City Council session on February 16 — 1 p.m.
City council agendas follow a very traditional format. First, there is the consent agenda, for routine items that can be approved in just one motion. Second, there’s the report and recommendation of the planning commission, where public hearings are set for rezoning cases. There’s the report and recommendation for the City Manager, and then for City departments. Finally, the committees — public works or law and public safety for instance — make their reports.
These agenda previews will highlight the most important, engaging, and interesting items that we feel the public needs to know about. As many of these items are not discussed in detail in the council’s public sessions, we hope this can provide a little more insight into the business of Raleigh’s government.
Top Three Items of the Week
Let’s face it: these Agenda Previews run on for pretty long, and you may not be interested in reading about every contract the City is planning to authorize.
So here’s a list of this week’s three most interesting, important or unique agenda items!
- Raleigh BikeShare: For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of bike share, it’s a system through which bicycles are made available for short term rentals at a variety of kiosks throughout a city. Bike shares have been put in place in a number of large metropolitan areas, including New York and Washington D.C. and are almost always subsidized. In 2015, Raleigh received a Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality grant for $2 million from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization that would cover the costs of constructing a system, however, a required match of $425,000 was not appropriated. The program would cost an estimated $653,000 per year; projected revenues are about $215,000, a $438,000 funding gap. If Council does not authorize the $425,000 match by April, the $2 million will go away. Expect some heated debate on Tuesday!
- Google Fiber has submitted an encroachment request that would allow them to install 30,622 feet of fiber optic cable, 175 access vaults and three LCP (local convergence point) cabinets in the right of way. The future is now!
- The Public Works Department is seeking permission to sell off five surplus sewer flusher trucks, each of which are valued at more than $30,000. Due to the high value, state statute requires staff to seek Council permission. What makes this item top three material? Simple: these trucks are cool looking. Check out this deluxe sewer flusher model, currently listed for about $60,000 on equipmenttraderonline.com.
The consent agenda is a set of routine items that can be approved by a roll-call vote.
Consent Agenda: Contracts & Finance
- Highway Safety Program — Crash Reconstruction Equipment Grant. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has offered the City of Raleigh a grant that would offset the full cost of equipment that for the Police Department crash reconstruction unit. The $11,250 grant will require a match from the City of $3,750.
- Sale of Surplus Property: The Public Works Department is seeking permission to sell off five surplus sewer flusher trucks, each of which are valued at more than $30,000. Due to the high value, state statute requires staff to seek Council permission.
- Supplemental Agreements — North Carolina Department of Transportation Project Agreements. The City previously received grants from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement for three projects: the Bicycle Restriping and Bike Lane Striping; Six Forks Road Sidewalks and the I-40 Overpass Pedestrian Retrofits. The first one came in under budget; the other two over. Staff is now seeking approval to transfer funds from the re-striping project to the other two to offset the higher costs.
- New Bern Avenue Sidewalk and Transit Improvement Project: Councilors are being asked to authorize a contract with Kimley Horn and Associates in the amount of $618,683 for design and engineering work on the New Bern Avenue Sidewalk and Transit Improvement Project. The initial CIP budget for the entire project was $5,754,071.
- ERP Analysts, Inc. Contract Amendment: Following a recent upgrade of the City’s Enterprise Resource Planning system, staff want to amend an existing managed services agreement with ERP Analysts, Inc. The ERP system operates the City’s core financial, human resource and payroll functions. The amendment would require ERP Analysts, Inc. to implement a number of items that were planned, but unable to be included under the old system. The additional $204,000 will go toward things like improving vendor payment processing.
- Park Systems Planning Contract Extension: Since August 2012, the City has had a contract with AECOM Technical Services, Inc.to develop and implement the Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources System Plan. In August 2015, the scope of this contract was extended to include Greenway Design and park evaluation features. The contract expired on December 31, 2015 and staff is now asking that the contract be extended to May 31, 2016. No additional costs will be incurred by the city for this extension.
- Raleigh Arts Plan Contract Extension: Another contract extension that won’t cost the city a dime. Not bad. This one is with the Cultural Planning Group LLC, which has been under contract since August 2014 to provide consulting services for the recently approved Raleigh Arts Plan. The extension — also to May 31, 2016 — would allow Cultural Planning Group to complete the fourth and final phase of the project.
