Oct 302015

By Nolan Madden

Many changes are in the air in Holbrook this fiscal year. One of the billowing changes involves abatement of the city’s green waste, commonly known as weeds, and along with them the pungent smoke emitted as they burn. Both were issues addressed by City Manager Ray Alley to Holbrook’s council Tuesday evening.

“We all know this is an ongoing problem. People complain about seeing weeds, they complain about trash accumulation throughout the city. Every year when we collect weeds, we literally gather an amount to fill the length of one football field. What we do is we burn them,” he explained.

Alley acknowledged that the smoke from the burning of green waste can be a nuisance to residents, particularly those with respiratory health issues. What the city didn’t expect on Monday of this week was that the brush would be burned unauthorized, possibly by vandals.

“None of the city crews lit it; we don’t know who it was,” he said.

Holbrook’s council and managers set green waste management as a top priority earlier this month, with the relocation of the city’s brush burning site still on target.

“We have made arrangements, Assistant City Manager Randy Sullivan and I have looked at other alternatives. The city will station a 50-yard waste compactor bin north of the wastewater treatment plant. Residents will bring green waste to the transfer site to be placed into the bin to be compacted on site, then the bin contents will be incinerated behind the wastewater treatment plant daily. We should not have as much smoke in town from this location, and it will also be processed and monitored in smaller batches, and I think this will solve the issue,” he said.

Alley was also pleased to inform the council that five newly purchased golf carts ordered in July have been delivered, procured under a state purchasing contract at the base cost of $21,500. However, he revealed that a long-standing issue surrounding the city’s recreational carts still remains unresolved.

“I just received a call from one of the employees at the Hidden Cove Golf Course who informed me that some unidentified persons have already tampered with one of the carts, apparently in attempt to bypass a speed-limiting governor to make the cart accelerate faster,” he noted.

Alley said he suspects that the vandalism is occurring after business hours, once local schools dismiss students for the day and course staff has left the facility. Following his investigation, Alley said he plans to modify Hidden Cove staff schedules to ensure that the grounds and equipment are more closely monitored.

“We ask the public to please police the area regarding this incident. If anyone sees something, then they need to step up and let the city know,” he urged.

In other Oct. 27 action, the council:

*      Approved the consent agenda, including payment of claims for Oct. 8 through 21 in the amount of $115,551.07.

* Approved the disbursement of funds not to exceed $5,385.00 to 10-8 Video for the purchase of three in-car camera systems to be installed in one existing Holbrook Police Department patrol vehicle and in two 2016 Dodge Ram four-wheel drive pickup truck patrol vehicles, which were purchased in June.

*      Held the first reading of Ordinance 15-08, authorizing the purchase of real property by the city from Navajo County in the amount of $2,075.52 for five tax deeded parcels located in the Perkins Addition of Holbrook, specifically parcels 109-20-040A, 109-20-040B, 109-20-047, 109-20-052 and 109-20-067. These properties are in a flood plain and unable to be sold as part of the county back tax land auction.

*      Received an update from Councilman CJ Wischmann on needed street surface repairs on Iowa Street at the intersection with Navajo Boulevard, and a recent First Things First Navajo/Apache Regional Council event at Northland Pioneer College.

*      Received an update from Councilman Richard Peterson on his recent attendance as city representative at the dedication of a renovated building at the Holbrook Indian School.

*      Received an update from Vice Mayor Wade Carlisle on his upcoming tour and meeting with Arizona Public Service officials at Cholla Power plant Oct. 28.

*      Received an update from Alley on the completion of new public restrooms at Hunt Park.

He also noted that the Sanitation and Streets departments are currently conducting weed and debris abatement in city alleys.

Street pavement projects have also begun to address sealing of concrete surface cracks.

The city closed the splash pad park for the season Oct. 26 and planned to winterize the facility on Oct. 28; mini golf, batting cages and horseshoe features will remain open year round.

*      Received an update from Alley on wastewater pump repair construction from Romero Street to the Holbrook TravelCenters of America complex.

*      Received an update from Police Chief Mark Jackson on the status of a multiple grant request submitted to the Navajo Nation Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program, which was denied.

Graffiti was abated from residences and public parks at various locations throughout the city.

One 1998 Dodge Ram full-size truck was recently acquired as a non-patrol 1033 Program department vehicle.

A new wi-fi service router was installed at the police station to accommodate better Internet connectivity to patrol vehicle in-car camera systems.

Approval and criteria was received from the Arizona Department of Transportation for installation of LED solar-powered speed limit signage at the Apache Avenue bridge.

*      Approved payment of claims to Walt’s Hardware in the amount of $1,429.76.

*      Approved payment of claims to The Tribune-News in the amount of $50.38.

The council met in executive session for legal advice regarding possible litigation. No action was taken when council members returned to regular session.

The city council will hold its next regular meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 10.