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Thursday, February 10, 2011
10:30 a.m. Special Called Meeting


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[Roll Call]

10:31:23 >>GWEN MILLER: Here.

10:31:24 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Here.

10:31:25 >>MARY MULHERN: Here.

10:31:26 >>CURTIS STOKES: Here.

10:31:27 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Here.

10:31:29 >>THOMAS SCOTT: This is a special called meeting.

10:31:31 The Mayor did call me on the course of the week and

10:31:35 asked if we could convene a special meeting to take a

10:31:41 look, we talked about the two tiers last Thursday and

10:31:43 didn't have enough information to make an informed

10:31:45 decision.

10:31:46 And so, I agreed to call after all of you have been

10:31:51 briefed.

10:31:51 I assume everybody has been briefed that wanted to be

10:31:54 briefed and have all the background information.

10:31:56 So I'm going to ask first, Miss Wise, if she would come

10:32:00 and give us an overview about the financial impact of

10:32:03 suspending these two tiers.

10:32:06 I did meet with her during -- yesterday, I believe it

10:32:08 was.

10:32:09 >> Yes, sir.

10:32:09 >> Bonnie Wise, director of revenue and finance.

10:32:12 If I could address the matter that you all asked about,

10:32:15 what rating impact this would have, if any, on our

10:32:18 existing bonds.

10:32:19 And I wanted to let you know that in my opinion, it

10:32:22 will have no rating impact.

10:32:24 The two tiers that were put in place, as you might

10:32:27 recall, last year, when we did that resolution before

10:32:31 you, even in the financial impact statement that was on

10:32:34 the agenda cover sheet, the financial part of that was

10:32:37 written as NA.

10:32:38 This was put in as a conservation measure, not as a

10:32:42 revenue-generation matter.

10:32:44 And therefore, removing those top two tiers, it is not

10:32:49 going to affect our bonds.

10:32:51 The water system has over $100 million system.

10:32:54 And those monies that we collected are really in the

10:32:57 scheme of things, not a material factor in this

10:33:01 instance.

10:33:02 So, it is important to remove these tiers for

10:33:06 credibility purpose and to give us time to assess the

10:33:10 proper system.

10:33:11 The tier system in and of itself will still exist.

10:33:14 And that will in and of itself promote conservation

10:33:17 efforts.

10:33:18 But just removing those top two tiers will not have an

10:33:21 impact.

10:33:22 I'll answer any questions for you, if you have any.

10:33:25 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Mulhern?

10:33:27 >>MARY MULHERN: Thank you.

10:33:28 Bonnie, I don't know if this is a question for you or

10:33:31 for, maybe Jan.

10:33:32 But, the Tribune story today said something that I

10:33:40 hadn't noticed in the resolution.

10:33:44 And that I believe when I asked about, I didn't hear

10:33:48 about either.

10:33:49 It says if the Council votes to suspend the two highest

10:33:55 tiers, those rates would go into effect only during

10:33:56 times of drought.

10:33:57 Now, I thought that I understood from my meetings with

10:34:04 Jan and with Steve Daignault and Brad Baird, if we

10:34:11 suspend these tiers, those top two tiers can't be

10:34:16 reinstituted without Council passing that.

10:34:19 >> You are absolutely correct.

10:34:20 Newspaper report is incorrect.

10:34:22 >>MARY MULHERN: Okay, good.

10:34:23 Thank you.

10:34:24 >>THOMAS SCOTT: I guess this question -- thank you very

10:34:27 much.

10:34:27 I guess this question may be, you could ask our Steve.

10:34:31 And that is by removing the top two tiers, how many of

10:34:35 the water customers users have been affected by,

10:34:39 because of this?

10:34:39 I think I asked that question at our meeting the other

10:34:42 day and nobody had an answer for me.

10:34:44 >> Steve Daignault, administrator for public works and

10:34:47 utility services.

10:34:48 If your question is how many people since the two tiers

10:34:51 were put in place, how many people have been affected

10:34:54 or gone up into the top two tiers?

10:34:56 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Well, the question, out of the 500

10:34:58 complaints we have, how many of those customers are

10:35:00 affected by the two tiers?

10:35:03 >> I don't have that answer today.

10:35:04 We're still looking and trying to match up the

10:35:08 complaints versus a number of other factors.

10:35:11 So, I'm sorry, I don't have that information to give to

10:35:14 you.

10:35:15 >>THOMAS SCOTT: I raised that with Brad in our meeting

10:35:17 yesterday.

10:35:17 And didn't have an answer because it's important for to

10:35:20 us understand while we are addressing one component of

10:35:23 the problem, I want to make sure that we -- I know we

10:35:26 continue to look at some other issues, but it will be

10:35:29 helpful if we had that information, to know just what,

10:35:32 how many people have been affected about I the top two

10:35:35 tiers that we have.

10:35:36 Okay, Councilman Miranda?

10:35:40 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

10:35:41 I can tell you this.

10:35:42 And I've said it before -- mic I don't think is work.

10:35:45 I can say that prior to July of 2010, I had very little

10:35:50 complaints.

10:35:50 When the water department took over -- I'm not trying

10:35:54 to cover up anything -- the complaints started to go up

10:35:58 like a stepladder.

10:35:59 And in November, December, January, the he is -- they

10:36:02 escalated like an elevator.

10:36:04 Went right through the roof.

10:36:05 What does that mean?

10:36:07 In my judgment, we have a much graver problem than just

10:36:12 them, the customers.

10:36:13 It's a combination of many things.

10:36:15 I have personally seen water bills that have doubled

10:36:18 and tripled, and I have to believe that some do have a

10:36:22 leak.

10:36:23 But I also have to believe that some don't have a leak.

10:36:26 I can also say and testify to the fact that I've seen

10:36:32 those water bills and in one instance, one of them had

10:36:36 reclaim, and I never saw reclaim charge on it.

10:36:39 And I asked, are you using the reclaim system?

10:36:42 And the answer was yes.

10:36:43 So I think we have a combination of many, some were

10:36:46 never put in the system.

10:36:48 And have it.

10:36:49 Some, the meters are faulted.

10:36:51 And I have evidence of that, I believe.

10:36:53 And some, possibly they were misread, miscalculated.

10:36:57 And the whole system needs a complete overhaul.

10:37:01 This is not a transmission problem.

10:37:04 This is an engine problem.

10:37:06 When you have a problem and you have a perception of a

10:37:09 problem, you got two problems.

10:37:10 We can solve a problem.

10:37:12 And I think that your staff is doing an excellent job

10:37:15 to getting -- I know you have been working with the

10:37:19 audit department prior to this hearing for a couple of

10:37:21 weeks.

10:37:21 And they're already starting their interviews.

10:37:24 I think that's going to lead us to the founding problem

10:37:27 that started all this.

10:37:29 Why did it change only when the water department took

10:37:32 it over?

10:37:33 Was this many years -- I hate to say it that way, but

10:37:38 there could be many years of problems that were never

10:37:40 detected and now that you have taken over, the problems

10:37:45 come to surface.

10:37:46 That's the main problem that I see.

10:37:48 The perception side of it, it's the most difficult one

10:37:54 to solve, because once the public thinks we are all

10:37:57 doing something wrong, it's very hard to get the

10:38:00 confidence back.

10:38:01 I hope they don't think that way because that's not the

10:38:03 fact.

10:38:03 The fact is your department along with the auditors are

10:38:06 working on this to solve the problem.

10:38:08 You haven't charged anybody any more than the top

10:38:10 tier -- am I correct, the low Everett tier right now?

10:38:14 >> Correct.

10:38:15 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: So that's showing we are willing to

10:38:16 understand and show that we do have a problem.

10:38:18 And I believe that through the investigation, those

10:38:22 problems will arise.

10:38:23 And I believe that someone or some -- more than one,

10:38:29 will come forward and explain what's really been going

10:38:32 on.

10:38:32 I have a hunch, that's just my senses.

10:38:38 I don't go on hunches, I don't have any facts to prove

10:38:41 it, but what I stated are all facts.

10:38:44 I've seen these things, I've talked to these people on

10:38:47 an one-to-one basis.

