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.

Germantown Road Realignment?… DOA until 2023

Almost a year ago, Germantown Voice began blogging as a way to engage in political conversations. Our first blog was about the Germantown Road Realignment Project.

This topic continues to pop up, usually as a part of an argument that the “current administration” doesn’t listen to citizen input. Even as late as October last year, there were social media posts saying the Germantown Road realignment project wasn’t dead.

Officially, it is dead until at least 2023. Why 2023? This is where it gets a little complicated. Every 3-5 years the city submits a list of proposed projects to the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization). The MPO is the organization that prioritizes Local State and Federal funding for road and transportation projects in the Memphis Metro area. See the map below for the area covered by the MPO.

The list submitted this year is for projects between October 2019 and September 2023. The prior list was submitted to the MPO in 2013 and that was the list that included the Germantown Road Realignment project and McVay Road Realignment, both of which were not pursued due to community feedback. This year is the first opportunity for the city to submit their new list of priorities for funding of major road projects. Noticeably absent from the list is the Germantown Road Realignment. This is even after claims that last year’s resolution to kill the project were potentially just election year placations.

The time frame for MPO requests is long range due to the long range nature of projects. In many cases, it can take years for design, review, Right of Way acquisition and construction. These projects are important to the city as the majority of them are funded primarily or even wholly with State and Federal funds. In other words, these projects don’t impact your property tax rate.

Road projects are paid for a couple of different ways. First, is the paving of residential streets. The city pays for that as part of the Public Works budgets, roughly $2,000,000 a year. Next, is the work on major roads. These projects are funded with combinations of Local, State and Federal funds. This is where the MPO comes in to play.

When I saw the list of projects I had several questions about the priority of the funding and the MPO process. I sat down with City Engineer Tim Gwaltney last week to discuss the list and how the MPO works.

The MPO funds come from 3 to 5 main buckets. Traditionally, it has funded projects under three main categories, Bridges, Paving and Signalization. Germantown usually sees at least one of each of these types of projects funded. For example, even though the new traffic light at Houston High School is number six on the list it is the highest prioritized signalization project on the City’s list so it is likely to be funded. There are two new categories this year with funding for Safety Improvements and Plans & Studies. The prioritized list is below:

  1. Wolf River Blvd Mill/Overlay from Riverdale to Western City Limits $2.0M (80% Federal)
  2. Forest Hill-Irene Safety Improvements Poplar to Wolf River Blvd $5.0M (80% Federal)
  3. Poplar Culvert Replacements – Phase 5 $550K (100% Federal)
  4. Update City Major Roads Plan $200K (80% Federal)
  5. Intersection Safety Audits $200K (80% Federal)
  6. Signalization Wolf River Blvd @ Houston High $500K (100% Federal)
  7. Signal Upgrades $2.5M (100% Federal)
  8. Neshoba Road Mill/Overlay from Germantown Rd to Exeter $1.5M (80% Federal)
  9. McVay Road Bridge Replacement (just north of McVay and Messick) $600K (80% Federal)

The city will not get official word on which projects are approved by the MPO until near the end of the budgeting process for the city. We will keep an eye on the process and let you know what gets approved from the MPO as soon as we find out. You can find out more detail about each of these projects by following the link below.

https://gtown.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=c75ea4248dc44953b9dcc2287f85670a

For even more information on the City of Germantown’s Transportation Improvement Program funding requests for 2020 to 2023, please attend the public meeting  January 9 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Economic and Community Development Building, 1920 South Germantown Road. Learn more here.