BMA in Brief – February 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.

The Consent Agenda was amended to move the approval Professional Services agreement of the Golf Course Appraisal to the regular agenda. The commission appointments were moved to the Consent Agenda. There were no Citizens to be Heard.

The meeting can be viewed by clicking here.

9. Consent Agenda – Passed as amended 5-0 (begins approximately 15:14)

10. Appointments to Commissions – Moved to Consent Agenda

11. Contract – Winchester Road Resurfacing Project – 80 % of this project is funded by a TDOT grant of $1.1M. The city match for this project is $296K. The bid came in over budget and the Metropolitan Planning Organization agreed to fund the overage. Passed 5-0 (begins approximately 16:54)

12. Supplement No. 1 – Construction Engineering and Inspection Services – Winchester Rd – This contract is required to make sure that the project meets the state of Tennessee requirements due to this being funded by a TDOT grant. This will be funded as well 80/20 by TDOT grant with the city’s portion being $142K. Passed 5-0 (begins approximately 32:42)

13. Development Contract 1226 and Final Site Plan for New Cell Tower @ Madonna Learning Center – This is a T-mobile tower being moved from a MLGW transmission tower to a new stand alone tower on the Madonna Learning Center property. The Design and Review Commission (DRC) approved a design of a 140 foot mono pole design as opposed to the mono pine design. Alderman Massey moved to send the review the back to the DRC, seconded by Alderman Sanders. The motion to return the proposal to DRC failed 2-3 with Aldermen Massey and Sanders voting yes. Alderman Sanders moved to amend the motion to classify the tower as a Mono Pine, seconded by Vice Mayor Gibson. The amendment failed 2-3 with Alderman Massey and Sanders voting yes. Contract passed as submitted. Passed 4-1 (begins approximately 37:25)

14. Ordinance No. 2019-5 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – Smart Code: Site Standards 3rd and Final Reading – This is the final reading for a change to the code for curb cut widths to address issues with access for emergency equipment. Approved 5-0 (begins approximately 1:10:11)

15. Ordinance No. 2019-6 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – Wireless Transmission Facility 3rd and Final Reading – This change to the ordinance has two parts. First, it allows staff to approve minor changes to existing cell towers. Those types of changes currently require approval of the BMA. Staff updated the language to clarify approvals were only for existing facilities. The second change places process in place for the coming small cell technology. Alderman Massey moved to send the wording back to the Planning Commission and the motion failed due to a lack of a second. Alderman Sanders moved to amend the wording as proposed by staff and that amendment passed 4-0 with Alderman Massey abstaining. Alderman Sanders moved to change the wording to allow for and 18 inch pole and passed 4-0 with Alderman Massey abstaining. The extra two inches allow all the equipment associated with small cells to stay inside the pole. Alderman Massey moved to postpone the vote until staff presents a redline version of the document. The motion to postpone failed 2-3 with Aldermen Massey and Sanders voting yes. The amended ordinance was approved 4-1 (begins approximately 1:13:15)

16. Ordinance No. 2019-7 Amendment to Subdivision Ordinance Chapter 17-60 – Parkland Dedication – First Reading – 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. Public Hearing date: March 25, 2019 First Reading Approved 4-1 (begins approximately 1:48:19)

17. Ordinance No. 2019-8 Amendment to the Vegetation Ordinance Chapter 22 – Tree Preservation and PlantingFirst Reading –  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 desecration of the Design Review Commission and requires a report from an independent arborist, at the applicants expense.  Public Hearing date: March 25, 2019 Passed 4-1 (begins approximately 2:07:19)

18. Ordinance No. 2019-9 Amendment to Chapter 2, Article VI, Division 2 – Purchasing – First Reading – 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.  Passed 4-1 (begins approximately 2:18:07)