10:38:48 And sometimes I think the meter's faulted.

10:38:51 Sometimes the meter is dead and you have to catch up

10:38:53 for two or three or four months.

10:38:55 But to solve this problem, the most underlying thing we

10:38:57 have, I really believe we have to go wholeheartedly to

10:39:01 a monthly reading of these meters.

10:39:04 This is one of the only utilities, we don't do that.

10:39:07 Certainly you get a bill from Verizon or bright house

10:39:11 or TECO or anyone.

10:39:15 However, we bill every other month.

10:39:17 And if there's a mistake and a leak on the third or

10:39:19 fourth day of that month, you don't get it until 57

10:39:22 days later.

10:39:23 If you had it for 30 days, you would catch it within

10:39:26 26, 27 days, depending on the month.

10:39:28 So these are the things we have to do and these are the

10:39:30 things that the administration is charged with doing.

10:39:33 And we are here to lend a helping hand.

10:39:35 But at the same time, we're here to make sure that the

10:39:38 public is protected first.

10:39:39 Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

10:39:41 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Well, thank you, Councilman Miranda.

10:39:44 I do want to say, well, I do thank the Mayor and her

10:39:47 administration for agreeing with me and this board.

10:39:52 And I think has called for an independent audit, that

10:39:57 the Mayor saw serious this was and began to put in

10:40:02 place this task force.

10:40:03 But you said something very important, that when

10:40:05 confidence is lost, it's very hard to get it back.

10:40:08 Because it they think all of us are doing something.

10:40:10 That's why I still advocate, I this I the first course

10:40:12 of action here again should have been independent

10:40:16 audit.

10:40:17 Nevertheless, I no a lot is concerned about the costs

10:40:20 and all that and we have an internal task force, but

10:40:24 you hit a very key point.

10:40:25 The other thing I will say is, there are numerous

10:40:28 issues out there.

10:40:29 I just told Brad yesterday at a meeting, I have a

10:40:33 person, miss Davis off of 40th Street said her water

10:40:38 meter is put in backwards.

10:40:39 Almost a $900 bill for November.

10:40:42 And they came out and found no leaks.

10:40:44 And they said they're going to refund her.

10:40:48 She has not got that refund yet.

10:40:52 But they put the water meter in backwards.

10:40:54 Almost every door I knock on now, somebody has a water

10:40:57 issue.

10:40:58 So, we know that you all are addressing this through

10:41:03 the internal task force.

10:41:06 And the report is scheduled to come back to us, I think

10:41:09 March the 17th.

10:41:10 From the internal report.

10:41:14 So we look forward to hearing from that.

10:41:17 Councilwoman Mulhern?

10:41:18 >>MARY MULHERN: Thank you.

10:41:19 It's okay if I speak a second time?

10:41:21 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes.

10:41:22 The rules allow for you a second time.

10:41:25 >>MARY MULHERN: All right.

10:41:25 I might be on here a while.

10:41:27 I asked a few weeks ago when we had the crowds at

10:41:32 Council who had to come down here, about their water

10:41:35 bills, for information.

10:41:37 I'm going to thank Mr. Daignault for providing that to

10:41:42 me.

10:41:44 I just added it up.

10:41:45 It's not just the 500 complaints that we're talking

10:41:47 about, but their own accounting told us there had been

10:41:54 6,000 total water bills that were more than a hundred

10:41:59 percent of the, of their average for the previous year.

10:42:02 This is what our own computer system kicked out.

10:42:06 So, and I was told in my, one of my meetings yesterday,

10:42:11 that the, what we're doing today as far as suspending

10:42:16 those top two tiers would not be a significant -- it

10:42:22 would not be a significant reduction in those totals.

10:42:27 So that not that that may not be part of it, but from

10:42:30 what I heard yesterday, and from what I suspect from

10:42:33 the data that I've gotten from water department and

10:42:37 from all the information we have gotten from customers,

10:42:41 this may help a little bit.

10:42:43 But it definitely is not the solution.

10:42:45 So, I think we're going to talk about those issues on

10:42:48 the 17th.

10:42:52 Many people -- all of us on this dais have come up with

10:42:55 ideas about what we can look into and do to solve this.

10:43:00 And Mr. Caetano wanted us to average the previous

10:43:03 bills, which seems like a really good idea for the

10:43:06 people who had unusually and unexplained water bills.

10:43:11 Chairman Scott had a whole report for us last week

10:43:14 about what other, what, how the county does their

10:43:19 measurements.

10:43:20 I had so many people in my neighborhood, that I had to

10:43:23 actually send out an e-mail to them to my neighbors,

10:43:27 explaining what Council is trying to do about this.

10:43:30 And what the city was going to do.

10:43:32 I did talk to the Mayor on Monday.

10:43:34 And she was very reassuring about what you're going to

10:43:37 look into and that you're looking into a lot of the

10:43:40 things that we had arrived at on our own as your City

10:43:45 Council people about what the problems would be.

10:43:47 I would support an independent audit.

10:43:51 I was convinced at our last meeting that that would be

10:43:54 a great thing to do.

10:43:55 But this Council can ask for that all we want.

10:43:59 And I'm not sure that we have the ability to make that

10:44:03 happen.

10:44:03 So, I think that's where we are.

10:44:07 Maybe our attorney could advise me if there's any way

10:44:11 that Council could, you know, if we found out how much

10:44:17 it would cost.

10:44:19 Because -- there will be a cost to it, but I also think

10:44:22 there's a huge cost to what the water department is

10:44:25 doing right now as far as going out and investigating

10:44:28 every single complaint.

10:44:29 I mean, 6,000 complaints, how much is that going to

10:44:32 cost for us to, you know, getting plumbers or people

10:44:38 from our own department to go out there.

10:44:40 So maybe an independent audit of the system.

10:44:43 I think here's what's clear to me and I think everyone

10:44:47 who has been looking at this.

10:44:49 This is a system-wide problem.

10:44:51 And Mr. Miranda had reminded us and he wasn't here for

10:44:56 the long part of the discussion last week, but that

10:44:59 those changes in our billing process coincided with

10:45:04 this spike.

10:45:04 So, it seems like there may be, and there probably are,

10:45:08 as you've said to us, more than one reason for this to

10:45:11 happen.

10:45:11 But, it's a systemic, obviously a systemic problem.

10:45:16 So, Mr. Shelby, is there any way that we could -- how

10:45:24 could Council -- I don't know -- facilitate getting an

10:45:30 independent audit?

10:45:31 >> Well, Council, as you know your power under the

10:45:34 charter, under the strong mayor form of government is

10:45:37 limited primarily to legislative matters.

10:45:39 You have the power of investigation and you can conduct

10:45:41 your own investigation and hold hearings and have the

10:45:43 power of subpoena.

10:45:44 With regard to engaging a contractor, that process,

10:45:52 normally is done by the administration.

10:45:54 Certainly the funding for that would be from the

10:45:57 Council's budget.

10:45:59 It a to be a budget amendment.

10:46:01 Budget amendments under the charter are recommended by

10:46:04 the Mayor.

10:46:04 So therefore, your powers with regard to engaging

10:46:06 independently a contractor are limited.

10:46:10 And you could request the administration to do that,

10:46:14 and you can see if the administration would be amenable

10:46:17 to that.

10:46:18 But barring that, under the charter, your powers to do

10:46:23 that are limited.

10:46:24 I can look further to see if there are other options.

10:46:27 But if that money does not exist within your own

10:46:29 budget, and of course there are processes under

10:46:32 purchasing and contractors that you may have to comply

10:46:34 with under state law in terms of negotiating and

10:46:38 formulating a contract with a bidder.

10:46:40 I don't know if Mr. Fletcher wants to follow up.

10:46:43 >> Without speaking directly to the charter

10:46:45 investigative issue, just the contracting with the,

10:46:49 with the auditor in this case, we have also have

10:46:53 charter provisions related to procurement that would

10:46:55 apply to any entity within the city that uses us.

10:46:59 So we would have to go through a competitive bidding

10:47:01 process, that may or may not have to go through the

10:47:05 statutory CC and A.

