Council considering Waste Collection Ordinance

The Winslow City Council heard the first reading of an ordinance which would approve a five year agreement with Waste Management, Inc. for solid waste collection and institute an increase in solid waste collection rates. The action came during the council's regular meeting on Nov. 28.

The rate charged for residential collection would increase by $2.45 from $16.66 to $19.11 or just under 15 percent should the ordinance be adopted. The rate is dependent on the conversion to 96-gallon toters. A new service for persons who generate a minimal amount of waste would also be instituted. Bags would be available to such customers upon request for $2.31 for each 32-gallon bag.

Chris West of Waste Management spoke to the council and answered many questions from both the council and the audience. He said that continuing to use tubs was not feasible, as the company could not standardize its equipment with that used in other cities which it services. Converting to the use of toters would make such standardization possible. He said that it should be possible to have alley collection instead of curbside service should an entire neighborhood desire it.

Development Service Director John Roche said that all of the problems cited with 96-gallon toters had been addressed successfully by other communities and would be addressed successfully in Winslow.

Marie LaMarr spoke as an interested citizen and said that enforcement or the lack of it was the key to solving problems in many areas in Winslow, including that of wildcat dumping and solid waste collection. She said that the city has an "image problem" and hat having garbage containers on the streets would not do anything to enhance the city's image. She noted that the problems cited with the tubs today were not present until the city changed from the old system of collecting from individual garbage bins, but did not advocate returning to that system. She also expressed concern that the 96-gallon toters would not be sufficient at certain times of the year for citizens who were conscientious about keeping their property clean and attractive.

Judy Howell, speaking for the Citizens for the Improvement of Winslow, said that the group monitors city action and reacts and does offer positive solutions. She gave several examples of what she deemed positive solutions offered. Among her concerns was the toter/tub solid waste container question. Sid Moore spoke following Howell on the subject of toters versus tubs. Vernon Nichols asked a question regarding the indoor pool spa. Mayor Jim Boles answered the query by saying that the city was trying to get the spa back in working order.

In other business, the council approved a special events liquor license for the Dec. 2 La Familia Fundraiser, approved an agreement with the Verde Company to perform a risk assessment and interior Phase I assessment at the former city fleet management facility, appointed Alfred Delyea to the Airport Commission and adopted a resolution to adopt a loss control/safety policy for the city.

Council heard good news from auditors November 28

The Winslow City Council heard auditor Sandy Cronstrom of the firm of Cronstrom and Trbovich offer an "unqualified opinion" of the city's financial records for the fiscal year 1999-2000 during its regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 28. An "unqualified opinion" is the best opinion, which an auditing firm ever renders.

Cronstrom also said that there were no "findings" in the detailed report, either major or minor. Findings would have pointed out discrepancies had there been any. Mayor Jim Boles said that he has been a treasurer for both the Arizona Education Association and the League of Cities and Towns and would like the public to realize that an auditor's report with not even minor findings was an extreme rarity. He congratulated Winslow Treasurer Regina Reffner and her staff for an excellent job in preparing for the audit and keeping the city's financial house in order. Other council members also offered congratulations to Reffner and her staff.

Reffner presented the city's financial report for the month of October. She reported that the city is in good financial health with an excess of revenues over expenditures of $500,000 or 15 percent. The airport fund is still carrying a negative cash balance, but is currently holding its own with year to date revenues exceeding expenditures by 21 percent.

Highway user (HURF) funds are lagging some 15 percent behind the previous year's experience. Reffner promised to monitor this fund closely for signs of financial trouble.

Council members also noted on the horizon possible impact on the city from the alternative fuel tax credit fiasco resulting from actions of the Arizona Legislature. Many officials in cities around the state have expressed fear that the legislature will try to pay for the fiasco from funds that should go to local governments, school districts and others who normally share in state tax revenues.

Judge Marjorie Herron presented the October court report. Her report noted state surcharges of $8,954.08 and total finds of $9,053.34 had been collected. $21,003.69 had been turned over to the finance department and there was $278.39 of bonds on hand. The total fines and surcharges were $20,958.23. Herron reported 287 traffic filings for the month of October with 171 of them being filed by the Winslow Police Department.

Interim City Administrator Jim Ferguson commented that the city should consider itself fortunate to be in the healthy financial condition it currently enjoys. He said that many cities and towns are not able maintain such a condition.

Earl Johnson of FDC Rescue Products demonstrated uses for the ISI Thermal Imaging System recently purchased by the Winslow Fire Department. He explained or demonstrated many of the capabilities of the device and also explained some of its limitations. He showed how the device could make fire rescuing and fire fighting more efficient and safer for the fire fighters and those in danger from the event. The imaging device will allow the fire chief or ranking official present to have precise information as to what is happening within the building itself and use more effective strategy in rescuing possible victims and combating the fire.

Johnson cited Winslow Fire Engineer James Hernandez as the person most responsible for the city being able to obtain the device. He said that Hernandez had made the initial contact, had spearheaded the fund raising effort and sold the council on the value of the device. He also noted that Hernandez would recognize no personal gain from his efforts.

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