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

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee Meeting Minutes
Meeting Minutes: Wednesday, June 4, 2008
City Hall, Academy Room, 107 N Nevada Ave
 
Committee members in attendance: Robert Gallagher, Richard Hansen, Bernie Herpin, *Pat McElderry, Frank O?Donnell, Winfield Pate, Joe Pelka, Ronald Ruckdeschel, Marjorie Smith

Committee members absent: Randy Case II, Cynthia Halsey

Others present: Steve Cox/City Management, Dan Raider/CSFD, Nina Rikoski/CSFD, Bob Lund/CSFD, Lili Tran/CSPD, Sam Azad/CSPD, Todd Dodge/Budget, JoAnn Cox/Budget

Call to Order: Chair Richard Hansen called the meeting to order at 4:28 p.m. New committee members Robert Gallagher and Ronald Ruckdeschel were introduced and welcomed.

Citizen Comment: There were no citizens in attendance.
 
Approval of Minutes: The Chair asked for approval of the minutes from the April 2, 2008 meeting. The committee reviewed and accepted the minutes.

MOTION:               Joe Pelka moved for the approval of the April 2, 2008 minutes as presented to us. Winfield Pate seconded. The motion to approve the minutes passed 9-0-0.

*Pat McElderry arrives at 4:45 p.m.

New Business:

Future Public Safety Needs: Richard Hansen gave an update on Citizens for Effective Government (CEG) update stating that Council Member Jerry Heimlicher was not comfortable attending tonight?s meeting as information provided here would become public knowledge and the Council Members had not been briefed on its activities.

CEG would like to present before Council during the Informal session on Monday, June 9th before any further discussions take place. Council Members should receive a package from CEG today for their review. CEG purposes a 1 percent sales tax increase for funding. This matches the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority (PPRTA) sales tax and will provide $60-70M in revenue. This is a specified sales tax and would not be placed into the General Fund.

Questions were raised regarding additional revenue without questioning the efficiency of the existing programs, the effectiveness of the programs, types of products offered, and the mix of services rendered. Many people housed in jails are actually have medical problems, but are picked up and placed in the jail. Also 90 percent of the fire calls are not fire related, but are medical emergencies. We need to analyze our services and revenue.

Discussion ensued regarding the questions raised. Committee member stated that the CEG is at the educational phase of the proposed tax increase.

Council Members are aware that we have a tax leakage problem and have recently implemented the Sustainable Funding Committee that will hold its first meeting at the end of this month. It is made up of citizens and City employees with the first report due to Council January 2009.

Question raised on how the money collected would be divided between the county and municipalities. Answer ? there is a formula based loosely on population of municipalities but 15 percent would go to capital and 85 percent would go to operations. Are there any other considerations being made for revenue? Sales tax and property tax seem to be it, the latter being a hard tax to sell the citizens? and businesses.

Discussion about what issues we can control versus what we cannot control. Also people need to be made aware that City of Colorado Springs is in El Paso County.

Other questions raised are will the business community have a say in this tax? Will there be an economic impact study? What happens if we raise the tax and loose 30 percent of the tax base? We are heavily dependent on military installations. Why is no one is asking the City to accomplish competitiveness or implement performance budgeting?

Old Business
Police Update: Lili Tran presented the Police update. Vehicles one & two refurbished cruisers received back from Phil Long Ford. Test drove them on Castle Rock?s test run. A few issues had to be resolved. Vehicles three, four, and five are being worked on, and vehicle six just came in. We may decide to refurbish up to 10 cruisers. Also Phil Long Ford, without our asking, applied $500 credit toward each vehicle, saving us additional funds. This is a test program that has made national news within Ford. The rest of country is waiting to see how successful it is. City Fleet will present results to Council within the next few months. Question asked year of vehicle and how long will the refurbished vehicles last? Phil Long Ford provides a 5 year ? 100,000 mile power train warranty. Current vehicles are 2003, lasting only three to four years. The refurbished vehicles include everything new except frame, body & chassis. If the frame is bent, then it costs more. If new transmission is required then the vehicle is $10,000 to $12,000. (New with equipment is $26,000 - $28,000.) Both the second DNA position and the Crime lab positions have been filled. This is one of the criteria to begin the accreditation process. Also test work will be preformed as well during the accreditation process. It is a six month long process. The Police Department goes through the accreditation process about every 4 years.

Fire Update: Dan Raider is taking over for Steve Cox?s Fire Department?s roll. Bob Lund presented the Fire update. Station 8 is complete and landscaping will be finished in July. It is housing reserve apparatuses and storage for tools and equipment for the Wildland Risk Management Program. A question was raised about using the building for a General Fund program, but the CSFD clarified that the Wildland Risk Management Program is funded through PSST and augmented by a federal grant. Questions about the disposition of Station 8 were raised by Dick Hansen, Joe Pelka, and Pat McElderry regarding the Fire Department retaining the building rather than disposing of it and putting the revenue received towards additional PSST capital projects. Marjorie Smith stated that the because of its location, it is a good area to have a reserve fleet in. Regarding Station 1 looking into having the perceived historic building moved somewhere at the new owners expense. Bob Lund plans to send out an RFP to do the moving. The cost to move the building is about of the assessed value of the building. It would cost $50,000 to destroy the building as it contains asbestos. Dan mentioned that they toured District 11?s geothermal heating/cooling system. Generally heating/cooling systems use approximately 75 kbtu?s and this type system reduces it to 25 kbtu?s. This is being considered for future Fire stations heating/cooling systems. We are also checking out refurbishing fire apparatus. Sent two 1995/1996 apparatuses to different vendors and decided on the quality of SuperVac in Denver. (SuperVac is used by companies? world wide.) New fire apparatus cost approximately $425,000, refurbished is 50 percent less and extends its life 8-10 years.

Note: A request was made to have CSFD make a presentation to the PSSTOC in August regarding the decision to keep the Old Fire Station #8 for the City. The future presentation should include the decision making process for keeping the station versus selling it and how the old station will be used to support PSST projects.

Budget Update: Todd Dodge presented the Budget update. Citywide the sales tax collections were down approximately 8.82 percent from April 2007. Question was asked as to what categories were down? Todd knew that hotel was up, but thought most other categories were down. Detail sent to committee members via e-mail. New numbers will come out in early June and a report will be put together for the committee in July. Another question was asked about tourism and its impact on sales tax ? will it increase? Todd stated that these are April numbers and we are all hoping that summer months with tourism and the U.S. Senior open will increase the revenue sales tax generates.

Todd Dodge asked to send out updated committee members? roster with new members? information.
Dick Hansen requested that there be no meeting in July as there will be no new business.
Meeting adjourned at 5:55 p.m.

Next Meeting: August 6th, 4:30 ? 6:30 P.M., Academy Room, City Hall. Agenda to include model for Annual Report.

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