10:47:08 You're looking at probably 45 to 60 days to go through

10:47:10 that process once the decision and the funding to hire

10:47:13 an audit team was made.

10:47:19 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilman Caetano, then Councilwoman

10:47:24 Capin.

10:47:27 >> I think we should wait until March 17th when the

10:47:30 report is due back.

10:47:32 At that point, if we're not satisfied, I would support

10:47:35 an independent audit.

10:47:37 Because I don't want to interrupt what's going on now.

10:47:40 And I know the meeting I had up at New Tampa, we had

10:47:45 well over a hundred people.

10:47:46 And there were a lot of irate residents there.

10:47:49 And they want an answer.

10:47:50 And I would support an independent audit after

10:47:56 March 17th.

10:47:57 If we're not happy with the report that comes out.

10:48:00 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Thank you.

10:48:02 >>YVONNE CAPIN: In reference to the independent audit,

10:48:06 I want to understand this.

10:48:07 We're, from what I am hearing is that the cost, what

10:48:14 it's going to cost for the task force for

10:48:18 March 17th report, if we took upon ourselves for an

10:48:26 independent audit, which would take another 45 days,

10:48:30 does that mean we should stop the task force because of

10:48:35 the money that's being spent?

10:48:37 Or do we do the task force and we look for an audit on

10:48:42 top of that?

10:48:46 I agree with Mr. Caetano.

10:48:48 We need to wait till this report is in, March 17th.

10:48:53 And at that point, if we are not satisfied, then look

10:48:58 into.

10:48:59 But we are laying money on top of money as far as I can

10:49:02 see here.

10:49:03 The monthly reading going back to that is essential.

10:49:10 To help detect those leaks that they were talking

10:49:14 about, that are in some of the homes.

10:49:16 And again, I would vote to wait for the report from

10:49:21 March 17th.

10:49:22 >>THOMAS SCOTT: So then sounds like in terms of that --

10:49:25 okay, I'm sorry, go ahead.

10:49:27 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Excuse me, this is my second time

10:49:28 and last time.

10:49:29 I have full confidence in the audit department of the

10:49:32 city.

10:49:32 You see, they report on the fact and finding of what

10:49:36 they find.

10:49:37 And they're done that with many -- they did that with

10:49:40 the jobs program, one of the programs I never voted

10:49:43 for.

10:49:44 They found many irregularities.

10:49:46 And I hope they're fixed.

10:49:48 They did an intense audit which was much difficult in

10:49:50 my opinion because of who owned the animals, who gave

10:49:53 birth to that animal, who belonged to proprietary of

10:49:57 the birth animal at Lowry Park Zoo.

10:50:00 And they did an outstanding job at Lowry Park Zoo.

10:50:03 So the confidence that the citizens needs, I don't

10:50:06 think we have to go out and spend money until we get

10:50:09 the audit and digest it and find out what our problems

10:50:13 are.

10:50:14 And I think from my past history, that this is

10:50:19 something that has been going on for a long, long time.

10:50:22 Not for the last six months.

10:50:24 Not for the last year.

10:50:25 This has been something that somehow in the system had

10:50:29 failed, and now when the water department got inside,

10:50:32 and starting, making and reassuring and checking all of

10:50:36 a sudden everything went up.

10:50:39 It went up for a reason.

10:50:40 Went up either they were not read, not read correctly.

10:50:44 Not transmitted correctly or bypassed altogether by the

10:50:47 city.

10:50:48 And therefore, now you get that big bill.

10:50:50 If the city comes to an agreement with itself, to bite

10:50:53 the bullet, and say we're going to do monthly meter

10:50:58 readings, and sooner or later we have to bite the 50

10:51:01 caliber bullet and saying we are going automatic.

10:51:04 And that will be a $30 million project.

10:51:06 And that will take some time.

10:51:08 But, these things have to be so that the citizens that

10:51:11 we serve, and we got over 125,000 customers, which is

10:51:16 over 600,000 people, so this is nothing small.

10:51:20 This is rather relatively large.

10:51:22 And thank you, Mr. Chairman.

10:51:24 That's just my feeling.

10:51:25 I think we ought to give the audit department, which

10:51:28 has done an outstanding job in the past.

10:51:30 No one has ever doubted the reports they've received

10:51:33 from them in this city.

10:51:34 Thank you very much.

10:51:35 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Miranda.

10:51:37 You know, when you have a business, your credibility is

10:51:43 very important.

10:51:44 And this is a credibility issue.

10:51:46 A lot of times, you think back before, was it transair,

10:51:53 go to Atlanta, used to be world something, had some

10:51:56 issues, crashed down in the Everglades.

10:51:58 They came back, reorganized.

10:52:00 Changed names.

10:52:01 Why?

10:52:01 Credibility.

10:52:01 We can't change the name of the city.

10:52:05 Know that and all that.

10:52:06 But our credibility is at stake.

10:52:07 And it's important for us to maintain that.

10:52:10 I don't have a problem waiting till the 17th.

10:52:12 I will tell you if it's not the report that, that

10:52:16 answer all our questions and rye a sure this community,

10:52:19 I will be the first one to make the motion to move

10:52:23 forward an independent audit.

10:52:25 That's very key, very important to this community and

10:52:28 this citizenry.

10:52:29 Your credibility as a business is the issue here now.

10:52:32 And reassuring this city that we can correct the

10:52:36 problem.

10:52:36 Councilmen?

10:52:38 >> Mr. Daignault, can you speak to Mr. Chairman Scott,

10:52:43 credibility issue, but can you step to -- speak to

10:52:46 steps you're taking to reassure the public of the City

10:52:49 of Tampa in the audit is going to come to us on

10:52:51 March 17th and what we're doing in the meantime to

10:52:54 assure the public that we're doing everything we can,

10:52:56 as a city to fix this problem?

10:53:02 >> Yes, sir, thank you, Councilmember Stokes.

10:53:04 Again, the task force is going to look at our entire

10:53:07 process, from the beginning, from how the meters were

10:53:12 put in, were they put in properly?

10:53:14 From, is the meter functioning properly?

10:53:17 Is the metering read properly?

10:53:20 Is the results of that being entered into our software

10:53:22 system properly?

10:53:23 Are the bills being spit out properly?

10:53:25 That whole system is being looked at.

10:53:27 In the meantime, and I think this -- I hope this goes

10:53:33 towards the concept of an audit, of an independent

10:53:38 audit or an internal audit.

10:53:40 When we go out to someone's house, because they have a

10:53:43 high bill and they have concern that they may have

10:53:46 something we need to find.

10:53:47 We go out and we check their house.

10:53:49 We don't just go out to look for leaks.

10:53:52 We check the entire system as I just described it.

10:53:55 Is their meter properly installed?

10:53:58 Does their meter read properly?

10:54:00 Does their meter reconcile with what we have in the MSS

10:54:05 software system for that meter?

10:54:07 So, for those houses that we have gone out and looked

10:54:10 at, we have done a stem to stern review and that's what

10:54:15 it's going to take throughout our entire system for us

10:54:19 to be able to say there are no problems at that house

10:54:23 or in that area or throughout the city.

10:54:25 We're going to have to go through that sort of a

10:54:28 process, so that we know and we can say with

10:54:32 unequivocal confidence that everybody is being billed

10:54:38 properly.

10:54:38 >> Steve, what have we done on customer contact or

10:54:41 customer service of assuring the public when they call

10:54:44 in to voice their complaints, that their phone calls be

10:54:47 answered and phone calls returned?

10:54:50 >> Our customer service center is staffed to handle

10:54:52 about 1700 calls and they're getting a lot more than

10:54:55 that.

10:54:57 We are trying to beef up that area.

10:54:59 We're trying to catch, or get some temporary folks in

10:55:02 there as quickly as we possibly can.

10:55:04 We're encouraging folks to go through the customer

10:55:08 service center, the CSC and put in an issue or a

10:55:14 comment through the computer.

10:55:15 Through the city web site.

10:55:17 >> What type of service agreements do we have to our

10:55:21 clients to make sure their phone calls are returned in

10:55:24 a timely matter and their problems are solved?

10:55:27 Is there any time frames we are placing on client

10:55:29 resolutions?

