vs. the current requirement of 7,500 square feet. It would require sprinkler systems in zero lot line homes with distances of less than 20 feet between homes. Approved (5-0)

16.Ordinance 2019-13 – Amendment to Subdivision Ordinance Chapter 17 Section 17-56 (Streets) First Reading (2:34:32) This amendment brings the subdivision ordinance in line with the requirements laid out in the fire ordinances above.  That includes requirements for cul-de-sac diameters as well as dead end street restrictions. Approved (5-0)

BMA in Brief – March 25, 2019

To help you stay informed we will do our best to provide high level summaries for the bi-monthly Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meetings. These summaries will be fact based with a focus on key items covered in the meetings and summaries of the votes taken. Where needed we will cover important discussions individually.

6. Citizens to be Heard (7:19)There were four citizens that addressed the board. Three of them spoke in opposition to the location of a proposed cell phone tower on the campus of Dogwood Elementary. The contract for this project is not yet before the BMA but is anticipated in the next month or so as the construction is targeted for this summer while school is out. The fourth resident spoke about Senate Bill 1292 currently in the state legislature and his concerns about transparency.

The “Packets” with supporting documents provided to the Aldermen can be found by clicking here.

Agenda Amendments: The Agenda was amended with Items 10 (Alderman Liaison GAC) and Item 15 (Public to Private Street Conversion) being moved to the Consent Agenda.  Item b. (Sewer Manhole Rehabilitation) on the consent agenda was moved to the regular agenda as item 10.  Item c. (Change Order GPAC) on the consent agenda was moved to the regular agenda as item 15. Item g. (Supplement No. 1 On-Call Services) on the consent agenda was moved to the regular agenda as item 16.

10. Change Order – Sewer Manhole Rehabilitation (33:06)This proposal shifts funding (in the utility fund) from work that was budgeted for cured in place pipe work to the cover 35 additional manholes in the Woodridge and Poplar Estates Subdivisions. This increases the contract from $150K to $215K. This contract is part of a cooperative and uses a bid from Cookville, TN. The work is needed to reduce infiltration of rain water into the sewer system. Rain water in the sanitary sewer can contribute to backups in homes. Passed (5-0)

11. Approval of Warrant – Thornwood Planned Development – Sign Policy (39:28)The current code applied to this area requires that each business apply for a warrant individually with the city to allow for standard signage which is similar to what is permitted in other commercial districts. Passed (4-1)

12. Ordinance 2019-7 Amendment to Subdivision Ordinance – Parkland Dedication – Second Reading & Public Hearing (1:01:39)The amendment changes the wording to address the use of the term “Parks Districts” which the city does not have. The change also allows the Parks Director to review the preliminary plans prior to going to the Parks Commission. The ordinance also addresses the need for Smart Code properties to make land or financial contributions in lieu of park land. In the public hearing, one citizen addressed the board with concerns about the lack of a time limit to spend the funds collected via these fees and spoke in support of a proposed motion to review impacts. In discussion, a motion was made to apply a process for review of the location and potential usage on a case by case basis. City does not use true impact fees, they use negotiated development contracts to account for sewer usage and road items. Questions about whether park dedication is an impact fee. Amendment passes 4-1. There was additional discussion around the change in wording from Parks and Recreation commission to Parks Director and what the impact was to the commission and how the city charter worded the establishment of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Passed (3-2)

13. Ordinance 2019-8 Amendment to Vegetation Ordinance – Tree Preservation & Planting Requirements Second Reading & Public Hearing (1:30:44) The ordinance makes two specific changes. First, it establishes the option of payment in-leiu of tree dedication. Previously, trees would have to be replaced or dedicated on public land. In some cases neither of these options are viable. The funds from these payment should be used for maintenance or replacement of public trees. The second part establishes the option of a cap to the fee. It will be at the discretion of the Design Review Commission and requires a report from an independent arborist, at the applicants expense. The public hearing did not have anyone step forward to address the board on this subject. Passed (4-1)

14. Ordinance 2019-9 Amendment to Chapter 2 Article VI, Division 2 – Purchasing Second Reading & Public Hearing (1:55:20) This Ordinance change updated the amount of approvals for items requiring bids to be in line with state approved limits. The changes will help to streamline the approval process for these services. Section 2-328, the ordinance moves the threshold for requiring competitive sealed bids from $10K to $25K. It also moves the threshold for having three competitive quotes from a range of $4,000-$9,999.99 to a range of $10,000-$24,999. Section 2-331, this change allows the city administrator or Mayor to approve change orders up to $10K vs. the current threshold of $2,500. Section 2-337 raised the limit of bids needed for disposal of assets from $2,500 to $5,000. There was significant discussion around what could be approved under and how many transactions fall into this window. When questioned about visibility of spending for the BMA, staff indicated that only budgeted items could be purchased using this process. That being the case the BMA has visibility to proposed spending in the budget process and reporting on spending made using these approvals will be provided to the BMA. The public hearing did not have anyone step forward to address the board on this subject. Passed (3-2)

