City Council Adopts 2021-22 Tentative Budget at June 29 meeting
Members of the Globe City Council: Mayor Al Gameros, Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton, and Council members Freddy Rios, Mike Pastor, Jesse Leetham, Fernando Shipley, and Mariano Gonzalez. All members were in attendance.
This was a specially scheduled meeting to give Council an opportunity to adopt the 2021-22 Tentative Budget and a few other items.
Community Center Pool and Splash Pad Project goes after two grants
> Freeport McMoRan’s Community Investment
Economic Development Director Linda Oddonetto reported that the City received a letter of invitation to submit a grant application to Freeport-McMoRan’s Community Investment Fund for the community center pool and splash pad project. The process is very detailed and requires extensive, specific information about how the project will affect the economic development of the community. Oddonetto appeared this evening to ask Council for approval for the City to continue the application process, and Council approved the grant application.
The application is due July 25, and if the City receives the grant, the funds will be available by the middle of September. These grants go up to $300,000.
>Arizona Complete Health Care First Community Reinvestment Program
This grant would contribute $100,000 toward the community pool rehab and splash pad installation. Oddonetto said the application was turned in last week, and this grant will be awarded the second week of August. Council approved the grant application.
Declaration of Emergency Flood Mitigation Post Mescal and Telegraph Fires
City Manager Paul Jepson asked for an emergency declaration to be passed so that, in case of flooding, Globe will be in a position to ask for resources. Jepson said that declaring the emergency now helps with the City’s procurement process and speeds things up. The declaration will allow the City to immediately seek help if needed. Council approved the emergency declaration.
Jepson said, “While there are no floods right now, we know that the scope and the size of the fire bring a high potential threat for flash floods.”
Jepson said Governor Ducey created a wildfire fund through DEMA and state forestry that can help with purchasing materials for response to flooding, including a sandbagger, sandbags, tools, barricades, and so forth.
“If heavy rain hits the mountain, it’s going to come down pretty quick. We’re thinking an hour.” City Manager Paul Jepson
Mayor Al Gameros thanked City staff, particularly Jerry Barnes, for their efforts on mitigation projects.
The City is overseeing the contracting of cleanup and is coordinating permissions. Jepson asked for anyone with property in the creek or the wash to contact City Hall to give permission for people to come in and clean it up, at no cost to you.
Jepson said the biggest limitation is the shortage of sandbags. Engineering Director Jerry Barnes said 50,000 sandbags have been requisitioned and 30,000 should be available by July 2. Sandbags will be available to residents at no cost through the City. Sandbags on pallets will be available at various locations for pickup. Jepson said people who feel they need sandbags can call Emergency Management or the City of Globe and City staff will make sure they get them.
Currently, Barnes said, the sandbags that are available at various locations are provided through the county. He said the sandbagger and sandbags will be available Friday and sandbagging should start by Monday. The City is asking for donations of pallets for use with sandbags.
Purchase of 493 North Broad Street
Council approved the purchase of the Silver King building from Kenneth Brown for $65,000 plus half of closing costs and directed Chris Collopy, Human Resources Director, to sign the purchase documents. Collopy said the purchase agreement had been brought before Council about two months ago and signed and had been waiting for an appraisal and environmental study.
Collopy said the purchase agreement was contingent on these two documents, and said the purchase price fell within the appraisal but was at the high end.
The environmental report found nothing on the property; however, it noted possible concerns outside the property, including the possibility that a dry cleaner may have been located at the adjoining property (the Earth Mover Tire building) in the 1960s and 1970s and that dry cleaner chemicals might have leaked onto the property. It would be necessary to drill in order to determine the presence of any chemicals.
A second concern was raised about a possibility of a septic tank on the property and that workers of the tire company may have disposed of oil in the septic system.
Collopy dismissed both concerns, saying the Silver King building was never a dry cleaner and that the city has had sewer since 1918, prior to the building being built, so no septic tank would have been installed.
Collopy concluded it seems to be “a safe bet” that the property is environmentally clean, and recommended the City should forward with the purchase. Jepson agreed, saying, “There will never be a pristine determination on an environmental report,” and said he feels the risk is manageable.