10:55:30 >> We are -- at this point, we're not communicating a

10:55:33 time frame because we're still receiving again, large

10:55:38 number of calls.

10:55:39 I can tell you that we are about a week behind in

10:55:43 triaging, determining as the calls come in, is it a

10:55:47 water call, is it a billing issue, is it a break issue?

10:55:51 We're having to decide where those go as they come in

10:55:54 so we have got about a week's worth of work that we're

10:55:57 backlogged on right now.

10:55:58 >> So if a client calls today with a water issue, we're

10:56:01 about a week behind, and then that client will get a

10:56:04 followup phone call tomorrow, and we'll put them on a

10:56:08 schedule for a week from today or tomorrow?

10:56:11 >> That is a good order of magnitude.

10:56:13 Yes, sir.

10:56:14 >>CURTIS STOKES: What are we doing in the meantime in

10:56:16 that week?

10:56:17 Are we refunding -- what are we doing about their bill?

10:56:22 >> We tell them, nobody is going to cut off their

10:56:25 service.

10:56:26 We want to, again, if it is a concern of a high bill,

10:56:29 that we do want to have somebody from our high bill

10:56:32 investigation group to go out.

10:56:34 We have doubled the size of that group.

10:56:35 We had four city people.

10:56:37 We now have four additional plumbers, so we have eight

10:56:40 folks doing that.

10:56:41 We're going through the group that we have identified

10:56:45 for those tonight of investigations on a daily basis.

10:56:49 >>CURTIS STOKES: Thanks, Steve.

10:56:50 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Miller, then Councilwoman

10:56:53 Capin.

10:56:55 >>GWEN MILLER: Thank you, Mr. Daignault.

10:56:56 When you go out to the customers home and go through

10:56:59 the process, when you finish and tell them what's

10:57:02 wrong, what kind of a response do you get from them?

10:57:05 >> Generally folks are appreciative that we have

10:57:06 identified something.

10:57:07 And if they, if they will get those repaired and give

10:57:12 us an invoice, either from their maintenance person or

10:57:16 that they went to a hardware store and took care of the

10:57:20 issue, then we can adjust their bill.

10:57:23 We adjust it down to their 14 month average.

10:57:26 And then anything above that, any water usage above

10:57:29 their average, we charge at the lowest rate, which is

10:57:32 the zero tier or dollar 82 per hundred, per CCF.

10:57:38 >>GWEN MILLER: So that's telling me they're not

10:57:40 negative about what's going on.

10:57:42 So we are not losing our credibility because they're

10:57:44 not saying anything negative to you about it and they

10:57:47 appreciate what you're doing?

10:57:48 >> Typically the folks have been very nice to our team

10:57:52 that are out investigating.

10:57:54 >>GWEN MILLER: You think that we have been losing our

10:57:57 credibility since you say they're being nice.

10:58:02 >> As I said earlier, I have a very, very high

10:58:06 confidence level for those that we have investigated.

10:58:10 That they are proper, not just at the house, but also

10:58:12 throughout our system.

10:58:13 So those we have investigated, again, we know that

10:58:17 they're right throughout our billing process.

10:58:20 >>GWEN MILLER: Thank you.

10:58:21 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Well, let me just respond and say, we

10:58:26 had a lot of customers in here who is outraged.

10:58:30 Is that accurate?

10:58:32 Those customers that line up in here two weeks ago,

10:58:35 were outraged about their bills, stood right here at

10:58:38 this podium.

10:58:39 I am knocking on doors every day, every day I have

10:58:42 different story about a high water bill or water meter

10:58:46 put in backwards.

10:58:47 That comes to a credibility issue.

10:58:49 And it's important for us to ensure our customers, our

10:58:53 citizens that we're doing everything that we can.

10:58:56 And I want to go on record and say again, I appreciate

10:58:59 the Mayor moving forward with this task force.

10:59:01 And finally in my opinion, I think this is, this shows

10:59:06 opportunity, we work together.

10:59:08 I think Councilman Miranda said, the Mayor has

10:59:11 responded for the administration.

10:59:12 But also we have a responsibility as legislative body

10:59:16 to make sure this city is protected as well.

10:59:19 So it is a dual role and function.

10:59:21 At the same time, we understand the separation of

10:59:23 power, but the customer only had an opportunity to come

10:59:27 before us to speak and we have been trying to address,

10:59:30 all of us, I thought, been trying to address the

10:59:32 concerns that have been brought to our attention.

10:59:35 I think Councilwoman Mulhern got some, on Twiggs,

10:59:40 Councilman Miranda, all of us trying to make sure that

10:59:43 we move forward together and make sure that the city is

10:59:47 following through on its commitment.

10:59:49 So we all have a responsibility.

10:59:50 That this city is protected.

10:59:55 That the credibility of this business, okay, it's very

11:00:01 important.

11:00:04 >>GWEN MILLER: But moving forward, if they don't come

11:00:06 down let us know about the water, it is telling you

11:00:09 when you knock on the door.

11:00:11 But have they sent in a complaint to the city or

11:00:13 Councilmembers telling them, you know, that, my bill is

11:00:17 high?

11:00:18 I know you do one personal thing to me, but -- have you

11:00:21 told the city, what's going on at your house about your

11:00:24 water bill?

11:00:25 That's what the people got to let us know.

11:00:27 They can't just keep it to themselves.

11:00:29 Like those people came down that day and told you about

11:00:32 how, you knew what the problem was.

11:00:35 Have you been out to those peoples houses that came

11:00:37 down who were so outrageous?

11:00:40 >> Councilmember, we have been to many of the houses of

11:00:45 the folks that were here.

11:00:47 We have been to many of the houses of the people who

11:00:49 have contacted us before and after that Council

11:00:52 meeting.

11:00:52 We are finding that each case is a different situation.

11:01:00 We aren't finding the meter was put in backwards at

11:01:04 every place.

11:01:04 But we are finding it, as the case that Chairman Scott

11:01:09 has, as we go house to house, we're finding different

11:01:12 situations.

11:01:13 And we're correcting them.

11:01:15 And we're making them right, both again at the meter

11:01:20 throughout the system.

11:01:21 We want to be able to bill and know and have the

11:01:24 confidence that we're billing properly.

11:01:26 >>GWEN MILLER: I would like to say to the people out

11:01:28 there who have high bills, don't keep it to yourself

11:01:31 telling one person.

11:01:32 Maybe let the city know that you got a high bill.

11:01:34 You're not going to know that they have a high bill

11:01:36 unless they tell you.

11:01:37 So I would like to make a plea to everybody out there,

11:01:39 if you got a high bill, please let the city know so

11:01:43 something can be done about it.

11:01:47 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Capin?

11:01:49 >>YVONNE CAPIN: Thank you.

11:01:50 I'd like to ask, on the suspending the top two tiers,

11:02:01 what does that -- explain to us what does that solve?

11:02:06 What is the solution?

11:02:07 What is the thinking behind that?

11:02:11 How, and to the public, please.

11:02:14 >> Councilmember, what we have observed is that the

11:02:21 number of folks using more water, the number of

11:02:25 accounts that are using more water in the

11:02:28 November-December 2010 time frame is not so different

11:02:34 from what folks have typically used in the past.

11:02:37 The number of folks.

11:02:39 But the amplitude, if you will.

11:02:45 How high the bill goes and how much water they use and

11:02:47 that kicks them into the higher tiers.

11:02:50 That's something they've never experienced before.

11:02:52 And again, this is not for everybody.

11:02:54 And it's not one size fits all.

11:02:56 I need to keep stressing that.

11:02:58 But many folks, for whatever reason, a broken pipe, had

11:03:03 my house pressure washed, I put in a new lawn.

11:03:06 Whatever, either planned or unintended, used more

11:03:09 water, hit the higher tiers that were not there

11:03:11 previously, and saw their bill go up significantly.

11:03:14 So, we believe that by removing those, that that will

11:03:21 be a step in the right direction, to try to encourage

11:03:27 folks that we're doing the right things to try to keep

11:03:29 their bills where they should be.

11:03:31 And then again, going through and checking to make sure

11:03:35 that everybody's meters and meter reading and

11:03:39 everything is in, right throughout our system.

