By Nick Worth
The Holbrook City Council heard an update on the ongoing budget process from City Finance Director Randy Sullivan Tuesday evening.
Sullivan began by telling the council there would be three public hearings for the May 20 budget override election.
“If the override passes, we can do roads next year,” Sullivan said. “If it doesn’t pass, we can’t do roads.”
Sullivan then laid out a timeline for the budget process. The preliminary budget and budget action plan must be delivered to the council for review by April 22, followed by the proposed budget on May 13.
There then follow meetings on May 27 and June 3 to present the revised budget to the council.
Mayor Jeff Hill suggested the budget be included as an agenda item on all upcoming meetings, as was done last year.
Regarding a scheduled July 8 regular meeting for a Truth in Taxation hearing, Sullivan said he and City Manager Ray Alley are going to recommend doing away with the city property tax.
“It’s only $55,000 per year,” said Alley, noting that the city could get by fine without the tax.
“Over the last six years we haven’t raised the rate,” added Sullivan. “We’re allowed a two percent per year raise, but we haven’t raised it.”
Sullivan then outlined the plan regarding the budget override election.
“The way we’re going to approach this is we’ll come to you with a balanced budget,” he told the council. “If it (the override) doesn’t pass, that will shut down the infrastructure improvements. If it does pass, we’ll just plug in some line items.”
In other action March 11, the council:
* Approved a code of conduct policy for patrons of the Holbrook Public Library.
“The library is continuing to get busier,” said Head Librarian Wendy Skevington. She said there is a need to codify the expected behavior of library patrons.
“Most of these are just common sense, but we need to post them on the wall and say, ‘If you can’t abide by these, we need you to take your presence elsewhere,” said Skevington, referring to the proposed policy.
Councilman Myron Maxwell expressed concern with the proposed policy.
“So many things in here are already in compliance with state and national law,” said Maxwell. “Is it necessary to do this?”
Skevington said there have been cases where library patrons argued when asked not to behave in a certain way. She said a list of posted rules would give her staff some recourse in dealing with certain situations.
Police Chief Mark Jackson agreed with Skevington.
“In order to remove someone, you have to have a policy in place,” Jackson said. “It gives some teeth and cause for removing someone.
“I’ve researched this and almost every library has a policy in place,” said Jackson. “It needs to be posted in the library.”
“We have kids in there alongside of adults from all walks of life who are using the computers,” said Councilman Wade Carlisle. He noted the proposed code of conduct contains a provision about unsupervised children. “The Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) does not have anything about unattended children,” Carlisle said. “If a child were snatched, it would come right back on us.”
“It gives the library and police much more flexibility,” said Mayor Jeff Hill. He said the proposed rules were “not out to get anybody,” but rather were a guide to expected behavior.
“It gives police the teeth to say, ‘You can’t do that,’” said Hill.
Maxwell then moved to accept the code of conduct and the motion passed unanimously.
* Named Perkins Pre-Cast a sole source provider for sewer manholes.
Alley told the council the company, which is based in Show Low, has specialized equipment for setting manhole covers and is always available to come to Holbrook to take measurements.
He said the only alternative is a company based in the Valley.
“It would sure make my life a lot easier,” Alley said.
“Is there a timeline?” asked Hill. “Companies like this come and go all the time.”
“They’ve been around for a long time,” said Carlisle.
“I was thinking two years, then go out to bid again,” said Hill.
The council voted to make Perkins Pre-Cast a sole source provider for two years.
* Heard a report from Alley, who told the council a water break had been fixed on Navajo Blvd. and Sixth Street. He thanked Arizona Department of Transportation workers for their help.
Alley also noted the street department is still patching roads around the city and that repairs are underway at Hidden Cove Golf Course.
Alley also reported the water department is doing a good job on needed repairs to various city facilities.
“About 70 percent of the problems I showed you in those slides are finished,” said Alley, referring to slides he had shown the council two meetings ago.
“Armando Aguilera is also updating all the maps,” Alley said. He noted the updated maps would be crucial to the younger city workers once he and Aguilera have retired.
* Declined to take action on a request for funds for the Mr. Roadrunner Contest.
A representative of the contest was supposed to be in attendance at the council meeting, but did not appear.
Hill noted that in the past the city had supported the contest by allowing the use of the golf course for a fundraiser.
Alley said the city is providing similar in-kind support this year, as well.
By Nick Worth