Historic Downtown Globe on a Sunday morning. Photo by LCGross
Home » Government » Budget, benefits top agenda at City Council’s April 26 meeting

Budget, benefits top agenda at City Council’s April 26 meeting

Members of the Globe City Council: Mayor Al Gameros, Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton (District 4), and Councilmembers Freddy Rios (District 1), Mike Pastor (District 2), Jesse Leetham (District 3), Mariano Gonzalez (District 5), and Fernando Shipley (District 6). All members were in attendance at this meeting.

Budget update includes proposal for new community fund

Staff provided Council with a budget update for financial year 2022/23 and sought Council direction on budgetary inclusions.

City Manager Paul Jepson presented a timeline for budget development: 

  • May meetings: Council to hear review of SAP items and revenue projects
  • June 14: Council to hear about general fund budget and CIP
  • June 21: Council to consider budget additions at a special meeting
  • June 28: Council to adopt a tentative budget, which will be posted for the public to review
  • July 19: Council to adopt the final budget. 

The 2022/23 fiscal year starts on July 1.

Jepson said property taxes will not be increased, so no Truth in Taxation meetings will be necessary.

Possible key line-items for the budget include:

  • $73,000 for Cobre Valley Regional Transit and IPTA assignments. IPTA is the regional public transit for all of Gila County, and the City is considering whether to participate. If it does, the budget amount could change. Council’s Quality of Life work group will discuss this item.
  • $13,000 for Cobre Valley Youth Club
  • $35,000 for the Blight Remediation Fund. Code Enforcement uses this fund to take homes down and respond to items, for example putting a fence around a house that burned recently. Jepson said the cost to demolish a residential structure runs about $10,000.
  • $100,000 for common line budget (to replace sewer common lines)
  • $30,000 for a non-profit grant fund. Normally the City puts in $15,000, but this year there is also $15,000 available in ARPA matching funds.

Additional key topics for discussion will include a community budget and a Head Start building. The community budget would be a bucket of money available for any activity that benefits the community, promotes tourism and helps retain residents, such as special events where Public Works and the Police Department have to work overtime. It would also cover things like putting up Christmas decorations. Having a fund for these purposes will allow Council to see where money is being spent for these items, and will make funds available for these purposes instead of departments having to cover them. Staff will look at historical usage to determine an amount.

Jepson said the City needs to issue an RFP for a Head Start building to benefit the children of Globe. The Quality of Life working group will discuss the scope of what might be involved, such as the ages of children that would be eligible to participate.

Bed tax distribution for 2022

The City distributes 100% of what it collects in bed tax to the five entities that support the City of Globe. In 2021, the distribution was:

  • Globe-Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce: 22.5%
  • Southern Gila County EDC: 22.5%
  • Cobre Valley Center for the Arts: 20%
  • Globe Downtown Association: 20%
  • Gila County Historical Society: 15%

This split was requested by the five entities.

Council discussed whether the split for 2022 should be the same as last year. Mayor Gameros noted that he would like to consider making the City of Globe one of the recipients, because the City has stepped up its tourism efforts significantly. The Financial Sustainability working group will discuss this matter.

“These groups do a lot for the community. … They give so much to this community, and this is very much needed by them to keep their doors open.” Councilman Fernando Shipley

Jepson discussed the history of the bed tax: Years ago, the bed tax organizations wanted a dedicated funding source instead of having to ask the City for funds every year. They reached out to the hotels and other concerned parties to get their support, and the City modified the taxing structure in order to collect the money.

Council adopts 2022 benefits package for City employees

Council adopted the City’s employee benefit package for 2022 and the 2022 employee contribution schedule for health care coverage.

Prior to Council’s discussion, Rachel Calisi of Segal Consultants presented information regarding employee benefit renewals for 2022/23, including the medical plan and other benefits.

Employees will see a 5% increase in rates on medical with Blue Cross Blue Shield, which Calisi said they negotiated down from over 7%. Rates on the City’s dental plan, through MetLife, will see an increase of 4.9%. Life insurance, through Mutual of Omaha, will have no increase in rates. The vision plan, through VSP, also will have no change in rates.

Caliisi also announced a new benefit that the City is adding this year – a flexible spending account (FSA), also known as a use-it-or-lose-it account. The FSA will allow people to put money in the account pre-tax and then use it for various medical, dental, or vision expenses during the year.

Calisi went over the nine trends that Segal Health is seeing in the healthcare industry today, such as price inflation, higher utilization, and continuing use of telemedicine/telehealth.

The City offers the following benefits to employees:

  • Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO, PPO, and high deductible health care plans
  • Dental, vision, life, and AD&D
  • Dependent care options on all plans
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), with contribution and match. These accounts are available only with the high-deductible plan.
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (FASs), starting this year

Jepson reminded Council that the City is halfway through the process of bringing employees’ salaries in line with the market. The City is also building money into the budget for 3% performance evaluation increases. As part of the same overall program, the City is working on getting employee benefit contribution percentages up to 33% for families and 15% for singles.