11:03:42 And then, the other thing we think is going to be the

11:03:44 most significant is going to once a week -- excuse me,

11:03:48 once a month meter reading, as Mr. Miranda said.

11:03:51 We think those things will really make a big step and a

11:03:54 big difference.

11:03:56 >>YVONNE CAPIN: These two tiers were put in place, I

11:03:59 was not here, but they were put in place to conserve,

11:04:01 to encourage conserving water.

11:04:06 >> Correct.

11:04:07 >>YVONNE CAPIN: So the recommendation is to suspend --

11:04:12 if there is another drought, which there will be.

11:04:15 That's not -- could you please explain that.

11:04:22 >> Southwest Florida Water Management District came to

11:04:25 us during the drought and asked us to consider putting

11:04:29 in a drought surcharge.

11:04:33 After some debate, the city determined that they would

11:04:37 put in these high two tiers.

11:04:39 When they are suspended, it would take a drought,

11:04:45 SWFWMD, Southwest Florida Water Management District

11:04:48 determining that we're in a drought.

11:04:50 Requesting that we do something.

11:04:51 And then the administration would have to determine

11:04:54 that it wants to bring something back.

11:04:57 It could be in the same form.

11:04:58 It could be in a different form.

11:05:01 It would take a notice to, 30-day notice to all of the

11:05:04 ratepayers, and it would take an approval of City

11:05:07 Council for those to be reinstated.

11:05:12 >>YVONNE CAPIN: Thank you.

11:05:13 That was my understanding.

11:05:13 It would take a notice to the, all the ratepayers.

11:05:16 >> That's correct.

11:05:17 >>YVONNE CAPIN: That this is an intent.

11:05:18 >> That's correct.

11:05:19 >>YVONNE CAPIN: Thank you.

11:05:21 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Mulhern.

11:05:24 >>MARY MULHERN: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

11:05:25 I have to say this, that this is -- the two tier thing,

11:05:32 which we're going to probably pass today, I haven't

11:05:36 seen any evidence or heard any evidence that that's

11:05:39 going to make a significant difference in peoples water

11:05:42 bills.

11:05:43 And I actually heard to the contrary, maybe about 10%

11:05:47 of these really inflated bills actually would fall into

11:05:51 that category.

11:05:52 So, we have talked about a lot of the other solutions

11:05:56 that we're going to try to pursue on Council.

11:06:00 And I just want people to know.

11:06:01 I mean, that's where the credibility gap comes in, when

11:06:04 we have a special call meeting today and all we're

11:06:07 doing is suspending these two tiers with no really

11:06:09 assurance to anybody, including Council, that that's

11:06:13 going to make a lot of difference.

11:06:15 But, I think we have heard today that both the

11:06:18 administration and Council are going to try to move

11:06:21 forward to really find out what the other problems are.

11:06:24 But the other thing I just wanted to say, that is a

11:06:28 credibility problem, is to say that this is going to be

11:06:32 solved by going to every house.

11:06:34 I mean the cost of that sending a plumber to every

11:06:38 house that has had an inflated water bill, we that

11:06:42 people haven't been able to get through.

11:06:44 And I thank Councilwoman Miller to tell people to try

11:06:50 to get through.

11:06:51 I think the best way is to send an e-mail.

11:06:54 Because people haven't been able to get through on the

11:06:56 phone.

11:06:56 So if you send an e-mail to the water department,

11:07:00 hopefully that will get through.

11:07:01 But how are you going to get through to the thousands

11:07:03 of people that had these high bills?

11:07:06 If they do find out somehow.

11:07:08 I mean, not -- hate to say it is, but not everybody in

11:07:11 the city watches these Council meetings.

11:07:14 And not everything that you or we say here ever gets

11:07:17 reported.

11:07:18 So, I think it's obviously a systemic problem.

11:07:23 Not one that is going to be solved -- not that you

11:07:25 don't have to check to make sure that people's systems

11:07:28 are working, their meters and working and they don't

11:07:31 have leaks.

11:07:32 But if you have a problem this big, it needs to be

11:07:34 fixed system-wide.

11:07:36 And that's what people need to hear, is going to

11:07:40 happen.

11:07:42 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilman Caetano.

11:07:45 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Mr. Daignault, today's the first

11:07:47 time I've heard about meters being put in backwards.

11:07:51 I would make a suggestion.

11:07:52 Normally, when you thread something, you go clockwise.

11:07:55 Okay?

11:07:56 You need to change your, the nipple that it's going to

11:08:00 go on to make one of them counterclockwise and one

11:08:03 clockwise.

11:08:03 So, that's going to alleviate that problem of someone

11:08:06 putting on a meter backwards.

11:08:08 Another thing, have the system that answers the phone

11:08:14 that says your call is being recorded, for quality

11:08:17 assurance, I understand that is broken.

11:08:19 It's not working.

11:08:20 Are you attempting to replace that?

11:08:27 >> I'm not sure that I'm aware of it being broken.

11:08:32 We are trying to make some changes to our customer

11:08:34 service phone system.

11:08:38 The change that we're trying to get installed will tell

11:08:42 folks how long their wait will be.

11:08:44 You see, you hear that at some other places when you

11:08:47 call.

11:08:48 We have not had that feature in the past.

11:08:50 We're trying to implement that.

11:08:52 We expect that to be available around the next week or

11:08:55 two.

11:08:55 So again, we're working with our I.T. folks to get that

11:08:58 implemented.

11:08:59 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Mr. Baird said that the phone

11:09:01 system that says your phone is being E being answered

11:09:04 for quality assurance is broken.

11:09:06 So, I'd like to see you replace it.

11:09:09 With something, so that you can always go back and hear

11:09:12 a recording on what the operators are saying.

11:09:19 >>THOMAS SCOTT: I need to go back to what Councilwoman

11:09:21 Mulhern was saying.

11:09:22 I think you said -- in fact, Councilman Stokes raised

11:09:26 the issue, what are we doing about the city call is on

11:09:29 hold for 45 minutes.

11:09:31 You said we only can take what 1700 calls?

11:09:35 >> That's what we're sized for.

11:09:37 >> Sized for 100 call also.

11:09:38 So what is happening, you're being overwhelmed more

11:09:41 than that, because people saying they are on hold for

11:09:44 45 minutes.

11:09:44 I've heard up to 45 minute.

11:09:46 So that means you're being overwhelmed more than 1700

11:09:49 calls.

11:09:50 >> Yes, sir.

11:09:51 >>THOMAS SCOTT: So that says to us that people are

11:09:52 calling.

11:09:54 Even if they can't get through, they are calling.

11:09:56 >> They are, yes, sir.

11:09:58 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Let me just follow up, Mrs. Delia

11:10:00 Pacheco on Brook Street.

11:10:06 I believe Councilman Miranda first dealt with this

11:10:09 issue.

11:10:10 She said her water bill was $4,000 for one month.

11:10:13 You and I were talking earlier, can you tell us how

11:10:15 you're addressing that?

11:10:17 I understand she's section 80, if you turn that off,

11:10:19 she has to be displaced.

11:10:21 Could you speak to that?

11:10:23 >> First of all, we are not shutting off anyone's

11:10:25 water.

11:10:25 So they will continue to have service.

11:10:27 The occupant, the customer at that residence has had

11:10:33 some difficulties over the years making the payments.

11:10:37 The bill, or the account has been shut off a number of

11:10:41 times.

11:10:42 Even after we have shut it off, it has been turned back

11:10:46 on and more water used.

11:10:47 So, the accounting is about three or four months in

11:10:51 arrears.

11:10:52 We are trying to work with any customer in that

11:10:55 situation, to make, come up with a plan, a payment

11:10:58 plan.

11:10:59 But it's not really a high water bill issue so much as

11:11:03 an arrears issue.

11:11:04 And we deal with those frequently.

11:11:07 >>THOMAS SCOTT: And Miss Lopez?

11:11:09 >> We'll be contacting Miss Lopez, again, trying to

11:11:13 work out a way to deal with her bill.

11:11:19 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Then we had a gentleman last week come

11:11:22 before us, who lives in Drew Park.

