By Naomi Hatch –
Members of the Snowflake Town Council met prior to their regular May 22 meeting in a budget session in which they approved $2,000 for the Silver Creek Senior Center. Representatives of the senior center were present to request a donation of $10,000, though, and their request was granted during the regular council meeting.
“We recognize the tightness of the budget, but I also recognize without more support from the community we are going to have a hard time keeping the doors open,” said Keith Baldwin, treasurer of the Silver Creek Senior Center.
“We find more people are coming in and are unable to donate,” said Baldwin “We are mandated (to provide the service) and cannot force them to pay anything.”
Marilyn Radke, executive director of the senior center said that they are required to ask for donations from people under 60 years of age, but many people are coming who have no money and are hungry, and they won’t turn them away.
In response to a question posed by Mayor Kelly Willis, Radke explained that people are coming from a defined area that has been established by the Northern Arizona Council of Governments, with which the center partners.
Baldwin also pointed out that previously, drivers for the Meals On Wheels, which delivers to more than 35 seniors, have donated gas and used their own vehicles, but due to the economy, it is becoming more difficult for volunteers to do so and they are in need of more volunteers.
Mayor Willis expressed concern that others will be asking for funds, noting that in the budget they just discussed $2,000 was set aside for the center. “Where’s this going to put us?” he asked Town Manager Paul Watson.
“If you had asked before tonight, the budget had a surplus of $2,104, so I would have said there was an additional $2,000,” responded Watson, “and you’re right, this is not the only request.
“The budget tonight has a $30,000 surplus,” he continued, noting that having served on the board of the senior center and seeing first hand the services it offers and the work of the volunteers, he felt that it was more of a service. Meals on Wheels is also a medical and social visit, and provides a way to check on participants.
Councilman Tom Poscharsky pointed out that the center also participates in the United Food Bank and gives out a box of food once a month to those who qualify, and participates in a surplus produce program. “It isn’t just the one meal a day,” said the councilman. “They deserve to be recognized for the other things they do as well.”
A motion to approve a donation of $10,000 to the Silver Creek Senior Center passed in a 6-1 vote, with Mayor Willis opposing the measure.
In other action May 22, the council:
* Approved the appointment of Ariona Public Service Co. Area Manager Steve Quinn to the Economic Development Committee.
Quinn is an Arizona native and has been with APS for 27 years. “This was always a destination for me,” Quinn said, noting that APS encourages employees to be a part of the community and to give service to it.
* Approved awarding a contract to provide concessions at the Snowflake and Centennial softball fields for the 2012 season.
Recreation and Parks Department Director Don Comacho said that he would open the bids on May 25.
* Tabled an item regarding a requested refund to Langley Temple Hill Estates, LLC due to information that was received just prior to the council meeting that was of a legal nature.
* Unanimously approved a request to extend Rob Toy’s contract for project management for the rest of Reach 1, and for Reaches 2 and 3 for the Southern Solution.
* Unanimously approved the award of a professional services contract in an amount not to exceed $50,000 to LMT Engineering, as recommended by staff, for geotechnical testing and monitoring of construction of the Southern Solution regional drainage project, using funding provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Navajo County and the town.
* Approved seeking further funds from the Navajo County Flood Control District. Watson said that he was advised to write a letter and the district would possibly approve more funding.
* Approved a budget adjustment that changes the line item to enable the purchase of a new fire truck in the amount of $385,000.
The council also approved pre-paying Kovatch Mobile Equipment Corporation (doing business as Firetrucks Unlimited) $374,907.21 for the fire truck to be delivered. The reward for prepaying is a savings of $8,384 that will be used for needed components for the fire truck.
* Approved scheduling a public hearing regarding an increase in water rates on Tuesday, July 24.