May 312013

By Sam Conner
In a special meeting and work session held Tuesday evening, the Winslow City Council heard a report from City Engineer Mark Woodson on flood map revisions.
Woodson noted that a study done in November 2012 has been approved, but the next step will not be completed until April 2014 and the map will not be redrawn until 2015. Many Winslow properties will remain in the flood plain, but some will be removed from it when the map is redrawn. Other properties may come out with additional study.
He said an informal meeting with property owners, realtors and other interested parties may be held to decide what should be done, and how to increase possible positive impact and decrease any negative impact.
There was also discussion regarding the budget and capital projects. Woodson explained how many projects have been, are and will be funded by turn-back funds from the Arizona Department of Transportation and interests from those funds. Grant funds added to those funds may make more projects possible. He also noted that some projects have been moved from the 2013 budget to the 2014 budget.
The capital funds from the one percent special tax have made many projects possible. Plans for the future include work at Vargas Field and the ramada area. Also mentioned was the possibility of a new animal control facility expected to cost some $280,000. There is also a wish list for 2015 and later.
The council had a list of capital projects to consider, including water lines, well field improvements, fire hydrant upgrades and water meter improvements, manholes and sewer lines. The wastewater treatment plant is a major need with funding still to be sought. This was seen as at least a two-year project.
The council was asked to consider prioritizing the projects and having staff develop a budget that follows those priorities.
It was pointed out that the city has taken a fire truck pumper off the city’s insurance and only has two fire engines working now. Replacing the one no longer used was seen as a top priority.
During the regular meeting City Manager Jim Ferguson reported that there is a vacancy on the Public Safety Personnel Retirement Board.
Code Compliance Officer Dan Taylor reported on his success in getting abandoned cars removed.
Librarian Docia Blaylock reported on the library’s summer schedule of activities, including its annual scavenger hunt.
Allan Rosenbaum reported that recycling trailers are to be placed at Bonnie Brennan School, the police station, and Safeway or the Hubbell Trading Post.
Robin Running Redbear spoke about an art exhibit featuring 34 artists.
Navajo County Supervisor Jesse Thompson spoke, noting that the supervisors had completed the county budget earlier in the day.
Finance Director Regina Reffner gave the monthly financial report.
The consent calendar was adopted, giving approval to the check register and minutes of a May 14 council meeting. An item authorizing the acceptance of a professional services agreement for consulting service at the Public Works Yard was removed and accepted separately. It will require monitoring to determine if the property is still contaminated, and if so, what must be done to decontaminate it and what course of action the city should take.
The council voted to accept a $250 donation to the animal care facility and its operation from Amber Arend. She had won an essay contest with the stipulation that she donate half of the prize to a worthy cause.
An encroachment permit was authorized for McCauley Development, Inc. at 206 W. First St. for construction of a vertical hanging porch. Tom McCauley explained that the building originally had such a feature and this would be returning to a style of old Winslow. He said he hoped others would follow suit.
A resolution was adopted accepting the canvass of votes from the May 21 special election in which renewal of the bar and restaurant tax was approved for five years by a 767 to 369 vote. City Attorney Dale Patton said that the renewal was a vote of confidence for the council, agreeing with how it is using the money generated by the tax.
A resolution was adopted supporting the Navajo Nation’s Bird Springs Chapter’s request that the Resources and Development Committee of the Navajo Nation restore priority status to the improvement of the all-weather highway leading to Bird Springs. Supervisor Thompson, Bird Springs representative Thomas Walker and his wife all spoke in favor of the project.
An ordinance with language to protect dogs from cruel restraints such as have been seen lately was tabled after council heard of a dog which had died after being chained so that it could not reach food or water, and it was pointed out that the proposed ordinance did not offer sufficient protection. Staff was asked by motion to prepare a tougher ordinance.
The council also approved an evaluation of the city attorney and renewed his contract for Aug. 1, 2013, through Aug. 1, 2014.
During a meeting as the Winslow Housing Authority, the council approved minutes of an April 23 special meeting, adopted a resolution proposed by Housing Director Jesse Fernandez authorizing Lindsey, Inc. to amend the department’s low rent budget, and adopted a resolution approving that budget and the 2014 choice voucher program. Fernandez said that the department has been affected by the federal sequester, but that Winslow has enough reserves to meet the 2014 budget.