Tuesday, November 6, 2001- 8:15 a.m.County-City Building
Conference Room 113
COUNCIL MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Jon Camp, Common Chair; Jonathan Cook; Coleen Seng; Ken Svoboda; Terry Werner; COUNCIL MEMBERS ABSENT: Annette McRoy, Glenn Friendt.
COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS IN ATTENDANCE: Kathy Campbell; Bernie Heier, Common Vice-Chair; Larry Hudkins; Ray Stevens; Bob Workman.COUNTY BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT: None
OTHERS IN ATTENDANCE: Don Killeen, Public Building Commission; Kathleen Sellman, Kent Morgan, Duncan Ross, Planning Department; Gwen Thorpe, Kerry Eagan, Office of the County Board; Bruce Medcalf, County Clerk; Karen Eurich, Personnel; Norm Agena, County Assessor, Vince Mejer, Purchasing Department; Dave Johnson, County Attorney's Office, Mark Hunzeker, Attorney; Darrell Podany, Aide to Council Members Camp, Friendt and Svoboda; Joan Ray, Council Secretary.
Chairman Camp called for approval of the above-listed minutes. Mr. Ken Svoboda moved approval of the minutes, as presented. Mr. Ray Stevens seconded the motion. Prior to the vote, Mr. Camp noted that he believed everyone would always remember where we were on that morning, and thanked everyone for their forbearance during that meeting. Mr. Stevens commented that he just appreciated the comments that were put into the minutes about the historical events of the day by the recording secretary. He noted that those made the minutes very meaningful and gave us an opportunity to reflect on what actually happened that day.
Ms. Seng stated that she had commented several times to other people that she felt it was fortunate that we (County and City) were all together on that date as those events unfolded. She noted that Mr. Camp was correct in stating that they would always remember those moments.
The minutes were approved, as presented, by the following vote: AYES: Jon Camp, Kathy Campbell, Larry Hudkins, Coleen Seng, Ray Stevens, Ken Svoboda, Terry Werner, Bob Workman; NAYS: None; ABSTAIN: Bernie Heier; ABSENT FOR VOTE: Jonathan Cook; ABSENT: Mayor Wesely, Glenn Friendt, Annette McRoy.
Public Building Commission Presentation
Public Building Commission Presentation - Mr. Don Killeen, Building Administrator, gave a brief overview and history of the Public Building Commission noting that the PBC is a political subdivision established under State Statute. It was established in 1991 in Lancaster County after the Statute was amended by the Unicameral in 1990 to include Primary Class Cities. Mr. Killeen distributed information outlining that Statute (Article 13, Section 13-1301 - 13-1305) to Common Members. This information is on file in the office of the City Council and at the office of the Public Building Commission.
The Commission consists of two County Board Members, two City Council Members and one Public Member. The Commission has a tax levy of 1.7 cents per $100.00 of assessment. Our system is established in a manner similar to a GSA type of system where rents are established on a per square foot of department occupied, whether City or County. This has proved to be a very efficient system over the last 10 years.
Currently the PBC is in charge of eight buildings: County/City Building; Justice & Law Enforcement Building; K-Street Power Plant; the Police Building; the Old Federal Building; the Health Department Building; and the two Senior Centers (Downtown and Northeast). The total tax levy is currently committed to Master Plan Fund ($29,000,000 bond issue) that was put in place to build this (County/City) building and to renovate the Justice and Law Enforcement Building.
The Commission has undertaken three major projects since its existence. In 1991, the Commission was instrumental in the purchase and renovation the Health Department Building and issuing the bonds for that project. (Just by way of explanation - the Commission itself does not ever hold title to a property. It holds title to the property in the name of the City and County jointly.)
The second major project was the "K" Street Power Plant. Bonds were issued for that project.
The third major project was the Master Plan $29,000,000 project. This was a completion of the first 10 year space planning project which Sinclair Hille did in 1991.
By statute, the City Attorney acts as the legal counsel for the Commission; the County Treasurer acts as the Treasurer and Financial Counsel for the Commission.
Regarding space studies - the Commission, last week, approved to move forward with another 10 year space study, again utilizing Sinclair Hille, because of their knowledge and experience after having been involved in the first study. Mr. Killeen noted that Jim Hille would be meeting with various departments (City) and outline how the project will be approached. Mr. Killeen explained that the intent this time would be communication through a web-based system, initially, to collect the data. In the past it was an interview process. This time it will be a process wherein the departments will be encouraged to feed their data into a web-based system with a central data bank, which will exist and be maintained into the future for information on further expansion needs for both the City and County.
