By Naomi Hatch
“I’m sleeping a lot better these days, especially with the rain, knowing the basin is handling the lion’s share of the water,” engineer Rob Toy, who has spent years working on the Southern Solution to control flood wa-ters, told the Snowflake Town Council Aug. 21.
“This project has gone quite a long time,” said Toy in his update on the project. “We’re due for a bit of good luck. We’re nearing completion of the first and second phase.”
He outlined the budget and construction timeline status for phase 1, noting there were minor delays due to rain, but no major work stoppages, and all work met or exceeded agency requirements. Toy said that Basin 1B experienced some “hard dig,” which he explained was large rocks, but they were able to engineer a solution and achieved removal without delays.
Construction is on time, said Toy, noting, “We’re fairly confident at this point, that the project will come in under budget.” They anticipate completion the last week of August.
Toy spoke highly of Show Low Construction’s partnership, noting that they live in the community and care about the project. He said approximately 35 employees, or 85 percent of the workforce, are from the Snow-flake/Taylor area and a few from the White Mountains.
The engineer said they exhibited pride of craftsmanship, and immediately addressed any issues or con-cerns. They worked with town engineers Yost and Gardner to keep costs down and stay within budget, and performed their work in a safe manner, with special attention to crews and local issues.
Toy made a power point presentation showing changes, which were strengthening of the stock tank leading into the first basin, preservation of the original watercourses and improvement of adjacent land, restoration of natural flow patterns and removal of ravine, armoring downstream sides of embankment with rocky material and the addition of safety fencing near outlet works.
Toy said that funds for $1.6 million project for Reaches 2 and 3 have been approved by the Federal Emer-gency Management Agency and are ready at the state level.
The engineering pre-work has been completed, as well as geotechnical testing, and they have identified specific needs for the golf course and construction impacts, as well as specific relocation needs for the power lines. Toy said that funding availability will determine construction phasing.
“Rob’s done a good job telling you where we’re at,” said Town Manager Paul Watson. “I’m excited we have Reach 1 virtually completed.”
Mayor Kelly Willis commented that when he came on the council eight years ago this was ongoing. “I don’t think that any of us realize to what great extent we owe this good man our gratitude,” the mayor said of Toy. “He’s done a wonderful job and served us, as well as our community.”
In other business Aug. 21, the council:
* Approved an intergovernmental agreement for the regional connector transit service White Mountain Connection in a 6-4 vote, with Councilwoman Bev Kay and Councilman Tom Poscharsky opposing the meas-ure.
Watson pointed out that the agreement included the stipulation that Snowflake could opt out of it in a year.
* Unanimously approved Resolution No. 12-105, Arizona Regional Haze Federal Implementation Plan, asking to allow the necessary analysis and review of the technical nature of the proposed Federal Implementa-tion Plan (FIP) to take place, and to provide the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality with the oppor-tunity to collaborate with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in revising Arizona’s State Implemen-tation Plan (SIP) submittal for the purpose of nullifying the proposed FIP, and thereby adhering to the intent of the Clean Air Act.
Watson explained that previously council had approved a resolution asking EPA to extend the deadline for comments, as well as to hold a public hearing in the area. A hearing was held two weeks ago in Holbrook.
“We are now asking council to adopt a new resolution putting stronger verbiage that we think these rec-ommendations are erroneous,” said Watson.
Mayor Willis reported that there will be an ad in the newspaper asking that anyone interested in a seat on the council submit a letter.
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By Naomi Hatch