Pearland City Council Special Meeting for August 17, 2020

6:30 p.m. Meeting of City Council - Agenda

Citizen Comments:

Jeff Hunkele:

First off, I want to commend council for considering lowering the property tax rate to 72 cents

I was asked to get an update on the $1.6 million dollars of excess property taxes collected. What are the plans for these funds moving forward?

The previous budget meeting discussed giving a 2% cost of living adjustment across the board to all city employees. In the documentation, it states:

"this is not a performance incentive or merit increase and the COLA is determined annually based on the availability of funding. 2% has been the standard over the last few years."

If this is standard how many of those previous years has there been a pandemic that has affected the economy? How do you communicate to families trying to pay their bills that a 2% raise is  in your words, modest?

At the company I work for we were told there will be no raises this year which I understand and accept. I am just happy and blessed to have a job. Last meeting Member Perez suggested increasing it to 4% which will add another $1.4 million to the budget. I think raises need to be on hold this year. but if raises are to be given out, there needs to be a rating system to give based on performance and at least have a cap on it so it only applies to people making say $50K or less.

Also, in the last meeting a citizen commented the police entry salaries are below what other cities are paying and a portion of this money could be used for this. Please understand I am not saying certain employees don't deserve a raise but do disagree with an across the board adjustment.

Another citizen asked me to ask how much Pearland gets charged by their financial advisor for managing their retirement accounts. Do the participants pay for the advisor fee or does Pearland pay. Also, when is the last time they shopped around for a more competitive rate? If this hasn't been done yearly, I think now would be a great time to reach out to local Pearland citizens in this business and see.

You want to hire a Resiliency Officer and I reviewed their job description:
 - Makes sure that offices aren’t wasting resources doing duplicate work - Wait, you are willing to waste $40K for a part time job to see if they are wasting money. Heck, just ask me and I can tell you for free
 - Lets the city get the most “bang for its buck” on its projects - we citizens have been giving multiple ways for the city to get a better bang for their buck but we are left unheard. If this is so important, I ask council which would you choose? Hire a position we've lived without or give raises?

Parks and recreation had an $18K budget for seminars which I also said should be cancelled for this year Or send 1 employee to give a presentation to the rest when they return. This raises the overall spending on Seminars and Conferences to $751,706

There was a request for staff to build an interactive dashboard to view the budget? I have some ideas of how to format the dashboard and would love to discuss this further.

Gentleman, Good luck making the right decisions tonight. The citizens are watching and waiting.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Purpose of the Meeting
1. Regarding the Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Discussion #2
Council Comments:
I apologize I couldn't write everything down but tried to summarize key points. If you want to watch the full video of the session, click here:
  • They want to put more money into our streets and side walks but don't want to take it from the fund balance so they can achieve a 25% value
  • Need to find other areas to get the money and trying to get it from a few different areas so 1 area doesn't take a hit
  • Trying to get to $4.6 million to get us to the PCI of 72
  • Want to start reimposing late water billing fees going to wait until next week to see the results of the 32/30 plan
  • Hotels collect money from visitors and the city takes a portion to use for certain purposes.
  • Get feedback from first round before another grant program
  • Trent is advocating for a 4% COLA and was upset others weren't on board. Says need 4% to retain employees
  • Trent says they are underpaid and it's a difficult job and why they are leaving
  • Most voted for the 2%
  • No to adding a Resiliency Officer position
  • Woody questioned the Seminars, Conferences and Due over $1 million. Should be time to look at them
  • Woody suggesting sending 1 person and putting on a seminar when they return
  • Clay defended all of the Seminars and Conferences as needed and seemed to take offense to it
  • $1 million on memberships and dues
  • Financial Advisor for the city of Pearland and not for personal use
  • Tony asked for an Excel version of the budget so citizens can slice and dice the data
  • Tony asked about performance incentives for the COLA Clay responded by saying it's too difficult to break it out for each employee, seems like a lot of pain to do
  • Tony 800+ employees and they are getting the same COLA as high performers
  • Tony entry level officers from PPOA data
  • Tony paying for parks but they are closed, Clay - some indoor places are close but still have services to keep them running
  • SAFER grant will be available mid-year, don't have to decide now
  • Tony Keep Pearland Beautiful (KPB) accounted for in the budget? $285,000. A serious public accusation in public comment, but he sees not conflict with it
  • When can we implement the late fee
  • Gary not a guarantee COLA at all. Annual increase depends on criteria. Public tax payers say you don't have to do anything to get the increase
  • Gary civil service did more this year, a pay scale should be based upon performance, against an across the board pay
  • Trent maybe in February we can develop a merit based pay, a separate fund to do this. See if we can find an existing program in place that would work for Pearland
2. Placing on the Sept 14ths City Council meeting agenda, consideration of the proposed fiscal year 2020-2021 budget and setting the public hearing on the budget for Aug 31, 2020, at 6:30 PM
Passed 7-0

3. Voting on a proposed tax rate of 0.72, which represents a property tax revenue decrease of 24.03% below the No New Revenue Tax Rate, and placing on the Sept 14ths City Council meeting agenda, consideration of the proposed fiscal year 2020-2021 tax rate.
Passed 7-0