- Town of Garner Paving Contract: Since 2000, the City of Raleigh has been operating the water and sewer systems in the Town of Garner. Under this agreement, the Garner Public Works Department performs repair services upon the direction of Raleigh’s Public Utilities department. Staff is now asking Council to authorize a $50,000 payment to the Town of Garner for these services.
- Geographic Information Services Contract Amendment: In April 2013, the City entered into a contract to perform on-call GIS consultation for things like meter mapping and updating the master address repository. This third amendment to the contract will cost the city $49,900 and extend the contract to December 31, 2016. This will be the fourth year of what is expected to be a five-year contract, a contract with a total value $199,800.
- Surface Parking Lot at 213 South Harrington: Since 2004, the City has leased three surface parking lots along West Hargett and South Harrington from the Dillon Supply Company. In December 2015, Dillon sold two of those lots. The lease for the last remaining lot, at 213 Harrington for 27 spaces, is set to expire on August 1. Due to the projected need for parking in the area, staff is asking that Council extend the lease agreement through January 31, 2018. The least will continue at the current rate of $38.15 per space per month. This works out to $1,030/month and $12,360/year.
- Investment Services Contract Amendment: Since 2010, the City has been paying Weaver C. Barksdale & Associates (no relation to Avon Barksdale) $26,000/year for investment management services for two funds, the Other Post-Employment Benefits trust reserves and the Capital Reserves/Risk Reserves. To date, the city has paid out $147,280. The amendment will extend the contract through the end of 2016 for an additional cost of $31,779. There is currently $7,202 set aside for the contract.
- Investment Services Contract Extension: The Investment Research & Advisory Group currently provides investment advisory services for the City’s employee Supplemental Retirement Plan. The current contract expires on February 29, and staff is asking Council to approve a two-year, $100,000 extension to the existing contract.
- Charter Square Improvements: In order to meet the scheduled opening date for Charter Square on Fayetteville Street, Public Works partnered with the developer and the contractor, Choate Construction, to have them perform the work needed to improve “the safety, appearance and functionality of City streets, utility lines and sidewalks adjacent to the office project.” This work, which included repairs on Lenoir Street, a planted trench along Fayetteville and a number of other improvements, has been completed and staff is now asking that Council authorize a $90,000 payment to Choate for the work.
- Moore Square Improvements Donation: $2,500 has been donated to the City for the “development and operation of Moore Square.” Staff is asking that Council authorize a budget amendment to include this funding.
- Fire Station Five Renovations and Repairs: On January 27, 2016 the City opened bids for improvements at Fire Station No. 5. Engineered Construction Company was the low bidder at $950,663. Staff is asking that Council approve this contract. The original CIP budget was $505,000.
- Concord Street Water and Sewer Replacement: On January 21, 2016, the City opened bids for water and sewer replacements on Concord Street. Pipeline Utilities, Inc., was the low bidder at $1,364,000. Staff is asking that Council approve this contract. The original CIP budget was $1,973,000.
- Spring Valley Lift Station Abandonment and Eton Road Gravity Sewer Extension: On January 19, the City opened bids for this lift station and sewer project. Pipeline Utilities, Inc. was the low bidder at $499,990. Staff is asking that Council approve this contract. The original CIP budget was $513,000.
- East College Park Infrastructure Project Contract: After prequalifying contractors for this project in 2015, the City opened bids on January 14, 2016. T. A. Loving Company was the low bidder at $4,585,000. Staff is asking that Council approve this contract. The original CIP budget was $5,043,500.
Consent Agenda: Streets, Traffic & Engineering
- Country Ridge Drive Speed Limit Reduction: It is recommended that the speed limit on Country Ridge Drive be reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph. Country Ridge Drive is classified as Neighborhood Local and is constructed to typical residential street standards. A petition with signatures from 75 percent of the residents/property owners along the street was received requesting this reduction.
- Annexations: Council is being asked to schedule a public hearing for three property annexations: 10410 Globe Road, a commercial property, 4114 Westwood Place, the Aspan subdivision and 9601 Fonville Road, a residential property.
