City Council Business – More Than Meets The Eye
It was almost business as usual, with several important projects being approved by the council. Comments from the public, however revealed concerns about a city becoming divided.
Reports concerning routine city business began with Robert Carr, Community Relations Coordinator, offering a status report on the progress of the counseling project. He said the shelter would begin its counseling on July 9th. The shelter will have four to five clients per week transferred from the streets to the new counseling center location at Indian Health Services. After clients speak to the counselor, they will be brought to their home.
Carr also reported over the last five months, 78 “street people”, 63 male and 15 female, were interviewed concerning the shelter. The interviewers have been keeping files on each person. If a client gave permission, a picture was also taken for subsequent identification.
Carr said the city was doing a good job because the “City of Holbrook wants to follow in our footsteps.”
During the Councilmen’s reports segment of the meeting, Councilman Tom McCauley suggested that signs be placed at the ends of town directing tourists to the Standin’ on the Corner Park and the area businesses. “They are getting lost and we need to get them to our other businesses,” he said.
Councilmen Robert Beamish commended Bart Gomez with the Weed and Seed Program, which oversees juveniles with community service requirement work. He said the pedestrian bridge on Southside that crosses the marsh was a welcomed structure. “I jumped on it a few times and it’s going to be there for a while.”
Beamish also asked City Administrator John Roche if city crews would be cleaning out the alleys soon, as leftover trash from the alley dumpsters removal remains. Roche assured him the alleys would be cleaned, but the public needs to be aware that the alleys are the responsibility of the adjacent home owners.
The council had two options when adopting the tentative budget that was presented by the staff. The option they approved was to draw down the general fund reserves by $195,000, allowing the staff the rest of the fiscal year to balance the budget. The second option was to make the reduction in personnel department in order to balance the budget. Roche called the second option the “hatchet method”,
The council approved using Woodson Engineering to prepare the design concept for the “Route 66 Renaissance” or Downtown Vision plan. Mark Woodson was present to explain that the first phase would be the technical side of the report, ensuring the proper thoroughfares and utilities are available at the proposed site and also ensuring there are no environmental concerns. He said his company would work with the Downtown Vision Committee at a later phase in the project to get their input for the appearance on the proposed plan.
The council also approved the following actions:
• Santa Fe Drive will be made a public street so that a local construction company can build homes in the surrounding areas and sell them.
• The council approved medical coverage of retired city employees until they reach the age to become eligible for Medicaid.
• A lump sum of $250 will go to each city employee that meets the job performance standards
The council approved the transfer of Community Development Block Grant Funds from Head Start to the Lee Street Park. This transfer of funds was done to allow Head Start to change its location as soon as a suitable building is found. Roche said the city will make necessary repairs to the group’s present building instead of utilizing Block Grant Funds.
If the group had received the funds, they would have to remain at their present location, located at Winslow-Lindberg Regional Airport, at the end of a major runway for five years. The council approved revisions to the City Council Agenda by adding a consent agenda. Items on the “Consent” agenda are items that do not require prior discussion, such as leases and payment for items. Any council member, the mayor, staff or citizen can ask that any item may be pulled aside for discussion before the agenda is approved.
During the Unscheduled Appearances part of the meeting, three citizens spoke of concerns about the recall petition, including the use of the emergency clause and the mis-information published about recalling the city staff. City Attorney Dale Patton explained that the emergency clause could be used in event of a natural emergency, such as a flood, or for the common good of the community.
One citizen took the time to express his concerns about the city becoming divided on the issue of the recall effort now underway.