Mr. Hudkins commented that the Public Building Commission, the City Council and the County Board really owe Mr. Killeen a debt of gratitude. He commented that Mr. Killeen has done a marvelous job, accomplished with the patience of Job. He asked Mr. Killeen, if he were to improve the PBC, based on his years of experience, what Mr. Killeen, saw as the biggest challenge facing the Commission; and what might be the biggest challenge facing Mr. Killeen as the Administrator.
Mr. Killeen responded that, obviously, with September 11th, security is going to be a bigger challenge. The Commission is meeting with the Omaha Public Building Commission on Thursday of this week and security will be one of the main topics of discussion. He noted that, not that we can make all government buildings fortresses, but we do have to be aware of possible problems and what steps we need to have in place and what kind of plans we need to have in place to re-act to these situations. Mr. Killeen stated that at a meeting he had attended a week ago, a presenter brought up a good point which was - when something happens, it typically will not be the professional on your staff that is going to be in place to deal with it. But, rather a temp, or a receptionist that is answering the phone on a bomb threat. It just points out that you have to have good, sound plans in place to deal with all of the various contingencies. He felt that over the next few months we will try to improve the situation.
Ms. Campbell stated that, as a follow-up to that comment, one of the things mentioned at the PBC meeting was the possibility of relocating the County Board and having a joint entrance with the Council. She noted that now the Board is drawing every single person who walks into the building. They don't make it back to the Visitors Staff desk. So, we've given some thought to just not having a door there, but that we would jointly enter with the Council farther on down. She stated that she would like to have Mr. Hille re-look at that. She believed that would force people coming into the building to go on back to the Visitors Staff desk. If security were placed in the building, the security officer could be located at that spot.
Mr. Killeen added that security at this building is always an on-going question. Generally, in the past, it's been the feeling of the elected officials that they do not want to see this building handled the same as the Justice & Law Enforcement Building. Similar questions are being discussed at the Capitol and Omaha is having those same discussions. It will certainly be something that will continue to be discussed.
Ms. Seng stated that she wanted to follow-up on what Ms. Campbell had said. She stated that from the time we moved into this building, we've had concerns about the entrance into the County Board area. She stated that at one time, we had plans where there would only be one door with a joint receptionist between the County and City. She thought that had been discussed for quite some time during the planning of this building but had not materialized. Ms. Seng thought it would be good to take another look at that. Mr. Killeen stated that he agreed, especially in light of current security concerns. Ms. Seng remarked that this was not even mentioning the problem of the cold air generated in the entryway area.
Mr. Cook, noting that not all of the buildings were owned jointly, asked which buildings were owned by just one entity or the other. Mr. Killeen answered that some of these that the Building Commission operates are owned by one or the other, but are occupied jointly. For example, the Old Federal Building was in that situation, being owned strictly by the City. The Police Building is owned by the City; the Senior Centers and the Health Department are all jointly owned; the three government complex buildings are jointly owned; there are buildings that the PBC manages, such as Old City Hall, which is strictly a City Building. The West "A" Community Center is strictly a City Building. There are a number of County Buildings - County Mental Health, the Old Attention Centers, the New Juvenile Attention Center are all County buildings. So, there are three different classifications of buildings with only eight of them actually being joint facilities that operate directly under the Building Commission.
Mr. Cook asked if it were possible for the Building Commission to manage facilities that are owned by a private entity - just under lease? Mr. Killeen answered no - it has to be a publicly owned building.
Mr. Cook asked, regarding the bond issue, if the Public Building Commission put bonds to a vote, or is that something they do not have the power to do themselves? Mr. Killeen stated that these are basically revenue type bonds. Whether the PBC could put a General Obligation Bond out or not, is a good legal question. These are revenue bonds because they are backed by leases. Effectively, this three government building complex is under a master lease with the City and County to back those bonds.
Mr. Stevens asked what the criteria would be of either managing a building or owning it through the City or County. Mr. Killeen stated that to be under the direct jurisdiction of the PBC, it has to be a joint occupancy situation. Beyond those where it is strictly City or County, we manage those, not under the Commission, but as County/City Property Management. We manage Mental Health Building, Trabert Hall, etc. as a County Department. Then, we manage City Buildings under an agreement with the City under separate budgeting - such as Old City Hall.
Mr. Stevens asked if they managed the government facilities that are in a leased building? Mr. Killeen responded that in some cases they did. For instance, when there were offices in Gold's Galleria the PBC managed those facilities. Mr. Hudkins gave another example as the Annex for the Health Department, which is leased from a private entity.
