April 18, 2014

City would have to trim staff without higher mill rates, cuts

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com

The city would have to lay off multiple staff members next year if the Gardner City Council were to reject a 6.5 mill increase and additional line item cuts from the 2011 budget, according to City Administrator Stewart Fairburn.

Council member Brian Broxterman admitted that the governing body must ask “difficult questions” of a budget described by Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta as “striving for adequacy” before asking how a steady mill rate and no further budge cuts would affect staffing levels. Fairburn told Broxterman that the city would have to enact a reduction in force that would result in the termination of “13 or 14” employees. All told, the city must trim $850,000 from the General Fund to make up for a shortfall in the city’s Bond and Interest Fund. The B&I shortfall is due in large part to delinquencies on special assessments, Assistant City Administrator Melissa Mundt told council members at an earlier budget meeting.

The council instead will discuss a 4.5 mill rate increase for 2011 at a public hearing next week. The public hearing will take place at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 2, at City Hall, 120 E. Main St.

While council members generally seemed to approve of a 4.5 increase instead of a 6.5 increase for 2011, Drovetta reminded them that the mill rate increase for 2012 would then be greater.

“It’s delaying the inevitable,” he told council members. “Whether we raise it 4 or 6 mills, we’re still raising it.”

Fairburn also told council members that the city is hopeful that its end-of-year fund balance as a percentage of its expenses can remain steady at 25 percent.

“I’d recommend that we keep the fund balance there as a safety cushion in case things get nastier,” he said.

Fairburn said the city’s goal is to get that figure up to 40 percent.

“Then we’ll be in a good position,” he said.

In general, Fairburn said, cities try to keep their fund balance percentage above 10 percent; anything lower than that would adversely affect the city’s credit rating.

Fairburn, at Monday night’s meeting, gave council members several options in further cutting expenses, including delaying maintenance on aging city vehicles, as well as delaying purchases of new vehicles for city departments. Those savings would come to $119,000.

Other options to save money include doing work in-house instead of contracting it out. Doing in-house, seasonal work on codes administration and public works would save an estimated $20,000. Fairburn also said the city could save an estimated $13,000 on delaying maintenance on parks trails, but that he did not recommend going that route since such maintenance has already been delayed.

Also possible are cuts to funding for Gardner Community Theatre, Gardner Cemetery and the Gardner Historical Museum.

“(Funding for the museum) goes toward the paydown of its debt,” Fairburn told the council. “It does not go toward their operations.”

Drovetta told council members that trimming funding to the cemetery, from $10,000 to $7,500, may be a painful but needed step.
“From a legal obligation standpoint, it’s something we don’t have to do,”

Drovetta said of cemetery funding from the city.
Council members eventually agreed to cut a one-time merit payment to city employees from $50,000 to $24,000 – roughly $300 per employee per year.

But that was a rise in what council members originally discussed at the beginning of the meeting. Originally, council members discussed lowering that payment to $16,000 per year, or $200 per employee.

“I am in favor of some type of one-time payment,” Council President Todd Winters said. “Maybe not $50,000, but even $200 would help.”

Council member Kristy Harrison noted that there are currently 18 city employees who are making 100 percent of their pay range; she suggested taking the merit raises those employees would receive and disbursing it between any employees who make less than 50 percent of the maximum amount in their pay range.

“The amount of money (those employees would receive) isn’t worth it,” Fairburn told Harrison. “But I’ll give you my (merit increase). I have no problem with that.”

Drovetta argued against a lower mill increase, saying city services to residents would be affected by the decision.

“If we set the bar too low, we’d reduce the quality of services for those who can least afford it,” he said. “It’s a give-and-take.”

The council will vote on the 2011 budget on Aug. 16; the budget then must be submitted to the Kansas Secretary of State by Aug. 25. For more information on the Aug. 2 public hearing, visit the city’s website at www.gardnerkansas.gov.