To that end, the City is increasing the employee contributions for the HMO by 3.7% for singles and 3.5% for families. For the PPO, the increases are 4.4% for singles and 4.1% for families. For the high deductible plan, there will be no change to the employee contribution percentage. Jepson pointed out that these amounts are pre-tax.

Council discussed the pros and cons of using a high-deductible plan, which Councilman Shipley said can be very advantageous in some situations. They also discussed the 66%/33% dependent care rule, by which the City aims for a 66%/33% split between the City and the employee on +1 and family plans and a 85%/15% split for singles. Jepson said the City will add a plan this year that will be 99% City and 1% employee.

The City is also proposing to offer a one-time benefit distribution this year to recognize the hard work and commitment of staff during the COVID pandemic. The benefits will be funded through ARPA funds, and each employee will have the option of receiving either cash (which would be taxable), a pre-tax HSA/FSA contribution, or additional vacation days, exempt from the 240-day cap. People will need to indicate their preference during open enrollment.

Open enrollment will be held June 8 at the water barn. There will be live presenters and healthy snacks available.

Council also authorized the City Manager to sign renewal contracts with Blue Cross Blue Shield, MetLife, Vision Service Plan and Mutual of Omaha.

Upper Pinal Creek (Connie’s Bridge) project on hold

City Engineer Jerry Barnes gave an update on the bridge project. Rick Powers, project manager on the bridge, said that due to the unprecedented times we are experiencing, including supply-chain issues, the bridge project has been put on hold.

Powers said the City advertised for bids on February 24 and held a pre-bid meeting on March 10. At that meeting there were only four attendees, and only two of those were prime contractors. Bid opening was held on March 21, and the City received only one bid. Upon reviewing the bid, City staff determined that the bid was not reasonable even given the price increases that have been occurring. Staff decided to reject the bid.

Powers said the City is experiencing problems getting a reasonable bid due to the fact that contractors are busy and it’s hard to find ones with availability, as well as the fact that the project is relatively remote and there are not many local contractors who can handle a project of this scope and size. Contractors were unable to get price quotes on materials that would be valid for more than 30 days, which made them unwilling to take risks on losing money if their bid was too low. Also, it was difficult to find available subcontractors.

Powers said the City will repackage the bid package to reduce the scope and will also be even more proactive in seeking out contractors. The bid will go out again in the fall. At that time the project will consist of the Upper Pinal Creek bridge and the Hill Street improvements project.

Barnes said the City has had a similar situation on Cottonwood Bridge, and that project is going to be shelved for the time being. Barnes said the issue, again, is price increases. He said under the circumstances, “ADOT has made it almost impossible for us to bid it right away, because they want more money up front.” 

The hope is that the market will stabilize, and at that time the City will contact contractors again. In the meantime, Barnes said, the City will look for more money for the projects.

Barnes said the bridges are sound and stable, even after the recent flooding, and are being monitored.

Jenson pointed out that entities all over the country have had injections of funding, and all of them are trying to do capital projects at the same time. The existing contractors and laborers are not able to keep up with the demand, as well as materials being in short supply.

City considers providing air medical services for residents

Jillian Manley of PHI Emergency Medical Transportation presented about the company and its services. PHI provides air medical services, including air ambulance and medical services. The air ambulances are supplied with a paramedic and a nurse, as well as the pilot and a mechanic. They also carry 30 types of medication as well as equipment including transport ventilators, fetal monitors, and more.

Air ambulance medical professionals treat for cardiac issues, trauma, strokes, high-risk OB, burns, and pediatric/NICU.

PHI offers a PHI Cares program where members who use the air ambulance services pay no out-of-pocket, no co-pays, and no deductibles, and there are no financial coverage limitations.

Paul Jepson explained that City employees already have PHI coverage, and the City is considering extending coverage to all residents of Globe. This would be considered as part of the City’s budget.

On their own, people can subscribe for $40 per year for an individual or $60 per year for a household, which rises to $100 per year without insurance. If the City arrives at an agreement with PHI to cover all residents, the cost would be $7 per household.

PHI’s local base is at the Pinto Valley Mine, and they have several other bases surrounding the Globe-Miami area.

Canyon Fire Station ownership to transfer to Tri-City

Fire Chief Gary Robinson discussed the need to transfer ownership of the Canyon Fire Station on Jess Hayes Road to the Tri-City Fire District. The transfer would be implemented through a quitclaim deed. 

Chief Gary Robinson said Tri-City is looking to make improvements to the Canyon Fire Station, which are needed particularly in the office and living areas. However, because the City has ownership of the property and buildings under a long-term lease agreement, Tri-City is limited in its options for securing funding. Transferring the building to the Tri-City Fire District would make it possible for them to look for funding from more sources.

Council’s Public Safety working group has discussed the situation. One concern that was raised was that the facility should continue to serve the City of Globe with fire and EMS protection. Chief Robinson said this unit is typically the one that would respond in the city, for all of Globe except the far west of town. There are also issues related the septic system, and Robinson said Tri-City would like to eventually be able to put the station on the City sewer system.