Mr. Svoboda stated that it would be helpful to him as a new Council Member if he could have an inventory of the buildings that the City, County, and/or Joint City-County own or lease. Mr. Killeen stated that he could get that information to the Common Members. He noted that they did do maintenance on a number of facilities that they don't manage, naming the fire stations and the police garage as examples. Those are charged out on the time involved. He stated that the department also had a three-man environmental group which deals with lead and asbestos on all City and County facilities. We even get involved when the Fire Department responds to a fire and there is an asbestos situation.
Mr. Werner asked how many people they had on staff and what the payroll budget was. Mr. Killeen noted that there were approximately 52 people on staff. He stated that most of those are cleaning personnel. He noted that about 20 of those are maintenance workers. Many of these workers are located on-site at the buildings. He noted that there was a three person environmental team, plus an electrician and a carpenter on staff. Mr Killeen noted that he did not have the budget figures on hand.
Mr. Werner asked if the PBC had its own personnel department. Mr. Killeen stated that they did not, but went through the City/County Personnel Office.
Mr. Hudkins noted that the specialty teams on staff had saved the City and County a great deal of money and time over the years.
Ms. Campbell commented that it might be helpful to designate, for the newer members, the difference between the Public Building Commission jurisdiction and the County/City Property Management Office, agreeing with Mr. Hudkins that this arrangement saved the local government agencies a great deal of money. Mr. Killeen explained some of the funding savings with the dual agency concept through Fund 65.
Mr. Killeen answered questions from Mr. Cook regarding the daily operation procedures of the Property Management Office, explaining the work order concept of operations; and the procedure necessary for making changes to the Building, such as monitors in the Council Chambers.
Mr. Hudkins noted that they had been fortunate in the selection of the 5th member for the Commission since its inception in this completely non-gratis position. The first, Dave Patrick and currently Linda Wilson, have been exemplary in their service over the years. Mr. Killeen pointed out that the 5th member is chosen by the four elected members, but if they can't come to agreement, the position is appointed by the governor. [Laughter]
Mr. Cook commented, finally, on building security and hoped that everyone would be able to sit down and discuss the issue thoroughly before any changes were implemented. Mr. Killeen commented that some concerns had already been addressed, noting that the Justice and Law Enforcement Building already have a state-of-the-art security set up in place. Mr. Cook stated that he would like to have a less intense system in the County/City Building.
Mr. Camp thanked Mr. Killeen for his hard work and for his presentation.
Proposed Interlocal Agreement on REPOSA - Mr. Terry Genrich, Parks and Recreation Department and Mr. Glenn Johnson, NRD came forward to make the presentation. Mr. Genrich explained that several people have been involved in putting together a public trust on this project. He noted that he, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Kerry Eagan of the County Commissioners Office, Mr. Dave Johnson of the County Attorney's Office and Mr. Rick Peo of the City Attorney's Office, have been involved in trying to put something together.
Mr. Genrich gave a brief history of the REPOSA group beginning with the time when Wilderness Park Sub-area plan was being discussed. There had been discussion of the County getting out of the Parks business and turning it over to the City. The result of those discussions was the determination that the County needs to remain in the ownership of park land, especially since it is sometimes difficult for the City to acquire land, while the County has the means to do that.
From those discussions, came the effort to put together some type of public trust. At the City Parks Forum this spring, we presented to the group the Green Print challenge, as well as some ways to set up the public trust. Their recommendation was to develop a public trust, but also to look at development of a private trust. With that support to continue in that direction, we accelerated some of the discussions that bring us to this point today - REPOSA. REPOSA stands for Regional Park and Open Space Authority. Mr. Genrich explained that the material he handed out to the Common members today was a draft to be used for discussion purposes only. (A copy of the draft is on file in the office of the City Council and of the County Commissioners) Mr. Genrich explained that the document is really an Interlocal Agreement between the County, the City and the Lower Platte South (Natural Resources District). He noted that the City manages the park land in the County. The NRD acquires land in the County with a focus on flood control as well as some of the natural resources. The City's interest in this is that when we acquire land, it covers these concerns, but also for active recreation, which is not exactly what the NRD does.
He stated that this agreement would develop a partnership that brings these agencies together so that as Lincoln grows out into the County, there is a shared vision for what the future parks and open spaces could very well be. Mr. Genrich continued with the review of the report.
He noted that one of the things considered during the writing of the draft was that some triggers needed to be incorporated into this plan so as Lincoln grows out into the County, it would possibly trigger that land being returned to the City or the NRD or the County.