Although USDA could potentially fund a Phase 2 evaluation, it was decided that the potential risk wasn’t high enough to justify it, and that given the results of the Phase 1, and what the city plans to do with the property, the City could move forward with the project.
Adoption of 2021-2022 Tentative Budget
Council considered and approved the adoption of a tentative budget for 2021-2022 totaling $53,849,344. Council is set to formally adopt the budget on July 27th with the two addenda, after a public hearing.
Changes made since the last Council meeting include:
- The DEMA (Department of Emergency and Military Affairs) was increased by $1 million, as discussed by Council at its previous meeting.
- There had been an error in HURF due to the fund balance carried forward being miscalculated, so the CIP construction amount was reduced to cover that amount.
Finance Director Jeannie Sgroi noted that the City is starting to see tax revenues for recreational marijuana sales. While the majority of the taxes go to the schools, some is going to the Police Department and Fire Department toward their PSPRS balances. In June, this was about $13,000 for Police and $9,000 for Fire. The state distributes the monies according to population.
Additional changes were also made on the capital improvement plan, regarding priorities.
The budget – just over $53 million – is double what it was last year. The reason for the large jump, explained Jepson, is that the City is considering a lot of items they are seeking money for (grants etc.) and, according to Jepson, the budget has to be large enough to allow for those funds in case they do materialize.
As an example, Jepson says the $1.1 million for the completion of the Hill Street project is sitting on the governor’s desk. Although this is an appropriation to ADOT, it’s possible ADOT will be able to forward the money to the City. Mayor Gameros recognized Engineering Director Jerry Barnes for working with Rep. David Cook to get this line item on the bill. The money will help finish construction work from Ash/US60 down to Connie’s Bridge.
Jepson noted that the City’s general fund operations budget is a tad under $11 million, including general fund revenue, state tax collection, City sales and property tax collection, and a few other sources. With enterprise added in, the budget reaches about $23 million. Sgroi said water accounts for $6,949,000 and wastewater $3,731,000. She said an additional $20 million is for grants arising from the pandemic, plus fire- and flooding-related grant opportunities.
City Manager Jepson called attention to two addenda to the budget that he’s requesting be approved along with the tentative budget:
1) In order to stabilize the city’s workforce in critical areas, Jepson requested funding transfers to cover adjustments in salary and compensation for many City employees, based on the salary and compensation study recently completed.
Approval would allow the funds to be available immediately, he said, noting the salary and compensation adjustments can be reversed or modified by Council up until final acceptance of the budget on July 27.
2) Jepson also requested a modified City organizational chart be included with the tentative budget, in reference to placing Development Services all under the umbrella of Economic and Community Development and Linda Oddonetto’s leadership.
Funding transfers for salary and compensation adjustments
Based on a recent salary and compensation survey, Jepson requested adjustments for many City employees.
According to Jepson, although not everyone will receive adjustments this year, everyone who needs an adjustment will receive it either this year or next. The total amount required for the adjustments is approximately $333,000.
The money will come mostly from funds that the City is using to pay itself back for Covid-related costs ($261,753 from general funds). The City will then need to find ways to free up an additional $66,000 to meet the total amount.
While Jepson acknowledged this method of funding the changes wasn’t normal, he believes there isn’t time to do it the normal way, because “some of our departments and situations need to be addressed now, this month.”
“We want people to stay in Globe,” Jepson added.
Proposed adjustments are being made for employees in the police and fire departments, public works, and the library, museum, and active adult center.
For the Police Department, the increases amount to a total of $129,318 for salaries and wages plus $84,232.34 to cover PSPRS (including workman’s comp), for a total of $213,550.34.
Jepson said the City applied the salary and compensation study to 21 positions and is requesting to modify salaries and wages for 19 positions, which do not include the police chief or any civilian positions.
“We want people to stay in Globe,” said Jepson. He explained that other entities are offering new hires $5,000 in hiring bonuses, with wages going up as well.
