City aims to have new transportation planning organization ready in fall - Havasu News: News

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City aims to have new transportation planning organization ready in fall

MPOs federally required of cities, areas greater than 50,000

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Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 12:01 am

Lake Havasu City could have a new organization leading transportation planning for the city and the immediate area ready for its new role by Oct. 1.

That’s what Gary Parsons, the city’s Operations Department director said Monday as the City Council is slated tonight to vote on a resolution accepting nearly $104,200 in start-up funds for the Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Formation of a so-called Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is federally required of cities and, more specifically, metropolitan areas that are larger than 50,000 in population. Lake Havasu City met the 50,000 threshold after the U.S. Census numbers were released in 2010.

Funding for the new Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization largely is covered by the federal government with the city providing office space, utilities, and human resources and finance services to the new group.

“This is not another layer of government,” Parsons said to clarify the new group’s role. “It has no taxing authority.” The organization will apply for grants and have technical advisory committees to direct projects through to completion, he added.

Tuesday, if the council agrees to the resolution having the city working together with the Arizona Department of Transportation Multimodal Planning Division (which helps direct federal funds and formation of the organization), the first move will lead to a board of directors.

A board of directors would include five members — three members appointed by the City Council, one by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors and one by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Parsons said.

Once the board is convened it would hire with the help of the city’s human resources department the planning organization’s executive director, Parsons said. From there, the executive director will hire an administrative specialist with the help of the city’s human resources department, he added.

“Technically, (the two Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization officials) will be city employees,” Parsons said. But federal funds administered through the state covers their work and salaries, he said. Federal funds will cover about 95 percent of the MPO, he added.

In other business, council members will vote on continuing a water leak detection program with help from a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The total project cost is more than $64,400 with the rest of the expenses covering city workers time and labor on the project.

If council members approve, between 160 and 170 miles of water pipes will be surveyed, including an area above Acoma Boulevard and around Lake Havasu High School, beginning in November or December and concluding in March, said Doyle Wilson, the city’s water resources coordinator.

Last year, 153 miles of the city’s water distribution system was surveyed and 47 water leaks were detected which totaled 169 acre feet of water lost per year, according to a city staff report.

It’s not typical that the city finds that much water leakage as it did this past year, Wilson said. A six-year average of water leak survey work reveals about 41 acre feet of water leaks per year, he added.

The water leak survey work is important for two key reasons, Wilson said.

“We want to be as efficient as we can obviously (with the water),” Wilson said.

Also, the city loses revenue if the water it pumps out and treats ends up leaking into the ground, he said. “We’re not seeing the payback on it.”

Also, in other business the council will vote on adopting the 10-year Community Investment Program and adopting the tentative fiscal year 2013-2014 budget.

With two budget work sessions held and one CIP work session, Mayor Mark Nexsen said it’s likely city staff will review some of the changes council members informally agreed to make during the sessions and there will be little discussion otherwise.

A final budget could be approved at the June 25 meeting.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. today at the Police Facility, 2360 N. McCulloch Blvd.

You may contact the reporter at gmoberly@havasunews.com.

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7 comments:

  • Roco posted at 8:09 am on Fri, Jun 14, 2013.

    Roco Posts: 729

    @ tomgarven: I'm doing ok. I hope the same for you. Can't run for a political office. I don't have the disposition or patience. Don't post often because most of the articles are of no interest to me. Every now and then one will come across that would snare my interest. Take care and keep posting those spot on posts.

     
  • tomgarven posted at 4:48 pm on Thu, Jun 13, 2013.

    tomgarven Posts: 523

    @ Roco:

    Thank you for the complement but I am not interested in running for a political office :-( I do however like to work in the background helping others who might be interested; like maybe yourself ? ? ? ? ?

    Have not seen you posting lately and sure hope you are well. Take care of yourself and have a great day.

    Tom G.

     
  • Roco posted at 3:59 pm on Thu, Jun 13, 2013.

    Roco Posts: 729

    @ tomgarven: You won't have any opposing views because you are right. This is how most cities functions and when the grants dry up, the citizens have to foot the bill. Have you thought about running for mayor? You got my vote!