Comments

  1. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    I have attended all but one of the city council work sessions and Mayor Town Hall meetings this year regarding the 2011 budget. For anyone who thinks our Mayor, Council Members and City Administration don’t care about the citizens of Gardner and are just having a party at the taxpayers’ expense should know that watching these folks discuss how to balance a municipal budget during this current economic recession with a diminished revenue stream has not been a pretty sight.

    I have watched our governing body fastidiously examine each suggested budget plan, line item by line item. They have listened earnestly to city staff’s and each other’s thoughts, musings, ideas and concerns. Every elected official, city administrator and department director has constructively contributed something. I have watched them grimace, moan, sigh and squirm in their seats as they mull over the pros and cons of every suggestion and comment. I honestly believe they are collectively trying to arrive at a reasonable and practical fiscal compromise, all the while knowing that the final result will probably not please any of them, let alone everyone in the community.

    This is a painful exercise as they attempt to work out how to minimize the probable added financial burden to city taxpayers while simultaneously maintaining appropriate municipal services, public safety, and protection for the City’s fiscal stability. Although not necessarily comforting, please realize that we are not alone; most other cities, counties and states across the country are experiencing a similar plight.

    Each of us can also help. If possible, bring your suggestions to the public hearing scheduled as part of next Monday’s regular City Council meeting. If you are unable to attend, I am sure each council member would appreciate a phone call or an email from any citizen willing to offer constructive ideas and/or encouragement as their deliberations lead up to a final vote on the budget on August 16. Below are their email addresses and their phone numbers are at http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/mayorcouncilcontact/.

    Gardner Mayor Dave Drovetta: ddrovetta@gardnerkansas.gov
    Council President Todd Winters: twinters@gardnerkansas.gov
    Council Vice-President Steve Hale: shale@gardnerkansas.gov
    Council Member Kristy Harrison: kharrison@gardnerkansas.gov
    Council Member Dan Newburg: dnewburg@gardnerkansas.gov
    Council Member Brian Broxterman: bbroxterman@gardnerkansas.gov

  2. The Kansas City Star ran an article today about Wyandotte County meeting their budget. One of the most important things that I read in that article was the fact that several commissioners acknowledged that next year could be far worse unless the government makes structural changes in how it operates.

    To me it is very clear Drovetta and the Fairburn city administration are not ready to make any structural changes in how the city of Gardner operates. The good ole status quo cronyism government brought to you for so many years by these entities still wants to continue to spend and operate as they always have.

    No better example of this than when Drovetta and his City Hall Gang do not want the reserve to go below 10% since they do not want their bond rating reduced because they have every intention to keep borrowing money which we can NOT afford and want that capability so they may continue to enable and support the takers who operate here in Gardner now or who want to come to line their pockets. Drovetta still wants to be in position to be able to borrow more and increasing the citizens’ huge debt so he may take care of the blackmailers. The huge debt our city has of close to $100 MILLION causes you to have budget problems – the astronomical amount it takes to service that huge debt will create a higher tax bill for every citizen and Drovetta still wants to be in a position to borrow even more in the future. Not spend what you can afford, not operate smarter, not govern for the people but I want to spend and borrow what I want and when I want.

    Time and time again I have given you example after example of how it is hitting the taxpayer bank acount so hard to take care of the takers such as Walmart, Paul Licausi, 21 business owners along Main St., Tom Mertz, BNSF, the Allen Group, Kimberly-Clark, Lowe’s and many more on the horizon that Drovetta wants to help bankroll. Drovetta would rather slit his wrists than stop taking care of those who want to be subsidized or taken care of via the average taxpayer. And you have his appointed or elected Council who have always gone along with the program.

    Many say there is no way for the city to increase their revenues. Bull Hockey!!!! We could increase our tax revenues tremendously if ALL were paying their full tax bills and meeting their responsibilities to the community. But that won’t happen if you have a Mayor, a city administration and a Council who are giving away the store for you. They aren’t governing for the people – they are governing for the special interests and it will adversely affect the average citizen in my opinion.

