Feb 252011

By Linda Kor —

During the Feb. 22 Holbrook City Council meeting, Finance Director Randy Sullivan informed the council that the city is in good shape financially, with all departments but two staying under budget.

“The airport has gone over budget due to a large fuel purchase and facilities is over due to a final payment to JD Fuller for the levee,” explained Sullivan.

He reported that the general fund currently has $2,094,202 in revenues and $2,037,664 in expenditures and is operating with an income of $56,538. He also noted that total tax revenues are above projections by $123,948.

The utility fund is currently operating with an income of $302,101, with the sewer force main completed and the debt service payment made. To date, $9,971 has been paid out for the new water well on McLaws Road. The Highway User Revenue Fund (HURF) is currently operating with a loss of $72,919, but revenues for HURF are up by $7,709 when compared to projections.

The city has $498,385 in the Bank of the West and $1,401,162 in Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) funds. Sullivan noted that the general LGIP account earned $25.57 in interest for a current yield of .13 percent and a balance of $235,721. The LGIP Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) reserves have a balance of $461,511 for an effective yield of 1.58 percent; and LGIP long-term savings has a balance of $703,930 for an effective yield of 1.58 percent. Since the beginning of the year, the city has earned $5,505 in interest in these accounts.

In addition, Sullivan informed the council that the 2009-10 audit is complete and clean. “We are fine, but several recommendations were made to improve some things,” he stated, adding that the city came in $7,788 under the expenditure limitation.

During the manager’s report, City Manager Ray Alley informed the council that the justice courts fees would be increasing for the city. The city currently pays $22,000 to the court, but they are recommending an increase to $52,000.

As a result, Alley stated that on the next agenda he would request that the council raise the cost for individuals using the system. He will recommend that the city align itself with the rates that the county has, increasing the $2 automation fee to $10 and adding a $30 staffing fee.

“This way we’re not asking for law abiding citizens to pay for it by taking it out of the general fund and we’re not paying for someone who is breaking the law,” stated Alley.

Alley also informed the council that work on an approximate one-mile stretch of road on McLaws Road is set to begin on April 15. The city will be paying $50,000 for the project, with Supervisor J.R. DeSpain also paying $50,000 out of his discretionary fund. The additional $285,000 will be paid by Navajo County. The road is near the county yard, and much of the damage sustained by that portion of the road was due to heavy county machinery traveling on it.

Holbrook resident and businessman Jack Young went before the council to request funding for the Bucket of Blood Re-Enactors, a newly formed non-profit organization that promotes the history of Holbrook from 1870 through 1900 through period dress and role playing of historic events.

“We offer a safe venue and entertain in costume with historic knowledge and props at Old West Days, the Navajo County Fair and other events,” stated Young. The group plans to participate in events throughout the country and intends to have other similar groups come to Holbrook. Young noted that they are currently producing a webpage and that other re-enactment groups on the Internet with web pages receive thousands of inquiries as to where events take place. He believes this could be an important way to promote Holbrook.

Members of the council expressed their interest and support for the group in its endeavor to promote our rich heritage, but all of the council’s funding was going toward Fourth of July fireworks and was still $400 short for that.

Mayor Jeff Hill suggested that perhaps the chamber of commerce could assist the group through lodgers tax in the amount of $500.

Alley agreed. “We did set aside some contingency funds for courthouse repairs, so we may be able to work something out with that,” stated Alley.

While the council asked Alley to discuss the item with the chamber, Councilman Wade Carlisle spoke up and offered to contribute $100 of his personal funds to the endeavor, followed by Councilman Charles Haussman, who stated he would also like to contribute, with each noting that the group is a valuable asset to promoting Holbrook.

In another matter of business, the council approved the appointment of Lester Pate to the Holbrook Planning and Zoning Commission. Pate will be replacing Zelda Gray, who passed away late last year.

During the call to the public, Holbrook resident Mark Kranich approached the council regarding ongoing issues he has had with neighbors and their dogs. Kranich informed the council that he has repeatedly informed the owners and the city regarding the constant barking of the dogs over the past five years with no results.

Although the council could not comment on the matter, Alley stated that he and Merrill Young of Animal Control were resolving the issue.

In other business on Feb. 22, the council:

* Approved the development of a Small Community Environmental Protection Plan with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. This plan would promote compliance and possibly protect the city from fines in instances of environmental accidents.

* Approved the renewal of the city’s membership with the Rural Arizona Group Health Trust.

* Held the first reading of an amendment to the city code regarding intoxicating beverages. The amendment would forbid the possession of alcohol in city owned facilities, alleyways, culverts or drainage ditches.

Permits for special events could still be obtained through the city.

* Approved an agreement with Nichols ATM Services for the placement of an ATM machine at the Hidden Cove Golf Course at no cost to the city.

* Approved Dana Kepner as a sole source provider for Sensus Meters and products for water meter readers.

* Approved Waste Management as a provider for transportation and disposal of municipal solid waste at a rate of $17.50 per ton and $285 per haul (at one to two containers per haul) for transportation from the city transfer station to Waste Management Painted Desert Landfill.

* Approved a renewal agreement between the city and Petracom. The agreement allows for the lease of the KDJI broadcasting site in Holbrook in exchange for the airing of the bi-weekly city council meetings.

* Approved locations for a medical marijuana dispensary in Industrial Zones One and Two, and Commercial Area Two. These areas include the industrial park across from the county complex, the area near the airport and Navajo Blvd. from the far south end to Florida Street, as well as the west end of Hopi Drive.

* Approved the cancelation of the March 8 city council meeting due to the city’s primary election scheduled that day.

* Authorized the city manager to determine whether to use attorney Sterling Solomon, or the firm Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre and Friedlander for specific legal matters. Both firms are contracted with the city, but Alley would like to utilize Solomon when he can to reduce costs.