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

By Esther Perez,2014-04-16 21:43
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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