    Have the Jo. Co. Appraiser give a report on what and how many commercial entities applied for and received a reduction in their appraised property values for the year of 2009 and the total amount of reduced appaisal dollars which results in less tax revenue. Then do the same for residential properties. I believe you would soon find out who is out to reduce their tax dollars and what entities are creating a loss of tax revenue. You are seeing commercial entities applying for and getting reductions in their appraised values of 15% or more – I bet you won’t see those reductions on the residential side. I boil when I think about Warren Buffet applying for a reduction of his appraised values, how it went on for 3 years or more and he would not pay his property taxes during that interim period like a homeowner is required to under the same circumstances. Warren Buffet not only got incentives up the gut to come to Wyandotte County but he went even further and wanted a reduction of his property values to cut his tax costs and got away with it. Paul Licausi got IRB approval of around $55 Million to build the Midwest Commerce project and yet what appraised values are the taxpayers getting their 50% on – only $34,198,000. The thieves get the sweet deal every which way possible.

    “True statesmanship is the art of changing a nation from what it is into what it ought to be.” William Rounseville Alger.

    The city of Gardner, in my opinion, do not have statesmen or women working for the citizens because it is clear they are not ready to make the needed changes.

  3. Jack Burden says:

    Rather than talk everything to death, I’m going to toss out yet another, single idea that would most likely eliminate our need to raise taxes this year. Institute a 10% salary or pay rate reduction for all City employees. Same consequences of my furlough suggestion, including:

    1) No one gets fired
    2) Paycheck are better than unemployment checks
    3) If we do lose a staffer because of it, it probably means we would have lost that staff member regardless.
    4) The staffers who stay will be employed and eligible for pay increases when those pay increases are fiscally responsible

    I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in my previous posts, but no raises or bonuses until for staff untile we are operating in the black. If the Council approves bonuses for staffers while our budget is in the red, I suggest everyone get your pitchforks and torches ready.

    Jerry if you sat through that much budget talk you’re either a better citizen that I, crazy, or a combination of both.

  4. Gardner Pride says:

    “Many say there is no way for the city to increase their revenues. Bull Hockey!!!! We could increase our tax revenues tremendously if ALL were paying their full tax bills and meeting their responsibilities to the community.”

    Judith, we can’t take away the deals that have already been negotiated and signed on. What was the last “sweet deal” that the Gardner Council agreed to? It is fool-hearted to think that any of the entities receiving a break in taxes would have followed through on their plans without such incentives. That just doesn’t happen in today’s economical climate.

    “To me it is very clear Drovetta and the Fairburn city administration are not ready to make any structural changes in how the city of Gardner operates”

    I think those people who lost their job as part of the Reduction in Force from earlier this year would disagree with that satement.

  5. Gardner Pride says:

    @Jack-

    I don’t think a wholesale pay-cut of that nature would be effective, and would definitely decrease the quality of service to Gardner’s citizens. I believe the latest reports show that our average pay for most positions is below that of other communities within Johnson County. With that in mind, perhaps there should be some contract negotiations with those who are at the maximum level of the pay range for their particular position. I would imagine that a 5-10% reduction in those individuals pay could reduce the city budget by at least $50K annually.

  6. Jack Burden says:

    Gardner Pride … I think some of the people who were rif’ed earlier this year would have been satisfied, not happy, with a pay cut or furlough program. I think that most of the 14 people who would need to be cut to avoid a tax increase would be satisfied, not happy, with a pay cut or furlough program. In the interest of fairness though I believe a cut like that would need to be across the board, just so long as the City does not violate the federally mandated minimum wage.

  7. The incentives and unfair and unequitable taxation will continue from now until kingdom comes unless the people demand better and they stop electing worthless politicians who don’t work for them. It is truly up to the people – not what someone says I have to do to be competitive. Competitive to me says keep going along with the blackmail game and transferring the tax burden to the average citizen. Privatizing gains and socializing costs and losses is not something I believe in and never will. Will the same ole status quo people be the only ones voting again in the future or will the people do their job, get informed, get decent people who work for them to run for office and then actually support and VOTE for them???

