By Tammy Gray
A federal survey that has moved Navajo County out of the low to moderate household income range could make it difficult for the county to use grant funds to purchase emergency dispatch equipment, the board of supervisors learned during a meeting on Tuesday.
“Apache County is the only one that qualifies under the numbers they’ve released,” Community Services Director Lynda Young explained.
Supervisor David Tenney called the survey results ludicrous, noting that the county is not a high income area.
Young explained that the county plans to conduct its own survey to show that the residents meet the low to moderate income guidelines necessary for the grant funding.
“Basically we are going to challenge the numbers that are coming from the feds,” she said.
The survey will be conducted both by mail and in person. Residents are urged to answer the survey, as the county must achieve a 75 percent response rate in order to challenge the federal survey.
If the survey conducted by the county shows that at least 51 percent of the households in Navajo County are low to moderate income, the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds can be used to purchase new dispatch equipment for the sheriff’s office.
Young explained that the State of Arizona will make the final determination on whether the county qualifies to use the grant for dispatch equipment, but will do so based on the results of the county’s survey. According to Young, if the county can achieve the required response rate, she expects that the income requirements will be met.
The CDBG grant for this fiscal year is $369,726. If the county can receive approval, the full amount will be put toward new dispatch equipment. In addition to improving the sheriff’s office emergency communication capabilities, the equipment will help move forward the plan to create a regional dispatch center.
“If the Arizona Department of Housing does not approve, then we will go on to the other projects,” Young explained.
In that case, the $369,726 would be divided between improvements to the SAFE House in Pinetop, sidewalk improvements on Johnson Drive in Pinetop and construction of a pedestrian walkway along Porter Mountain Road in Pinetop.
The board unanimously approved the plan to conduct the income survey and use the grant funds for dispatch equipment, if possible.
In other action Jan. 13, the board:
* Approved the purchase of the old Clay Springs School property from the Show Low Unified School District for $1, and the lease of the property to the Clay Springs Heritage Foundation for use as a community building at a rate of $1 per year for five years.
* Approved the transfer of a liquor license to Silver Creek Golf Club in White Mountain Lakes.
* Approved the sale of properties auctioned for back taxes, and continuing over-the-counter sales of unsold properties for the amount due.
* Approved the sale of surplus county and seized property by public online auction. The auction will be held at the end of February.
* Approved a zone change that will allow property on Sherwood Road in the Snowflake area to function as a domestic farm winery.
The former zoning allowed grapes to be grown, but not the packaging of the final wine product. The new A-General zoning will allow the wine to be processed and packaged from start to finish.
* Denied a special use permit for an auto body repair shop on Amanda Drive in Lakeside.
In denying the request, the supervisors noted that the repair shop would bring commercial traffic into a residential cul-de-sac and that it was opposed by many of the neighboring residents.
The next regular board meeting is set for 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the county complex in Holbrook.