Members of the Globe City Council: Mayor Al Gameros, Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton (District 4), and Council members Freddy Rios (District 1), Mike Pastor (District 2), Jesse Leetham (District 3), Mariano Gonzalez (District 5), and Fernando Shipley (District 6). All members were in attendance at this meeting except Councilman Rios.
Community Pool now slated for April completion
James Neville, the City’s contractor on the Community Pool rehab, presented an update. He estimated the pool will be filled around March 27, and the building will be completed on April 10, “give or take ten days.” He estimates handing the pool over to the City around the middle of April.
Filling the pool in advance will allow time for troubleshooting the chemicals, Neville said.
The project had experienced further delays primarily due to the continued absence of a key contractor. Neville said the contractor had been terminated for nonperformance after a lengthy period of non-performance. A replacement has been found.
There were also scheduling conflicts for subcontractors and problems with bad weather, including that when the painting was supposed to take place, the temperatures were too low.
Significant progress has been made: The liner is fully installed, the splash pad is complete, the concrete deck work around the pool is 95% complete, and the roof framework is painted and awaiting sheeting.
Neville said the work still to be done includes the installation of the roof, which should take place next week. A team from Natari, the company providing the pool equipment, is currently completing the heater and other equipment installation, which will take seven to ten days.
City Manager Paul Jepson noted that the concession stand will not be constructed until next year, although the concrete pad has been poured and the plumbing has already been installed.
First responders to get 800 MHz radio gear
Council approved the purchase of 800 MHz mobile and portable radios for the Globe Fire Department, Tri-City Fire Department, and Miami Police Department.
Fire Chief Gary Robinson explained that this is a continuation of a project started in 2021 when the fire departments and police departments, as well as the Gila County Sheriff’s Department, applied for Homeland Security funding for the new radio system with the idea of having all first responders in the area using the same radio system and the same equipment.
Over the past two years, the City of Globe and the County received funding for the project to get underway. Now, an Arizona Department of Homeland Security grant for $205,380 – which brings the total to around $400,000 – will allow the entire project to be completed.
Chief Robinson said most of the significant entities across the country have already switched over, and the system will enhance communication with other agencies during events like the Telegraph Fire. The gear is being purchased from C&M Communications.
PD training goes virtual
The Police Department will also be getting a new virtual reality training system. Council approved purchasing a Street Smarts VR Training system for the Police Department. Chief Dale Walters explained that this system would enable training for de-escalation and dealing with mentally challenged people, as well as for searching, communication, and other activities.
The system includes a computer, a virtual reality headset, and emulators of different weapons systems. People can see on the computer screen what the student is looking at through the headset and how the student is interacting within the virtual reality system. The system comes with various scenarios and allows for setting up new ones.
Walters said the system would be hugely beneficial and cost-effective, at a tenth of the cost of another training system the Police Department was initially considering. The system will be available to other law enforcement agencies in the region.
Jepson said having the system will also reduce the City’s liability in showing that officers are adequately trained. It will cost just under $25,000.
Citizens Academy getting underway on March 8
Shelly Salazar gave information about the upcoming Citizens Academy, Globe’s program for introducing people to the inner workings of the City. This year, the program will run from March 8 through April 19 and meet weekly on Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meetings will take place in different locations each week.
Anyone from Globe or the surrounding area can apply, including the City of Globe employees. There is a limit of 18 people. People can apply online or at City Hall, anytime up to the first day of the Academy, March 8. Graduation will take place at the Council meeting on April 25.
New state legislation seeks to reduce local control
Paul Jepson presented an update on state legislation currently making its way through the lawmaking process. He pointed out that the legislature generally is seeking to reduce local control and is doing this in part by exempting taxation sources. Jepson noted that whenever the legislature exempts an item, the other sources have to make up for it, which causes increases in those other items’ taxes. Then people start calling for exemptions on those items, resulting in an increasingly narrow list of sources for tax revenues.
Jepson discussed the following items:
- HB2396, the Greater AZ Transportation Projects bill, would fund a list of projects that CAG put together in 2022. For Globe, it would fund sidewalk improvements. Jepson said there appears to be some resistance to spending state money on local projects, and currently he puts the odds of this bill passing at 50–50.
- Jepson said that legislation affecting taxation on residential leases looks like it will pass. However, Globe doesn’t charge a tax on residential leases, so the City would not be directly affected. Jepson said three out of four Arizona cities do tax residential leases.
- A bill that would exempt food sales for home consumption from taxation (discussed in the last Council meeting) appears that it will not become law, Jepson said.
- HB1117 would significantly affect cities’ ability to impose zoning requirements, raising local control issues, Jepson said. It appears communities of 25,000 or less would be exempted. However, Jepson said Globe should still pay attention because eventually, if it is passed, the law could be extended to smaller communities.
“They’re trying to pass bills… as law but they’re taking away control of the local government and trying to control it at the legislature, the state. They’re taking away that control from us. They don’t know what our rural community is.” Mayor Al Gameros
- Another bill would affect taxation on new home sales. Jepson said when Globe does have new construction, the City needs to be able to gain tax revenue from it. Currently, Globe can assess a retail sales tax on 73% of the price of a home, based on the materials. The legislation would make the materials taxable at their source – i.e., where the materials are purchased, instead of where the home is sold. If this legislation passed, the tax revenues would go to Tucson, Phoenix, and Flagstaff instead of to Globe.
- A bill exempting utilities from taxation would not affect Globe directly but would affect the state’s TPT revenues, of which 18% gets passed on to Globe.
- Two other bills have to do with public safety services. In the past, Jepson said, Globe has pointed out that if the state took actions that would reduce our tax revenues, it would affect our ability to provide fire and police protection because the police and fire would be affected by the resulting budget cuts. Now, one bill would require a five-minute response time. Another bill would say public safety spending cannot be reduced, or the state will take away state share money equal to the spending reduction.