11:11:24 Had a 3200 bill.

11:11:31 >> Yes, sir, I'll be glad to address some of these

11:11:34 things.

11:11:35 In the case of the gentleman who was here last week in

11:11:38 Drew Park, Brad and I went out there personally and

11:11:41 when you turn the meter on, he has a severe leak inside

11:11:45 of his house.

11:11:45 He was very correct that he has done something to the

11:11:48 taps on the outside.

11:11:49 But I could not access the house.

11:11:51 There was water going through the meter when we turned

11:11:55 it on.

11:11:56 So we'll be again deal with him as well.

11:11:59 He's got some late payments as well.

11:12:02 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Okay.

11:12:02 Again, I think it's important that -- I think

11:12:07 Councilman Miranda said it best, that I guess evidently

11:12:10 since the water department placed on the U, that's when

11:12:14 all these things kind of surfaced.

11:12:16 So there is no indictment for you, I think you and I

11:12:19 talked about it in my office, that evidently, whoever,

11:12:23 whoever prior to, there was some issues.

11:12:25 But since you've taken over, a lot of issues have

11:12:27 surfaced.

11:12:28 So as a result of that, I thank you for your due

11:12:30 diligence.

11:12:31 And trying to correct the problem.

11:12:32 So I think we need to say that again.

11:12:36 I need to say I thank the Mayor for at least hearing

11:12:40 Council.

11:12:41 And I believe she did call most all the Council

11:12:44 persons, had a conversation.

11:12:47 And so, that's -- I think that's how government should

11:12:55 work.

11:12:55 That we all work together, try to find a solution to

11:12:57 the problem.

11:12:58 Okay?

11:13:00 >>YVONNE CAPIN: Thank you.

11:13:00 Just one last thing.

11:13:02 On the queue line for the phones, how's that coming

11:13:06 along?

11:13:06 How close are we to that?

11:13:11 Facing that, where people know how much time -- how

11:13:14 long they're going to be on hold?

11:13:15 >> Hopefully the next week to ten days is what it's

11:13:18 going to take before we have that in there.

11:13:20 But again, we have been working on it, the I.T. folks

11:13:23 are working on it.

11:13:24 And they're telling us a week to ten days, about that

11:13:27 time period.

11:13:28 >>YVONNE CAPIN: And that's to every line?

11:13:30 >> That's for anybody who calls on that line.

11:13:33 >>YVONNE CAPIN: On that line.

11:13:33 Okay.

11:13:34 Thank you.

11:13:38 >>CURTIS STOKES: I don't want to beat a dead horse, but

11:13:40 back to the customer service aspect of it, Steve.

11:13:43 We don't have any service agreements with any of our

11:13:46 water customers, do we?

11:13:47 I can't tell you who you to run the water department.

11:13:49 But seeing we should have some service level agreements

11:13:52 with our clients to let them know that if something

11:13:55 happens, like Miss Sanchez, that there's a time frame

11:14:01 to make sure these things don't happen.

11:14:03 We could put them on the monthly billing, but it seems

11:14:07 we need a service level agreement to assure our clients

11:14:10 that if there's an issue, things will be taken care of

11:14:13 in a timely fashion.

11:14:14 >> Yes, sir, we are going to have a number of

11:14:16 recommendations.

11:14:17 That certainly sounds like one of the good ones.

11:14:20 But we have got a number of things that we think we

11:14:22 need to implement for our billing process.

11:14:30 And you all realize when we bill, we bill for water,

11:14:31 wastewater and solid waste.

11:14:32 So all of those are being affected by this.

11:14:39 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilman Miranda.

11:14:41 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: I think you're going to see a

11:14:42 sweeping change in billing procedures, as far as the

11:14:44 explanation of what a ten CC, one CC, what does that

11:14:48 mean?

11:14:48 768-gallons.

11:14:50 I think you're going to see some changes where it tells

11:14:52 you from zero to so many tiers is so much.

11:14:55 From zero, now you're in that tier, that's why you're

11:14:58 paying so much.

11:14:59 I would assume that's coming, am I correct?

11:15:02 >> Yes, sir.

11:15:03 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: You're smart.

11:15:03 [ Laughter ]

11:15:06 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Resolution, motion.

11:15:08 >> So moved.

11:15:09 >> Second.

11:15:11 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Public comment?

11:15:12 Anyone here from the public wish to address Council?

11:15:15 May come forward please.

11:15:16 Anyone from the public.

11:15:17 State your name and address, you have three minutes.

11:15:19 >> Hi, my name is Tonya Wideman, I live at 3706 West

11:15:24 Oklahoma.

11:15:25 But I think the question I really wanted to ask, maybe

11:15:29 Reverend Scott at the end.

11:15:32 I just wanted to know from Mr. Daignault, as far as

11:15:35 Miss Lopez, she indicated that they were, you know, at

11:15:39 some point, we see now working on the problem.

11:15:43 And if he roughly had an idea -- we don't want to hear

11:15:48 at the end, so you still have to pay this 2,000.

11:15:51 Are you advisings some of these residents may be put

11:15:54 aside maybe two, three, four hundred dollars, you know,

11:15:58 roughly, they don't have any idea as to maybe their

11:16:02 bill may go back to $77.

11:16:05 $60.

11:16:06 We just really have no idea.

11:16:08 And I think most of them are not saving up.

11:16:14 Of course they know they have to pay some type of water

11:16:17 bill.

11:16:17 We just want a little bit more definite answer until we

11:16:22 can finally get back to two and two is four instead of

11:16:25 two and four is six, eight, ten and 12.

11:16:28 What are they to put aside roughly?

11:16:30 But I think maybe you caught it at the end, Reverend

11:16:33 Scott.

11:16:33 Thank you.

11:16:34 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Thank you.

11:16:35 Next speaker?

11:16:39 >> Good morning, Councilmembers.

11:16:41 My name is Albert W. Caldwell.

11:16:45 3625 East Idlewild Avenue.

11:16:48 I was at one, I was one of the customers that was at

11:16:51 one of the previous meetings.

11:16:53 And we talked everything today was sort of about

11:16:57 credibility.

11:16:57 Okay.

11:16:58 So I have a question.

11:17:03 I would like to address to the water department.

11:17:05 On 1-6-2010, my meter reading was 0092.

11:17:14 As I left the house today, this morning, I looked in

11:17:16 the meter, and my reading was 0228.

11:17:20 And I like to know, we can just cut through all the red

11:17:26 tape and just go straight to the point and let them

11:17:29 tell me how much is that?

11:17:32 And I have another issue on the, like the, the elderly

11:17:40 lady on the article where the water bill was 2100, $18

11:17:46 and some change.

11:17:47 Okay.

11:17:49 Her gallons was 15,709.

11:17:52 I have a bill here wherein they bill me for 48,000 and

11:17:59 something gallons.

11:17:59 At only $287.

11:18:02 So that mean that mine must be a lot higher than the

11:18:05 77-year-old lady.

11:18:07 I feel bad for her.

11:18:08 Hers is a lot worse than mine.

11:18:15 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Madam Chair, I suggest we have the

11:18:18 water department look at this specifically so it can be

11:18:20 aired out correctly.

11:18:22 That's the only suggestion I'm going to have.

11:18:23 They can do this either today or tomorrow.

11:18:25 But if you're saying the meter jumped, that's the

11:18:28 second one that I've heard, where it would go like

11:18:30 nine, ten and you think you're going to go 11.

11:18:33 It goes nine, ten to a hundred.

11:18:35 And that was defective meter inside the magnetic system

11:18:40 that it uses.

11:18:42 I'm not saying that's your case.

11:18:44 I'm just saying it happens.

11:18:46 >> One other thing Council, on the water bills on some

11:18:48 of my bills, okay, they have Tampa Bay water

11:18:53 pass-through.

11:18:54 I don't even know what that is.

11:18:56 On -- they have a charge on some of that and on some

11:19:00 bills don't have no charge.

11:19:01 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Let me explain that if I may,

11:19:03 Mr. Chairman.

