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What Kozachik wants to know

At yesterday’s City Council meeting Councilman Steve Kozachik handed out a four-page memo loaded with questions about city programs, services and budget line items that he wants more information about so the council can consider whether they’re cutable (to coin a word).

While most everyone in the media and the city high mucky mucks all had copies, few in the audience had the list and the city hasn’t posted it online (at least not where I can find it).

So I got Kozachik’s office to send over an electronic copy to post for everyone to read what’s on the councilman’s mind.

Here you go:

January 6, 2010




Tucson stands at a crossroads.  City government faces unprecedented financial challenges while the community we serve endures severe economic distress.  Those who have entrusted us with guiding our city government expect us to do more with less and treat every dollar taken in by government as precious, while protecting the core services that make Tucson safe and livable.  We know that it is not enough to deal only with the immediate budget deficit, but we must set the stage for sustained economic growth and opportunity.

Before we tax those who can least afford to pay, or lay off employees who perform the most critical functions in city government, we should seek first to streamline government, seek recovery of the full cost of service delivery for the optional public services that we provide, and set in motion public policy that creates an environment where businesspeople and entrepreneurs can create wealth for our city on an ongoing and sustainable basis.

Today I will be presenting the Council and the City Manager with suggestions for ways that we can address the immediate budget crisis that finds us in a current-year deficit of $32 million, and then will lay out some ideas for how we can address the structural budget problems that must be fixed as we move forward on preparing the FY2011 budget.  We will have exhausted one-time fixes, and must make significant, structural changes that maintain and enhance the City’s financial strength as we move ahead through an uncertain economic environment.

I will ask the City Manager and City Attorney to return to the Council on January 12 with the answers to several questions that relate to making city government more efficient and its services more cost-effective, and I will ask the City Attorney to prepare draft ordinances for the Council to consider for adoption on January 12.

At the end of my presentation I will welcome the discussion and input of my colleagues.  We as a Council must reject the proposals to enact a renter’s tax and to lay off uniformed public safety personnel.  In addition to requesting information, as described below, that is needed to set the stage for important decisions on January 12, we must act today where we can to begin the difficult process of reducing our present deficit and building long-term prosperity.

Questions / Requests for Information from City Manager Mike Letcher, to be answered by Friday, 1/8/09:

a) Develop a means test with processes for verification of eligibility for low-income fee reductions associated with all City programs and services, including but not limited to, Transit, Environmental Services, Water, Parks and Recreation classes, housing, etc.

b) What would be the net Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 and FY2011 financial impact of the following:

Unallocated budget capacity – $4.4 million (sweep remaining back to General Fund and zero it out for FY11)

Parking and shuttle service – $35,000 (eliminate it entirely)

Memberships and subscriptions – $422,000 (eliminate it entirely)

Travel – $467,000 (cut by 50%)

Training – $522,000 (cut by 50%)

Office Supplies – $1,000,810 (cut by 25%)

Downtown employment allowance $250,000 (eliminate it entirely)

Second language pay – $372,710 (eliminate it entirely)

Cell phones – $309,000 (eliminate it entirely)

(NOTE: These amounts are the result of my perusal of the budget detail sheets through all departments and are subject to adjustment of the totals.)

c) In the 2/09 report to Mayor & Council on Revenue Sources, it was indicated that City Court was going to implement a new scheduling process that would mitigate police OT for attending court. Was it implemented, and if so, what has been the savings in OT, and how have you factored that savings into your budget forecast for police premium pay?

d) Currently, the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau (MTCVB) is receiving a subsidy from COT of greater than the City’s 33% obligation. How do we take that overage (Bed Tax receipts in particular) and apply it to General Fund (GF) for deficit mitigation, leaving the City’s subsidy to MTCVB at the 33% to which we are obligated?

e) Parks and Recreation (P & R) budget detail shows approximately $9.2 million in Miscellaneous Professional Services and Non-Permanent Salaries. Those have been described to me as being for game officials, instructors, etc., which should be considered as part of the full cost of delivering those services. What will be the new P&R activity fee schedule if we sweep those monies into the GF for deficit mitigation and add that amount back into costs for P&R activities?

f) Channel 12 now has a budget line item of $900,000. Access Tucson is considered an outside agency and receives over $750,000 from COT. What are the budgetary and operational implications of eliminating the Channel 12 subsidy, moving their operation out of the Pioneer Building and merging their operation with Access Tucson, allowing them to then jointly compete for outside agency funding?

g) Citigraphics has a line item of $264,000. What is the process for eliminating that function and contracting out those services, billable to the individual departments as they access the service?

h) In the City Manager’s (CM) proposal, court fees for Defensive Driving School and Criminal Traffic and Criminal Charges were increased. What percent of full cost recovery do the proposed increases represent, and what increases would constitute full cost recovery?

i) In the CM proposal, numerous increases in fees for Development Services have been suggested. How do these new fees compare to those charged in surrounding jurisdictions?

j) In the CM proposal, the Clerk’s office is called on to stop producing written minutes for several commissions. What other commissions and committees does the Clerk’s office currently provide this service for, and what is the savings if all of them were eliminated?

k) In the CM proposal, the Finance Department is called upon to eliminate several cashier stations. Are there alternate schedules that can be adopted to cut hours of operation and keep all outlets in operation at the same net savings as in the original CM proposal?

l) In the CM proposal, a Finance Dept. Customer Service Rep. position has been vacant due to an unpaid leave. Comment in the proposal is that this position has been partially vacant; no impact is expected from leaving it vacant for another year. If no impact is expected from the vacancy, why not eliminate the position entirely?

m) In the CM proposal, some of the work of the Finance Dept. Investment Program is to be outsourced to a money manager. If the net fiscal impact to the City is positive by doing this, why not outsource the entire program to a money manager? If the net fiscal impact to the City is negative, leave the program in-house and don’t pay the fee.

n) In the CM proposal, the Development Services Department (DSD) is to eliminate extra time wages for inspectors. Proposal indicates this will inconvenience the building community by not “being able to perform inspections outside of normal work hours”. As time is money to contractors, propose to M&C a method of flex-time scheduling for DSD inspectors so they can properly service contractors and not hold up their construction schedules.

o) In the CM proposal, the Transportation Department is saving $168,400 by not doing 1 mile of underground cable for Tucson Electric Power lines. Are there other areas where we can forego doing the underground work and save money? If so, how many miles and what are the locations?

p) In the current budget there is a $28,000,000 line-item for fleet service. Report back to M&C how we initiate the process of outsourcing that function through Requests for Qualification/Proposals or other means. Indicate operational upsides and downsides of such a proposal along with potential fiscal impact to the City, including in the consideration increased employment and sales tax revenue by using private sector suppliers.

q) What would be the financial impact of going to a work schedule of four 10-hour days for non-public safety City workers and shutting down City buildings for 1 day per week? Prepare cost/benefit analysis that includes operational impact.

r) Presently in the budget detail sheets, nearly $10,000,000 is allocated to outside consultants and Miscellaneous Professional Services. What would be the operational implications of eliminating the use of those consultants?

s) Why are we paying $188,000/year in lease payments to Rio Nuevo? The Tucson Convention Center (TCC) is being subsidized by the GF $1.3 million annually, and Rio Nuevo owes the city over $3 million. Should we not be taking lease payments from those sources?

t) Is there any GF subsidy currently going to fund golf courses? Per the 2/09 Analysis of Revenue Sources, Golf ran a $1.1 million deficit in FY08. From where were those funds paid, and from where will future Golf deficits be funded?

u) Develop an automatic fee adjustment mechanism for Council to review that ties fees for all City programs and services to MCI or a similar cost of living measure.

v) The Medical Insurance Premium Adjustments using fixed-rate increases as has been proposed by the CM yields a regressive outcome. CM to develop a graduated scale along the lines IRS uses for income taxes to flatten out and make less regressive the impact of rate increases.

w) How much would a 5% across-the-board cut to wages only from employees earning over $90,000 yield?

x) What would be the cost savings to the City if all comp cars, car allowances and take-home vehicles were eliminated?

y) What is the process and anticipated revenue from sale of advertising on City garbage trucks (per P.7 of the 09 Analysis of Potential Revenue Sources).

z) What are the savings anticipated by the 09 Revenue Sources suggestion to use Corrections detainees for maintenance of City property? The City of Douglas has realized a $1.5 million savings through such a program.

aa) What is the anticipated revenue gained from adoption of a Flood Control District Property Tax as suggested in the 09 Revenue Sources proposal?

bb) From the budget detail sheets, GExp #1884 Starr Pass Environmental Enhancements:  I have been advised by the City Attorney (CA) that this obligation is from an annexation agreement. It is for trailhead improvements, Mountain Lion research, etc. Is the City obligated for the $1.1 million annual fee for 20 years regardless of necessity? Is there a review process to ensure the funds are being spent as intended and to remit back to the City any funds no longer necessary for intended purposes?

cc) From budget detail sheets, GExp #1886 Library Fund @ $100,000: This is for Repair & Maintenance of the Main Library exterior marble veneer and maintenance of plaza brick pavers. It is to continue through the life of the lease (2056.) Is there a process in place to review use of the funds and to remit back to the City any not needed for intended purposes?

dd) What are the implications of adopting a 25% fee increase for license, kennel and adoption fees at PACC and a 25% fee increase for animal fines. Include how this can be implemented with a built-in annual 25% increase in each until full cost recovery is reached.

ee) What would be the fees associated with transit fare increases as follows:

25% on all fare categories including Economy

50% on Day Pass fares

75% on Express fares  ?

Prepare a proposal for M&C that incorporates these fee increases and stipulates all fare box receipts be used for deficit mitigation.

ff) What are the implications and revenue anticipated from Reid Park Zoo entry increases as follows:

Average daily entry of $8.50 p/person

Annual Family Pass available for $65?

gg) What would be the revenue generated from charging $150 per call for non-emergency (“aspirin calls”) for TFD emergency vehicles. How would such a program be implemented?

hh) The CM Proposal suggests we eliminate the Rio Nuevo Intern position in FY11. Why not eliminate it now and save the extra $20,000?

ii) The Tucson Convention Center is currently receiving a GF subsidy of $1.3 million. Can we not sweep that into the GF for deficit mitigation and charge TCC with operating on a more efficient cost recovery basis?

jj) Please confirm that KIDCO is in negotiations with YMCA for merging their operation with the Y and retaining approximately the same registration fees as now exist with KIDCO’s present program.

Questions /Requests for Information from City Attorney Mike Rankin for 1/8/09:

a) What system is in place to review compliance of TREO with respect to their meeting contractual obligations to show substantial progress towards meeting deliverables as defined in their contract with COT, and can COT withhold payment until such compliance has been demonstrated?

b) Please prepare language for an amended resolution 20473 (10/06) that calls for all proceeds from sale of GF properties to be allocated to GF for deficit mitigation.

c) Please instruct Real Estate Division to refrain from issuing RFPs #2981 and 3111 related to sale of properties on Toole and the Steinfield Warehouse and prepare language for our review and discussion that eliminates the requirement that bidders must conform with the requirements of the Tucson Historic Warehouse Arts District master plan.

d) The CM proposal includes a comment that the result of cutting back on court appearances by police officers will be a reduction in the number of respondents found responsible for traffic offenses. Can the City use as evidence Incident Reports taken contemporaneously with the alleged offense, and if the respondent is found innocent, appeal the case, bring in the officer involved;   if the respondent is found guilty, hold him/her responsible for all court costs?

e) Garfield Traub is currently in final design of the convention hotel. There is still pending a feasibility study related to that hotel. Rio Nuevo does not have the fiscal capacity to fund the Certificates of Participation that were issued recently to fund the $11 million in design fees. Can the City stop any further work on the final design pending our conclusion as to whether or not we are actually going forward with the hotel, hold the money not spent from that $11 million until that time, and if we are not moving ahead with the hotel, use those dollars for deficit mitigation?

f) Report back to M&C with a draft ordinance by which we can facilitate Neighborhood Associations’ purchase of liability insurance riders that would allow citizens to work on City property on a volunteer basis.

g) Prepare a draft ordinance to address fraudulent accessing of low income assistance benefits with respect to all city offered programs and services, including but not limited to housing, transit, environmental services, activity classes, water, etc.

h) The developer of The Post property on Congress St. is demonstrably in default of contractual commitments related to progress in developing the property he purchased for $100. He has failed to meet all timelines and various other deliverables listed in his contract with the City. How can M&C either take back that property and remarket it, or compel compliance of the developer with respect to the terms and conditions of the existing contract? Please confer with the Rio Nuevo attorney and report to M&C what our options are in this regard.

i) There are numerous lease agreements in place that are in violation of Administrative Directive from 10/94 which stipulates minimum lease rates for both commercial and non-profit entities. Please look into these $1 leases and advise how we can reopen those that are in violation of that Administrative Directive and renegotiate terms that comply with that City policy.

j) Currently there is a line item for Office of EEO/Police Review Board for $900,000. Is there any legal prohibition against eliminating that operating unit, transferring the EEO work to H.R. and using FMCS for police reviews as needed?

k) In advance of any cuts to graffiti abatement funding, please prepare a draft ordinance that holds parents of minors caught tagging responsible for all costs associated with remediation of the offense.

l) Because we are furthering a discussion of the budget, do we need to notice a continuation of the public hearing in order for us to vote next week?

Download the document:

Budget Deficit Reduction Memo_1-5-10

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