Aug 262011

By Linda Kor–

The state of the economy was reflected in the tax collection rates reported by Navajo County Treasurer Manny Hernandez as he went before the Board of Supervisors Tuesday with the annual report.

According to the information presented by Hernandez, the total amount of taxes on real property charged by the treasurer’s office came to just over $81.7 million, $1.5 million less than last year’s amount of $83.2 million. As of July 31, $78 million, or 95.4 percent, had been collected.

Regarding investments, Hernandez reported that short-term investments totaled $55.7 million, certificates of deposit totaled $200,000 and government securities totaled over $76.4 million.

The interest earned from investments show $131,892 from savings, $3,235 from certificates of deposits and $923,522 for government securities. The yield for those investments is .26 percent for savings, 1.3 percent for government securities and 1.49 percent for certificates of deposit.

“We are in a down market, so I believe this is a good interest gain. The market continues to sway on a daily basis and there’s no telling when that will change,” stated Hernandez.

He also reported that both Bank of the West and Wells Fargo have agreed to pay higher rates for the county’s savings, with rates of .35 percent from Bank of the West and .28 percent from Wells Fargo.

“This allows us to keep our funds local and liquid. I expect our averages to stay down for the next two years. As always when it comes to investments, it’s safety first and yield last,” Hernandez assured the board.

In other business, the board made an amendment to the ordinances regarding medical marijuana. A clarification was made that patients, not caregivers, cultivating marijuana must live at least 25 miles from a dispensary. Another ordinance was added stating that individuals requesting a special use permit for a dispensary must include evidence that they have applied to the Arizona Department of Health Services for a dispensary registration certificate.

The board also approved amendments to three special use permits for Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Americas for three meteorological towers in the Antelope Valley area 10 miles northeast of Heber. Several residents from the area voiced opposition to the extension, citing concerns that the project had not produced sufficient data to support the addition of three more meteorlogical towers and that the construction of the towers interfered with the eagle habitats in the area.

Representatives of RES Americas reassured the board that data was sufficient, and that they were complying with all requests made by the Arizona Department of Fish and Game regarding eagle habitats.

The amendment extends the time for installation of the towers until July 13, 2013.

In other action Aug. 23, the board:

* Approved the appointment of consolidated polling places and poll workers for the upcoming special election to be conducted on Nov. 8.

* Authorized a letter to Arizona Department of Corrections Director Charles L. Ryan in support of the 1,000-bed detention facility proposed in Winslow.

* Approved the annual appropriation of county funds in the amount of $20,250 for the fiscal year 2011-12 for Cooperative Extension.

* Authorized two grant applications totaling $67,938 for state and local Fill the Gap Funds for the processing of criminal cases.

* Approved an amendment to the intergovernmental agreement between the Arizona Supreme Court, the Navajo County School Superintendent and the Navajo County Board of Supervisors for fiscal year 2011 carryover of $27,000 in Title I funds to be used for juvenile detention education services.

* Approved a proclamation declaring September as National Preparedness Month.

* Approved a $4,950 professional services contract with Applied Engineering for HVAC system review.

* Approved a $375,860 contract with Combs Construction Inc. for hot asphaltic concrete pavement overlay in the Show Low area.

* Approved special road fund expenditures in the amount of $40,000 from District III for the Town of Snowflake and $40,000 from District IV for the Town of Taylor to improve road conditions on Freeman Hollow Road.

* Approved an amendment to the master development site plan for the Pinecrest RV resort in Overgaard.

* Approved amendments regarding special use permits for new animal kennels in unincorporated areas of the county.