11:19:04 What it is, when the City of Tampa has to purchase

11:19:06 water from an outside agency to meet the demands of the

11:19:09 city, that water costs much more than what we produce

11:19:13 and so do you, or the other customers.

11:19:15 So in order to do that based on the percentage of water

11:19:18 that you use, your charged a small amount for the

11:19:22 purchase, total amount, let's say, in 10 years, we

11:19:25 bought 24 billion gallons and a total of $43 million.

11:19:29 What you're talking about there equals to that

11:19:31 $43 million that we had to expend over and above to

11:19:35 meet the demand of the 125 the thousand customers that

11:19:38 we have and over 600,000 people.

11:19:40 So what that is based on your actual reading, it's

11:19:43 calculated, that charge should not be much.

11:19:46 However, you use more, the charge goes up.

11:19:48 Mine is about 40 cents and sometimes a zero because I

11:19:52 think I bathe outside.

11:19:53 I'm not sure.

11:19:54 [ Laughter ]

11:19:57 >> Thank you, Council.

11:19:59 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Anyone else?

11:20:00 Okay.

11:20:01 Motion on the resolution?

11:20:03 So moved.

11:20:04 >> Second.

11:20:05 >> You want it read?

11:20:08 >>THOMAS SCOTT: No.

11:20:08 Moved and second.

11:20:09 Council by Council Miranda, all in favor signify by

11:20:13 saying aye.

11:20:13 Opposes?

11:20:14 Okay.

11:20:18 >> Mr. Chairman, courageous you've received a

11:20:22 memorandum from chief of staff Darrell Smith.

11:20:25 Outlining three motions that were made last week to be

11:20:28 brought back next week.

11:20:30 Obviously, this resolves one of them.

11:20:32 The discussion of the financial impact to the city was

11:20:36 discussed today as well.

11:20:37 So, the recommendation would be to remove that from

11:20:41 next week's agenda.

11:20:43 That also leaves the other issue with regard to

11:20:47 Councilman Caetano's motion regarding the suggestion of

11:20:51 the feasibility of averaging the customer's water

11:20:54 bills.

11:20:54 So that is scheduled to appear on next week's agenda,

11:20:57 unless Council takes action today.

11:20:59 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Mulhern?

11:21:02 >>MARY MULHERN: I didn't hear us remove the financial

11:21:05 impact from -- did we decide that we don't want to know

11:21:09 what the financial impact was?

11:21:13 Okay.

11:21:13 Never mind.

11:21:14 Councilman Caetano suggested that I wait till after the

11:21:17 report.

11:21:17 Okay.

11:21:18 They still need to work on figuring that out though,

11:21:21 because we are -- we may want to know that.

11:21:24 Even if we don't need it for next week's meeting.

11:21:27 I'll let somebody else deal with the other thing.

11:21:34 That still needs to be on there, I believe.

11:21:37 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Only thing I'm going to say

11:21:39 regarding that suggestion, if we average something

11:21:41 that's incorrect, you're going to double the

11:21:43 incorrectness.

11:21:44 So let's stay like we are, let's wait for that report

11:21:47 from the auditors.

11:21:48 And let's go forward from there and baby steps first.

11:21:50 We have a problem, but we're trying to fix.

11:21:53 And I know everybody's anxious to do the right thing

11:21:56 and I appreciate that very much.

11:21:57 But once you start saying let's go on some average if

11:22:01 the average was high, it was going to happen.

11:22:04 The water bill is going to be high.

11:22:05 If the average was low, the water bill is going to be

11:22:07 low.

11:22:08 And somebody's going to be paying for somebody else's

11:22:10 water this the long-term.

11:22:11 So it's a process that I understand and appreciate.

11:22:15 Everyone's concerned, but I can't support on the

11:22:18 average because if the average was wrong, then the

11:22:22 water bill is going to be wrong.

11:22:24 >>THOMAS SCOTT: That's what I said.

11:22:26 >>JOSEPH P. CAETANO: Evidently, we make a motion and a

11:22:28 task to average the residents' water bills when it's

11:22:31 been discovered there's no reasonable cause for spikes

11:22:34 in the usage of the bill.

11:22:35 What I want to do, they're supposed to come back

11:22:37 February 17th, I wanted to postpone that till

11:22:40 March 17th, when the report comes out.

11:22:42 >> These fine.

11:22:45 >> That's a motion.

11:22:46 >> Second.

11:22:47 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Mulhern?

11:22:50 >>MARY MULHERN: I wanted to say one thing.

11:22:51 I'll support that motion, but the reality is that we

11:22:55 already know that there are these 6,000 customers who

11:22:59 had bills, whose bills, according to our system, when

11:23:05 averaged with the last year, were two to ten times as

11:23:10 high as they have been.

11:23:11 So, if you kicked out the unusually high bill, and then

11:23:17 averaged it, even over a year, it would make sense.

11:23:21 So we can talk about this next week or after they come

11:23:24 back with their report, but the reality is that this is

11:23:29 the reality, people have been getting these incredibly

11:23:32 high water bills over the last few months.

11:23:34 And if you did drop those out and average them with

11:23:37 three months prior or a year prior, you would get a

11:23:41 more reasonable amount, even if there were some -- it's

11:23:44 not saying that's going to solve the underlying

11:23:48 problems with their, their problems that the user level

11:23:53 or the system level, but it would be I think pretty

11:23:56 reasonable.

11:23:57 I'll support it if it comes up again.

11:24:01 >> The motion was made.

11:24:01 We're going to get a report back on the 17th.

11:24:04 So we need to suspend that till the 17th of March.

11:24:07 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Okay.

11:24:08 Moves and second.

11:24:09 All in favor signify by saying aye.

11:24:10 Okay.

11:24:11 On -- yes, sir?

11:24:13 >> Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry.

11:24:15 The administration I believe Mr. Daignault and

11:24:17 Mr. Baird have met with City Council members, provided

11:24:21 the data and analysis regarding the patterns, the

11:24:24 number of water bills that have been increased

11:24:26 exponentially.

11:24:27 That is on your agenda for an appearance next week.

11:24:30 Does Council still -- you've had -- does Council --

11:24:35 you're the maker of the motion.

11:24:36 >>GWEN MILLER: Need to remove that.

11:24:39 >>THOMAS SCOTT: She's requesting that.

11:24:41 Councilwoman Mulhern, it was her motion.

11:24:44 >>MARY MULHERN: Well, I got some data after the meeting

11:24:46 last week.

11:24:46 But as far as the patterns?

11:24:48 I don't know that we have had an answer to that.

11:24:51 We didn't have an answer to that.

11:24:53 So we have had answers to it.

11:24:56 And we have had a few things mentioned here.

11:24:58 But you know.

11:25:01 >>THOMAS SCOTT: So you still want that to be on the

11:25:03 agenda?

11:25:04 >>MARY MULHERN: Yeah.

11:25:05 How about a report where they've gotten so far over the

11:25:07 last month.

11:25:08 Who knows -- they probably had this, have had this data

11:25:11 for weeks.

11:25:12 And we didn't have it.

11:25:13 So, how about a report about what your findings?

11:25:17 By next week.

11:25:17 Just to maybe one page.

11:25:21 >> Council, with all due respect, we did send a memo

11:25:25 with the requested data attached.

11:25:29 Last week when I spoke, and Councilmember Mulhern asked

11:25:32 for that data and I told her I had it at that time.

11:25:36 And I brought it to her that day.

11:25:37 And we have provided that to all of you through a memo.

11:25:41 I would respectfully request that the Council just give

11:25:43 us time to let our folks do some work and let us come

11:25:47 back on March 17th with information and a report.

11:25:51 I just don't think that a weekly update is going to

11:25:57 have any conclusions that are of any value to you or to

11:26:00 the citizens.

11:26:04 >>MARY MULHERN: The 17th is probably a month from when

11:26:06 we first started hearing about these.

11:26:14 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: Just from that discussion, and

11:26:15 correct me if I'm wrong.

11:26:16 It used to be under the old system, which we're

11:26:20 changing to a better, more proactive system, that the

11:26:24 red light would not go on in the water department

11:26:26 unless your water bill quadrupled.

11:26:30 Four times.

11:26:30 They would light something up.

