Friday, May 28, 2010

Update on the Location of the Municipal Garage from Mayor Zimmer

Here is the latest update from the Zimmer Administration on the Municipal Garage. Unlike another website that gets exclusives on pregnant raccoons from rabid Cammarano supporters and only prints portions of releases to exact their spin to the detriment of fair reporting on the issues, I present this release in its entirety for the reader to dissect in the comments section below:

Update on the Location of the Municipal Garage from Mayor Zimmer

Based on community feedback, it is very clear that there’s a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the municipal garage issue. My Administration is working as hard as possible to develop every potential option for solving this problem. The following provides an overview of the situation, along with information about the process going forward.

Important update on the bid process:

The bid responses for the two RFPs (Request for Proposals) issued two weeks ago were scheduled to be submitted no later than today, Friday, May 28th. Unfortunately, the integrity of the bidding process was compromised when the bidding list, which is confidential information prior to the bid opening, appeared on the Internet. Business Administrator Arch Liston has directed that the bidding process be rescinded and re-advertised. An internal investigation regarding the matter has been launched, and appropriate action will be taken against persons found to have been involved in any wrongdoing.

When the new bid process is completed, the submitted bids in response to the RFPs will be revealed and made public by the City Clerk in the Council Chambers. The public is invited to attend when the sealed bids are opened. My Administration will review those bids in an expeditious manner, solicit input from the community, and compare these options to other alternatives, which have been suggested by the public, the City Council, and my Administration.

The situation:

The only appropriate reason for moving our Municipal Garage would be if there’s another location that would better serve our community. Before selling the existing garage, the City should have secured and completed construction on an alternative site that it believed was more beneficial than the present location. Unfortunately, this was not done. It was based instead on the desire to plug the City's budget gaps starting in 2005. As a result, there existed neither an alternative site nor any plan to obtain one.

We will not repeat those mistakes again. My Administration is taking a proactive approach and considering all alternatives for locating our garage with the single goal of achieving the best results for our City. Below are details on the history of the garage transaction along with some of the potential options and the steps we are taking to prepare.

Through a series of "sale leaseback" transactions starting in 2005, the Roberts Administration borrowed approximately $16 million against the City's interest in our existing garage to cover operating expenses. In 2008, when the City entered into a contract of sale with the developer, Hekemian, it was anticipated that when the sale closed in 2010 the proceeds of the sale would be used to pay off that debt.

At the June 2 City Council meeting, a bond ordinance will be considered by the City Council to refinance (at a much lower interest rate) the debt borrowed against the garage. This will protect us in the event that, for any reason, the sale of the existing garage does not proceed as planned, in which case there would be no need to relocate the garage prior to acquiring a better long term alternative.

Understanding the role of the Mayor, Council, and public in final decision making:

There has been a lot of misinformation that has been circulated, some mistakenly and some intentionally, about about the decision making process being followed. A constituent called yesterday who had been misled into believing that in my position as mayor I could and intended to unilaterally decide without Council approval, where the garage will be located. I want to assure everyone that this is absolutely not the case. The City Council and the public will be very much involved in the final decision with regard to the garage location.

The preliminary discussions of the options were kept confidential to protect the City’s negotiating position, and so that options could be presented to the public as real viable and available solutions. The ultimate decision making process, however is a fully public one.

The process for acquiring land requires the City Council to adopt a bond ordinance. Ordinances receive a 1st reading at a Council meeting, followed by a legal advertisement in a newspaper of record, after which a 2nd reading and public hearing is held. The Council debates and votes after the public session. A super majority, six votes, are required to adopt a bond ordinance. Leases, on the other hand, require passing a resolution, which require a simple majority, or, five votes. The public speaks on all resolutions and then the Council debates and votes. Neither a land acquisition or a lease option can be completed secretly or unilaterally by the Mayor. They can only be implemented following a full public discussion and approval by the City Council.

We will continue to involve the public in this process and keep you informed of developments. If you would like to receive updates on the status of the municipal garage, please email Juan Melli in the Mayor’s Office at


Mayor Zimmer ◦