He explained that REPOSA would operate under the idea that it would be a way to acquire land out in the County - like a patchwork. REPOSA would be able to acquire these parcels, and as these smaller parcels were acquired, they would eventually become a whole parcel. Wilderness Park is an example of that. It was pieced together in parcels by a variety of governmental agencies before it became a whole. As we continue with Wilderness Park south to Hickman, there are pieces out there that are available, funding is available. These pieces could be acquired through REPOSA, then as Lincoln grows out into the County, there would be triggers that would then convert that land back to the City, or the NRD - whichever it may be.
One of the most recent issues that was a point of discussion was the Homestead Trail and who takes title to that? REPOSA would be the answer to that.
Mr. Genrich pointed out the trigger mechanisms as outlined in the report which would convert the lands back to the County or NRD, or remain in REPOSA but still be managed by those agencies. The other thing that this would offer is that REPOSA would have the ability to contract with other agencies or organizations to manage the land.
Those are the primary issues as the draft was drawn up. The rest of the contract covers some formalities behind the proposal. He noted that there had been a lot of discussions regarding other options as well, but this is the initial proposal we wanted to present to you today to begin discussion and get some feedback from the Common Members.
Mr. Werner asked how this would save money for the City/County or the NRD? Mr Genrich stated that this is not only a shared vision, but also shared resources. Every year there would be a budget proposed and each entity would contribute to that, which would provide funding to actually acquire the land and manage the contracts, and do those things necessary to keep REPOSA going.
Mr. Werner asked if there were a longer-term vision in putting all of these entities together into one? He asked if the County had a Parks Department? It was explained that the County contracts with the City for maintenance of their park lands. Mr. Genrich stated that the County parkland is managed by the City now.
Mr. Camp asked if this REPOSA proposal would formalize some of the already existing arrangements along with a lot more coordination with the NRD? Mr Genrich stated that that was exactly correct. The NRD has a mission that they wish to accomplish in land acquisition for flood control, trails, whichever. REPOSA would focus that vision and it would have the ability to plan so we all know which direction we're going in the future. Each entity knows what the other is doing and what the growth plans are for all involved.
Mr. Werner asked if there were other precedents for such a partnership in any other cities in the State. Mr. Glenn Johnson answered that this is quite similar, actually to the Joint Antelope Valley Agreement that has been developed recently. It is a way, primarily, of coordinating the efforts of three different entities who all have certain interests and certain responsibilities. There are separate agreements on individual projects that exist today. The City and the NRD have an agreement specific to the Crescent Green Park, which has been in place for a number of years. And, as situations take place, there are some triggers in there which describe who will manage what, who will pay for what. The City and County have a specific agreement to Wilderness Park. The City and the NRD have an agreement on the Wetlands Mitigation Bank. The City and Game and Parks have an agreement on the Wetlands at Arbor Lake. So, there are a number of separate agreements. One thing that this would help is to avoid having to enter into those types of specific agreements on every situation that is going to continue to come up in the future.
Mr. Werner had a final question, wondering if it would be possible under an agreement like this to set up a foundation for private contributions? Mr. Johnson noted that this would be the other half of the picture. This would be more of the Public Trust that would give it the authority to go out for grants and private donations from individuals and corporations. But, the other half would then be a private trust set up in addition to and separate from this one.
Mr. Svoboda commented that the affiliated parties were government agencies, and since this is indicated as non-profit, could this include Sierra Club, and many other such organizations. With that thought in mind then, you've indicated that in representation, it would be a representative from each one of the three partners, and an alternate; then, do the affiliated parties have voting representation within the structure? Mr. Genrich stated that the way this is set up, the answer would be no. He felt that would be one of the points of discussion on the whole proposal.
Mr. Heier stated that he understood what was trying to be done. His question, however, was what is it that we're doing now that isn't working that we would need this. Mr. Genrich stated that right now there is some degree of coordination, but this would really allow one vision in the County, especially as the Green Print issue comes forward and as we start work on our parks and open space for the Comprehensive Plan. There are some general identifications out there for resources that we really need to be looking at for parks and open space. Who is it that best acquires that? That is the issue and problem that we're having now. Would it be the NRD, the County, or the City going out to do that? It is really a challenge for the City to go out and acquire parcels out in the County. This agreement would set in place the opportunity that would allow more of that focus.
Mr. Heier asked if, with the three members in the group, one votes against what is being proposed, then that voids the situation? Mr. Genrich stated that is correct. Mr. Heier asked if the dissenting entity could then go out and implement its own plan? Mr. Genrich stated that it could, absolutely. Mr. Heier asked then why would we need this?
