May 162014

By Tammy Gray

Concerns brought forth by citizens regarding streetlights and alcohol consumption on city property were addressed by the Holbrook City Council during a meeting on Tuesday evening.

City Manager Ray Alley explained that he has had several requests for installation of additional streetlights. He noted, however, that there have been no changes in traffic patterns to justify initial expenses of up to $5,000 to $10,000 per light and yearly costs of up to $300 per year for electricity and maintenance. Alley suggested that the council consider setting a policy for installing new streetlights that would allow citizens to pay for streetlight installation and one year of electricity and maintenance.

“I think it’s a fair policy that if people are willing to pay for it then we would install it,” he told the council.

Council members generally agreed with Alley’s proposal, but asked him to contact the Arizona League of Cities and Towns and determine whether there are any recommended policies and to learn how other cities handle the issue.

Mayor Jeff Hill and Councilman Richard Peterson both noted that the policy should include provisions for the city to install new streetlights at its own cost when there are verifiable safety issues.

“In the policy it should have conditions for when the city will pay 100 percent and when citizens will pay,” Peterson said.

Councilman Wade Carlisle noted that citizens who want additional streetlights can form improvement districts to pay the cost.

“The policy has to be no increase to the budget,” he said. “If people want it, then they have to pay for it.”

The council asked Alley to research the issue and create a written policy for review.

Council members took similar action on a policy regarding consumption of alcohol in city buildings. Alley told the council that a citizen had raised concerns about drinking taking place at the fire station.

“I personally don’t think that alcohol and city buildings mix. The only exception would be possibly the Christmas party,” he said.

Fire Chief Cary Simpson explained that there has been a long-standing tradition of alcohol consumption at the fire station, and that he has already discussed the issue with his crews and has come up with a possible solution.

“It’s not like it was in the past, when there was beer in the soda machines,” he said. “It would only be at designated functions and we would provide designated drivers.”

Simpson told the council that there would be enough crew members on duty not participating in the festivities to respond to any calls.

Following a lengthy discussion in which council members brought up issues regarding liability and professionalism, as well as the fact the firefighters are volunteers and the time they spend together at the fire station builds camaraderie and reflects tradition, Simpson and Alley were asked to put a proposed policy in writing for the council to review.

Councilmen Bobby Tyler and Myron Maxwell noted that they did not believe drinking in city buildings was appropriate, with Maxwell stating that the policy should be the same for all city departments. The remaining council members indicated that they were amenable to allowing alcohol at the fire station on a limited basis.

Alley noted that the fire department is all volunteer and saves the city millions of dollars each year.

“I think a policy would limit liability,” he said.

In other action May 13, the council:

* Accepted a library services and technology grant award for $24,000. Librarian Wendy Skevington noted that no cash match is required and the only cost to the city is in staff time.

* Awarded a contract to Armstrong Consultants for airport consulting services.

* Approved the purchase of up to $12,800 in fireworks from Fireworks Productions of Arizona for the annual 4th of July display.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 10, at city hall.