    How many people have lost their jobs to downsizing, reductions in force, combining of companies, outsoucing jobs to Asia, etc., etc. I was involved in these for a good 20 years or more. They are nothing new. The wheeling and dealing slimeballs brought you this mess. Gardner Pride, you are going to need more than $50K annually – you are going to have to change the structure of how you operate and PART of that change is to let the special interests stand on their own and not be asking the citizens to bankroll them and if they don’t like it or can get the sweet deal somewhere else, then fine – we don’t need takers in our community as far as I am concerned – I am tired of taking care of them. And I don’t want any more as Drovetta has planned.

    I told the Council the following today: Only the five of you will be voting on the 2011 Budget. Not Drovetta, Not the City Administration, Not the people, Not the special interests – who will you represent when you vote???

    That vote that comes thru should tell you lots.

  8. The cities of Overland Park and Olathe and probably more cities and the County have made cuts to personnel (both over 100), cuts in service, changes in how they operate, etc., etc. Since the money is not there now in Gardner due to cronyism government in the past and a huge debt we have brought on ourselves and city councils, mayors and a city administration who don’t want to change their spending habits, the day of reckoning is upon all of us – will the Council start making decisions based on fiscal responsbility for the citizens or will it be more of the same that got us to this point????? We will be finding out soon. You get the government you deserve depending on whether you are taking care of business as you should – apathy of the people will keep you taking care of the special interests and a higher tax bill – Drovetta would be more than happy to give you more of that.

  9. How many employees did gardner have before they laid that group off and how many positions did they not fill? What is that total? What percent have they gotten rid of? Comparing gardner to overland park and olathe is not fair; they each had many more employees to start with. How about a percentage to be fair if you insist on comparing gardner to them.

  10. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    The City of Gardner had 99 employees in 2008. Currently, there are 80 employees, a 19.2% reduction.

    Eliminating 14 more positions will mean the City will have lost 1/3 of its personnel in 3 years.

  11. Based on Mr. Kellogg’s comments and computations, it appears the city was bloated as to the number of employees and also indicates the affect of the economic downfall our country is experiencing and I believe the economic stagnation will continue for years. I do not believe most people can fully recognize what the big boys did and continue to do to our country on this depression/recession we are presently experiencing. And if the cronyism government that Drovetta and others brought to our city is allowed to continue, there will be more problems to handle.

    You cannot continue to spend more than what is coming in the door and you cannot continue to take care of the special interests without an increased tax bill to the average citizen – when you transfer the tax burden to the average citizen they will have a higher tax bill as what Drovetta is once again recommending. The huge debt the city of Gardner now has, has been a result of spending more than we have and taking care of the special interests – and it looks like the worthless politicians want to continue to operate in this manner. Dirty, rotten politics do adversely affect the people of this country.

  12. I also doubt if Mr. Kellogg’s employee count includes part-time employees.

  13. Judith you are so all knowing and wonderful, I expect to see your name on the ballot for council. seems as though you could straighten everything out just right. don’t give us the ‘health’ issue; you manage to do everything outside your home you want – I do see you around the city. I’m sure arrangements can be made to assist you in and out of the meetings. It would not be much different than you siting at your computer criticizing everyone. I know you truly care about gardner, so i’ll see you monday night at the council meeting.

  14. I doubt if Mr. Kellogg’s employee count also includes seasonal help, consultants, etc.

    Sorry, Cindy, you won’t see me running for council. Again, my poor health precludes that and I could never bring myself to be rubbing shoulders with the City Hall gang, my blood pressure would be going sky high and those jaybirds couldn’t care less and I just do not have the stomach for the dirty, rotten politics that is so prevalent in our city and school governments. You call some of my comments as criticizing – I call it holding people accountable for their words, actions, inaction and voting records that so adversely affect the people. I am sure there are some decent young people (not the Beasley lynch mob group) out there with some strong moral values who could bring some needed changes if they are independent thinkers and who work for the people instead of the special interests. Step up to the plate, Cindy, and throw your hat in the ring if you are qualified for the job ……………..

