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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:04 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 521
An article that the The Port Arthur News published at 4:48 pm on Monday, March 5, 2018:
Quote:
Residents thought they could make their thoughts known last week on Locomotive No. 503.

Instead, the Port Arthur City Council scheduled a 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting at City Hall to discuss the abatement, remediation and related matters for the Kansas City Southern locomotive located in Bryan Park. Public comments will be received.
and
Quote:
George Newsome, with SOUTEX Surveyors, said he spoke with Trans Global Solutions, a railroad contractor, and the Texas Railroad Museum in Rusk about what to do with 503, particularly about immediate concerns with TCEQ to move it and remediate the soil underneath.

Newsome said one of the least expensive ways is to lay some track and move the engine forward toward Houston Avenue. The cost to do that would be $45,000. Remediation is another cost altogether.

If the city wants to keep 503, remediate the soil and abate the lead paint, it would cost between $200,000 and $250,000.
Link to full article - Citizens’ turn: Port Arthur people can weigh in on locomotive


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 227
Location: Houston, TX
hamster wrote:
Remember, Inland's business is scrap, not environmental remediation


you might tell that to their webmaster. I think he got the wrong idea.

http://inlandenvironments.com/


I should have written "PRIMARILY scrap". It is obvious that Inland is NOT in the same environmental remediation business as either of the other bidders.


I am sure that the boys at Inland will appreciate you telling them what their real business is from 1000 miles away.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:16 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2007 12:45 am
Posts: 521
Dave wrote:
I feel for the city manager - who did pull off a low cost remediation of a liability very competently.
Agreed. Here's a December 6, 2017 article in The Port Arthur News about his hiring:
Quote:
The Port Arthur City Council approved Harvey Robinson as interim city manager at the regular meeting Tuesday night at City Hall. Risa Carpenter, public information officer, said Robinson retired from the city in January 2009 as personnel director and assistant city manager.

Brian McDougal, former city manager, resigned last month after serving three years.

Jimmie Johnson was the acting city manager until council members selected an interim.

Willie “Bae” Lewis Jr., District 5 councilman, said he has known Robinson for a number of years. He said Robinson headed up hurricane recovery following Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike and he did everything in-house.
Link to full article: Longtime department head now PA interim city manager


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:54 pm 

Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:15 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Three Rivers, Michigan
hamster wrote:
The city manager had discretionary authority to spend up to $25000 before having to get permission from the council.


the March 2nd editorial in the Port Arthur news wrote:
According to the Port Arthur City Charters, Sec. 2-285: “the city council confers upon the city manager the general authority to contract for expenditure without further approval of the city council for all budgeted items not exceeding $25,000, subject to the requirement that a monthly check register indicating all such expenditures be provided to the city council.”


If you read the language of the Charters very carefully, the City Manager has the authority to spend this sort of money for all budgeted items, emphasis mine. This means that, in order for all of this to be fully legit, when the city council approved its budget for the current fiscal year, or last amended it, it would have had to have done so in open meeting and approved a line item in that budget that would have included the possibility of a project like this one. That line item could be pretty vague, i.e. "park cleanup" or something like it, and still be legit. Point is, though, in order for the City Manger to have spent this amount without venturing into a legal gray area (or outright incorrect procedure), even with it being under $25,000, it would still have to be budgeted in an open meeting - even if in a vague or general way - in order for him to not have to go back for express permission from the city council for this specific project.

This is most often how these things operate in municipal government; his discretion with respect to amounts under $25,000 is not absolute. He's still got to pull the money from some place where the budget includes sufficient funds in a place that at least approximately relates to the use. It is very unlikely that the City Manager spent this money without considering this, but it is also not out of the question. Do we know enough detail to know where in the city's FY budget he pulled this money from? Or does the Port Arthur city charter include another, similar provision that would allow him to spend this money at his discretion from non-budgeted or non-designated funds from the city's fund balance? Is there an emergency spending provision in place resulting from the hurricane?

Of course, many cases where an administrator re-appropriates funds go on without being challenged in any official or lasting way, or the challenge doesn't hold up for whatever reason. Such exceptions to the rules happen all the time - money gets spent on something only nominally related to its budgeted purpose at best, and that's that - I'll bet most of us have seen examples of this. However, in a situation subject to above-average public scrutiny, it opens up an avenue for someone to raise the issue.

Those complications may not be insurmountable. That budget item may well exist, and it may well go unchallenged anyway, or perhaps no one will push it beyond a public comment in the meeting. Best case scenario here, and the best outcome for the locomotive, is still clearly for the city to honor its contract as-is and for the remediation company to continue with its sale of the locomotive to Jason. I hope that this particular base is sufficiently covered, and that this does, indeed, produce the outcome we've been hoping for.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:10 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 12:41 pm
Posts: 420
Location: Minneapolis, MN
elueck wrote:

I am sure that the boys at Inland will appreciate you telling them what their real business is from 1000 miles away.


If you read the three quotations for the work proposed, it is obvious that Inland does things differently than the other two. The language and activities proposed by the other two companies was very similar and was more about environmental and hazardous materials remediation. Inland simply cut to the chase at 1/4 the cost. That says a great deal about the work that these companies usually do. And what they don't do.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 6:38 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1315
I see that the City has the right to terminate the contract at its convenience, although I don’t understand how that would work if the remediation was underway. In any case, I wonder if the contract has been cancelled by the City. If not, then why is work stopping during these reconsideration sessions?


