By Nick Worth
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors went into executive session for approximately 10 minutes during their regular meeting Tuesday to consider a proposed settlement from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to a suit filed by Snowflake Power LLC against the county. When they returned to regular session, the board approved the proposed counteroffer.
According to Deputy County Attorney Jason Moore, the suit was an attempt to get the Arizona Department of Revenue (DOR) and the county to lower the company’s 2011 tax valuation of $12,664,000. Moore said the power plant was a “centrally assessed” property and so was assessed by the state.
“There are two kinds of properties, centrally assessed and locally assessed,” Moore explained. “Centrally assessed properties are all assessed by the Arizona Department of Revenue and locally assessed are done by the county.”
Certain types of businesses are centrally assessed, Moore said.
“Power generation stations, windmill power generators, anything owned by a utility company, cable television are all centrally assessed types of businesses,” said Moore.
Asked why Navajo County was named in the lawsuit when the assessment was carried out by DOR, Moore said the plaintiff, Snowflake Power, had to name Navajo County in addition to DOR because the county receives some of the tax revenues.
Moore said this suit is disputing the 2011 tax valuation given the utility by DOR and so will not be affected by the closing of Snowflake Power.
“They also have two more suits pending for 2012 and 2013,” Moore said. He said the 2012 tax valuation will also not be affected by the plant’s closure, but that it is likely the 2013 valuation would be.
Because the DOR is named in the suit, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is handling the case and offered a proposed settlement to Snowflake Power. Navajo County needed to sign off on the settlement, as it will affect the amount of money the county receives. The terms will not be made public until Snowflake Power accepts the settlement.
When the board returned from executive session, Supervisor David Tenney moved that the board accept the Attorney General’s suggestion of a counteroffer on the suit. The motion passed unanimously.
In the call to the public portion of the meeting, the board heard from Terry Hill, post adjutant and legislative chairman for Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post No. 907 in Show Low, and his wife, Joyce Hill, legislative chairman for the ladies auxiliary of the post. The two informed the board that on Monday, Feb. 18, Ann Kirkpatrick will be at the VFW Post in Show Low at 1 p.m. to talk to veterans about veteran issues. The meeting is open only to members of the post and other veterans’ organizations.
Terry Hill also asked the board to support House Bill 2466 before the Arizona House of Representatives. The bill proposes to amend the statutes to require judges and law enforcement officers to be trained in post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Why should we incarcerate veterans in our prisons when we could be sending them to treatment pro-grams?” he asked.
Hill told the board the bill is currently stuck in the Public Safety, Military and Regulatory Affairs Committee, chaired by Justin Pierce. According to Hill, Pierce has not yet called for the bill to be heard by the committee.
“The VFW is very supportive of this bill,” Hill said. He asked board members to do what they could to see the bill got a hearing in committee.
In other action Feb. 12, the board:
* Adopted a resolution authorizing the Arizona Attorney General’s office to provide legal representation to Navajo County in several tax appeals involving centrally assessed property, specifically Transwestern Pipeline v. Navajo County, Cable One v. Navajo County and Snowflake Power v. Navajo County.
* Awarded a $27,825.54 contract to Tate’s Auto Direct for purchase of a 2013 Ford Escape.
* Re-appointed David Antonini, LuAnn Garbini, Dana Sipes, Yvonne Hunt, Paul Julien, Jeanne Boyce, Shirley Patterson, Anna Lesperance, Lisa Maestas, Jay Rominger and Ron Oberholtzer as justices of the peace pro tempore for the Navajo County Justice Courts.
* Re-appointed Bob Hall as an alternate member of the Navajo County Planning and Zoning Commission for District III and Randy Murph as a regular member of the commission for District III.
* Adopted amendment No. 3 to Lone Pine Dam Road Special Use Permit No. LAK101662.
* Named an existing road in the Pinedale/Claysprings area “Jasmine Lane.”
* Named an existing road in the Pinedale/Claysprings area “Azalea Lane.”
* Issued a letter of support for tribal airports.
* Issued a letter in support of the City of Show Low’s Community Development Block Grants.
* Issued a sympathy letter to the family of Becky Barris.
* Postponed action on a proclamation declaring Feb. 12, 2013, as Day of the Cougars.
* Recognized Brent Turley, Lilene Sanchez, Cameron Crandell and Anna Ash for their excellence in personal performance far exceeding organization expectations.
* Gave Personnel Service Awards for five years of service to Eric Baldonado, Jill Hunt, William Johnson, Cory Knight, Scot Martin Jr., Eugenia Greeson and Kelly King; 10-year awards to Laurin Larson, Norma Willard, Stephen Price and Phyllis Romo; 15-year awards to Allen Payne and Martinez Mike; and Supervisor Jesse Thompson received a 20-year-service award.
* Approved personnel actions.
* Approved personal property tax abatements.
* Approved two grants from the Constable Ethics and Training Board.
* Approved the purchase of four Dodge 1500 4×4 crew cab pickup trucks including police packages for $169,593.28 from Avondale Automotive, Inc.
* Awarded a one-year contract for collection services to A/R Collection Services.
* Awarded a contract for the purchase of one or more water tanker trailers (6,000 to 6,500 gallon) to Construction Trucks & Equipment, and approved the purchase of two water tanker trailers for approximately $123,000.
Public Works Director Homero Vela told the board the water tankers currently in use date from the 1960s.
* Awarded a $97,870.30 contract for the purchase of one 2013 John Deere backhoe loader to RDO Equipment Company.
* Approved the purchase of steel and miscellaneous hardware to build cinder spreader hangers for $30,000.
* Heard a presentation by Navajo County Assessor Cammy Darris, who told the board how the assessor’s office establishes the value of homes and properties.
* Appointed Will Flake to fill a vacancy on the Silver Creek Flood Protection District Board.
Acting as the Board of Equalization, the board:
* Approved property owners’ appeal to re-classify their property to class three properties (owner occupied), waive assessed penalties and liens related to this recent reclassification action, and direct the county assessor to reclassify the properties to class three.
* Approved a property owner’s appeal to reclassify property to class three (owner occupied). It was found the homeowner has satisfied the requirements of occupancy status.
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By Nick Worth