“The City has already lost three officers,” he said, adding that “losing those officers is so detrimental to our ability to do what we need to do.”
Chief Dale Walters said he’s been working closely with Jepson on this plan and explained they have made internal comparisons to like-size departments across the region and as well as agencies the City is actively losing people to. He said these changes will make Globe competitive within the region.
Walters added that other City departments are also deserving: “Public works is an outstanding group of individuals and they deserve everything that we could possibly give them. The fire department is top notch.”
“The only difference between my department and the other agencies … is a long, consistent overturn of personnel within my agency. We’ve put a stop to that to a certain extent, but there’s only so much I can do internally. If we don’t become very competitive, it’s going to continue to go,” Walters said.
Chief Walters said Commander Castaneda went to the Northwestern School of Leadership and wrote a research paper that was nationally published, on the true price to communities such as Globe of not having retention.
“We’ve lost millions, not tens of thousands, millions of dollars because of high turnover rates in the Police Department. The reality of it is, it takes a lot to get somebody hired, get them trained and get them to the level that they need to be, to be functional police officers. … That takes time, and it takes money,” Walters said.
Walters said, “Right now today, we have the biggest need.” But he emphasized that they were extremely conservative in terms of the salary and wage increases. He said, “We’re not trying to compete with Chandler, we’re not trying to compete with Queen Creek, but we do need to compete with the region. And we do have to create an environment for our people to thrive and want to be here.”
“We’ve lost millions, not tens of thousands, millions of dollars because of high turnover rates in the Police Department.” –Police Chief Dale Walters
Walters said that in terms of hiring, the Police Department is competing against housing and also competing against the mines. Walters has been focusing hard on trying to hire locally, he says, and that the department has recently made several excellent local hires – but that “about the time they become really productive for the police department, they’re going to move on if we don’t do something to curb it.”
It was noted that cities are doing the same thing: going to their councils to obtain funds to retain police officers. Chief Walters agreed and noted that this has been a trend in the valley. He said that Chandler has been approved for 25 additional officers, meaning they now have 39 open sworn positions. Chief Walters said that Chandler is “a phenomenal place to work, a sought-after place to go work. Not only that, as popular as they are, they’re offering $5,000 signing bonuses. It’s becoming that competitive.”
Walters continued, “We don’t have the ability to do that. We have to at least try to pay. We have to focus on men and women within our region, and we have to create the best environment for them to be successful working in the great city of Globe. That’s the best that we can do.”
Chief Walters thanked the community for being extremely supportive of the police department across the board, and also thanked Council and City management for doing “a phenomenal job of supporting the men and women of the Globe police department.”
For the Fire Department, the increases amount to a total of $36,012.21 for salaries and wages plus $20,526.96 to cover PSPRS for a total of $56,539.17.
Jepson said the adjustments are being applied to six of the seven positions that were looked at, which are all in middle leadership positions. The decision is based on correcting problems the department has with compression – something that occurs when there’s little difference in pay between employees who are on different rungs of the ladder.
Jepson said, “Over time, firefighters have been working up their step system, and some are capped out. They’re experiencing compression at the captain and engineer level, where the bottom comes up and managers tend to be making about the same as line level people – not healthy. You need a clear separation in pay between line people and supervisors.”
Jepson said the adjustments will bolster the captains and two engineers (one engineer spot is vacant). The City is also looking at the deputy chief position, says Jepson, “just to keep the spacing and not cause any future problems.”
“These are the experienced leaders. The captains are the ones in charge who are making life and death decisions. We want to protect those people. We can’t wait a year before we secure them.” –City Manager Paul Jepson
Fire Chief Gary Robinson said compression is a major issue for the Fire Department as well. Some people are capped out, according to Robinson. He said compression has resulted in some issues with salary rates compared to market.
Globe currently has eight full-time paramedics on shift rotation, with provision for a ninth. (One paramedic recently retired from the fire service.) According to Robinson, the City is just above neighboring areas for starting wages for firefighter EMTs, and paramedics are slightly below the local market.
