BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On August 19 in their regular public study session, the GV city council heard from Administrative Services Director Cami Chapman, who presented a proposed employee compensation and benefits program for 2020 for all city employees, including police officers. She told the city council that GV has had an 11 percent increase in employee turnover this year and shared numbers that showed that 18 percent more employees had left their city jobs this year already than had quit during all of 2018. She said they learned from exit interviews that a significant number left to accept similar positions with other cities. Higher salaries were a factor. She also noted that GV has received 2,400 fewer applications for open positions this year so far than in 2018.
After an hour of detailed questions and answers about how the administrative services department compiles its data and formulates its recommendations, city council approved Chapman’s request for an increase of $521,123 for salaries and benefits in 2020, above the 2019 amended personnel budget. They also made suggestions for changing some of the methodology for calculating their numbers, beginning next year.
Next, the city council reviewed the proposed building projects in its planned Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The discussion focused on GV’s own facilities, because all the building projects in the CIP undertaken and/or completed in 2019, and all the building projects budgeted for 2020 and 2021 are at city hall or the GV maintenance facility at 10001 E. Costilla Avenue.
The list was last reviewed on July 1. After the city council raised strong questions on that date about a plan to spend $4.15 million to renovate the police department, staff removed that project from the 2020 budget. Remaining on the CIP was a line item for $1.5 million in 2020 labeled “city hall interior remodel.” That is in addition to $600,000 for work done at city hall and its grounds in this year’s budget. Newly added on August 19 was a $200,000 line-item for “city hall front entry plaza.” Staff explained that the additional $200,000 would enhance security and accessibility for the building and be more durable.
Before the evening ended, council member Dave Kerber raised the same issue he had brought up on July 1. Said Kerber, “I haven’t got my mind around $1.5 million for city hall interior remodel. I just don’t know…” He indicated he was still uncomfortable with the idea, saying, again, “I’m (just not) sure that I’ve got my mind around spending $1.5 million on ourselves after we spent $8 million (the actual total of all phases of that project was $13 million) on our maintenance (building)….”
Council member Dave Bullock said, “I’m sure we can get a breakdown (on the costs).” City Manager John Jackson talked generally about making changes to the building so that visitors have less freedom to walk freely into city department offices, enhancing employee security. Mayor Pro Tem George Lantz said, “I agree with Dave (Kerber) and Dave (Bullock). A million and a half seems like a lot of dollars. It would be great to have a breakdown of how we’re utilizing that…”
Jackson said he would provide itemized cost information to city council, but he didn’t say when he would do so. Kerber asked, “How about before we vote on the CIP?” (That vote will occur in early October.) When Jackson said, “We can do better than the large number now, but I don’t think I can give you a final number by then,” Kerber responded, “So I don’t think it’s ready.”
Jackson said, “If that’s the consensus, I’ll get you good numbers as best I can so we can go forward with it right now.” Derek Holcomb, community development director, explained further. He said that the design work for the $1.5 million city hall interior remodel project was not finished yet. Holcomb further explained that until the design work was finished, they didn’t actually know how much the project would cost. He said that the $1.5 million was an estimate he did in consultation with design professionals “using an average per square foot rate…”
It is likely this subject will be discussed further in a subsequent city council study session or the 2020 budget workshop scheduled for Monday, September 23 at 8:00 a.m. and open to the public.
2018 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |