I am sure that the City Council has addressed many of these items

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I am sure that the City Council has addressed many of these items

A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    Email to: City Council

     City Manager

     Finance Director

From: John Repetto

Date: September 1, 2006

     Because of the City Council‟s time limitation of five minutes per speaker, there is no way I could cover all of the items that I would like to address. I decided to list my comments in an email to you which will give the council time to review I sent this email to our City Clerk and asked her to distribute it to you not knowing whether emails or hard copies are better for review.

     I am sure that the City Council has addressed many of these same items and drawn the similar conclusions. However, since I was unable to attend all of the budget meetings, I have listed these items for your review and consideration.

    1. City Council is elected to represent us and manage our tax dollars to the benefit of

    its citizens. The city must set an example of fiscal responsibility through

    conservative spending relative to this small town‟s needs. It is not in the interest

    of the city‟s future to tax and spend without prioritizing the town‟s needs over

    unnecessary projects.

    2. Legal expenditures of $650,000 for 2006 and budgeted legal expenses at

    $580,000 for 2007 are exorbitant for a town this size.

    a. A local Marathon attorney can more affordably assist on some routine

    legal issues.

    b. Let‟s keep the money in Marathon.

    c. Perhaps departments have to start writing their own resolutions and simple


    d. Our real estate legal work should be done locally.

    3. What are the specific duties of the Deputy City Manager? How do these duties

    compare with the same position in similar size cities? How is the salary of

    $80,468 plus benefits compare to the specific duties in other similar size cities?

    What are the qualifications of the Deputy City Manager to hold this job?

4. Do we need a Ports Manager and Deputy City Manager doing the same job?

    Why can‟t these two positions combine into one?

    5. Community Services Director at $74,060. Does the person have the proper

    qualifications and education to fill this position? Are heavy engineering and

    capital projects experience required? If not, they should be. Points in question ->

    the recent amphitheater, fill, and boat ramp issues.

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    6. Specific raises need to be addressed. Are the “Equivalency Raises” over? Just

    because the position or title warrants a certain salary range does not mean that the

    person filling that job should be paid at the higher range. Salary should be

    commensurate with knowledge, experience, and qualifications.

7. Grants coordinator at $37,030.

    a. How many grant applications does the city file per year?

    b. What does this person do for the rest of their time?

    c. The city paid $47,261 for the first 8 months of the year to Leisure Grants.

    d. The city budgeted another $20,000 for grants (see #9 below)

    e. The city has another $90,000 in grant expenses in the capital budget.

    f. Does hiring a grants‟ coordinator for $37,030 mean that Leisure Time

    goes away?

    g. Very popular budget item totaling $194,291 just for the above noted items.

    h. All grants expenses and grant income should be put together on one

    separate grant worksheet showing all grant income against all grant

    expenses for review and decision making.

8. Transitional Plan for ADA budgeted at $40,000. Why is a study necessary?

    Can we borrow from the County?

9. What are miscellaneous grant related contracts at a cost of $20,000? $20,000 is

    not a “miscellaneous” cost. All grant related expenses should be itemized under

    one category.

    10. $12,600 for Yacht Club property taxes. Is there an offset to this amount in the

    budget somewhere? I looked for it but may have missed it. What about all of the

    back taxes and carrying costs (interest)? I know there has been dialogue with the

    Yacht Club, is there any resolution?

11. City Clerk budget records management software for $70,000. What are the

    deficiencies that this software package is trying to correct? Is this a one time

    expenditure or annual expense? The city purchased City View software which

    supposedly had these features. What is the difference between this purchase and

    the existing City View software? If this software is not duplication, then this

    expense should be amortized. If it is duplication, then justify the expense.

    12. Why do we need to spend $59,408 with Essential Network for the first 8 months

    of 2006 when we have an IT manager? Why does this department require both

    outside assistance through Essential Network and an in-house manager to

    maintain a network of this size?

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    13. It is my understanding that 2 local bidders also attempted to secure this (IT)

    contract. The City of Marathon has a local‟s preference ordinance. How did all

    of the bids compare on services and how was the decision made to use this

    specific provider?

    14. City View Maintenance at $20,430 and software enhancements at $25,000. These

    expenses have been going on for at least 5 years. When does the contract expire?

    Is it automatically renewed or put out to bid? What are the services provided?

    What are the alternatives? What are the enhancements and what benefits do they


    15. Several new computers are being purchased. What happens to the old ones?

    16. Why do so many city employees have cell phones? Justify the need for each cell

    phone. How is usage monitored (business v. personal)? What methods are in

    place to ensure taxpayers are not paying for personal calls?

    17. $422,614 was paid for landscaping services for the first eight months of 2006.

    Annualized, these services would cost almost $634,000. Costs can be cut by

    having the public works department handle some of these expenses.

    18. Universal Beach Cleaning spent $107,684 for the first eight months 2006 and is

    budgeted at $71,158 for the coming FY 2007. Why is a local contractor still

    unable to bid on these services at a lower price? Something is wrong here, needs

    investigation. I was under the impression that the Universal Beach contract was

    in the neighborhood of $50,000. How did this contract increase by over more than

    100% of the budgeted amount? Who approved the increase and why?

     th budget at $28,500. (I hope it is for fireworks great show!) Please 19. July 4

    itemize the expenses.

20. Public Works

    a. Why do we need a separate manager for two employees?

    b. Hire a few more Public Works‟ employees to handle some landscaping.

    duties to lower the outsourced landscaping expenses.

    c. Raise salaries for the two (hopefully more) public works employees

21. What are the Code Board expenses for $12,000? (Legal?)

    22. Affordable Housing Study for $51,630. What are the guidelines for this study?

    This is not a new issue and should not require over $50,000 to assess. Who is

    benefiting from this? Who is the contractor? If the study is to determine the cost

    of affordable housing and developers are to be required to offset these amounts,

    what is the anticipated additional income and is it sufficient to offset the costs?

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    23. On the planning budget, cost recovery expenses of $36,000. What is this?

    (Possibly impact fees?) Needs clarification.

    24. Six new fire fighters / EMT are excessive at $271,176 plus benefits for Marathon.

    25. Pension for fire fighters is budgeted at $260,697 which equates to 25% of wages.

    This appears to be excessive. Is this in line with Monroe County fire fighters /

    EMT? Need to see comparison of expenses Marathon City versus Monroe

    County fire fighters / EMT. Before any increase is approved, the city should be in

    line with the county.

    26. City of Key Colony Beach was paying $325,000 for fire / EMT services 5 years

    ago. Now, with all of the City of Marathon increases for fire and EMT, we have

    negotiated a new number in the range of $280,000. This does not make any sense.

    Whoever is negotiating for Key Colony Beach should be hired by the Marathon

    and negotiate on our side. Let‟s change seats.

27. Monroe County Sheriff‟s budget – best bargain in the entire budget.

    28. The city looks bad with trash everywhere. Budget a dumpster to be located on

    city property that is open to any city resident so that they can legally dispose of

    trash. It would be an improvement to the looks of the city if the dumpster was

    filled and needed to be emptied daily. Remember the part about “for the people‟.

    29. Where do people dispose of their used boat and engine oil? Some says it works

    great to eliminate land crabs by pouring it into their holes. Need disposal area in

    budget. Need to advertise location, etc.

    30. Fire House at $7.3 million give or take a couple million (Three years ago, the fire

    house budget was at $2.5 million). What happened?

    a. $380,000 to come up with plans for a fire house is excessive.

    b. It is my understanding that the design contract was awarded without using

    the bid process. Why? The city has been working on the new fire house

    for more than 5 years and now the city awards a design contract without

    allowing others to participate. How do we know that the right single

    bidder was selected?

    c. Why does Marathon needs its own Emergency Operations Center when

    Monroe County‟s is located in Marathon? How will Marathon‟s residents

    benefit from this additional expense?

    d. Who is going to pay for all the EOC toys needs to operate the EOC?

    Remember the County EOC that will be located on the same property

    (airport) within yards of the proposed city EOC. Again, why would a

    duplicate service be needed and how will Marathon‟s resident benefit?

    e. Why can‟t the Fire Chief and all administrative people be located at the

    new City Hall to use the same conference rooms, bathrooms, etc? It

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    appears that we have two city employee groups, the fire fighters and the

    others. Integrating both groups will optimize space and cut costs. We

    have a “we‟ versus „them‟ mentality.

    f. Why do we need six additional fire / EMT‟s? If these are for transfers,

    then how many do we really need and are they cost justified? Who is

    doing the work today and are we going to be competing for the same

    services with someone else?

    g. Would it be cheaper and more efficient to have all fire fighters and EMT

    work under the county anyway? Why “reinvent the wheel” and duplicate

    costs? It would provide better coordination and coverage. The Sheriff‟s

    Department is a good example of how well this works.

    h. Who is the person recommending or requiring Marathon institute its own


    31. The current capital infrastructure fund has a starting balance of $7.3 million.

     to spend all of it at once. Fiscal responsibility dictates no need

    32. More grant expenses. Capital infrastructure has a budget of another $90,000 for grant monitoring. Can I get this job? Remember we have a grants coordinator on the city payroll at $37,000 and also spend $47,261 with Leisure Time grants for the first eight months of 2006. Plus $20,000 in another area. Do we need a grant monitor to watch over the grant “experts”? What do the taxpayers get in grants

    relative to the cost of pursuing the grants, $X cents on the dollar? It appears that the only people making money on grants are the grant writers. Perform an analysis of the amount of grant money received versus the costs of all these grant expenses and report the facts to the citizens.

    33. It appears that the fiscal year 2007 budget has a planned $3.2 million surplus on total expenditures of $13.7 million or 23%. Why does the city need a 23% cushion? Estimated surplus for fiscal year 2006 is 4.2 million which is a reduction of $0.6 million. The city is not a bank and does not need 25% reserves when the city has taxing and borrowing authority available.

The City Council has the option to transfer „surplus‟ dollars (oxymoron surplus

    dollars) from the general fund to Capital infrastructure fund. This can eliminate / reduce borrowing for certain capital projects. In the past dollars have been transferred between the two budgets.

    34. Justify every new position, one at a time. Present a separate personnel page showing last year, and budget numbers, dollars and position. What deficiencies is this going to correct.

    35. Review all contracts that expire or are up for renewal at end year, and others on their anniversary dates.

    a. Provide a simple brief on performance rating, and any increase requested.

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    b. Evaluation should include critical elements as outlined in contract.

    c. Council needs a full list of all current contracts with $$ and terms so that

    council can start to track.

    36. Do we really need all those city cars? We could probably eliminate one vehicle

    and never miss it.

    37. Why are we spending $650,000 for building improvements for City Hall when we

    are going to build a new City Hall for $5 to $10 million? This may need a better

    description; the money may be for the new City Hall but is listed under

    improvements. Need clarification.

    38. $400,000 for capital improvements for the City Park. Another amphitheater? I

    believe it has been used twice this year. Please itemize all capital improvements

    and costs. Hopefully some of the planned improvements are earmarked for the

    marina rather than City Park. Also grant money may offset some of these

    expenditures. Having a separate grant analysis worksheet may help to explain /

    justify some of these items.

    39. Why $1.5 million for land acquisition for affordable housing. This is got to be a

    good one? Is there any offsetting grant money? If not, why is grant money not

    available? If grant money is not available are we still budgeting $1.5 for land


    40. Itemize the city loans, amounts, interest rates, terms, and purpose of the loan?

    None are listed in the budget package.

41. Why is the boat ramp behind the airport closed? With hurricane / tropical storm rd street boat ramp was backed up onto US1? Why can‟t it Ernesto coming, the 33

    be used until repaired?

    42. Why did the City of Marathon sod Sombrero Beach the opening day of hurricane

    season? Why did the City plant the same plants that were killed by salt water

    (remember they are planted at the beach). Just because the Federal Government

    provides disaster recovery funds, which happen to be our tax dollars also, does

    not mean that we have to waste them.

     rd43. The 33 Street boat ramp is a disaster. Temporary fixes need to be implemented

    or increase insurance and attorney amounts.

    a. I believe the county already has paid for the design specifications.

    b. I also believe there is a tentative contract that will build the facility for

    approximately $360,000.

    c. Why is it budgeted at $550,000?

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A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    44. There is a rumor (emphasize the word rumor) that the City of Marathon gave

    away fill (dirt) from one or more of the contractors (sewer project / fire house

    demolition) only to buy back the same fill (dirt) for the fill required for the

    proposed fire house. Are we really that wasteful of our tax dollars? Who is

    watching the store, if this is true?

    45. Another “rumor” (emphasize the word rumor) is that the City of Marathon vests

    10% of an employee‟s annual salary after the first day on the job. This means that

    if an employee works one day or one week, the employee gets 10% of their

    annual salary for pension benefits. They quit after one week and get this benefit?

    Is this correct and if so why?

    46. It appears that the general fund spending is going to increase by about $0.5

    million for the fiscal year 2007 over 2006. This is rough estimate due to trying to

    eliminate one time special hurricane expenses in the 2006 numbers. Millage,

    property appraisals, etc do not mitigate the fact that the city is spending more

    money for 2007 than we did for 2006. What are the taxpayers getting for these

    additional dollars?

    47. We need a charter change for the City of Marathon that limits budget increases to

    2% per year exclusive of disaster expenses. Taxpayers and residents must live

    within their budgets; the city has a fiscal responsibility to conserve its residents‟

    dollars and not overspend.

    48. The City charter change also needs to apply to the capital infrastructure budget for

    the reasons already listed.

    49. The City charter needs to cap the amount the city can borrow. We do not want to

    mortgage our future on unnecessary and wasteful capital Taj Majal‟s. We already

    have several “Monuments to Stupidity”. As taxpayers, we need to be damn sure

    that previous policy limits are not exceeded.

    50. The City of Marathon has spent $12,434,160.71 for all categories from October 1,

    2005 through June 2006 (9 months). The city has about 1,650 vendor names with

    about 1/2 to 1/3 of them receiving some payment for that 9 month time period.

    However, 41 of the 1,650 vendors received $11,476,802.72 or 92.3% of all

    monies spent b y the City. Therefore, it is relatively easy to review these 41

    vendors for potential savings in the coming budget. Remember 92% of all

    dollars are spent with these 41 vendors. Look here for savings. Everything else is

    noise in the system. The list shows the payee, city and amount for those 41

    vendors. By the way, why are there not more Marathon addresses when the City

    has a local‟s preference ordinance?

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    A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    All Vendors that received more than $20,000 in payments for

    the first nine months of 2006

     Payee City Amount Beach & Reef Islamorada $ 221,065.90 Beacon Construction Marathon $ 25,579.00 Bell South Charlotte $ 29,360.05 Blake Chevelet Homestead $ 23,405.50 BOCC Key West $ 1,015,661.51 Card Service Center Dallas $ 39,260.25 Deck Disaster recovery Orlando $ 901,270.04 Elite Fire & Safety Naples $ 51,394.39 Essential Network Melbourne $ 59,048.76 FKAA Key West $ 81,867.62 FKEC Tavernier $ 127,435.70 Florida Fence Tavernier $ 22,600.00 Florida Municipal Insurance Tallahassee $ 426,780.74 Florida Pension Tallahassee $ 64,524.17 Florida Superior Sand Lighthouse Point $ 162,020.88 Globetec Construction Deerfield Beach $ 334,934.09 Gonzales landscaping Marathon $ 422,613.50 Grubbs Emergency Brookville $ 2,829,404.47 Higher Love Mission Marathon $ 30,000.00 Keith & Schnars Fort Lauderdale $ 91,132.31 Keys Contractors Marathon $ 95,658.59 Leisure Grants Plantation $ 47,261.00 Liberty American Ins Dallas $ 22,996.00 Marathon Electric Marathon $ 47,452.67 Marathon Seawalls Marathon $ 108,000.00 Monroe County Key West $ 28,312.04 MT Causley Homestead $ 202,683.64 Office depot Cincinnati $ 28,135.36 Oxford Business Corp Miami $ 83,765.59 Rachlin Cohen & Holtz Miami $ 46,397.21 RampTech Woodbridge. VA $ 37,076.22 Recreational Design Fort Lauderdale $ 534,858.12 Robertson Monagle Anchorage, AK $ 28,840.00 Rosasco Marathon $ 305,338.49 Rural Health Network Key West $ 25,000.00 RV Communications Merritt Island $ 20,886.16 Seacoast Inc Oldsmar $ 25,310.00 Seating Construction Pinellas Park $ 30,892.56 Stearns Weaver Miller Miami $ 432,351.48 4/16/2012 Page 8 of 10

    A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

     Payee City Amount Sun Trust Bank Atlanta $ 637,392.37 Ten-8 Fire equipment Bradenton $ 147,811.80 Third Generation Plumbing Marathon $ 35,856.35 Universal Beach Services Delray Brach $ 107,684.60 Weiler Engineering Port Charlotte $ 1,409,089.27 William Scotsman Chicago $ 28,394.32 Subtotals $11,476,802.72 92.3% All others $ 957,357.99 7.7% Grand Totals $12,434,160.71 100.0%

