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City of Colorado Springs / Commissions & Committees / Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Police Operations Center ? Community Room
705 S Nevada Avenue

Committee members in attendance: Randy Case II, Tim Cassibry, Cindy Corsaro, Richard Hansen, Pat McElderry, Daniel Mullin, Frank O?Donnell, Winfield Pate, Marjorie Smith

Committee members absent: Joe Pelka, Ronald Ruckdeschel

Others present: Steve Cox/CSFD, Nina Rikoski/ CSFD, Cassie Beckey/CSFD, Rick Myers/CSPD, Pete Carey/CSPD, Joe Curro/CSPD, Nancy McCauley/CSPD, Leslie Hickey/Financial Services Division, and Dorothy Stevens/CSPD

Call to Order: Chairman Richard Hansen called the meeting to order at 4:30 p.m. by introducing Chief Cox and Myers, and the two newest members of the committee, Mr. Tim Cassibry and Mr. Daniel Mullin.

Citizen Comment: No citizen comment.

Approval of Minutes:
MOTION: Frank O?Donnell moved to approve the minutes from the April 8, 2009 meeting and Cindy Corsaro seconded the motion. There was no discussion and the motion passed by a 9-0-0 vote.

Old Business and Updates:
Mr. Hansen made an opening statement regarding closing the 2008 annual report, saying the committee is in compliance with the ordinance, some things are taking longer to accomplish than anticipated, and PSST is unable to adequately fund emerging requirements. Further, he said the anticipated 2009 budget of $25.2 million, roughly the same as the 2006 budget, was adjusted down in February to $23.5 million, approximately the same as the 2004 budget. The departments are experiencing staffing challenges; police staffing, although 17 short of the original 10-year plan, has been reduced an additional six sworn and four civilian positions. The Fire Department has likewise adjusted staff, and capital project work has been suspended on two fire stations.

The Chairman also said that over the past several meetings, the committee has touched on the idea of revisiting the PSSTOC mission with the intent of taking a more pro-active role to publicly promote Public Safety needs. During work on 1A last year, the committee thought the role of spokesperson was beyond its mission; however, that may not be the case now. Continuing this discussion is the primary task today and Police Chief Myers and Fire Chief Cox are here to brief the Committee on the Public Safety issues they discussed with the City Sustainable Funding Committee.

The Chiefs discouraged the committee from taking on this greater role and encouraged all members to individually speak out on the Public Safety requirement issue. However, the Chiefs and committee supported the idea of the Chairman and Randy Case briefing the City Services subcommittee of the City Sustainable Funding Committee.

Police Chief Richard Myers presented a fiscal snapshot of the Police Department. Sales tax declines have been significant, resulting in a General Fund (GF) 1% reduction and a PSST 1% reduction in the Police Department for a 2% total in 2009. The reduction process began in early January identifying six GF and five PSST sworn positions and similar numbers of civilian positions. On the sworn side, PD eliminated vacant positions. The April academy was scheduled for 30 recruits to fill vacancies but it was pushed to July and will only include 23. With 688 authorized positions, the PD is funded at a 2% vacancy rate. In addition to cut positions, CrimeStoppers, PAL, and Drive Smart programs were lost from the PD budget. It is anticipated with declines, CSPD may need to make more PSST cuts mid-year.

Fire Chief Steve Cox presented the fiscal situation for the Fire Department. Chief Cox indicated that in late 2006, the FD developed a model to optimize staffing that balances numbers of personnel with the use of overtime to minimize costs. This model was used in evaluating alternatives for budget reductions. In the 2008 General Fund budget, eleven vacant firefighter positions were not funded, but were left in the authorized strength. In 2008, FD laid off several civilian positions and eliminated a vacant Investigator. In 2009, it cut 1% from its General Fund budget by eliminating two civilian positions and five vacant sworn positions. As a result, it is cross-staffing the Hazardous Materials unit with an engine company, reducing minimum daily staffing from 119 to 115. In 2009, $849,000 was cut from PSST funding which was budgeted for the COP payments on Fire Stations 1 and 21. There is some stimulus money available to build fire stations, but the program details have not been released yet. FD anticipates that in 2011, 15 vacancies will need to be filled. Statements of the impact of the city?s 2009 budget cuts are available on springsgov.com.

In response to questions regarding City Council?s vision of resource utilization, the Chiefs indicated that they believe Council members are individually and collectively deeply troubled and perplexed on how to sustain funding to pay for services; they all know current system is broken.

  • Summary of Sustainable Funding Committee (SFC) Discussions: Police and Fire
Randy Case, Vice-Chair of the SFC, provided some history on the committee and indicated that the SFC would make a presentation to City Council on July 27. The presentation will provide a number of options based on 10 comparable cities. The committee is looking at gaps in service. In that regard, the PSSTOC can share its wisdom over what the PSST has accomplished.

Chief Myers extended his thanks to PSSTOC but added that, with the reductions to city staff, there is talk about how to reduce the burden on city staff of providing support to boards and committees.

Chairman Hansen indicated he would like an opportunity to educate the SFC on PSST. Mr. Case and Chairman Hansen will work together to meet with the subcommittee for this discussion; they will contact PSSTOC members once a date is determined to allow them to come support the presentation.

  • Budget Update
Ms. Hickey provided handouts and a brief overview of current budget conditions. March sales tax figures were down approximately 7% over March 2008. In February 2009, the City amended the 2009 budget and all the 2009 budget information is on the web site and accessible to the public.

  • Committee Discussion and Action Items
Chairman Hansen indicated he would be looking for input from members on his draft presentation to the SFC.

Next meeting Date? June 3, 2009

Adjournment
The meeting adjourned at 6:35 p.m.
 

Notes:  The minutes of this meeting were taken by Dorothy Stevens. Any omissions or corrections should be brought to the Chairperson?s attention at the next PSSTOC meeting.