Mr. Genrich reiterated the advantage was having a focused, shared vision. He mentioned the Environmental Trust when we went to the NRD to match funds - and the County and the City. REPOSA would be the one agency that would handle all of that.
Mr. Heier mentioned that authority of taking property by condemnation was a process with which he was very uncomfortable. He noted that if all three entities were involved and voted on it as one body, one could choose not to participate in the condemnation and the citizenry would be knocking on their doors and not his.
Mr. Glenn Johnson noted that the Wilderness Park was g good example to use in illustrating the plan for expansion. It includes a number of components such as acquiring additional land in fee title that may be used for recreation; it also anticipates acquiring some of the land, only by flood-plain or conservation easements that may not have any recreation on it; the Homestead Trail corridor goes through about 4 miles of that easement....that would be acquired in fee. Without this, we may be more likely to end up with a patchwork in which the NRD would be acquiring the flood-plain easements either outside of the existing park (where the flood-plain extends outside the park today) or south where it would extend outside any of the future park area. Then the City or County would acquire lands in fee title for the park. One thing this would do would bring that into a focused plan, coordinating all of those acquisitions so there would be a shared vision and a shared management.
Mr. Heier stated that his concern on the whole thing is that it creates another level of bureaucracy, noting that bothered him a great deal.
Ms. Seng stated that she understood Mr. Heier's concerns, but wanted to state how she views this. She sees this as a mechanism to accomplish what they've been frustrated in being able to accomplish in the last few years. It is also a way to help preserve some green space for our great- grandchildren - for the future. She anticipated that Lincoln will continue to grow, certainly into Lancaster County, and there will need to be some strong examination of what we intend to preserve in the way of green space. These bodies have dealt with a great deal of frustration in the last few years trying to do that. Wilderness Park is a prime example of that.
Ms. Seng noted that twenty years ago, trying to save green space for posterity was a prime concern. She stated that she believes that is what we're looking at here; but she believes, in the short term, this is a mechanism to allow some things to happen more easily in this quest than they happen now. She agreed that it may be another level of bureaucracy, but she also thought it would be easier if they did not have to jump through all those hoops they have had to jump through now. Mr. Heier agreed with that view.
Mr. Werner asked if there were a long-term vision for reducing the bureaucracy - some way in which this would be streamlined to reduce the bureaucracy? Mr. Genrich went back to the Environmental Trust application. He stated that it was approved by funding. The matching funds were essentially approved by the City Council and the NRD and also by the County. You would not have to go to those three agencies to approve that with REPOSA - as long as the funding was within the REPOSA budget.
Mr. Workman stated that he was a bit nervous about Paragraph 4. He stated that it almost looked like the City Council and the County Board were transferring some of their power to this three member entity. He pointed out the portion of the document that stated that these three people have the powers of: "Public Information and Review; relocation assistance; utility relocation and installation; receiving gifts, grants, bequests, devises, exchanges and appropriations; mitigate adverse impacts and conditions; contracting or purchasing authority that any individual partner may possess, voluntary acquisition of real property to include fee title, easements and other interests in real property; right to acquire property by condemnation, if necessary and critical to the viability of the program; any other power necessary or convenient to implement the program and development and management of real property." Mr. Workman stated that he liked the coordination of efforts, the future green space and future vision, but was a little bit nervous that it might knock out the authority of the County Board and the City Council.
Mr. Camp stated that perhaps some of the concerns expressed here may be beyond the scope of this meeting. He suggested that we should have another forum to address some of these and in the interim have some of these questions answered before further discussion.
Ms. Campbell agreed with Mr. Workman, stating that the concept is needed. She felt, looking down the road 25-50 years, we have got to have that vision and planning. There is nothing in place now. Ms. Campbell stated that she was very concerned about Stevens Creek. We know we're going to develop there, but unless we have some vision on the green space...and as a family development. We need to have one place to go where we can get help on a unified vision and plan for such a large development.
She noted, however, with this proposal we seem to have gone from that emphasis of providing a unified vision and have focused too much on putting the power to condemn and purchase land in an authority like this. She felt it would cause great difficulty if elected officials, as policy makers are not involved in that kind of a monumental decision. Her vision for REPOSA was to have an entity that would have the ability to plan, focus, and create a vision. She realized the body must have some structure, but this contract exceeded the need.
Discussion continued with concerns regarding the construct of the contract being reviewed. Common members agreed REPOSA, as a centralizing, coordinating entity to expedite development in a well-focused, efficient and fiscally beneficial way would be a benefit. It was agreed that Mr. Eagan, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Genrich would review and rewrite the proposal to address the concerns expressed here today and bring the revised proposal back to the Common at a future date.