Author Topic: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS  (Read 631 times)

SandyMansel

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BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« on: September 09, 2020, 06:28:03 PM »
AFTER THE JUNE 2019 FLOODING OF OVER 100 GERMANTOWN HOMES, SAW THAT WE WERE ONLY ALLOCATING MINMAL MONEY TOWARD RESOLVING THOSE INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEMS, YET ALLOCATING ABOUT 5 TIMES MORE TO PARKLAND PURCHASE.
Email to BMA - June 22, 2019 - The Rubber Stamp Camp of the BMA called this "an attack on parks" and made no adjustment.
Germantown Drainage System – Increase Allocation in FY 2020 Budget
Since you are holding 3rd and final reading of FY 2020 Budget Monday night:
In light of 2 recent events, request that you take at least $4 MILLION (maybe more) from the
Capital Projects Fund-Parks allocation of $5,330,000 that was to be used to buy property for parks and move it to the
Capital Projects Fund-Drainage, which was only allocated $1,075,000. This would accelerate the needed maintenance on our Drainage system.
Since we did not get the bid for purchasing Germantown Country Club and in light of our recent flooding, this is the perfect time to put the maintenance of our drainage system on the front burner.
This would be a great opportunity to re-prioritize. Our drainage system seems to need more attention than our parks.

SandyMansel

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Re: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2020, 06:33:56 PM »
THEN ONE YEAR LATER, Saw that Earnest Money and Due Diligence - $50,000 was being allocated toward buying 44 acres for Sports Complex, with a possible price tag of $12 MILLION to purchase land, solve drainage problems and build.  Yet still the repairs and maintenance to our stormwater drainage system was being postponed with only minimal work being scheduled.

August 8, 2020 email prior to 2nd reading of FY2021 Budget - also ignored by Rubber Stamp Camp.
BUDGET PRIORITIES
In case you have not seen them, there are several posts in social media about needed repairs to our stormwater drainage system in various places. One repair, which took several months from time of reporting to completion, washed away within just a couple of weeks at the first heavy rain. Many other citizens have posted photos of erosion of concrete walls and overgrowth of vegetation, which obstructs the free flow of stormwater drainage. Hopefully these citizens have reported these to the City and these should be addressed with priority status.
During last year’s budget discussion (after the June flooding of hundreds of Germantown homes), some citizens suggested redirecting a portion of the $5,330,000 CIP for parks to use for repairs and upgrades to our stormwater drainage system. A couple of BMA members said the emails they received appeared to be “an attack on parks”. This is not an attack on parks, but a plea for priorities.
Now, the FY2021 budget looks even worse than FY2020 on prioritizing spending for parkland and neglecting the stormwater drainage system. Although you only have $50,000 in the “parkland acquisition” category of the FY21 actual budget, it seems that $10,000 is for earnest money on parkland acquisition of 44 acres south of Winchester off of Crestwyn Hills Drive. Then the remaining $40,000 to be used for “due diligence” on the purchase. Parks and Recreation Committee indicated this intended purchase at a meeting this past January.
Then, in the “Future Capital Improvements” category for Parks, the total of $14,742,000 includes:
$2,500,000 – Master Plan Legacy Park Project – Phase 1 (to be financed by bond)
$2,500,000 – Parkland Acquisition
$3,000,000 – Long Field Project Design and Development
In the 2018 Germantown Comprehensive Parks & Recreation Master Plan on Page 12:
https://www.germantown-tn.gov/home/showdocument?id=22618
“Acquire land to support the development of a long-field sports complex in South Germantown and initiate design and development.”
Then in pages 141-164, it gives a financial projection that shows it will never make money, but will always “require an operating subsidy in perpetuity” of about $340,000 at first and leveling off to $299,000 after 5 years.
So it seems that you have a pre-determined, long standing commitment to purchase this land. But is this really in the best interest of the taxpaying citizens of Germantown? Are you forgetting that within the budget you have an organization chart that has "THE PUBLIC" in the “boss box”? Your first commitment should be to us.
July 1, 2020 The Beacon Center report on 30 Tennessee cities ranked Germantown 26 out of 30 overall and 30, the very worst, on Cost of Government.
“26 - Germantown - Ranking near its Shelby County neighbors, Germantown scored below average in three of the four categories, struggling most with Cost of Government due to higher than average property taxes, debt per capita, pension liability, and taxpayer-funded lobbying. Germantown did rank well with respect to Private Property and tied for the top spot for the least regulations on home businesses.”
https://www.beacontn.org/freest-cities
So, we really should postpone the lofty plans for acquiring 44 acres for a long field project. We do not need to go further in debt, especially to build something that will require a “subsidy in perpetuity”. And we should concentrate more on the infrastructure repairs needed. They are more important to the citizens of Germantown. And please don’t think about raising our taxes or fees. We already have higher than average property taxes and debt per capita.
With the economic fallout of the COVID shutdowns and the uncertainty of future sales tax income, this is the time to hold off on expensive projects, especially one that will also be incurring future liabilities.
Please concentrate on the infrastructure needs of your citizens first.