     
  • tomgarven posted at 8:33 am on Wed, Jun 12, 2013.

    tomgarven Posts: 523

    There is a very good Wikipedia entry on MPO's at the below link.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_planning_organization

    I just know I am going to get into trouble for this next statement but here goes anyway. Remember not so long ago when a government mandate cost our city $400+ million? It was called the Sewer Project. While the Department of Environmental Quality [a state agency] didn't specifically mandate that we had to install a sewer system, we did have a choice didn't we? We could have either agreed to install the sewer system or stop building homes.

    Is the legal requirement to implement an MPO just another government program that will someday die a slow death with a single person holding the title MPO administrator or will it live on supported by our city when the grant money dries up? If you have read the Wikipedia article you will get some idea of what I mean.

    When big brother comes to town to discuss the implementation of our MPO what will they expect from our small Arizona community located 60 miles from the next major city? What do we really have in COMMON with our big brother in Phoenix? Do we have massive resort hotels - no. Do we have Interstate highways and railroads running through our community - no we don't. Do we have large mass transit systems - no. Do we have a major manufacturing sector like Motorola, Microsoft and Intel paying taxes to help cover the cost of operating our city - no we sure as heck do not. We have a lake.

    This will be my last posting on this issue. If I were in charge of this MPO mandated program I would do everything within my power to funnel as much of this grant money to the private sector as possible. I would require that every single dime [$.10] of expenses incurred by the MPO program including lease fees for buildings, utility bills, wages and salaries and support services were reimbursed by the State. If the state refused; it just wouldn't get done. Oh and before I forget, there would be no unpaid Interns or volunteers. We need JOBS in this town not more volunteers for some government program.

    If we fail to take a firm position when it comes to this program it COULD end up with another Sewer Project on our hands. A project that continues to draining money from our already strained City budget.

    That's my opinion and I am sticking with it. I of course welcome all opposing views.

     
  • tomgarven posted at 9:33 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    tomgarven Posts: 523

    The comment made by 'myideas' is correct.

    Every new federally mandated program; even if funded by a GRANT that pays for 95% of the cost of the program in essence comes out of our pockets. You know, the taxes you and I pay. Grant money is not FREE money. It is created from the money the Federal Reserve prints and loans from other countries who believe America is still a good investment.

    Wait a minute, I thought we didn't have to pay grant money back? Well the correct answer is probably someplace between yes and no. A grant from private foundation or individual does not normally need to be paid back. Normally its like; here dear sir, I had some extra money laying around so go forth and do good, LOL.

    Federal grants on the other hand are provided using some of our tax dollars and some additional percentage of money we have borrowed from other agencies like the Federal Reserve and China for example. Someday that borrowed money will need to be repaid if not by us by our grandchildren.

    What I find distasteful about Federal and State grants and mandates is that they never seem to cover the full cost of the mandate and usually there is no long term strategy to maintain the mandate either. For example, some new tax to maintain the mandated requirements and organization after the grant money is spent. In this instance I guess 95% of the cost is provided by a grant. But is it really 95%? I mean the city is required to provide office space, furniture, utilities and other resources. Space is not free; furniture is not free and neither are the utilities and Human Resource personnel. And I don't see anything that states how this new entity is going to be maintained for another 20 years.

    I find this mandated creation of a new government entity unnecessary given our current economic state. Oh sure there will be a few jobs created but for how long? One year, 3 years or 5 years. When will the grant money run out and then where will the city turn to fund this mandated function?

    To me Lake Havasu City has a JOBS problem not a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) problem.

    I welcome all opposing views.

     
  • shutthefrontdoor posted at 8:18 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    shutthefrontdoor Posts: 193

    Right you are "myideas". Ah, yes, the LHMPO! Of course, mandated by the government, funded with grants, just like the eyesore over the Blvd. I guess the office space, utilities, human resources, finance expenses and the added 5% expense is covered by?, and of course are minimal, which will not adversely affect other more important financial projects. Now we will finally make good use of those "Sonoma " donated pink elephants that were put on the shelf after all the hoopla and public non-use.

     
  • myideas posted at 5:32 am on Tue, Jun 11, 2013.

    myideas Posts: 585

    Just a note of clarification. Getting a federal grant does't make it free, the money still comes from taxes that we pay or is borrowed from China.

     

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