By Nick Worth
The Navajo County Board of Supervisors heard the 2012-13 annual report of collections and delinquencies from Navajo County Treasurer Manny Hernandez Tuesday.
Hernandez told the board his office was originally to collect $85.2 million in taxes, but after applying corrections and orders from the Board of Supervisors that totaled $52,778, the amount to be collected dropped.
He noted that as of the end of the fiscal year, June 30, his office had collected just over $82 million, leaving slightly more than $3 million in unpaid taxes to be collected.
“We’re going to send out more delinquent notices in December,” said Hernandez. He said the notices will have a reminder that if the tax bill is not paid, the property will be listed on the tax rolls auction.
Hernandez then summarized the county’s investments for the board. He said the county has $34.2 million in short term investments, $100,000 in certificates of deposit and $116.5 million in government securities.
Total interest income for the county’s investments and savings was $1.1 million.
The board also made the presentation of a special plaque to Larry Ponikvar for a heroic, life-saving act he performed on July 9.
According to Navajo County Public Works Director Homero Vela, Ponikvar, an employee of the public works department, risked his life to save another by pulling an accident victim from a burning vehicle seconds before it exploded and was engulfed in flames. The vehicle was stuck under a dump truck when Ponikvar came upon the scene. He attached a chain to drag the stuck, burning vehicle free of the dump truck so he and others could remove the trapped victim.
Ponikvar also received a plaque from the Show Low Fire Department, thanking him for his actions. He received a standing ovation from the board and public.
In other action Aug. 13, the board:
* Approved the fiscal year 2013-14 property tax rates for all applicable governmental entities within Navajo County. The tax levies can be found in charts accompanying this article.
* Was introduced to Ed Seal, the new power plant manager at Arizona Public Service Co.’s Cholla Power Plant.
* Heard a presentation about deregulation of the electric power industry by James Candland of the AZ Power Consumers Coalition.
* Adopted a resolution to oppose the deregulation of the electric utility markets in Arizona.
* Entered into executive session to receive legal advice from its attorneys regarding the Snowflake Mill Investors, LLC vs. Navajo County tax appeal.
When the board returned to regular session, a settlement agreement to lower the paper mill valuation for the year 2013 from $17,007,782 to $7.5 million and from $16,453,184 to $2.2 million in 2014 was approved.
* Adopted a resolution approving up to $10.625 million of pledged revenue and revenue refunding obligations for the purposes of refunding the 2008 series revenue bonds, purchase of security system and equipment for the jail and construction of a new public works complex in Holbrook.
* Approved a letter of support for S. 1300 to amend the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 to provide for the conduct of stewardship end result contracting projects.
* Approved agreements for contributions to senior centers.
* Approved sending a congratulatory letter to the White Mountain Apache Tribe Chairman Ronnie Lupe for the tribe’s water rights agreement.
* Approved a proclamation declaring the month of August as Navajo Code Talkers Month.
* Approved a proclamation declaring the month of August as Child Support Awareness Month.
* Approved a resolution canceling the Oct. 2 election for the Silver Creek Flood Protection District and deemed a four-year term on the board of directors vacant.
* Approved conducting polling place based elections for the Blue Ridge, Holbrook, Kayenta, Show Low and Joseph City school district on Nov. 5 to propose maintenance and operations overrides on the ballot.
* Approved the sale of 274 suitcase-style voting booths for $1 each to the Navajo Nation.
* Approved a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Native American Project grant agreement between the City of Tucson and the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office for $1,610 to be used for travel and training.
* Certified revenue collected by the superior court, clerk of the court and all six justice courts.
* Approved tax exemptions as a request for redemption of waiver for two parcels.
* Named an existing road in the Show Low/Linden area Perkins Lane.
* Approved modification No. 8 to a contract for juvenile detention services.
* Held a public hearing and adopted a resolution approving a special use permit amendment to allow Verizon Wireless to extend the height of a wireless communication tower, not to exceed 198 feet.
* Approved Navajo County comments in response to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services plan for Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants to designate critical habitat for the jaguar.
* Approved a contract with Tri-Com in the amount of $96,769.50 for a Community Development Block Grant project for improvements to Ninth Street and Hall Street in Show Low.
* Recognized Navajo County employees Ivette Williams of the Holbrook Justice Court, Laurie Kimpell of the probation department, Isaura Nez of the elections department, Alberto Peshlakai of the public works department, Anna Ericksen of the assessor’s office, Charlotte Yazzie of the juvenile probation department and James Parks of the information technology department for their excellence in personal performance far exceeding organization expectations.
* Approved the closure of Territorial Road at the Chevelon Creek Bridge for 120 days due to bridge rehabilitation.
* Approved personnel actions.
Acting as the Navajo County Public Health Services District Board of Directors, the board:
* Approved a memorandum of agreement between the Navajo County Public Health Services District and Navajo Nation Head Start for a collaboration to provide nutrition and oral health services and education to Head Start staff, children and families in Head Start centers in the Arizona portion of Navajo Nation.
* Approved professional services agreements with Connie Baine, RDH, AP, Nida Lerch, RDH, Regina Rich, RDH, AP, and Vita Nicks, RDH, for dental hygiene services funded through Delta Dental of Arizona Foundation, for the Navajo County First Grade Fluoride Varnish Program effective Aug. 1, 2013, to May 31, 2014, in the amount of $45/per hour.
By Nick Worth