By Nick Worth
The Holbrook City Council put off action on awarding a consulting contract Tuesday evening following a presentation by Dave Laney of Cardno ATC, an environmental consulting firm. Cardno was one of the bidders on the city’s Brownfields Properties Route 66 Community Wide Assessment Grant.
Laney addressed the council during the initial call to the public for matters on the agenda. He said that typically, for assessment of asbestos and lead-based paint abatement, the consultants are able to get access to the building in question to check it out prior to submitting their bid. That had not happened in the present case, according to Laney.
“I would like the council to defer awarding this contract until the city can get accurate estimates for the costs for qualified consultants before putting it out to bid,” Laney said.
He later told The Tribune-News that normally the bidding is deferred until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chooses which particular project it wants done. Then the city works to get access to the building and the consultants inspect the buildings before submitting their bids.
City Clerk Cher Reyes told The Tribune-News Laney had done the site inventory for the grant, as the city contracted with Cardno to do the inventory.
When the awarding of the contract came up in the agenda, Reyes told the council she had received eight bids for the consulting work ranging from $45,000 to $179,000. The bids were reviewed by Allwyn Environmental, the grant administrator, and Engineering and Environmental Consultants (EEC) was determined to be the lowest bidder which met all the requirements. The firm’s bid came in at $65,025.
Cardno’s bid was $100,000.
Reyes told the council she cannot issue a contract on the project until the EPA gives its approval, but that it is possible to choose the consulting firm from among the bidders at this time.
“It seems that with $140,000 between the low and high bids, it doesn’t seem like they’re bidding on the same thing,” said Councilman Richard Peterson. He said he would like the concerns raised in Laney’s call to the public presentation to be considered.
Vice Mayor Charles Haussmann agreed.
Peterson then asked if a representative from Allwyn would be able to attend the next council meeting, either in person or by phone, to address the issues raised by Laney.
The council asked Reyes to ask an Allwyn representative to attend the next meeting.
In other action Oct. 22, the council:
* Heard a statement by Councilman Wade Carlisle, who read an article detailing the impact of domestic house cats on bird and mammal populations. Carlisle said estimates of the impact on wildlife ran into the billions of birds and animals killed per year.
His statements were in reference to the council’s recent consideration of an ordinance about controlling re-introduced wolf populations. Carlisle maintained that domestic dogs are of more danger to wildlife and to cattle than wolves.
* Heard a report from City Manager Ray Alley that city crews are currently carrying out crack sealing on the concrete roads poured over the summer.
Alley also noted street crews were busy winterizing the city’s water system and lines.
* Heard a report from Alley that a clarifier rake broke at the wastewater treatment plant.
Alley said the rake was repaired by city personnel with the loan of a crane from Navajo County.
* Heard a report from Alley that he heard the Tractor Supply Store put the electricity in its name at the proposed store location in the Holbrook Plaza. He stressed to the council that the report was just hearsay at this time.
“I have not actually issued their permit yet,” Alley told the council.
* Heard a report from Holbrook Police Lieutenant Jody Harrelson that he and Police Chief Mark Jackson have completed their training on the Lexipol policy and procedures manual, and that Jackson has begun the process of adapting the manual to fit the department’s needs.
* Heard a report on the updated salary tables from Alley.
He told the council city police officers are still on the lower side of what other cities pay, while police sergeants are on the upper side.
Haussman suggested the council hold a work session on the salary tables, and the council agreed to schedule one.
* Heard a report from Alley on bid results for the Historic Henning Block restoration project.
“No bids were received,” said Alley. He said the investors of the Horsehead Crossing group were concerned over the lack of parking available for the finished project. A property owner was approached, but did not want to sell his property and so the group did not submit a bid on the project.
“I’m still in touch with them,” Alley said, noting that the project could be put out for bid again.
* Held the first reading of an ordinance amending the city code regarding street surfacing.
* Agreed to recommend approval of a liquor license application for The Winner’s Circle Bar, located at 466 Navajo Blvd.
* Agreed to recommend approval of a liquor license application for the Dollar General Store, located at 1637 Navajo Blvd.
* Approved claims payments.
* Approved a claims payment for Walt’s Hardware for $830.38.
* Heard from Richard Golsarry during the post-session call to the audience.
Golsarry told the council his water has been shut off for four months. He said he received a bill for $146 and came to town hall to pay it, only to be told it was now over $200.
Golsarry blamed Alley for the problem with the bill. He then said the Holbrook Police Department damaged his home.
“The police department broke down our door,” Golsarry said. “They didn’t knock. They pointed a gun at my girlfriend.”
Golsarry did not say what prompted the police actions.
“I know I owe a bill to the city, but I can’t come up with it right now,” Golsarry said. He said his girlfriend has health problems and that the lack of water is a problem for both of them.
“I’m just asking you for logic,” Golsarry said. “Just some Andy Griffith, Mayberry Logic.”
Mayor Jeff Hill told Golsarry the council could not act on non-agenda items, but asked Alley to look into Golsarry’s water bill.
* Heard from Leo Maestas who told the council he has been on a fact-finding mission for about five months.
Maestas said he submitted a request for information on Oct. 8 and the following day received a letter from Reyes saying his request was denied.
“This only happens in North Korea,” Maestas said, “not in America.”
He told the council he is going to reinstate his public information request, and has referred the matter he is seeking information on to the city attorney, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Arizona State Attorney General and the FBI.
Reyes later told The Tribune-News she denied Maestas’ request because it contained a list of questions he wanted answered, which is not the same as a request for a public record.
“His request did not contain a specific request for a specific public record,” Reyes said. “A list of questions he wants answered is not, under the law, a request for a public record.”
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By Nick Worth