15. Change Order – GPAC Grove $5,175.83 (2:40:15) The contract increased to $3,955,219.67 reflecting a 0.13% increase to project. The change is needed to address “unsuitable soils” that have to be made to build the project. An additional change order will come to a future BMA to address additional areas of the site that need work for “unsuitable soils”. Passed (4-1)

16. Supplement 1 – FY19 On-Call Professional Services Agreement – Traffic Engineering (2:55:00)This is an increase to the contract from $50k to $70k or a 40% increase. The workload for budgeted items has been lower than planned however, several unbudgeted projects have resulted in the need for additional funds. Those include an in-depth study on Wolf River school traffic, striping plan for additional road work and preparation of TIP applications for state and federal funding. This firm provides traffic engineering and signal maintenance services for the city. Passed (4-1)

Sneak Peek at Thornwood

IMG_6776.jpgThe Thornwood open house offered a glimpse into the sense of community that a mixed use development can generate. Food trucks and live music added to the festive atmosphere as curious residents and potential tenants toured the model units open to the community.

IMG_6762.jpgThere were four apartments open for viewing in the “Residence” building. The model floor plans included two each of their one bedroom and two bedroom units. The building is still very much under construction and scheduled to be completed in March from what one volunteer told me. While the demo units had flooring installed, the main hallways were still under construction and likely will not have their final touches until all the units are complete.

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The finishes were high end with solid surface counters, stainless steel appliances and walk in showers. Each unit had an open floor plan with clear views between the kitchen and living areas. All of the units featured laundry, the larger units had full size washer and dryers. One of the two bedroom units features a “sun room”, a great place for avid readers to relax with some natural light.

The units in the “Market Row Lofts” were larger and had higher end finishes. These units were not quite finished, lacking counter tops and sinks but you could tell the cabinets and fixtures in place were even higher than those of the “Residence.” The large windows brought in lots of natural light. My wife and I were amazed at how quiet the units were given the traffic right outside the windows. There were two units open for inspection. These units are directly above the retail space on Neshoba and Germantown Road.

IMG_6773.jpgThe “Loft” units included two bedrooms and laundry rooms. One had an office space off the entry. Both featured large closets and good storage space.

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It will be nice to see when these units are complete with all their finishes. We met a couple touring the facility that plans to move into the residence in March. They have a unit reserved on the 4th floor which should offer great views of the area.  They will have the convenience of this prime location. They are walking distance to GPAC (and the new Grove), GAC and all the great programming that goes on in Municipal Park.  This retired couple is looking forward to the convenience offered by the combination of uses and location of Thornwood.

WheIMG_6778.jpgn you are in the middle of this development you don’t feel like A major high way is on the other side of the buildings. This is an exciting addition to our community.  I hope we see some good programming that makes use of the green space in the middle of this area. While it is not huge (.34 acres), it is a great spot for some more intimate performances.

The added benefit to our community comes in the form of tax dollars. This commercial real estate is tax at a 40% assessment vs. the 25% assessment on residential. All totaled the estimated revenues from this 12 acres of land (or 0.002% of the total area of Germantown) are projected at $1.5m annually. For perspective, that’s enough to service the debt on our new school every year, buy a new fire truck or pave 3-4 miles of roads.

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“Warn your neighbors and friends?”

Jeff Brown continues to champion a narrative that schools are going to be overcrowded despite the clear data that states otherwise. I have been out of town for two weeks out west celebrating my 10 year anniversary with my wife and then spending a week elk hunting with my Father. When I got home I was made aware of comments by Alderman Massey on one of Dr. Brown’s posts. See below.

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He gives no factual basis for stating it is flawed data. Just because the outcome of professional analysis doesn’t support your personal theory doesn’t mean it is wrong.

Betsy Landers’ treasurer happens to be my Father. Betsy is a friend from church. So, as you can see, the roots of whatever conspiracy he is insinuating have a real shady basis (I am rolling my eyes as I write this). The problem is that Alderman Massey implies that everything is a conspiracy. If you are friends, neighbors, members of a commission or club or just support the same person you are clearly part of a conspiracy in his mind.

