Citizens of Globe gathered at City Hall on Sept. 29 in the newly refurbished Veterans Park to meet their neighbors and hear Mayor Al Gameros’s second annual State of the City address. Gameros focused on the City’s successes over the past year and the challenges that lie ahead.
The mayor highlighted that Globe’s City Council is working to create new and beneficial partnerships and innovative approaches to financing and building infrastructure to create a healthy community and increase visitors’ economic activity.
Globe’s councilmembers are “forward-thinking and progressive individuals that are pro-growth,” Gameros said by way of introduction. “I want to thank our hard-working employees that are committed and dedicated, that take care of you, our customers, to provide high-quality service every day.”
Highlighting recent successes by the City government, Gameros listed many projects and initiatives and acknowledged the departments that have made things happen.
The Globe Public Library, led by Director Rayel Starling, has continued to offer programs to enhance the health and well-being of the community, from health and fitness programs to a summer lunch program for kids aged 18 and under, in partnership with the Globe School District.
Additionally, the library was awarded a grant to purchase laptops with hotspots for individuals to check out, an offering intended to benefit economically challenged residents.
Gameros also praised Besh Ba Gowah director Leana McGill and her staff, who welcomed the museum’s 10,000 to 15,000 annual visitors, as well as Globe Active Adult Center director Tammy Guerrin, who oversees senior citizens services and the distribution of over 78,000 meals through Meals on Wheels annually.
The Economic & Community Development Department, under Linda Oddonetto, has existed since 2018 and has helped increase tourism by developing a long-term strategic vision for growth. The ECD department has brought multiple stakeholders together to help “provide a greater quality of life for all of our residents, and is focused on improving recreational amenities,” Gameros said. The department has brought in $3.3 million in recreational grant funds this past year alone.
Of particular note was the Public Works Department, which oversees most of the City’s core services, from water distribution to maintaining the parks in Globe.
“Under the direction of John Angulo, (Public Works) provides us with core services that we rely on every day, and sometimes we take for granted,” Gameros said. “They are responsible for so much of the city’s infrastructure.”
Among Public Works’ notable recent accomplishments are the rehabilitation of two water tanks that store 1.5 million gallons of water for city use and two wells the city depends on.
The department is working on upgrades to Globe’s wastewater treatment plant and is replacing and repairing sidewalks throughout the city.
Public Works will also play a vital role in the operations and maintenance of the $4.2 million community pool project, as well as planned upgrades to the park area at City Hall – including covers for the playground equipment, gazebos, more tables, sidewalk replacement, and bathroom upgrades – to be paid for by the City’s community development block grant (CDBG) of $160,000.
“The residents of Globe, our customers, deserve top-notch services. Whether it is police or fire, you should expect nothing less,” Gameros said. “That is what we continue to strive for as a council and a city.”
Police Chief Dale Walters has overseen the completion of the remodel of the police department building and, according to Gameros, “built back the morale and pride of that department, and for the first time in a very long time, it is fully staffed.”
Walters has been with GPD since September 2018. Since then, he has secured grant funding for new police radios and established Copper Hills Family Advocacy Center in partnership with Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center and Gila House to provide forensic and counseling services to victims of crime and their families.
“The chief has established a coalition to establish partnerships with all law enforcement entities within our region,” Gameros said. “The most important thing for the chief and his personnel is to continue to work hard to create relationships within the community as they look forward to achieving all of their goals.”
The mayor also acknowledged Globe Fire Chief Gary Robinson, who has worked with fire departments across the state as wildfires continue to threaten the region. In partnership with the Forest Service, the GFD updated Globe’s community wildfire plan to streamline its responses to wildfires and flooding.
The City also purchased a Type 3 engine that will help its response to wildland and structural fires and will also be available to surrounding communities, adding an income stream for the City. Robinson also secured a $200,000 grant to replace and upgrade communications equipment to an 800 megahertz system.
But progress has not been made without challenges. In addition to the lingering effects of the COVID pandemic, Globe and the Copper Corridor have dealt with historic fires and floods over the past several years.
“Through it all, we are all united – Globe, Miami, San Carlos, and (Gila) County,” Gameros said. “Working together as one community, meeting our legislators, making visits to the Capitol to assure that our community received the available funding to help with cleanup and recovery to overcome and show resiliency through difficult times.”
In the aftermath, United Fund of Globe Miami, in partnership with Freeport-McMoRan, Capstone Copper Miami, and BHP Copper, collected and distributed more than $300,000 for disaster relief. The program was facilitated by the local Salvation Army office.
To pay for much of the work still to be done, the City initiated a 1% sales tax increase – raising the sales tax from 2.3% to 3.3% – to bring the rate more in line with the rest of the state.
The increase will help fund the construction of a new fire station, enhance the public works department, and raise staff pay to market levels to help the City hire and retain employees.
“Our employees are our most valuable assets,” Gameros said. “Turnover is costly. It costs money and momentum.”
The added tax revenues for the City mean there will be no increase in property taxes and no bonds to pay back, as visitors increase their contributions to local infrastructure through their purchases.
The tax will also help replace a fire station that is more than 100 years old and deteriorating, Gameros said. Cost estimates for the new station run in the $10 million to $13 million range. The City has already submitted a pre-application to USDA for additional funds and has identified a location on East Ash Street.
Gameros also enumerated the City’s investments in recreation and infrastructure and thanked contributors to the community pool project. Funding for that project includes $750,000 of ARPA money from the City of Globe, $175,000 from Gila County, $1.9 million from Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center, $250,000 from Freeport-McMoRan, $250,000 from BHP Copper, $100,000 from Capstone Copper Pinto Valley Mine, $200,000 from United Fund of Globe-Miami, $50,000 from Arizona Complete Health, $75,000 from 1st Interstate Bank, and additional donations from APS and Southwest Gas.
Gameros noted that he will be providing an update on City branding, aligning with the City’s strategic plan focus on tourism and marketing to diversify the local economy. He will also provide a general plan update, and community members will be invited to participate.
“This general plan establishes a community-based vision for Globe’s future. Citizen involvement is vital,” Gameros said. “This process will help define our community’s long-range vision to maintain and enhance the quality of life for the residents of Globe.”
Upcoming projects include, but are not limited to:
- An adult fitness park at the Active Adult Center
- Water bottle filling stations throughout the downtown area
- More public art and murals, in partnership with the Arizona Commission for the Arts and I ART Globe
- The $2.8 million Connie’s bridge project
- Sewer and water lines to maintain a system that is more than 100 years old
- Preventive maintenance for streets in the City
- The Northeast Corridor study focused on providing sewer to the fairgrounds
- Expansion for a cemetery that currently has fewer than 12 available plots
“Over the past several years, we have come a long way to achieve our vision and goals,” Gameros concluded. “And although there are many more challenges ahead, these challenges present us with new opportunities to help unify and strengthen Globe. I am proud of what we accomplished together to position Globe for a better future.”
Journalist, writer and editor who has worked for community newspapers for more than 15 years. After four years at Davis-Monthan AFB and a few years living in Tucson, moved to California to find his fortune. He is happy to be back in Arizona, in the mountains he loves.