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:07 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:55 pm
Posts: 14
Seems to me that everyone here is doing the leg work for City Council... Perhaps it's a good time to keep quiet to let things play out.

If you don't think that members of City Council and InLand are monitoring this thread, you've gotta be nuts.

We will all know more after tonight's meeting, I'm sure.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:10 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1702
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
I watched the whole 90 minute disjointed Port Arthur City Council meeting and sadly have to report that they voted to move the 503 to another place in the park where it now sits, clean up the soil under its current location and then put out an RFP to solicit proposals to keep it in Port Arthur.

I guess we need to be very grateful to Jason for all his efforts without which the 503 would now be cut into lots of small pieces and that's the major victory.

The sad part of course is it will now end up sitting there , getting a half baked paint job and quickly go back to being forgotten by everyone except the neighborhood kids who climb on her for fun.

As the old saying goes...no good deed goes unpunished.......and the other one appropriate here....you can lead 'em to water........

I hope that the Go Fund Me organizations mechanism for facilitating the return of donations is an easy one for Jason to use as he certainly has tried his best.

At least the 503 won't be scrapped !!!

Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 498
It's done. City is keeping the train. This is a textbook example of how to anger people and align a whole city and it's government against you. I am NOT happy. This did preservation no favors. This did 503 no favors. I tried to stop it but I could see this outcome from about day 1. When you see a herd of blind elephants stampeding your way, you just move to the side.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:20 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2382
co614 wrote:
I watched the whole 90 minute disjointed Port Arthur City Council meeting...

At least the 503 won't be scrapped !!!

Ross Rowland



I watched it, too, Ross. I have reached a different conclusion.

First, what we didn’t see in the video is the fat lady singing. The decision by the city leaves many questions unawnsered. I doubt this is settled. I am not closing the book nor asking for a refund until we see what happens with Inland.

Second, I saw nothing tonight that makes me think #503 won’t be scrapped. The city has unrealistic expectations and an admitted history of not investing in historic artifacts. She might not be scrapped tomorrow, but nothing about this situation makes me confident she will still be intact within 5 years.

The only way I see her surviving is if the city ends up selling the locomotive themselves, most likely with the bullshit excuse of cost overruns on the remediation and movement of the locomotive.

Rob

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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 8:10 am
Posts: 2382
Pegasuspinto wrote:
It's done. City is keeping the train. This is a textbook example of how to anger people and align a whole city and it's government against you. I am NOT happy. This did preservation no favors. This did 503 no favors. I tried to stop it but I could see this outcome from about day 1. When you see a herd of blind elephants stampeding your way, you just move to the side.



This endeavor has been a fantastic bit of living proof that the rail preservation community can -and will- mobilize quickly. It’s incredibly positive in that aspect.

If it plays out as it seems (and I am in no hurry) and refunds are made, it would be great to see all 1230 of us put some - if not all - into an active rail preservation project.

I will do so with mine, and I will do it in the name of Jason, Nick and the 1230 supporters who gave it a shot.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:34 pm 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1315
Did a lot of local people speak out in demanding that the engine be kept in Port Arthur? I get the impression that this decision may not have been driven by that at all. And I certainly can see Rob’s point that this may not yet be settled.

It seems that the rational choice would have been to let the engine go to Jason and all problems are solved. It also rationally seems like there would have had to have been a huge public outcry against 503 leaving Port Arthur for the City to choose not to sell it to Jason. But maybe this was not rational.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 11:43 am
Posts: 498
The citizens overwhelmingly spoke to KEEP the train. The citizens were pretty insulted that someone wants to take it to Florida. The citizens were pretty insulted that someone would insinuate the train has no history in PA. They probably were not really enthusiastic that some outsider would use the words "different demographic" in speaking to why the train should leave PA. The council didn't seem really amused on being told they had no idea what was going on with the train in their own city.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2506
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Pegasuspinto wrote:
The citizens overwhelmingly spoke to KEEP the train. The citizens were pretty insulted that someone wants to take it to Florida. The citizens were pretty insulted that someone would insinuate the train has no history in PA. They probably were not really enthusiastic that some outsider would use the words "different demographic" in speaking to why the train should leave PA. The council didn't seem really amused on being told they had no idea what was going on with the train in their own city.


Pretty sure that had Jason and Nick not stepped up, the 503 would be razor blades by now. Like I said, from day one of this, you have pretty much practiced onanism to the idea that this would fail, from your expert proclaimations that the money couldn’t be raised to today. I hope you enjoy your moment as “expert.”

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David M. Wilkins

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-FDR When nominating Alfred E. Smith for President.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to save the 503
PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:58 pm 

Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2011 4:29 pm
Posts: 1240
Location: Youngstown, OH
Pegasuspinto wrote:
The citizens overwhelmingly spoke to KEEP the train. The citizens were pretty insulted that someone wants to take it to Florida.


It is important to remember that just a few weeks ago the citizens, the Council and the city manager had absolutely no problem with it being cut up and "disposed" of.

And SIGNED a contract and paid money to make THAT HAPPEN.

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J&L Narrow Gauge Railroad
"The shortest and narrowest Railroad in Ohio"


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