By Naomi Hatch–
In fiscal year 2006-07, the Town of Snowflake received $723,694 in Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) and in fiscal year 2011-12, town officials expect to receive approximately $556,957, a reduction of approximately 23 percent, impacting the town’s ability to provide road maintenance and construction activities. It is expected that this trend will continue in the future as state officials attempt to balance the state budget without considering new revenues.
“The resolution reiterates some of the problems in terms of the fact that we have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of roads,” Town Engineer Rob Emmett told members of the town council Oct. 25.
“Distributions have gone down and are being used to fund DPS (the Department of Public Safety),” Emmett said, noting that Snowflake is not alone in bearing the impact of the state legislature’s HURF sweep to fund DPS, all members of the White Mountain Regional Transportation Committee, an organization comprised of Navajo and Apache counties, cities and towns, have been impacted by HURF sweeps, causing a regional decline of transportation funding of approximately 28 percent.
A resolution was presented declaring that the impacts of the HURF sweep are negatively impacting the town’s ability to perform road maintenance, and continued reductions could affect public safety and welfare, and urging the legislature to discontinue the HURF sweep and to restore HURF to pre-sweep level within a reasonable period of time.
Mayor Kelly Willis read the resolution in its entirety, and asked if there were comments from the council or the audience. There were none.
The mayor noted that he had just attended a meeting during which state officials said that Arizona is in the black.
“They’re in the black because of sweeps,” he commented.
A motion to approve the resolution passed unanimously.
In other action Oct. 25, the council:
* Approved Resolution No. 11-563, authorizing the signators for an account with National Bank of Arizona.
* Unanimously approved holding one meeting in November, namely on Nov. 15, and at that time deciding when to hold a December meeting or whether one would be necessary. The council members noted that they did not want to meet during any of the activities in December.
* Unanimously approved the purchase of a $35,221.93 valve turning machine.
Emmett explained that normal maintenance for potable water distribution systems requires valve maintenance, which consists of cleaning the valve box, and turning the valve to ensure it is functional and accessible when needed for system maintenance or in an emergency. He said that valves become difficult to operate, and eventually become frozen and stuck. Town staff members researched available valve turning equipment and recommended the purchase from Balar Equipment of Arizona for an E.H. Wachs Mini-VMT unit.
* Unanimously approved the purchase of a wastewater treatment plant thickening tank aspirating pump.
Emmett said that currently the aspirating pump at the wastewater treatment plant biosolids condition tank has failed and is considered an emergency. He said that the purpose of the biosolids conditioning tank is to receive waste activated sludge from the clarifier, and to provide for the thickening of the sludge to a consistency and volume that can be processed by the belt filter press. He noted that they have a price of $7,000 to rebuild the 15-year old pump and a new pump from Hennesy Mechanical Sales would not exceed $9,436, but Emmett said that he is talking to company officials and has the price down to around $8,000.