Feb 222012

By Naomi Hatch —

The fire sprinkler system at the Snowflake Academy Building will be the top priority for use of Community Development Block Grant funding due the Town of Snowflake, followed by a handicap access ramp at town hall and the Center Street waterline.

The town council held a public hearing Feb. 14 regarding use of the CDBG funds.

Town Manager Paul Watson presented information on suggested projects gathered by Library Director Cathie McDowell, who was unable to attend the meeting.

Watson explained that CDBG funds are received on a rotation basis and it is Snowflake’s turn to receive a $150,000 grant for a project that must meet certain criteria.

Projects presented in a previous public hearing were the Center Street Waterline, which was explained by Public Works Terry Cooper. The old 1,275’ line is 2” abs sewer line used as a water main, rather than a 4” line, and is located on Center Street between Fifth West and Seventh West, and would include laterals on Sixth West. The line runs down the middle of the road, so the project would require the road to be torn up. The project cost has been estimated at $140,000 to $150,000.

The other projects were a handicapped ramp at town hall and a fire sprinkler system at the Snowflake Academy building, which could be done with the grant.

In response to a question posed by Mayor Kelly Willis, Cooper said that there have been four breaks in the year he has been with the town, and repairs average four hours of work by a three-man crew, the use of a backhoe and dump truck, and down time for residents.

The mayor said he felt this project was needed badly.

Councilman Tom Poscharsky asked if the money for this project could come from the town’s enterprise fund.

“The water fund, in theory, is not only to maintain, but for replacement costs. We’re not doing that,” said Watson, noting that staff will be coming to the council with recommendations for increases in the costs for water and sewer service.

“Enterprise funds should be self-sufficient to pay for all costs, including replacement,” said Watson. “In theory, we looked at a 30 percent increase and it would not cover replacement costs.” He noted that there should be money set aside in a sinking fund to cover replacement costs.

Watson pointed out that there are liability issues with access to town hall and he thought that the Academy Building, under the town’s own requirements, should have a sprinkler system.

Councilman Chris Brimhall said that there are several projects at the Academy Building people have volunteered to help with, but they cannot proceed until the fire sprinkler system has been installed because they would have to tear up work completed to install the sprinklers.

“I feel like I would like to move forward on the fire system at the Academy Building and handicapped access ramp to town hall,” said Mayor Willis, who moved to prioritize items for the CDBG application as follows: 1) fire sprinkler system at the Snowflake academy; 2) handicap access ramp at town hall; and 3) Center Street waterline. The motion passed unanimously.

Resolution No. 12-01 for housing relocation assistance was adopted. This is a requirement for the grant that states that if they displace anyone in low to moderate income housing, they will relocate them; but it would not apply to any of the projects being submitted.

Resolution No. 12-02 to support an application and authorization to the Arizona Department of Housing for fiscal year 2012 CDBG funds passed unanimously.