Friday, August 17, 2007

Teresa Barth explains her NO vote on the Public Works Yard remodel

The following is an e-mail from city councilperson Teresa Barth,

The story in the North County Times was a little misleading and some people have asked me to explain my No vote on the Public Works Yard item.

The bids came in much higher than expected (surprise!) so staff's recommendation was to reject those bids and re-bid a scaled-back project that would use current available funds ($638,000) plus "borrow" $300,000 from the next year's budget. This scaled back approach would not include the ADA required elevator which will limit the use of the second floor.

I agree that we should reject all bids but I voted against this "band-aid" (nearly $1Million) approach.

I asked for a comprehensive report of exactly what is needed to make this facility truly functional and to achieve the goal of consolidating all Public Works activities in one of the "selling points" of the Mossy property according to the 2006 staff report.

Consolidation would free-up two city-owned properties....a parcel on Santa Fe Drive and one off Requeza by the Humane Society. Potentially, these properties could be sold to pay for the facility upgrades.

For me, the proposal did not clearly identify short-term priorities and long-term needs or the financial impacts and possible options.

Hope that clarifies my position. story: Encinitas nixes bids for public works center remodeling

1 comment:

  1. I was very grateful to see Teresa Barth taking a stand on this issue.

    Maggie Houlihan came in, at last Wednesday's Council Meeting, and said she felt she had been misled. The Mossy Public Works yard topic was #11 on the Agenda, and came after most people were gone. Dan Dalager and James Bond, in particular, seemed to be losing their abilities to concentrate or to be coherrent.

    James Bond was again "out of it" at the Council Meeting, as usual, lately, and said the Mossy Property was not promoted to him as turnkey, but that the property "could not be sold" and it, "just fell into our lap."

    If it fell into Council's lap, and Mossy could not market it to a commercial buyer, then why in the world did we have to spend 9.5 million dollars on a property that needs well over a million dollars of improvements to bring it up to the ADA and public works requirements? The public works yards are mostly parking lots. I have seen repairs done to City Vehicles at the garage at the Sheriff's Substation off of Camino Real. To my knowledge vehicle repairs are not done, routinely, at the public works yard? We should not have to have a facility where the fire engines would be repaired, for example. That sounds very fishy to me, and wasn't mentioned when the property was purchased.

    Dan got quite defensive about this and began talking about how his payment of $565, or something, when he first got his Hermes property was so difficult to make, how he and his wife had to sleep on the floor.

    Dan may have led the "horse" (City Council) to the water, but he didn't force them to drink. All of the Council Members should have been savy enough to get more than one appraisal, and to allow some public comments. Open negotiations would not have hurt, as Mossy had not got any offers for it from private commercial entities. Competition is good in real estate negotiations. If there is only one entity making offers, there should be a much better possibility that the property could have been purchased for millions less than was promoted, not more.

    Plus we gave Mossy other tax incentives as well. That deal was not a win-win, and James Bond, Jerome Stocks, Dan Dalager, and yes, Maggie Houlihan, are all responsible and will be asked questions about this at the forums next October.

    Speaking of elections, there are to be primaries coming up earlier this coming year. Encinitas should have some issues, such as reform laws, "Sunshine Laws," on the ballot for us to vote that we do not want these counter productive secret meetings to be allowed anymore. Phil Cotton was selected to be City Manager, under Christy Guerin, in another such closed session meeting. He doesn't seem to know what he's doing, and should have known that huge expenditures would be required to get the public works yard up to "snuff." He used to be the former public works director!

    Now he appears to be an overpaid City Manager who defers to Council and staff and who can't seem to think independently or to be realistic.


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