  15. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Judith is correct, I did not include seasonal employees.

    These would be primarily Parks & Rec staffing, which is annually variable depending upon program needs. The Aquatic Center employs roughly 150 part-timers during the 3 month summer season, the last month limited to weekends only. I believe their salaries are largely funded by user fees — pool passes, swimming lessons and activity fees, and concession sales.

  16. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    In response to comments regarding reductions in staffing in other local cities, I did some research this morning to compare the 2010 budget general fund figures of Overland Park and Gardner. Bear in mind, each city has its own unique set of economics as a basis for their budgeted revenues and expenses.

    The population of Overland Park is approximately 173,000, with a mayor and 13 council members.

    Gardner, population 18,500, has a mayor and five council members.

    Neither city has given their employees a raise for several years. In 2009, OP gave its staff $472,000 in bonuses. I doubt Gardner came anywhere close to that figure, even if it did hand out bonuses at all, about which I don’t know. As Corbin stated in his article above, Gardner City Council members are currently considering a one-time merit payment of $300 to each of our current 80 employees, in lieu of another year without a pay raise.

    For 2010, OP had budgeted 901 full-time employees; Gardner had 90. Comparing staffing figures:

    • City Manager’s (Administrator’s) Office – 9 vs. 4 for Gardner
    • Information Technology – 37 vs. 1
    • Municipal Court – 28 vs. 2
    • Legal Dept – 14 vs. 1
    • Finance Dept – 24 vs. 5
    • Human Resources 16 vs. 2
    • Public Safety (Police & Fire) – 474 vs. 40
    • Public Works – 136 vs. 15
    • Parks & Recreation – 66 vs. 14
    • Planning & Development – 84 vs. 9 (now down to 3)

    In January 2010, Overland Park’s city manager cut 57 full-time positions from his proposed 2011 city budget. These were not firings due to a reduction in force, but rather the elimination from the budget jobs already vacant due to normal attrition. As of June 8, 2010, the city was not envisioning cutting more employees this year.

  17. Such like our school distict, looks like Gardner is heavy on the administration side. Overland Park has 1 administation position per 19,222 people and Gardner has 1 administration position per 4.625 people. When we had to pay over $1 MILLION for the fire ladder truck that BNSF wanted we had around 16,000 to 17,000 people whereas Olathe had a population of 60,000 before they got a fire truck of this size and kind.

    Keep in mind the Worlds of Fun pool is being paid for by sales tax only. The fees charged for entry into the pool I believe goes to pay salaries, maintenance of the pool, etc. and I do not believe those fees are covering those costs if my memory serves me correctly. Something else perhaps your lovely worthless politcians and city administration either did not take into consideration or didn’t tell you about when the pool was considered or they didn’t even address that issue. A pool that more than likely that is not paying its way either in paying its debt and/or maintenance and employee costs – city owes the people a full accounting on that project. A project that is only used about 2.5 to 3 months out of the year. I would have gladly paid for a larger pool but not for the expensive, money eating one we have and using money we didn’t have which creates an even higher cost to pay for all of the interest money when we borrow.

    Something else I would like to discuss with the citizens. Perhaps our public works guy who I really like could explain this to us. About two weeks ago, I came home from eye surgery about 2 P.M. and there was ANOTHER water main broke next door to me. A city employee came over advising me to get some water saved if I needed to since they would be turning off the water for a couple of hours. I cannot for the life of me understand why there will be one guy in the hole working and maybe 10 guys standing around with their hands on their hips watching him. About 7 or 8:00 P.M. I heard them still working so I stepped out on my front porch and waved down one of the city utility guys and asked him how long it would be until the water was turned back on. I then noted more trucks all around including the Kansas Gas Service. The city worker came over to advise they had hit a gas line so it would be later. I noted at that time and earlier trucks were just sitting there running with their diesel fumes spewing – don’t have a clue why the trucks were running forever as I could not ascertain any equipment hooked up to them for power but maybe they were – need explanation on that. Then when I asked the city employee with his orange vest on when the water was to come on, a woman city worker with the same orange vest on, came over and was taking pictures of me and the other city worker – took probably 4 pictures at least – now what the Sam Hill was that all about???? Well, later I went to bed but I am sure that crew was out there until probably at least 11:00 P.M. getting that water main fixed which I am truly grateful for but I sure don’t understand their system and the use of city personnel and the running of the trucks. Instead of the city taking pictures, I think the citizens need to run a video during the time a water main is repaired and an explanation given as to the use of personnel and the costs associated with a water main break.

