Jul 162014

By Naomi Hatch

The Snowflake Town Council approved the town’s 2014-15 fiscal year budget last week.

Finance Director Brian Richards said that there had been no changes made to the previously approved preliminary budget.

The budget includes $11,083,983 as the total financial resources available and expenditures/expenses of $9,457,973.

Prior to the vote, a public hearing was held on the budget, but no public comments were offered.

The council also approved the streetlight energy, streetlight pole use and streetlight maintenance agreements with Arizona Public Service Co. (APS).

Public Works Superintendent Terry Cooper explained that the town’s last agreement with APS was authorized in 1991, and that the proposed agreements have very little impact to the current budget. Energy usage did not change, and the pole use fee for the town’s 75 poles is $6.87 per pole per year, which is no change from current costs. Cooper noted that the maintenance agreement included a proposed increase of 85 cents per light per month, up from $1.50 to $2.35 for each of the 179 lights, and equates to an increase of $152.15 per month.

“These agreements with APS are necessary for street lighting, communications and general town operations,” said Cooper, who recommended approval.

A request from Fire Chief Pat Hancock to construct a small building to protect the emergency backup generator was approved.

In September 2012, the council approved installing electrical infrastructure improvements relating to the emergency generator and electrical conduits. Hancock said that once those improvements were made, a small building was to be constructed to protect and secure the electrical generator. He had a bid of just under $15,000 from Kay Supply, but as of July 8, he had not received any other estimates. He asked that approval be given to construct the building at a cost not to exceed $15,000.

Town Manager Paul Watson requested the current spending limit for purchases and contracts, as set forth in the town code, be increased from $5,000 to $20,000 to purchase budgeted items.

When asked why he requested the increase, Watson said, “In essence it’s because there are so many little things,” noting it is a matter of time because they have to wait for a council meeting.

“If it’s in the budget and we’ve approved it, why are you coming back to us anyway?” asked Vice Mayor Jason Whiting. “We’ve approved it twice.”

“I’m not comfortable with it; I’d be more comfortable with $10,000,” said Councilwoman Bev Kay.

Following a brief discussion, a motion to approve the first reading of Ordinance No. 14-06, amending the town code regarding purchasing authority to increase to $15,000, passed.