19. Professional Services Agreement Appraisal – Germantown Country Club – This is approval for an appraisal for the Germantown Country Club property. The city is interested in bidding when the trustee for the family issues a request for proposal (RFP), estimated to happen in March. The appraisal helps to justify the proposed price when the city makes their potential offer. The offer will need to be reviewed by the Financial Advisory Commission and BMA for approval prior to submission to the trustee. Approved 5-0 (begins approximately 2:41:32)

20. Parliamentarian and debate of timeline of public debate during agenda items. This item was removed as there was not a 2/3 majority to add the item. A vote to reconsider passed 3-2 (begins approximately 2:48:10)

Beer Board Hearing – Suspension/Revocation of Beer License – The Fresh Market – Fresh Market was found guilty of selling beer to a minor and fined $1,500 for the offense. This was the fourth offense at this location dating back to 2006. Fine approved 5-0. (begins approximately 2:55:45)

 

BMA in Brief (Board Retreat) – February 23, 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 BMA meet for a retreat session in the Economic and Community Development building on Saturday, February 23. No votes were taken and the meeting was not streamed via the usual methods. The meeting ran the full four hours.

Water Tower Discussion – Public Works Director Bo Mills and Assistant Director Andy Sanders gave a presentation about the need for an additional water tower. The discussion centered around the lack of a back up for the current water tower. Several risks associated with the lack of a back up tower included lack of fire support, air in the water mains causing damage to city and residential plumbing, and health risk associated with air bringing bacteria into the system. Sites were discussed including the new school and Forest Hill Irene south of Winchester. Alternatives were also discussed including an underground pumping system. We will write a separate blog post covering the details of this topic.

Sales Tax Issues – Discussion revolved around the state’s allocation of sales tax revenues. Issues were raised about the allocation of taxes collected via internet sales. The Tennessee Municipal League, a group of municipalities that advocate together at the state level, has submitted legislation to address the concerns of cities like Germantown. Germantown actually worked on similar legislation in prior years but lacked broader support across the state to see it approved. This will be a key item in the city’s legislative agenda in Nashville this year.

Legal Update – This was a closed door session for city officials only. The media and community members were required to step out of the room and remove their cameras.

Germantown Country Club – Parks and Recreation Director Pam Beasley gave a summary of the discussion held by the team that pulled together the Parks Master Plan. They met a couple of weeks ago to discuss the desire of the community to purchase the land and potential uses for the land. The group recommended purchase of the land however, potential uses would be decided after the purchase. The city has ordered an appraisal of the land and plans to respond to an RFP (Request for Proposal or Bid process) from the trustee of the land. This process will happen quickly over the next month or two. The city’s capacity to issue debt to purchase this land was also discussed. The Parks and Recreation Commission and Financial Advisory Commission will meet to address concerns in the coming weeks.

CIP & School Projects – The city has requested departments provide their proposed projects for the FY20 budget. There are 42 projects that have been submitted as part of this process and they will be prioritized in coming budget discussion. There is a work session scheduled for CIP (Capital Improvement Program) on March 27. There are several projects on the CIP list that will be dependent on prioritization by the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization). The MPO is the local government organization that prioritizes Federal funds for municipal project.  As we reported earlier the city has made its list of requests for State and Federal funding and should receive the approved list in late May or June. The initial FY20 request for school projects total $7.2M including an expansion to Houston Middle School. The cost for the expansion at HMS were originally estimated to be $5M but need to be updated as construction costs have increased since the project was first put on the 5 year CIP plan. The city is also funding $200K per year for the next 5 years for the Houston High Field House. Other GMSD requests for FY20 include another $500K for security upgrades ($500K was spent in FY19) and $1.5M for boiler upgrades to Riverdale. To facilitate alignment Jason Huisman, the Assistant City Administrator, sits on the facilities committee for GMSD. The city is working with GMSD to build out their 5 year CIP needs and make sure the budget includes their requests.

Rules of Engagement – The only discussion on this topic was the mention of an orientation session with the new Parliamentarian, which will be on Monday before the BMA meeting.