    Every penny counts and every penny needs to be managed wisely – I continue to believe that the pennies and dollars are not managed well, especially when those in charge continue to spend as they please with money they don’t have and will just increase the citizens’ tax bills to keep them in the style to which they are accustomed.

  18. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Not knowing where else to place the Gardner City Clerk position in my groupings above, I arbitrarily included it within the Administrator’s Office, although the City Clerk is actually funded under a separate stand-alone accounting code.

    There is one Gardner city employee per 231 residents, which are 20% more than the 192 residents for each Overland Park city employee.

  19. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Oops, that’s not right. I calculated each of Gardner’s CURRENT 80 employees serving 231 residents (which is accurate), instead of the 2010 budget staffing of 90, which would result in just under 206 residents to compare with the 2010 OP budgeted staff serving 192 residents. So that cuts Gardner’s employee service load to 7.3% higher when compared to OP’s. I’m going to bed!

  20. Mr. Kellogg, when you attend the meeting this evening, I hope you ask the question of whether sealed bids were taken for the contract under New Business Item #2 and if not, why not.

  21. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Judith, I called City Hall to speak with David Greene, Public Works Director, but he was unavailable at the time. Others in the office were unsure of the exact number of proposals submitted, but said they were few.

    I was going to wait until after the meeting tonight to speak with Mr Greene, but Council Member Kristy Harrison beat me to the punch by specifically asking Mr Greene during his presentation how the consulting firm was chosen.

    The Council Action Form by Mr Greene for New Business Item #2 on tonight’s City Council agenda, http://www.gardnerkansas.gov/images/uploads/City%20Clerk/City%20Council%20Agendas/080210/NB2_CAF_Airport_Drainage_Engineering.pdf, states in the first two paragraphs:

    “Last February, the Gardner Airport Board selected Bucher, Willis & Ratliff Corporation as their consultant for Federal Aviation Administration funded projects. The Board followed the FAA’s qualifications based selection process. On March 15, (the Gardner City) Council approved a contract with BWR to conduct an environmental assessment for the airport that is a necessary step to receive funding for future FAA funded projects and land acquisition.

    “One of the projects identified in the Airport Master Plan, completed by BWR in late 2009, is needed drainage improvements on the airport property. FAA funding, at 95% of cost, is available for a preliminary engineering study for the drainage improvement project. The Airport Board has committed to fund the remaining 5% of cost. The FAA will allow the preliminary engineering study for this project to proceed concurrently with the environmental assessment.”

    Mr Greene replied to Ms Harrison that BWR was selected earlier this year based upon qualifications specified by FAA policy guidelines. Since the project is ultimately 95% federally funded, The City of Gardner is merely acting as a financial intermediary for the Airport Board to pay the engineer’s monthly invoices. In the end, the cost to the City will be zero dollars. Jerry

  22. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    This drainage improvement project is part of the municipal airport’s master plan to replace the north-south turf landing strip with a paved runway.

  23. I still do not know whether sealed bids were taken for this contract and whether the lowest bid was accepted. We should be conscienous in making sure the people are securing the lowest price for a qualified firm regardless of whether the city, county, state or federal government is paying the tab.

    I mention this because I have seen the city of Gardner wheel and deal however they well please on more than one occasion with the most recent other example being the Century Link contract. If you want a well run, efficient and low cost government, then the people have to demand it and not settle for cronyism government which creates high tax bills.