    51. Personnel listed in the proposed budget. Please note that an attempt was made to

    list the names along side of the positions. This needs to be verified to insure

    accuracy. We have 22 managers, supervisors, and directors. That is a lot of

    supervision for the number of employees. Can some of these jobs be combined or


    Below is a listing of all the personnel listed in the proposed

    2007 Budget

    Some of these positions maybe new or are vacant at this time

    Dept Position Name Count Amount 2002 City Manager Puto 1 $ 108,360.00 2002 Deputy City Manager CJ 1 $ 80,468.00 2002 Human Resources Director Susan 1 $ 58,190.00 2002 Executive Assistant Maria 1 $ 39,146.00 2002 Deputy Human Resources Clara 1 $ 44,984.00 2002 Administrative Assistant Debby 1 $ 27,442.00 2005 Community Services Director Susie 1 $ 74,060.00 2005 Community Services Coordinator Donna 1 $ 38,753.00 2005 Grants Coordinator (new) New 1 $ 37,030.00 2005 Administrative Assistant Ava 1 $ 29,511.00 3014 City Clerk Diane 1 $ 58,190.00 3014 Administrative Assistant Vacant 1 $ 29,518.00 3516 IT Manager Brent 1 $ 52,191.00 5006 Parks & Rec Manager Jimmy 1 $ 51,665.00 5006 Program Aide Paul &? 2 $ 54,884.00 5006 Parks Facilities Worker Vacant 1 $ 29,518.00 5006 Skate Part Attendant (PT) ? 1 $ 19,600.00 5006 Turtle Surveying (NEW) New 1 $ 7,800.00 5008 Public Works Manager Walter 1 $ 56,074.00 5008 Maintenance Worker James 1 $ 34,924.00 5008 Maintenance Worker Martin 1 $ 34,924.00 5010 Building Director Rose Ann 1 $ 71,415.00 5010 Permit Technician Kim 1 $ 35,760.00 5010 Permit Technician Martha 1 $ 35,760.00 5010 Permit Runner New 1 $ 29,518.00 4/16/2012 Page 9 of 10

    A Concerned Taxpayers Comments

    Dept Position Name Count Amount 5012 Administrative Assistant Patsy 1 $ 29,511.00 5012 Code Compliance Supervisor Michael 1 $ 61,144.00 5012 Code Compliance Officer Cynthia 1 $ 44,585.00 5010 Administrative Assistant Connie 1 $ 38,247.00 5010 Part Time intern Tim / Diane 2 $ 10,400.00 5015 Planning Director Fred 1 $ 82,921.00 5015 Planner Vacant 1 $ 47,633.00 5015 Assistant Planner Jacquie 1 $ 43,793.00 5015 Biologist Pat 1 $ 44,436.00 5015 Biologist Darla 1 $ 44,517.00 5015 Planning Technician Vacant 1 $ 33,962.00 5015 Administrative Assistant Arla 1 $ 29,511.00 7004 Fire Chief Vacant 1 $ 87,708.00 7004 Deputy Chief Dale 1 $ 58,414.00 7004 Logistics Officer Pruitt 1 $ 39,986.00 7004 Shift Captains 3 people 3 $ 155,590.00 7004 Administrative Assistant Grace 1 $ 34,925.00 7004 Lieutenants 3 people 3 $ 150,195.00 7004 Fire Fighters / EMT 6 people 6 $ 266,333.00 7004 Fire Fighters / EMT (new) New 6 $ 271,176.00 7004 Fire Fighter - Part timer ? 0 $ 34,780.00 7004 Firefighter's overtime ? 0 $ 85,680.00 8009 Bridge tender Carl 1 $ 29,511.00 8009 Bridge tender (part time) ? 2 $ 21,840.00 8010 Administrative Assistant (Ports) Vacant 1 $ 29,518.00 8010 Harbor Master Rich 1 $ 52,228.00 8010 Assistant Harbor Master Austin 1 $ 33,962.00 8010 Marina Technicians 3 people 3 $ 97,686.00 8010 Administrative Assistant Karen 2 $ 60,327.00

     Totals 71 $3,187,924.00

Please advise when the proposed final budget will be available so we can review prior to

    the final budget meetings.

    4/16/2012 Page 10 of 10

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