Moratorium Update – This update was brief as it began with about 20 minutes left in the four hour session. No results were presented. Staff discussed that the focus had been on four major areas: Schools, Public Safety, Fire/EMS and Infrastructure/Transportation Systems. The city has gathered a lot of data and is working to process it into impact by district, not just an all up city level. Legal Counsel advised the Aldermen that any actions taken should be in line with or supported by the data. The Attorney cited that courts recently held that Covington’s apartment moratorium violated the Fair Housing Act as it wasn’t supported by the type of analysis currently being done by Germantown. Staff stated that the goal is to present the results from the study in April or May.

BMA in Brief – February 11, 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.Screen Shot 2019-02-12 at 8.04.25 PM.png

The video recording for this meeting is not currently available via the usual Youtube links. The video can be accessed through the City web page by clicking here and scrolling down “Archived Videos”.  Simply click on February 11, 2019 meeting to watch the video. The “Consent Agenda” was modified to remove item “a.” and make it item 15 on the regular agenda. There were no “Citizens to Be Heard” submissions and no citizens spoke in any of the public hearings.

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9. Beer Board:

a. Leadership Germantown Trivia Night – permit for the sale of beer at the annual fundraiser to be held on February 23 at the Great Hall. Passed 4-1, Alderman Massey voting “No”

b. Exxon Food Mart (1300 South Germantown Rd.) – permit for sale of off premise consumption beer. Passed 5-0

10. Consent Agenda – Passed 5-0

11. Ordinance 2019-5 – Amendment to Smart Code Site Standards 2nd reading – Wording change to allow for driveway widths of 30.  This addresses an issue in the wording and allows for curb cuts that accommodate emergency equipment. Staff will research potential wording changes for the 3rd reading to address potential issues with TDOT and curb cuts on Poplar. Passed 5-0

12. Ordinance 2019-6 Amendment to Wireless Transmission Zoning 2nd reading – Amendment addresses two issues. The first issue is around existing macro towers requiring BMA approval for routine upgrades (e.g. antenna replacement, 4G to 5G upgrades). The second part of this amendment is placing rules around the placement of “Small Cell” technology in the city. Passed 3-2 Aldermen Sanders and Massey voting “No.”

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13. Telecommunications Franchise Agreement – XO Communications – Ten year franchise agreement to allow XO Communications, a Verizon subsidiary, to install fiber optic communications underground in right-of-way. Passed 5-0

14.Wireless Equipment Upgrade Verizon @ OLPH – Approval of antenna upgrades to the existing tower at OLPH. Passed 5-0

15. Shelby County Schools Facility Usage Agreement – Extension of the agreement to allow Germantown Middle and High to use Germantown Parks and Recs facilities. The agreement also allow Germantown Parks and Rec to use school basketball courts for youth leagues. Passed 5-0

Processing the Questions

Scott Sanders has hit the ground running. While we may not always agree politically, it is worth noting that he is doing things the right way so far. Covering the city has had us out and about attending commissions and other public meetings. We are used to seeing certain Aldermen at most of these events and glad to add Alderman Sanders to that list. I even noted that Alderman Sanders was in the Economic Development office meeting with City Staff while I was meeting with staff to discuss the MPO list.

In discussion about the changing structure for the city’s billing agreement with the law firm that provides legal counsel to the city it was clear that Mr. Sanders had done his homework. He had questions about the impact of the process and went to the City Administrator to address those one on one.  As a result, he spoke confidently and cast a vote reflecting what he believes is in the best interest of the citizens of Germantown. The aldermen are encouraged to do this. While the agenda packets are quite detailed it is difficult to anticipate every question that may come up given the diverse personal and professional backgrounds of the Board.