“It’s ludicrous that they imagine they’re going to manage how we allocate our money so we can provide services.” City Manager Paul Jepson
- On the positive side, Jepson said, another bill would give the City the option not to have to take everything through a public hearing, in order to speed up processes.
Jepson also mentioned that Jennifer Toth has been nominated for director of ADOT, and recommended supporting her. Jepson said she is a longtime former state engineer and Maricopa County engineer.
Council also approved motions for the following:
- Accounts payable in the amount of $668,145.10
- Seating officials in the City of Globe Municipal Property Corporation for the coming term. Vice Mayor Mike Stapleton was nominated and approved as President of the Municipal Property Corporation. Councilman Mariano Gonzalez was nominated and approved Secretary and Treasurer. Councilman Jesse Leetham was nominated and approved as Vice President. Jepson explained that the Municipal Property Corporation exists for a narrow purpose, to enable the City to reduce financing for investors in the City for specific situations.
- A payment to Southern California Fleet Services, Inc. of $27,310.18 for critical repairs to Fire Engine Ladder 307. Fire Chief Gary Robinson explained that these repairs included extensive work on the brake system, and $14,000 of it went to parts, some of which had to be fabricated. That truck is back in service now. Chief Robinson said the Fire Department trucks often need extensive repairs because the trucks carry a lot of weight and in difficult terrain. Robinson pointed out that supply chain issues have been tough, particularly for parts for DEF systems. For example, he said the Fire Department is currently looking for a DEF pump, and only one unit is available in the entire United States.
- Accepting the donation of eight dog-bone-shaped benches for the Globe Dog Park by the I Art Globe organization.
- Accepting the donation of two pine trees and a sage tree to Round Mountain Park by Marysue Smith.
- Distribution of bed tax for $8,585.67 to Gila County Historical Museum for the second quarter of FY2022-23. Bob Bigando of the GCHS presented an update. He distributed a new rack card that lists the society’s main activities, which include displays, tours, a library, a full set of obituaries for Globe that goes back over 100 years, an extensive archive of historic photos, and a research service. Bigando said the society’s latest initiative is to create synergies with the local hospitality industry with a Hospitality Partners Program. Anyone who brings a receipt from a local hotel can get a discount at the museum.
- A contract with the Cobre Valley Youth Club in the amount of $13,000 for FY2023. Jepson explained that the City budgets money yearly to support the Boys and Girls Club, which is the annual distribution. The City has done due diligence to ensure compliance. Carmen Casillas gave an update on the organization’s activities over the summer, including 4H, culinary classes, and Japanese classes. The club also worked with local partners to find ways to make their budget go further, such as AZ Workforce, where people can get paid for working with the youth club. Casillas said the Globe Food District delivers hot meals for the kids daily at 3 p.m. And the youth club now has a garden called Cayci’s Garden, in honor of Cayci Vuksanovich. A group of kids are going through a master gardener program and will become the first junior master gardeners in the area.
“This is a lifeblood resource that is really vital… There are kids that don’t have that mentoring at home.” Mayor Al Gameros
- A contract with HUB Planning and Urban Design, LLC and the designation of Dana Burkhardt as the Zoning Administrator for the City of Globe, on an as-needed basis, in a contract amount not to exceed $75,000 for a one-year term, with additional two-year renewal option. Jepson explained that Burkhardt started as a zoning administrator three years ago and said he had been a “game changer” in supporting new projects and cleaning up records.
- Renewing an intergovernmental agreement for the Gila County Drug, Gang, and Violent Crimes Task Force for the term of February 1, 2023, through February 1, 2024, and reimbursement from Gila County not to exceed $40,000 for one City of Globe Police Officer. Chief Dale Walters explained that this agreement is highly advantageous to the PD as it allows him to increase staffing. He said the County covers 75% of the pay rate, and the new officer will be added to a “much-needed area” of drug investigations. The $40,000 is prorated off the position’s annual salary because the officer was placed midway into the year. Three of Walters’s positions are partnering positions, he said.
- A change order to a contract with EPS Group for the Upper Pinal Creek Bridge/Road Design Project, for $134,790, and repealing a Construction Inspection Specialist Contract and corresponding $47,000 request in funding approved on January 10. Jepson explained that the City had planned to contract with a local person for inspection services on the bridge work. That person isn’t available, so the City needed to find someone else. EPS Group found a highly qualified, former ADOT inspector, and the City is contracting for that person through EPS. The change order funds the EPS contract, and the original contract is being repealed.
- Awarding a contract to Earth Quest Plumbing for the Manhole Adjustments Project, for $35,500, with a set-aside contingency of $84,500, for total funds of $120,000. Vince Mariscal explained that this project will raise the level of about 20 of the worst manholes across the city. Councilman Gonzalez pointed out that this problem arose because of the age of the infrastructure and not because they were constructed incorrectly. Earth Quest is a local contractor.
- A change order to a contract with Meridian Engineering for the Upper Pinal Creek Bridge and Hill Street Corridor Project. This negative change order for –$500,000 is for value engineering in replacing concrete retention walls with a gabion basket system. The amount will be used as contingent funding for the project. Jepson explained that this was a reduction in cost because Meridian Engineering changed to a less expensive design for the retention walls. Councilman Gonzalez said gabion basket systems work “very, very well” as long as they are placed correctly.
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Patricia Sanders lived in Globe from 2004 to 2008 and at Reevis Mountain School, in the Tonto National Forest, from 2008 to 2014. She has been a writer and editor for GMT since 2015. She currently lives on Santa Maria island in the Azores.