Will also discuss audit

The design of the overpass project involves more than a bridge over the railroad tracks.

Maricopa’s first hefty bill for a planned overpass comes due with the signing of an intergovernmental agreement with the state.

The IGA, to be discussed by city council this week, focuses on the project’s design. Agreements on construction and maintenance will come later in the process.

If You Go
What: City Council meeting
When: March 15, 7 p.m.
Where: Maricopa City Hall

The city’s contribution for the design of the State Route 347 overpass at the Union Pacific Railroad tracks is $691,710.  The IGA with the Department of Transportation was discussed in closed session two weeks ago and comes into open session at Tuesday’s meeting.

The IGA includes the design costs for realigning SR 347 for the overpass, realigning local streets “for connectivity” and business access, utility relocations and right-of-way acquisition.

The state received $15 million in funding from a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant for its part of the project expenses.

If there are costs that go beyond the initial design estimate, the state will be responsible for 72.5 percent. The state is also responsible for submitting documents to the Federal Highway Administration.

The removal of the Amtrak station is not part of the IGA but is mentioned in it. Maricopa is solely responsible for the “design, construction and relocation” of the station.

Once the design work on the overpass project reaches 30 percent, the city can move forward on acquiring property.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is the audit report by Heinfeld, Meech & Co., PC, of last fiscal year’s Financial Report. The report was clean except for a deficiency in internal control.

The audit blamed “significant turnover” in the Finance Department for the failure of timely bank reconciliations. Maricopa’s finance director left the city for another job, and the position has had two interim directors since July.

“In addition, the June 2015 reconciliations were not completed until December 2015.” That delays the city’s ability to issue audited financial statements, according to the auditors, who said staff is working to implement procedures to ensure monthly reconciliations.

The city council will also discuss the performance evaluation of Gregory Rose for his second year as city manager. Rose scored between “above average” and “excellent” on most evaluation categories. He was praised for his fiscal management, professional ethics and calm demeanor, among other things.

“I believe Gregory’s strengths lie in his existing knowledge of this city’s policies and those of other cities, along with his years of experience as a city manager. He is fiscally prudent and ethically sound,” was the feedback of one councilmember. They are not identified by name in the evaluation.

However, councilmembers pinpointed, often in detail, problems in communication between Rose and council and between Rose and department heads.

A typical entry for constructive suggestions reads, “Mr. Rose should consider re-evaluating his approach to working with his directors to improve their willingness to come forward with new ideas and challenge decisions before they become final.”

Tuesday’s regular session begins at 7 p.m.

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