    With respect to the combining of the Gardner Fire Dept. and the Jo. Co. Fire Dist. #1, I believe the people need to make sure they are getting all of the needed information before making a decision on this merger. Today, I looked at a tax bill on an Edgerton home with an appraised value of $132,700 and that homeowner was paying a tax bill of $159.71 for fire protection ONLY to Jo. Co. Fire Dist. #1. Citizens better make sure they will not end up with a higher tax bill for fire protection by the merger. The City Hall gang need to be giving lots of information on costs and services now and in the future so an informed decision may be made.

  24. On that $132.700 house in Edgerton, here is the tax bill for that property which is sky high. I cannot understand why anyone would living in Edgerton considering the tax costs. You add the cost of fire protection of $159.71 and the city tax of $674.28 and then the huge school tax bill and that person is paying $2,550 in property taxes on a below average cost of a house in Johnson County. It is ridiculous to me and then when I see what their worthless politicians are doing to the people of Edgerton on that intermodal deal, the contempt level goes up another notch.

    Tax Authority Rate Tax Amount
    STATE OF KS 1.5000 23.58
    JOHNSON CO 17.7160 278.50
    COMM CLGE 8.7840 138.09
    JO CO PARK 2.3460 36.88
    EDGERTON CI 42.8930 674.28
    MC TWP GEN .0530 .83
    231 UNIFIED 27.4410 431.37
    231 SCH GEN 20.0000 268.42*
    231 BOND 31.0980 488.86
    JO CO FIR #1 10.1600 159.71
    JO CO LIB 3.1510 49.53

  25. I would not put it past BNSF and the Allen Group who is behind this combining of Gardner fire department with the Jo. Co. Fire Dist. #1 so they can get the fire protection they need for their lovely railyard and warehouse city with the Gardner citizens picking up the tab in the long run. I still say BNSF was behind that fire station being built on 183rd St. The Elwood, Ill. intermodal created 90% or higher of that city’s fire calls. I never wanted that project and I certainly don’t want the costs being given to me on a silver platter by worthless politicians although the infrastructure costs for that project will be crammed down the citizens’ throuts for years and generations to come while they have to live with the horror story if they can’t afford to move.

  26. Jerry L Kellogg Sr says:

    Regarding sealed bids and the securing the lowest price from a qualified bidder, just this summer the City had to ask the Council to authorize the cancellation of the contract with the vendor supplying parks concessions. The low bidder also came with recommendations from the Truman Sports Complex and others. However, they ended up apologizing to the Parks Director for being unable to fulfill contract specs and lost the contract. The city then selected the second lowest bidder (with a 7-9% higher price, as I recall), who happened to be the vendor who had satisfactorily fulfilled its obligations for Gardner Parks for the previous several years.

    Therefore, you can see there are times when low price alone is not good enough. Having proven past performance as well as requisite technical expertise and qualifications may sometimes trump the lowest bidder.

  27. And they could have had a lower cost to the taxpayers on the recent Century Link contract and with better services. And Eileen Mertz twice got a sweet deal from the city due to cronyism government and I saw the same done with respect to janitorial contracts on more than one occasion. Those are just a few of the instances when Drovetta rammed thru contracts that HE wanted and some of them without sealed bids. Oh yes, the City Hall Gang are just wonderful representatives of the people and protectors of the best interests of the people and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Support that type of government and you will get the government you deserve – a nice high tax bill and a huge debt plus much more. Wait until you see what you will really be paying for the merger of the Jo. Co. Fire Dist. No. 1 with Gardner……..the same ole gang will be selling you another looks good deal at a much higher cost to the taxpayers when all is said and done. Eat up the propaganda and see what you get for not doing your own research and being fully informed and educated on what really is happening at Gardner City Hall.

  28. It would be great Judith to see your passion at the City Hall meetings. Where were you at the Public Hearing on the budget?

  29. She was home typing up ridiculous comments on the Gardner News website.

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