The work of governing is done in the lead up to meetings, not in the debate from the podium. We wholeheartedly believe in the value of healthy public debate. However, it is important to be prepared for those meetings. Generally, policy doesn’t just show up on an agenda a few days before a BMA meeting. Most items on the agenda have been in the works for some time and have moved through one or more of the commissions prior to being voted on in the BMA. Some are even called out in the annual budget approved at the beginning of the year. That is why staying involved is important.

In some cases, citizen volunteers and staff put hours, months and even years into developing proposals that get voted on in the BMA. Respect for those efforts means engaging early and addressing questions prior to votes.  Good timely questions actually help shape policy, especially when they are part of the development process. That level of engagement should be present with all of our Aldermen.

Staff should certainly be ready to answer questions but aldermen should be engaged in the process early and often. The Executive Sessions are open to the public and held 30 minutes prior to the BMA meetings. If you ever sit in one of these Executive sessions, you are likely to hear Aldermen ask the same questions in both meetings. They do this so that the responses will make it on the recordings for citizens that only attend the BMA or watch online. At most meetings you will see department heads sitting in the audience ready to address questions from the Board. Staff works hard to makes sure the Aldermen can make well informed decisions.

5-0 votes shouldn’t happen all the time. They should happen most of the time and not because people are blindly agreeing. They should happen because our leaders are engaged and have had their concerns addressed earlier in the process and the result is something that reflects their input and what is best for our community.

BMA in Brief – January 28, 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.Screen Shot 2019-01-27 at 9.18.11 PM.png

You can watch the entire meeting here. We have noted approximate times for each items for your convenience.

Mayor Palazzolo announced the National Council for Safety and Security in Washington, D.C. rated Germantown as the number one rated safest city in Tennessee. (begins approximately 21:00)

Recap of votes

9. Beer Board – On-premises consumption for Whitlows 7642 Poplar Pike – Approved 4-0 as Alderman Massey recused himself. (Begins approximately 21:45)

10. Consent agenda – Approved 5-0 with the GPAC Theater Seating moved to regular agenda as item 12 and Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Calendar moved from the regular agenda to Consent as item 10.d. (Begins approximately 27:09)

11. Appointment of Boards and Commissions Patrick Lawton, city administrator, explained when the BMA met in December to fill the board and commissions, both the Great Hall Commission and Historic Commission were not complete at that time; therefore, these positions are being brought before the board tonight. (Begins approximately 29:00)

a. Great Hall – Two members, Melanie Oest and John Wagner have reapplied. Alderman Massey is the liaison. He nominated the following: Susanne Riley-Catering, John Wagner-Corporate Business, John Peyton-Marketing, Tony Green-Operations, Lauren Boutwell-Retail, Russ Holland-Sales, and Melanie Oest-Hospitality.

Alderman Rocky Janda made a motion to amend the nominations to John Wagner, Lauren Boutwell, Russ Holland and Melanie Oest.

The amended motion passed 3-2.

b. Historic – There are three vacancies and two who have reapplied-Dale Hicks and Karen Rice. Alderman Massey is the liaison. He nominated the following: Sidney Khun, Marlene Strube and Sara Freeman.

Alderman Owens made a motion to amend the nomination to David Jackson, Dale Hicks, and Karen Rice.

The amendment passed 3-2.

12. Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Calendar – Presentation of the calendar as approved by the Financial Advisory Commission on 1/22/19 – Moved to Consent Agenda.

Item 12 became the GPAC Theater Seating. This item was included in the FY19 budget ($65k) and is the first phase of replacing the 25 year old seats in GPAC. An additional $40k is earmarked for phase 2 in the FY20 budget. Approved 4-1 (begins approximately 51:00)

13. City Attorney Agreement – Changing the current agreement with Burch, Porter & Johnson from a monthly retainer to billable hours.  Presentation by staff indicated that this methodology will allow the city to more accurately allocate costs between departments and potentially reduce costs.  Passed 4-1 (begins approximately 1:04:11)

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BMA in Brief – January 14, 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.