Robinson said the department is seeing more and more retirements, and a lack of competitiveness and the number of jobs available outside Globe are affecting the department’s ability to retain and recruit people.
Robinson warned that the Fire Department is in danger of losing paramedics with six to eight years of experience and captains with eight to ten years, and these are “the leaders that are going to be able to carry things forward for us.”
“We need to make sure that we can attract people for the future, and we keep filling the rungs with quality people that want to be here, that want to serve, that we can hold on to because we’re taking care of them and providing them with what they need in terms of wages, benefits, but also equipment. Equipment and facilities that are safe and that are going to allow them to feel valued as employees and feel that being here is worth anything they may sacrifice in salary,” Chief Robinson said.
In Public Works, the increases amount to a total of $35,962 for salaries and wages plus $10,428.98 to cover ASRS, for a total of $46,390.98.
Jepson said this will help to stabilize 10 out of the 17 positions that were under market and non-supervisory.
Jepson said, “What we’ve found is we put postings up for Public Works and we get no one to apply.” He said Public Works needs “people with CDL skills, people willing to work outside, run loaders, hard working, smart and savvy young people we can bring up through the ranks.” He emphasized that the City has “a really good crew right now.”
The adjustments will increase the minimum wage in Public Works from $12.50 to $14 per hour. For people already earning more than that, the City would place them on the schedule, Jepson said, but noted that five newly hired employees were already at market rate.
“The beauty of this whole thing is, once we’re done and applying everyone to this one master design of a salary study, it will simplify and standardize across the board how we handle pay and what people will know is coming. It will be a better system. It’s a more modern system” –City Manager Paul Jepson
Jepson said that other people who are not managers were looked at, but it was found that they fit into the classification and didn’t require adjustments. Jepson said they were focusing on people who are currently under compensated compared to the market and therefore potential to be siphoned off and cherry picked.
Going forward, Jepson said the City will be hiring for Public Works at $14, while for non–Public Works, including the library, active adult center, museum, and City Hall, the entry-level wage will be $13.50.
“We added 50 cents for the necessity of hiring people willing to work outside, work in the heat, work the hours,” Jepson said.
“One of the reasons we’re trying to shore up [our compensation schedule] – we need these bottom-level people. They are the heart and soul, they’re the ones that are doing the repairs and the maintenance. These are John [Angulo]’s guys that go out and do the heavy lifting every day,” Jepson said.
Jepson provided background to the salary increases that are happening in Public Works, saying, “Globe’s City staff is small, and for people who want to climb the ladder, there sometimes are no rungs to advance to, because we don’t have a lot of positions.”
Recently, he explained, Public Works had a few key people retire, which broke up the logjam and allowed a lot of people in supervisory roles to suddenly move up.
Jepson said that as a result of people recently climbing the ladder, among the people that are not being touched in this go-round, ten have already had salary increases in the last year. Seven have had a pay increase in the past two years. Jepson said that of the three people who have been three years or more since a pay raise, they don’t qualify under the new system to receive a pay raise due to the status of their work and and the nature of their situation. Jepson said, “For where they are in the system, they are at market and are being compensated fairly.”
Jepson emphasized that he intends for everyone who needs a salary adjustment, who didn’t get one this year, to have it next year.
“We had talked about a three-year plan. … We’re going with a two-year plan. I don’t see how we can not finish this in the next budget cycle.” –City Manager Paul Jepson
John Angulo, Director of Public Works, said he’s happy that Council is discussing entry-level positions, but hopes this discussion will carry on through the next budget cycle and into next year, so it’s not a one-time adjustment. He pointed out that Parks and Recreation is not just entry-level staff, and that supervisors – both immediate and higher-level – are crucial, noting that he has had a position open for the past month and has received only one application.
Library, Museum, and Active Adult Center
For library, museum, and active adult workers, the increases amount to a total of $13,347.50 for salary/wage increases plus ASRS of $3,870.78, for a total of $17,218.28.
Jepson said this will take people who are currently earning $12.50 or $13 per hour and bump them up to at least $13.50. He said the goal is to retain people in low-level positions in order to secure those people.