11:26:32 Some analysts would say, something wrong here.

11:26:34 But if it was 3.8 or 3.5, it never happened.

11:26:39 What we're doing now is changing the whole system, I

11:26:42 hope, to make sure that these things are corrected.

11:26:45 And this is why you need the time, you need the

11:26:48 auditors to give us a conclusive facts so that you can

11:26:52 determine what's wrong.

11:26:53 I mean, is it difficult?

11:26:56 Yes.

11:26:57 Is it probable?

11:26:58 Yes.

11:26:58 Are we going to get it fixed?

11:27:00 Yes.

11:27:01 Is the public going to be restored?

11:27:03 Yes.

11:27:03 Is confidence going to be restored?

11:27:05 Yes.

11:27:05 In my opinion.

11:27:07 However, I got to give you the tools so you can do the

11:27:10 repairs.

11:27:10 If I don't give you the tools, this will last long for

11:27:14 another four years and we won't solve it.

11:27:16 So what I'm saying is, let's be concerned, like we all

11:27:19 are.

11:27:20 Let's understand what the problem is.

11:27:21 And that, what that little understand what the problem

11:27:24 is, we don't know.

11:27:26 Until the auditors come back and pinpoint the problem.

11:27:29 And I think it's going to be a variety of things.

11:27:31 It may be a batch of meters that came out of the same

11:27:35 lot that were, somebody didn't like them, didn't like

11:27:38 his job and for that month, created havoc.

11:27:40 And we're the havoc holders.

11:27:45 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Well, Councilwoman Mulhern, I think

11:27:49 that you make a valid point.

11:27:50 I don't think they need to come back next week, but

11:27:53 think the first meeting in March, just give us an

11:27:56 update, is sufficient.

11:27:58 I think, Council, since I have been on here, I was told

11:28:01 that's one way of getting information.

11:28:03 So I will support it if you want to do it the first

11:28:07 meeting in March.

11:28:10 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: I'm for that.

11:28:11 I just don't want to get into the way.

11:28:14 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Just update.

11:28:16 >>MARY MULHERN: Make a motion that it be the first

11:28:18 meeting in March.

11:28:19 >> Second.

11:28:20 >>MARY MULHERN: Our first report.

11:28:21 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Moved and second.

11:28:22 All in favor signify by saying aye.

11:28:23 Opposes?

11:28:24 Okay.

11:28:25 >> The last thing, Council, is that Miss Wise report

11:28:28 was made today.

11:28:29 That appears on next week's agenda.

11:28:32 Unless a motion to remove that.

11:28:35 >> Propose to remove it from the report.

11:28:37 >> Second.

11:28:37 >> All in favor signify by saying aye.

11:28:38 Opposes?

11:28:40 Okay.

11:28:40 Under new business, we have request for commendation

11:28:44 May 1st, local love day.

11:28:51 Love foundation.

11:28:53 Got this in the mail.

11:28:57 >> All in favor of the motion say aye.

11:29:03 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Evidently, something that come annual.

11:29:05 I don't know, addressed to Councilwoman Miller.

11:29:08 >>GWEN MILLER: This have this every year.

11:29:10 They call it global love day.

11:29:11 They want everybody to love somebody that day.

11:29:14 May 1st.

11:29:19 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Secondly, Councilwoman made a motion

11:29:23 for, from the CRA this morning.

11:29:25 I'd like to make a motion from Mrs. Moses Knott.

11:29:29 You going to the funeral?

11:29:36 >>GWEN MILLER: You want something to take the

11:29:39 commendation?

11:29:40 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes, this Saturday.

11:29:45 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Okay.

11:29:47 >>GWEN MILLER: His family -- I talked to his family.

11:29:50 They're going to come on the 17th.

11:29:52 >>THOMAS SCOTT: I guess the motion is to be included

11:29:54 with the CRA because that's a whole different, is that

11:29:56 right?

11:29:57 >>GWEN MILLER: Mine was for the Council and CRA.

11:29:59 Because he comes to both.

11:30:01 He gave advice to everybody on the CRA.

11:30:04 >>THOMAS SCOTT: From a legal standpoint, I just want to

11:30:06 be correct.

11:30:07 >> What is the request?

11:30:08 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Councilwoman Miller made a motion for

11:30:10 commendation for Mr. Knott this morning at the CRA

11:30:14 meeting.

11:30:15 >> And you wish to do it as the City Council as well?

11:30:18 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Jointly with what she did.

11:30:19 >>GWEN MILLER: My motion is to give it time, give it on

11:30:21 the 17th.

11:30:22 I'm not -- I was doing it, made the motion and CRA to

11:30:26 give it to him for Council.

11:30:31 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Moved and second.

11:30:32 All in favor signify by saying aye.

11:30:33 Opposes?

11:30:34 Okay.

11:30:35 Anything else?

11:30:36 >> No business.

11:30:37 Receive and follow-up.

11:30:40 >> Little new business.

11:30:41 If we could have someone from the Parks Department come

11:30:44 and give us, number on Gasparilla from Davis Boulevard.

11:30:55 >> I'm sorry?

11:30:55 >> Have someone from the parking division give us an

11:30:58 update on the number of cars towed from Davis Boulevard

11:31:01 the night before Gasparilla.

11:31:04 >> You'd like that as a written report?

11:31:06 >> Appear before Council.

11:31:07 >> You want an appearance before Council.

11:31:08 >> Not me.

11:31:09 Them.

11:31:10 [ Laughter ]

11:31:11 >> But you want them to appear on the staff reports?

11:31:14 I guess my question then is, what dates do you want

11:31:17 that for, sir?

11:31:18 Because the next meeting is next week.

11:31:20 Normally the administration requests more time.

11:31:23 The next regular meeting?

11:31:26 >> Yes, sir.

11:31:28 >> Second to that?

11:31:30 >> Yes.

11:31:31 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Moved and second.

11:31:31 All in favor signify by saying aye.

11:31:32 Opposes?

11:31:33 Anyone else has new business?

11:31:36 >> The motion on the receive and file.

11:31:38 >> Motion to sever and file.

11:31:39 Move and second, all in favor signify by saying aye.

11:31:41 Anything else?

11:31:42 Thanks again.

11:31:43 Ms. Wise, thanks.

11:31:47 Ms. Wise -- no, Miss Wise.

11:31:51 Come back one second.

11:31:53 All of us got a memo this week, Ms. Wise is going to be

11:31:58 leaving the city, going over to the county.

11:32:00 And I want to say first of all, we need, give her a

11:32:05 letter of commendation from this Council.

11:32:07 That's my motion.

11:32:08 >> Second.

11:32:09 >>GWEN MILLER: Motion and second.

11:32:10 All in favor of the motion say aye.

11:32:12 Opposed nay.

11:32:14 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Then Miss Wise, you are an invaluable

11:32:20 asset to this organization.

11:32:21 You have really, really given this Council a lot of

11:32:25 information.

11:32:26 You have worked with us.

11:32:27 At least I can say with me.

11:32:29 And this Council.

11:32:30 And I want to thank you very much for that.

11:32:35 While I do rejoice and celebrate with you for your

11:32:38 transition, I am saddened that you are leaving the

11:32:42 city.

11:32:44 >> Thank you.

11:32:45 It's been a pleasure to work with you as well.

11:32:48 >> You have been a quintessential professional.

11:32:50 Thank you, it was a pleasure to work with you.

11:32:53 >>MARY MULHERN: Thank you, Bonnie and good luck.

11:32:55 It has been wonderful working with you.

11:32:57 And thanks for all the tutoring you gave me on bonds.

11:33:01 [ Laughter ]

11:33:02 >> Any time.

11:33:03 Thank you.

11:33:04 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Did you learn something about bonds?

11:33:09 >>CHARLIE MIRANDA: James bond?

11:33:10 >>MARY MULHERN: I did.

11:33:11 A lot more than I knew before I came.

11:33:14 >>THOMAS SCOTT: We stand adjourned.

11:33:15 >> Just a reminder, tonight at 5:30.

11:33:18 >>THOMAS SCOTT: Yes, thank you.

11:33:20 5:30 tonight.


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