Mayor Mike Palazzolo welcomed new City Attorney Mac McCarroll and new Alderman Scott Sanders to the board.
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During the Executive Session, changes were made to the agenda. Beer Board item 9.a. was pulled by request of the applicant. On Consent Agenda, two items were pulled from Consent. 10.d will become item 11 and 10.e will become item 19.

9. Beer Board – Poplar Food Mart #1 approved for off-premise use and Rock N Roll Sushi approved for on-premise use.

10. Consent Agenda -approved as amended.

11. Professional Services Agreement Supplement No.2 – Final Closeout Right-of-Way Appraisals – Wolf River Boulevard/Germantown Rd. Intersection Improvements Project – Approved 4-1

12. Change Order No. 2 – Forest Hill-Irene Road Improvements – Requested increase of $37,631.33 (total project is $6.15M) for increased cost estimates for fiber optic lines needed for traffic signal connectivity and coordination and culvert replacement under the road near the school site. Original plan was to add on to the existing culvert however there were cracks and open joints that necessitated the full replacement of the culvert. – Approved 5-0

13. Election of Vice Mayor – Mary Anne Gibson selected 5-0

14. Grant – Leadership Germantown – Request for approval of budgeted grant of $13,600 for Leadership Germantown – Approved 4-1

15. Purchase – Fire Engine – Request for $859,539 to purchase a new custom fire engine.  The purchase will allow F139 (Engine 93) to be placed in reserve.  F139 is 28 years old and typical life span for this type of equipment is 15 years front line and 5 years reserve. Approved 5-0

16. Resolution 19R03 – Banking and Signature Cards. Approved 5-0

17. Ordinance 2019-5 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – SmartCode: Site Standards 1st Reading – The proposed change clarifies language in the code about the width of curb cuts.  This change is needed to insure fire equipment can safely access properties. Approved 5-0

18. Ordinance 2019-6 – Amendment to Zoning Ordinance Chapter 23 – Wireless Transmission Facility 1st Reading – Change in wording to allow for stream lined approval of equipment upgrades on existing facilities and establishment of policies and procedures for placement of small cell wireless facilities in public right-of-ways as a result of changes to state law. This item generated discussion on how state law may allow many small cell towers all over the City of Germantown. Approved 4-1

19. Professional Services Agreement Supplement No. 4 – Wolf River Boulevard/Germantown Rd. Intersection Improvements Project. Approved 4-1

 

BMA in Brief — December 10, 2018

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.

No items on the consent agenda were moved to the regular agenda during the Executive Meeting prior to the BMA. For those unfamiliar with the consent agenda, it is a mechanism for approving routine business that doesn’t necessarily need to be addressed individually by the entire board.

Below our summary is a link to a video of the entire BMA meeting for your review. We have provided approximate start times for each item.

  1. Citizens to be Heard (begins at approximately 8:15)
  • Four citizens thanked Alderman Barzizza for his years of service.
  • One citizen expressed concerns about the GPAC Grove costs.

9. Consent Agenda as listed on the agenda was approved. (begins at approximately 16:33)

  1. Contract – GPAC (Germantown Performing Arts Center) Grove Outdoor Venue (begins approximately 17:55)

GPAC Executive Director Paul Chandler gave an extensive presentation explaining the design and purpose of the Grove Outdoor venue. The Grove will be a park-like setting with a casual atmosphere. Mr. Chandler described it as a community gathering place for family and friends and an outdoor reflection of the indoor space.

Additionally, there will be a 32-foot-wide high definition video wall at the back of the stage and will allow a simulcast of events inside the venue and events from across the world. GPAC will be the third venue in the United States with such an arrangement. GPAC has raised $2.5M amount toward the $5M project.

Two GPAC Board members spoke in favor of the project. (Begins approximately 29:50)

Discussion began at approximately 36:58 and the contract was approved by a 4-1 vote.