“We’ve trained them, they’re good workers, they’re hard workers. We need to secure them,” Jepson said.
Councilman Leetham asked about the source of funding in future years to cover these salary increases.
“The City has a structural issue,” said Jepson. “We have very modest growth, but the cost of running a city, especially police and fire, has just gone up, and so we need to make those adjustments. It’s put us – not through bad planning or anything else – it’s put us in a structural deficit. We need to find a way out of the structural deficit.”
Jepson said the City is hoping for growth which will allow the City to expand their way out of the deficit by providing additional tax dollars, activity and investments. Calling it an immediate and complicated goal, he says the $64,000 question about stabilizing the city’s funding is a question they have a year to answer, which is why they plan to address it without waiting.
“To get to a level where we run a professional city, these services do cost us money,” Jepson said.
“We have to pay the proper amount of salary that is competitive to keep these people here,” said Mayor Gameros, who went on to note that the flat tax amount is changing.
Gameros said that although the tax rate is staying at 2.5%, Globe is getting a bump from 15% to 18%. As a result, what was expected to be a $360,000 loss to the City will be only $35,000. Mayor Gameros said, “This is a challenge for us to make it sustainable in the future.”
City Council expects to see growth come with the economic development plans underway, with new housing developments a key component of Globe’s future tax base.
Keeping people in the community to live and work is the goal.
The Council will meet again on July 27th to vote on the final budget, but since the compensation plan is being budgeted for the full year, any changes will be retroactive to July 1.
Addendum to Organization Chart: Development Services
Jepson asked Council to include a revised organizational chart in the budget to be approved on July 27. The change will place all Development Services under one umbrella. Linda Oddonetto, who will take on the new title of Economic and Community Development Director, has already been overseeing these areas, Jepson said, including code, building officials, development services requirements, inspections, and working with consultants, plan review, and the zoning administrator, as well as Fire and Engineering to “handle the massive amount of development activity that we’ve had.”
Jepson said the change will have no financial repercussions.
Noting the City has never seen as much development activity, Jepson noted that with the pandemic, he didn’t think they would see much activity. Instead, it’s “just going great guns out there. This is our future.”
Jepson said the City Council wants to be business friendly and streamline processes, but also ensure that building safety and customer service needs are being met. He noted that Parks and Recreation have become part of the role of development and that the museum is also being moved under development. Jepson said this “puts everybody in the same umbrella, pulling in the same direction.”
Councilman Leetham asked for more explanation of the reasons for placing economic and community development under the leadership of a single person, and said that to his mind it didn’t make sense to say that putting economic development and development services under one person would eliminate clashes between those two functions.
Jepson said the reason was to provide a single point of contact and eliminate departments working at cross purposes.
Jepson said, “It may be economic and community, but it is one focused task, which is to nurture the expansion of the infrastructure.”
Jepson said that with development at the director level, that director will have the responsibility to respond to all of their subordinates to make sure that economic development is looked after but also to take responsibility for the development process.
Mayor Gameros said he had seen problems in the past when there were two points of contact, which resulted in confusion and misinformation being given to developers and investors. He said the move to put everything under one point of contact enables businesses or investors to have everyone at the table and get the answers they need. The goal, he said, is to prevent people from getting frustrated or discouraged from coming to our city.
The modification to the org chart, says Jepson, means that he will have an Economic and Community Development Director he can rely on for that function in the same way he relies on a police chief to make decisions about the Police Department, a director who knows how to run a Fire Department, a public works director who knows public works, and an engineering director, as well as finance, clerk, library and so on.
He said, “This is completing another step … to build a professional, well-run city.”
Full minutes can be found by going to the City Hall website and clicking 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 25% capacity. Members of the public are requested to wear a mask when entering and exiting the Council chambers. Seating is limited to allow for social distancing.
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Patricia Sanders lived in Globe from 2004 to 2008 and at Reevis Mountain School, in the Tonto National Forest, from 2008 to 2014. She has been a writer and editor for GMT since 2015. She currently lives on Santa Maria island in the Azores.