Mar 232012

By Teri Walker —

After facing a series of expensive emergency repairs requiring tow fees of $1,000 each, City Manager Ray Alley asked permission of the Holbrook City Council this week to declare Auto Safety House of Holbrook the sole source provider for heavy duty truck repairs.

“Auto Safety House is the only provider for heavy duty truck repairs locally,” said Alley.

“The city has had to have repair work done several times on an emergency basis for amounts which are over $1,000 and require three written quotes. In all of the instances the vehicles had to be towed,” said Alley.

Alley said the city has run into trouble with the requirement to secure three bids for any repair estimated to cost over $1,000. The wrinkle for city staff is that the city’s heavy-duty equipment and vehicles require computer codes to be checked using equipment not available locally. To get the codes reviewed, the vehicle must be towed to Flagstaff.

“What could be a relatively inexpensive problem that could be repaired locally, we have to spend $1,000 just for towing to find out what the problem is,” said Alley.

Alley said the sole source contract would only be in place until another heavy machinery shop, such as Caterpillar, comes in to the area.

“If we get another shop, we’ll need to go back and redo this,” he said.

The council voted unanimously to approve the measure.

The council also approved two payments to Auto Safety House for heavy machinery repairs.

The city will pay $1,823.30 for hauling and repair of a sewage truck, and $4,921.38 for repair to a street department dump truck.

Repairs are also needed for the irrigation pump system at the Hidden Cove Golf Course. The council approved a payment not to exceed $8,282.50 to Authorized Pump Systems of Phoenix for the repairs.

Additionally, the council approved a request by Police Chief Mark Jackson to pursue a grant that would offset costs of new vehicle purchases.

The USDA Rural Development Department administers a grant offering 15 percent off the purchase price of new police or fire department vehicles.

According to Alley, the city plans to soon request council approval to purchase four new police vehicles with savings realized in this year’s budget. Jackson is hopeful he can secure the grant in time for the vehicle purchases.

If Jackson is successful in obtaining a grant, but the timing isn’t right for the police vehicle purchases, Alley said the money could instead be used to help purchase a new fire truck for the city.

In a budget work session following the city council meeting, Alley said Fire Chief Alex Baker has alerted him that it’s imperative to purchase a new truck in 2013. Baker is searching for a quality used truck, and the city has earmarked $175,000 in its preliminary 2013 budget for a fire truck.

In his council report, Councilman Wade Carlisle said that in his role as vice chairman of the Northern Arizona Council of

Governments (NACOG), he recently attended a meeting during which a lobbyist group for rural transportation said it is working to get back money from the Arizona Legislature for highway funding. Carlisle said only $10 million is included in the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) budget next year for new road construction, and the agency has no plans to seek bonds or other forms of funding to boost the budget. ADOT will only have funding for reconstruction and maintenance projects for the year, so the city shouldn’t anticipate any relief on road construction costs.

Carlisle said the city may see some return of funds from the state for the Highway User Revenue Funds that have been taken away over the past few years, but he wouldn’t expect the amount received to be significant.

Vice Mayor Charlie Haussman reported he had attended a community forum hosted by Northland Pioneer College this week where he learned Holbrook is on track to be home to a new construction trades skills center.

“It looks like there will definitely be a skills center in Holbrook…despite the fact of opposition from local communities” that want the skills center, Haussman noted.

“They (NPC administrators) are aware of the potential mines and training opportunities. I think they’re working very hard to become, in a sense, a better partner with the community,” he said.

Councilman Myron Maxwell reported he attended the community forum hosted Feb. 29 by the Holbrook Business Development Group.

“I was very impressed with the potash forum and impressed to see about 80 percent of the auditorium filled. This was a good activity, to see what the future holds for us,” said Maxwell.

Alley reported the new city well on McLaws Road is now running. He said the water has been tested by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and once the chlorination system is complete, the well will be tied into the city water system.

Alley also reported on road construction efforts, noting road crews are working on repaving Delaware Street near city hall, which he expects to complete next week. He said East Florida Street will be finished closer to the end of the school year to avoid excessive traffic disruption, as there will need to be lane restrictions during the repaving project. He said the road crew would also continue to work on street construction on 12th Avenue in the areas of Buffalo, Erie and Florida Streets.

Alley said city personnel have worked almost a month to refurbish the city pool house, which is nearly done. He encouraged council members to visit the facility to see the improvements, which he says render it unrecognizable from its former condition.

Finally, Alley alerted council members that the city would be leasing a backhoe to keep municipal projects moving forward, since two city-owned backhoes are currently out of service. He said in the upcoming budget development process, he would be requesting permission to purchase a new backhoe for the city.

“I envision paying half this year and half next year,” said Alley.

He said the request to go to bid for backhoe prices will be on the next council agenda.

Kristi Hillebert, program coordinator for North Country Healthcare, addressed the council to discuss an upcoming benefit, Women’s Day in May.

The mini-spa day will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, at the Navajo County Fairgrounds in Holbrook. Two hundred $10 tickets are available for the event, which will benefit the Bread of Life Mission in Holbrook and the White Mountain Safe House.

In its final action of the evening, the council voted to approve amendments to the Rural Arizona Group Health Trust agreement. Assistant City Manager Randy Sullivan characterized the agreement as a “housekeeping amendment.” The trust administers the city’s health insurance program, so any agreements it enters into have to subsequently be adopted by participating members.

The next regular meeting of the Holbrook City Council will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27, at city hall, located at 465 First Ave.