Alderman Massey uses his platform to question people, so now I am going to use my platform to provide the truth.

His comments insinuate that my father and sister are of questionable character and that the public should be warned. This conversation could be about any of the people listed above. Alderman Massey impugns the character of anyone that disagrees with him. That includes many good people who he believes have no valid opinions because in his eyes they support the mayor. He doesn’t attack the ideas; he attacks people.

So yes, warn your “neighbors and friends” that a man who is a nationally respected financial professional is supporting the election of School Board candidate Betsy Landers. A man with integrity, my father, founded a company which pioneered fee-only financial planning in the Mid-South. Making sure that his company’s goal aligned with clients as opposed to selling the highest commission product. Yes, warn people that a man that helped establish Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis and raised his kids to work on weekends putting siding on houses in Rossville is supporting a candidate.

He is so nefarious he is receiving the lifetime achievement award from the Estate Planning Council of Memphis and has been a leader in the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. On our drive home from the elk hunt, he spent an hour on the phone coaching a Missionary in Costa Rica whom he helps. I could go on and on about his work with Rotary International and many other community and mission organizations. Most of all, he is a man of faith; the basis of his integrity. I am proud to be his son. I can’t tell you how many people stop me to tell me what a good man he is.

He raised his daughter, who lost that election Mr. Massey mentioned, to give back to her community. Service that continues even after that loss, with thousands of volunteer hours in our schools. Not service for recognition, but service for love of our schools and the children of this community. He raised his daughter to have values that turn tragedy into hope for others. She and her husband gave the ultimate gift of her late son’s organs following his untimely death at age 2.  She became an advocate for organ donation and took a role as a member of the Advisory Board for Mid South Transplant Foundation and the National Kidney Foundation.

Me, I am just lucky to call these people family. I am proud, too. So yes, I am on my soapbox but if you want to warn people about my family please go ahead and show them this blog.

I have only known Alys for a couple of years and honestly, I thank you for that Dean. Had you not blocked me, we would have probably would not have crossed paths. Your mission to suppress open conversation about issues brought us together. Alys and I stand by what we write. We have a common goal to covey the truth and provide context to a political environment that has become way too convoluted with spin and lies.

Your instinct to brand people as the “Mayor’s Supporters” is a detriment to you. You should learn that we all bring value and perspective to the conversation. Instead, you choose to ignore people who don’t align with your view. Either way, this election falls out, you will need to work with the citizens you look down upon. The issues facing this city require that we work together for the common good. Perhaps when you realize this, we can work together.

Note: It appears this post has since been deleted. Clearly Dr. Brown wants to maintain the perception of distance between him and Alderman Massey. I don’t blame him but how separate are they when they have both so strongly tied themselves to Candidate Barzizza?

 

Will Apartments Overcrowd GMSD Schools?

Recently, the issue came up as to whether GMSD has adequately planned for growth in the event of a full build-out in the city of Germantown. Specifically, will new apartments overcrowd our schools?

Parents and the community members can rest assured that GMSD officials are continuously reviewing data and monitoring student enrollment. They have identified our district’s needs based on Germantown’s projected growth and expected demographic changes. Armed with this information, GMSD has implemented the necessary capital improvement plans to meet our needs as a growing district.

Take a look below for more specific information.

Q & A with Superintendent Manuel:

What’s the current enrollment at GMSD schools?

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What is the difference between programmatic and optimal capacities?

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What are the capacity issues for our schools?

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What is being done to alleviate K-5 overcrowding?

Check out this link to see GMSD’s newest school being built.

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Will all portables be removed in the near future from GMSD campuses?

“Yes. We will be removing all portables once the new school is built and school numbers will be able to accommodate optimal staffing.”

See the link from GMSD’s website

 

What space will be available for growth when the new elementary school opens? 

“You can see the total amount of space available once we open [the new elementary school]. Please look at the attached link below. It shows our forecasts for total build out in the city.”

See the link from GMSD

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In the event of a total city build-out, could GMSD still accommodate all students?

“Even if the city was completely built out. We would have capacity at k-5. See chart below.”

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What about middle school students, what are your plans for them?

“We do not have any capacity at the middle school level and need a wing and additional gym at Houston Middle school.”

 

These numbers are all based on a demography report, are you sure it is accurate?

“The demographer was very accurate in his forecasts for all schools. In the first year after his study, he projected within 5 students in the k-5 grade band. The second year after his study, we had 57 students less than projected because the district reduced the number of transfer students we accepted.”

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Looking for more info? Check out this link from GMSD.