By Naomi Hatch
“Unfortunately, we lost one of our council members, Larry Matyas, whose passing was very unexpected and very saddening,” said Snowflake Town Manager Paul Watson at the Sept. 25 council meeting.
Notice was placed in the newspaper to fill the vacant seat and the process closed on Sept. 14, with five letters of interest submitted from Roger Morgan, Kerry Ballard, Joseph Holland, Stuart Hensley and Blaine Jarvis.
“I think it’s a tribute to the town of Snowflake that we have so many that are willing to serve and have a desire to serve,” said Mayor Kelly Willis. He went on to say that replacing vacated seats is one of the hardest things they do as council members.
The candidates were given an opportunity to tell the council why they would like to be seated on the council and a few things about themselves, such as the feelings they have and how they feel they can help the town.
Holland, an attorney, has lived in Snowflake five years with his family of six children, with another on the way. He visited Snowflake and said he “absolutely fell in love with this community,” as did his wife after her first visit. He plans to live his entire life here.
He grew up in Willcox, where his dad was city attorney for about 20 years. “I know the benefits of serving the people you love, the people you know and the people that you work with,” he said. “I’ve seen some of the questions posed of the council,” and noted that he felt his experience gives him something to offer.
“I missed being on the council,” said Ballard. “It’s been a humbling experience to be home, not doing any-thing…I don’t have any aspirations, I just want to be a good council member and do the things you want me to do.”
“My ancestors were some of the first people into this area and as they paved a way for future generations, they set high standards and big shoes to fill,” said Hensley. They wanted a place for their children to have an opportunity to prosper while being taught values of hard work, patriotism and faith, and he wants to pass that to his family. Hensley was one of 120 Snowflake High School graduates in his class and now there are ap-proximately 10 who live in the area. He asked for an opportunity to serve on the council, knowing the work council members do is tireless and sometimes thankless.
Morgan has been in Snowflake almost two decades, coming for an elk hunting trip, but while he hunted, his wife looked for a house.
“I love this community and I love what it stands for,” said Morgan. “I know that I can add so much to the town of Snowflake. I love this town. I want to continue to see it improve.” Morgan is a former council member.
Jarvis, is also a previous council member had to leave before he could make a statement, but his letter stated, “I ran for the council last year and had a run off with Lorri Davis. I have a desire to again try for the council. I love our town and would like to be part of it.” He is a retired teacher with time to “look after our town,” he stated.
“I find it very difficult as a councilwoman to sit here and try to decide out of these five great people who I’d even choose,” said Councilwoman Bev Kay. She said they should have a lottery to decide and Council-woman Davis agreed.
Davis encouraged those not chosen at this time to run for council in the next election.
“In openness and fairness, you do need to realize that this chair… will be up for vote in the primary in March and will be reseated in May with whoever wins that,” said Mayor Willis. The terms of Vice Mayor Jason Whiting, Councilmen Tom Poscharsky and Chris Brimhall will also be up next year, he explained.
Poscharsky reiterated what other councilors said, stating, “I’m encouraged to see so many people applying.”
“We do need someone first in the line for chow,” said Poscharsky, who then nominated Ballard, stating, “I think it’s best for the community at this time.”
Ballard was elected to fill the vacant seat, with Willis, Whiting, Brimhall, Poscharsky and Davis voting in favor. Kay opposed the measure.
In other business, Watson said that based on discussion during the Economic Development Committee meeting, it was recommended that the town encourage Summit Healthcare to improve services in the area, so he requested approval of Resolution No. 12-016, in support of Summit Healthcare’s efforts to accommodate the need for urgent care and other related services. The council unanimously approved the resolution.
The council unanimously approved hiring architect Robert Graham for work on the Academy Building with funding that will be provided by the Snowflake Academy Foundation, not to exceed $30,000. Library Director Cathie McDowell said that she is applying for a grant to cover the cost so the money can be used for another project. She explained that they are getting Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for fire sprinklers and main stairway rehabilitation, and CDBG money from Navajo County for entry stair rehabilitation and a ramp that meets Americans with Disability Act (ADA) standards.
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By Naomi Hatch