By Sam Conner
The Winslow City Council tabled an executive session scheduled Tuesday evening for possible appointment of an interim city manager. No reason was provided for the decision.
City Manager Jim Ferguson announced his resignation April 17, citing family health as his reason for the decision. He has served as the city’s manager for eight years. His last day of employment will be July 13.
The council has contracted with the Arizona League of Cities and Towns to conduct the search for a new city manager.
Also tabled was an ordinance regarding the restraint of dogs. This proposed ordinance was stronger than the one tabled when last considered and was intended to better protect animals from abuse, but included a section that raised concern with council members. It will be reworded and considered again at the next council meeting.
An ordinance extending the two percent restaurant and bar tax for five years, which was recently approved by the voters, was tabled because only five council members were present and six must vote favorably to pass an ordinance on an emergency basis. Such must be done before July 1 and will still be possible when the ordinance is considered again in the last meeting in June.
Community Development Manager Paul Ferris gave a detailed presentation on the city’s activities to promote economic development. He told how the city manager, the industrial development authority, the Chamber of Commerce and the economic development department work in seeking to bring businesses and industries to Winslow. He listed a number of areas of success and spoke of some plans for future economic development.
Ferris said that three of five phases of the Route 66 Renaissance have been completed. Route 66 Plaza and the 9/11 Memorial are under construction, and the restoration of the airport terminal was an important project. All of the improvements associated with La Posada were seen as important items.
The improvement of transportation and service to the Navajo Nation is seen as an important element in helping economic development.
Ferguson said that the city does not create jobs, but works to make that easier for the private sector, which does. He also said that Winslow needs to protect the assets it already has.
The council accepted an insurance company offer and authorized the purchase of a new dredge to replace the one which was damaged and sunk. The action required the city to pay a $1,000 deductible for the new dredge, which is expected to be better than the previous one, and includes transportation. It was suggested that the city consider building a boathouse for the dredge.
An ordinance was adopted renewing the lease agreement with the United People Who Care organization for property at 610 W. Fourth St.
Several people spoke during the call to the public on the city manager’s and other city employees’ salaries, the cemetery and other concerns.
An executive session was held for legal advice on a lease purchase agreement with Wells Fargo Bank.
The consent calendar was adopted, giving approval of the check register and minutes of a previous council meeting.
By Sam Conner