Winslow City Administrator Jim Ferguson told the Winslow City Council that he wanted to walk them through the concept of neighborhood programs as to get their directive.
Ferguson said he has been involved in many programs like these in other cities and has seen them grow to become active participants in local government.
"The reason is simple. The city cannot do it all," he said.
Ferguson outlined the different types of neighborhood programs: the first is where the city determines what areas make-up a neighborhood by drawing the boundaries, and the second way is for the citizens to decide what they feel the boundaries are.
"I like the idea that the citizens determine where their neighborhoods are," he said.
Flexibility is important to this process though because many complications arise, said Ferguson. He pointed out that some areas like Desert View or Coopertown are easy to define because they are whole and separate from the rest of town, but areas in the middle or older section of town may be harder to distinguish.
"The issues important to one neighborhood may not be applicable to others," Ferguson said about the importance of having these programs in place to have better community representation and discussions at the local level of government.
He said this can be a more permanent type of community improvement, while increasing public participation because each neighborhood program would have a representative to present to council.
"Leadership development increases and the public becomes more informed about city issues," he said. "The more people that get together with their neighbors, the easier it will be to get a block watch program started."
Ferguson said as Winslow inevitably grows, the people who grew-up here and thought they knew everyone will find that to be less and less of the case.
"We need to get the word out that the city is interested in seeing these start-up so we can begin to get organized as soon as possible," he said.
When council discussed this project, many said they would like to put-out some general ideas about where the city thinks the boundaries are, and then would like to hear from citizens to redefine the neighborhoods if necessary.
"I feel if we put this out and go door to door, then we can get their response," said Councilwoman Stephanie Lugo.
"Somebody has to start to give the people an idea of what the boundaries are," said Councilman Robin Boyd.
Ferguson warned that some people may tend to try to segregate parts of their neighborhoods to suit their own liking, which is why participation is important.
Mayor Allan Affeldt said having too many identified neighborhoods programs could create problems of participation and that the city should keep the number of programs lower to around 10.
Council settled on that number of neighborhood programs to keep them from being too small or too large. It was brought-up that existent non-profits may assist and support these programs because they may serve a function to the community, already have involved community members, and have spaces that can be used as meeting locations.
"Even though the city might be the ones to provide the structure for these programs, it belongs to the community," Ferguson said.
"This will be a community organization for the citizens to enhance their neighborhoods, but we do not want this to become another layer of bureaucracy," said Councilman Harold Soehner.
Affeldt suggested that a good place to start these programs would be under beautification.
Ferguson said public safety is a part of this too because there could be elderly who have no family or nearby contacts, and the neighbors might better be able to assist in case of an emergency if their was a neighborhood program in place.
Council said they think the city could move quicker since they already have a general distinguishing of neighborhood boundaries in the current planning and zoning maps. Council set the next date for this issue to be discussed again on July 25.
Councilwoman Stephanie Lugo said many residents have approached her to ask if STOP stripes could be painted on the intersection at Hipkoe and Route 66 due to excessive lack of stopping at that intersection.
Winslow Police Chief Steve Garnett said that something is in the works now to correct that problem.
Councilwoman Sue Bumpus reported that she and Councilman Harold Soehner met with the Prescott Ambassadors for a picnic at Clear Creek. The ambassadors are chamber of commerce members from Prescott. Bumpus said this was a good program and that she would like to work on creating something similar for Winslow.
It was mentioned that Mayor Allan Affeldt was invited to serve on a resolution committee with the League of Cities and Towns.
"This could be a good opportunity to bring-up local issues like liquor control," Affeldt said.
Ferguson brought-up the need for more residents to become involved in local politics and one way for them to do that is to join public advisory commissions. The following commissions have openings: Planning and Zoning (1); Board of Adjustments (2), and Historical Preservation (1).
It was also reported from the city that a trucker coming through town hit an Arizona Public Service Co. transformer and fixing the part will take time until APS can get the parts ordered, delivered and set-up.
Judge Kolomitz of the Municipal Court said their remodel is almost finished and also that their budget is in order. She said she they have enough money to purchase a copier and that they will be writing grants for additional funding.
Public comment portion of the meeting produced a complaint that the recycling bins are always stuffed and overflowing. City Utility Manager Allen Rosenbaum responded by saying they do haul it away once a week, but could not increase that yet due to lack of manpower. He said he would come before Council in 30-60 days with an update on the issue of recycling. Affeldt said he has heard positive response from the community to see a recycling program start.
John Larsen, thanked those involved to raise money for the Better Life Golf Tournament in Holbrook, but said the $5,526 would only cover utility costs.
Affeldt made a suggestion about the ramadas at the City Park; to consider more xeriscaping in town due to the drought conditions of this high desert. Parks and Recreation Director Scott Lancaster said he supports xeriscaping, but that people like having green areas. Lancaster said certain areas could be xeriscaped though.
Affeldt also suggested drought tolerant trees.
Ferguson reported that he heard back from ADEQ about the clean-up of the Rasco Building. It is expected to cost $75,000-$85,000. An appraiser was unavailable to comment by the time this meeting took place, so it will be discussed at the next council meeting.
"Many citizens and businesses are waiting for something to be done with the Rasco Building," Ferguson said.
"It would be our objective to have the building cleaned up and open for the Standing on the Corner Festival," Affeldt said.
In other council business, they formally approved the sales tax to the hospital and approved the business registration.
Ferguson said the city should have a tribal liaison between the city of Winslow and the Navajo and Hopi Nations.
"Hopi and Navajo are an important part of our community and I think we miss-out on many good opportunities by not communicating with them," Ferguson said.
The mayor and Ferguson said the ideal candidate would be a member of the tribes who also lives in Winslow. Those who qualify are encouraged to talk to the city further. Anyone who does approach the city may be approved at the next council meeting.
Affeldt said that the city needs to increase property tax now before the state legislature sets the rate and Winslow becomes fixed which would prohibit much needed revenue.
"If we don't change this soon, our ability to do so in the future will be lost," he said.
The city contract with Head Start expires on June 30, and this subject will be discussed on the June 27, council meeting.