SandyMansel

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Re: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2020, 06:36:10 PM »
Then before the 3rd and Final Reading of FY2021 Budget added this as one last plea -----

August 24, 2020- Citizens to be Heard submission
FY21 BUDGET - INFRASTRUCTURE BEFORE SPORTS COMPLEX
This is an addendum to the CTBH, submitted before the 2nd reading at BMA.
The infrastructure needs of the citizens of Germantown should take priority and should be addressed before embarking on the Tournament Level Sports Complex. Although you are only allocating $50,000 in the FY21 budget ($10,000 for earnest money and $40,000 for due diligence) toward purchase of this 44 acres, on Page 139 (numbered A1.30) of your 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, it states a total investment of $12,403,752.31 to complete the project.
Also on Page 145, in a portion of the Sports Facility Advisory study, it indicates that much revenue will "leak" into Memphis.
"* Location of Site
While the site is in Germantown, it is closer to Memphis hotels, restaurants, and retail locations than it is to similar service providers in Germantown. As such, if the Germantown side of the complex does not develop it own supporting service providers, a significant amount of the spending generated by the Germantown Soccer Complex could "leak out" to Memphis."
https://www.germantown-tn.gov/home/showdocument?id=22618
And with Memphis' big plans for Fairgrounds-Liberty Park, does Germantown really need to try to compete? Why not let Memphis be the big city with the regional draw, and let Germantown remain the suburb?:
"The city of Memphis has rebranded the site as it readies plans for a new, 120-room hotel, a 227,000 square foot youth sports facility ..."
"The youth sports facility — which is the centerpiece of the project — will break ground in early 2021, Borys and Housing and Development Director Paul Young said in separate interviews."
https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2020/08/13/liberty-park-new-remake-mid-south-fairgrounds-hotel-venue/3344028001/
How much did you pay for the 93 page appraisal of this 44 acres?
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1G8n9v6lx-ndjoJi0PmJ97V4mgqyGTpqD/view
On page 31 (yet numbered as 24), it states that 8 - 10 acres will need to be set aside for stormwater detention basin and 5 acres as non-disturbance area. The development of the 8 acre detention basin is expected to be about $1 million, which is an "atypical cost of development".
With the cost of this appraisal and the $50,000 being allocated in FY21, you are continuing the long-standing commitment to this property owner to purchase this property. Yet this project will not be of benefit to many of the taxpaying citizens. You should instead honor your duty to Germantown citizens to meet our infrastructure needs. You should complete the entire project of maintaining our stormwater drainage system, which was outlined in last years budget. You established a multi-year piecemeal approach, yet the needs are critical and are higher priority to those affected by the problems. It should all be accelerated and completed before even considering committing any further money, time and effort into purchasing the 44 acres near Forest Hill and Winchester and building the proposed Tournament Level Sports Complex.
Also, normal neighborhood streets and existing parks need maintenance and attention before embarking on a huge project, especially one which is not even projected to be a profit to the City.
Now, take into consideration the uncertainty of economic recovery after shutdown for the Coronavirus pandemic. This is not the time to make this $12 MILLION ++ commitment. How long has this land been sitting there for sale? Answer: more than 20 years. Not very likely that someone is going to buy it out from under us. The appraisal makes that clear. This is not a HOT PROPERTY that we must act quickly, is it?
Taken verbatim from Page 9 (numbered 2)
"Analysis of Listings/Offers/Contracts
The subject property has been offered for sale for more than 20 years. The current list price is
presented as negotiable, thus, no fixed price. The listing broker, Steve Guinn, indicated that interest
in the site has been for office development and prospective buyers have sought to purchase only a
portion (up to 15 acres) of the property. The property owner has offered to sell the property to the
client. An unexecuted purchase and sale agreement drafted by the property owner was provided for
review. This appraisal may be used by the client in an eventual offer to purchase the subject property.
Since the purchase and sale agreement was not fully executed and was drafted by the seller, we placed
minimal weight on the terms and conditions of this document."
So, in closing, please postpone the $50,000 for FY21. Please do not commit us taxpayers of Germantown to this possible BOONDOGGLE. If we need more athletic fields, work within our current parklands. Stop removing ball fields from existing parks. Take a more fiscally conservative approach .... and meet the needs of THE PUBLIC first, after all, we are the boss.

SandyMansel

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Re: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2020, 06:29:10 AM »
June 21, 2019 Results of Stormwater Drainage Survey
This blog covers so much on this issue, you really should read it all and click on every link.
http://www.shiningalightongermantown.com/2019/06/results-of-stormwater-drainage-survey.html

SandyMansel

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Re: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2020, 06:39:44 AM »
Go to the website http://developmentsingermantown.com/
Scroll down to the section
Germantown Drainage Master Plan

This is not available on the City website.  A private citizen did an Open Records request in order to obtain this information.
Many problem areas are not even on the 6 year plan to be addressed.
TIME TO CHANGE OUR PRIORITIES - NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE SHOULD BE OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY.

NancyDrew

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Re: BUDGET PRIORITIES - Necessary INFRASTRUCTURE vs Nice PARKS
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 12:35:26 PM »
Another nysterry, why is important information not on the city website?