Robinson said by giving the opportunity for Tri-City to improve conditions for their personnel, they would be able to continue offering services for Globe. There is a four-person crew at the station 24/7, 365 days a year.

That is a key station. When we need help from Tri-City downtown Broad Street, those are the units that come.” City Manager Paul Jepson

A representative of Tri-City said there is no insulation in the walls or attic. He said two years ago the plan had been to demolish the building, but now they are looking to install a metal building that would fit with the neighborhood. 

If the station is transferred to Tri-City’s ownership, there would be conditions. Tri-City would not be able to sublet the building or use it for any use other than for fire/medical – it would have to remain under the Tri-City Fire District. They would also not be able to sell it; if they did want to sell, the station would have to revert back to the City of Globe.

The quitclaim deed will now go to Tri-City for legal review and board approval. It will then return to Council for a signature.

New employee introductions

The City has three new employees who were introduced to Council at this meeting.

Police Chief Dale Walters introduced Shelley Soroka-Spence, the new director of the Copper Hills Family Advocacy Center and Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator. Soroka-Spence has degrees in psychology with an emphasis in early childhood, and has worked with children and families for 23 years, primarily in child abuse prevention and intervention. She has been a licensed counselor for the state of Arizona for the past 13 years. In her role as mental health and wellness coordinator, she will help educate members of the Police Department on mental health issues they will routinely encounter, and will provide health and wellness services for officers and employees.

Chief Walters also introduced Danielle Madden, the new executive assistant to the Chief of Police. Madden is from Flagstaff and currently lives in Superior. She has worked in the field of behavioral health for the past 16 years.

Vince Angulo introduced Sonia Weaver, a new maintenance employee at the wastewater treatment plant who started in January. She’s a Miami graduate and has two daughters.

Motions approved

Council also approved motions for the following:

  • Accounts payable in the amount of $509,257.49
  • An agreement between the Globe Police Department and Florida State University to host an intern at the Copper Hills Family Advocacy Center. Chief Dale Walters explained that a local resident attends Florida State online and requested to be an intern at the FAC. The internship runs from May to October, and the person would work under Shelley Soroka-Spence.
  • Issuing invitations for bid for the Pasquel, Bailey, and Dickinson water line replacement projects. Jerry Barnes explained that these items are part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program. These items will come back to Council when the Engineering Department has a recommendation on a contract. There will be 180 feet of new line on Pasquale at Tebbs, 200 feet of new line on Bailey near the bus barns, and 100 feet on Dickinson in Six-Shooter Canyon.

We’ve had multiple, multiple breaks on these lines. It’s costing us a fortune to send crews out at two o’clock in the morning.” City Engineer Jerry Barnes

  • Transfer of $106,038 (including a contingency amount of $17,673) to Public Works Building Maintenance to cover roof repairs at the Police Department, Fire Department, and Amster Building, and authorizing payment of up to 50% of the combined contract price. Jerry Barnes explained the roof repairs are already underway at the PD and FD. At the Amster Building, the City is in the process of getting an environmental evaluation. The work is being done by Rodriguez, a long-time and trusted contractor for the City. Barnes said these repairs fall under the Emergency Maintenance Proclamation, and there could be significant costs if there were delay. The relevant contracts will be brought back before Council on May 10 for final approval.
  • An Intergovernmental Agreement with Gila County to employ four summer interns with the City of Globe through the 2022 Summer Youth Program. Shelly Salazar explained that this is an annual agreement with the County. The item was discussed at Council’s last meeting and received final approval tonight.
  • Purchase of six automated external defibrillators for the Globe Police Department through a 100 Club of Arizona Safety Enhancement Stipend grant award, in an amount not to exceed $11,000. Chief Walters explained that the goal is to place one defibrillator in each of the PD’s buildings and the rest in supervisor’s vehicles.
  • Use of a cooperative agreement between Pinal County and Cactus Asphalt to complete seal coat and asphalt projects at various locations throughout the City of Globe, in an amount not to exceed $561,154, which includes a 10% contingency. The projects are to be funded through HURF, the 1/2 cent excise tax, and other budgeted items. The contractors have already begun the work, at their own risk. Jerry Barnes said the City is working all over town and is making sure work gets done in all districts, but some districts will see more than others due to requirements set by the various funding sources.

To view this meeting online, visit HERE

Full minutes can be found by going to the City Hall website and click on Agendas/Minutes in the bottom left-hand corner.

The Globe City Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. at City Hall. The meetings are currently open to the public at 50% capacity. Members of the public are requested to wear a mask except when seated. Seating is limited to allow for social distancing.

Members of the public can also participate in City of Globe public meetings by viewing the meeting live on YouTube. To view the Council meeting live stream, go to the City of Globe’s YouTube channel (search for City of Globe Arizona). 

To speak to agenda items before or during the meeting, you can call or text (928) 200-0154 or send an email to council@globeaz.gov. If you desire to speak to the Council during an agenda item.

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