- Private Sanitary Sewer Easement: Mangram Builders is requesting an easement on City property located at 5212 North Hills Drive for the purpose of connecting a private residence to existing public sanitary sewer facilities. The City will be paid $100 for this easement. Staff recommends that Council grant said easement.
- Encroachment Request on Bartram Road: A request has been received from TK Real Estate Holdings, LLC to install a storm drainpipe in the right of way. Staff recommends that Council approve this request.
- Encroachment Request at 234 Fayetteville Street: A request has been received from First Empire Telex, LLC to relocate a grease trap in the right of way. Staff recommends that Council approve this request.
- Encroachment Request at Various Locations: A request has been received from Fiber Technologies Networks, LLC to install fiber optic cable and pole sets in the right of way. Staff recommends that Council approve this request.
- Encroachment Request at Various Locations: A request has been received from Google Fiber North Carolina, LLC to install 30,622 feet of fiber optic cable, 175 access vaults and three LCP (local convergence point) cabinets in the right of way. Staff recommends that Council approve this request.
Planning Commission Reports and Recommendations
- The only case to come out of Planning Commission for Council last week was for Z-41-15. It would rezone a portion of the 3100 block of Hillsborough Street to allow for a five-story neighborhood mixed-use redevelopment. Commissioners recommended the project for approval, and now staff is asking that Council set a public hearing for the job on March 1, 2016.
City Manager Reports and Recommendations
- Poole Road Sidewalk Project: This project would install 2,900 linear feet of “missing sidewalk” along the north side of Poole Road from Donald Ross Drive to Sunnybrook Road. A public meeting was held November 5, 2015 to present design information and preliminary right of way and easement needs; the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission reviewed the project on December 14, 2015. Staff is now asking Council to authorize this project to move forward. The total cost of the project is estimated at $270,000.
- Raleigh BikeShare: For anyone unfamiliar with the concept of bike share, it’s a system through which bicycles are made available for short term rentals at a variety of kiosks throughout a city. Bike shares have been put in place in a number of large metropolitan areas, including New York and Washington D.C. and are almost always subsidized. In 2015, Raleigh received a Congestion Mitigation & Air Quality grant for $2 million from the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization that would cover the costs of constructing a system, however, a required match of $425,000 was not appropriated. The program would cost an estimated $653,000 per year; projected revenues are about $215,000, a $438,000 funding gap. If Council does not authorize the $425,000 match by April, the $2 million will go away. Although this is a popular program, many have questioned its efficacy as a method of public transportation, and The Atlantic’s CityLab published a report that most bike share programs don’t help the poor.
Requests and Petitions of Citizens
We’ll just list these as they appear on the agenda.
- Sig Hutchinson would like to speak on behalf of supporters and organizations relative to a bike share program.
- Neil Riemann, Cameron Park Neighborhood Association, wishes to introduce a text change regarding alley transition. Additional information is included in the agenda packet.
- Jona Marie Ricci would like to address the apparent lack of concern for the current and future financial welfare of residents participating in the City’s Housing and Neighborhood programs; absence of response or cooperation from the City Manager when a serious issue is repeatedly brought to the attention of his office; failure of City departments to provide specific documents critical to a residents project.
- Lisa Rowe, PLM Families Together, would like for the Council to consider initiating paving Plainview Road without curb and gutters. Additional information is included in the agenda packet.
- Downtown and Hillsborough Street Municipal Service Districts: This hearing will allow for public input on the services offered in Raleigh’s two municipal service districts. This input will be taken into account as staff puts together a request for proposals for the provision of said services in these districts. Following the hearing, staff is asking Council that they be granted permission to proceed with this project.
- Z-44-15: This case would allow for the expansion of the Triangle Orthopaedics Surgery Center in Brier Creek on ACC Boulevard. The case has been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission, and now requires Council permission to move forward.
- Z-45-15: This case is for a housing development on Poole Road near Raleigh Boulevard. From the rezoning application: “The requested zoning district permits higher-density housing on a corridor served by transit. The proposal also provides the opportunity for a local nonprofit housing developer to add affordable housing units for low-income, disabled, or homeless citizens. ” The maximum number of units allowed on the property is 101. Planning Commission has recommended this case for approval and it now requires Council permission to move forward.