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KQSS June 2017 archives
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JUNE 2017
Tuesday June 20, 2017

The Forest Service has repeatedly defended their stoking of
the Pinal Fire, saying that the area hasn't had a burn in 65
years and the fire was needed to clear out overgrowth. The
down side of that plan however, is that if the monsoons hit
with any force as they do most years, flooding is an
inevitable consequence of the denuded forest.  Last night, a
meeting was held at High Desert Middle School to help the
public prepare for what is probably coming. 

Barry Johnson, a Globe resident who is the Type 3 Incident
Battalion Chief for the Pinal Fire announced that it continues
to burn, in small, separated areas.  All the fire lines are being
held and the remaining fires are well within the interior of
the perimeter.  The closure order has been lifted and roads
are now open.  Johnson says he expects that overnight
camping will be allowed again by October 1st. 

Tom Beddow from the Forest Service's B.A.E.R, Burned
Area Emergency Response, team said the team's assessment
of the burn is almost complete and they are currently
working on identifying recommended post-fire treatments
and determining predicted water movement.

The culverts are being cleaned, and debris is being removed
from drainage areas.  Aerial mulching of 1200 acres using
hay dumped by helicopter will soon begin.  Contractors will
begin bidding on work early next week, with work beginning
by week's end. 

Ken Waters from the National Weather Service announced
that the NWS will be the agency issuing flash flood
warnings, if any occur.  He also is hopeful of providing early
warnings for microbursts and heavy rains.  

Emergency Management's Carl Melford added that
residents who haven't done so already, should sign up with
Everbridge at to have warnings sent directly
to their phones or computers.  Melford also announced that
sandbags are available to the public.  Residents can pick up
sandbags and information sheets in Central Heights at 5515
Apache Avenue.

Michael O'Driscoll, Gila County Emergency Management
head, moderated the meeting. He urged resident to clean up
their own properties now removing brush and debris from
any drainage areas.  Globe Public Works Director Jerry
Barnes added that the City is already at work clearing debris
from Pinal Creek and Russell Gulch.

David Deyman from the USDA's Natural Resources
Conservation Service discussed the Emergency Watershed
Protection Program and handed out flyers on it. The program
secures money from the federal government to assist local
communities in cleaning up private property.  Gila County
submitted a grant proposal Monday and is awaiting approval.

Assistant County Manager Jacque Sanders said the NRCS
grant funds are only available for a ten day period, and that
Gila County or Globe can only clear a property if
homeowners have filled out a form allowing access to their
land.  Forms were available at the meeting.  Sanders said that
in addition to the free sandbags, the County has established a
burn pit at the landfill for dumping green waste at no charge. 
Also available from the county are GIS maps and water flow
charts. You'll be able to identify your property and see the
route flood water is most likely to take. 

Linda Gross enquired about the amount of the grant Gila
County expects to receive.  It is $300,000.  She also asked
about estimates of flood severity. Johnson assured her that
agencies were trying to stay ahead of the game, but that there
was no way to know how much water to expect from a burn
area of 7,196 acres.

Another resident asked about fences that have been built in
drainage areas.  It was suggested that such fences be cut
down and pushed aside before it starts to rain. If not, when
the water comes, the fences will be knocked down and might
cause blockages. 

Sanders addressed the possibility that flooding might put the
bridge on Icehouse Canyon at risk.  She said they have lots
of equipment and will try to remove debris from the area
before it can damage the bridge.

Insurance agents were on hand to answer flood insurance
questions privately, but no specifics were discussed during
the meeting.  Flood insurance is not part of a homeowner or
renter's policy.  It can be purchased through an insurance
agent, but it is written by the federal government, which
fixes the policy price.  Anyone who wants flood insurance
can buy it. How much it will cost depends on whether the
property is located in a flood zone.  

After the meeting, KQSS asked Johnson about the results of
Agent Orange testing.  The most severe burning occurred of
the Pinal Fire in the area sprayed with Agent Orange in
1969.  Johnson said teams began to collect samples but ran
into difficulties due to the intensity of the fire there.  They
stopped, and contacted labs to find out how much testing
would cost.  When they discovered it would run as much as
$100,000, they decided not to test.   It's a certainty that
Agent Orange would not be on the surface of foliage or
floating in water, this many years later. However buried in
soil or silt, studies of the dioxins associated with Agent
Orange show that the chemical could easily survive over half
a century. 

As to what might happen when such dioxins were disturbed
by a fire, Globe Miami residents will never know, at least
not officially. And many locals who bitterly remember being
told there was nothing to it when people began to get sick
after the 1969 spraying, find no solace in being once again
told that past studies in 1971 and 1998 determined no issue.
Those results strain credibility in light of Dow Chemical
being forced to pay millions of dollars in compensation to
affected residents.

Monday June 26, 2017  6:30 PM
Town Council Chambers - Sullivan Street

If you're under 18 and in Miami, you may soon be subject to
a 9:30 PM curfew, if Miami Town Manager Joe Heatherly
prevails.  There currently is a curfew, but Heatherly wants to
increase the age from 16 to 18, and decrease the time from
10 PM to 9:30.  Heatherly, like a lot of Miamians, is
increasingly troubled by the escalating rates of vandalism,
criminal damage, graffiti, blight, traffic, drug and alcohol
problems.  He says that the judges aren't helping the
situation by routinely dismissing cases even when charges,
like driving 20 miles over the speed limit, are brought. 

Heatherly wants a zero tolerance policy, and said he'd be
looking into getting the siren at the fire station back to
working order so it could be used to alert youngsters when it
was time to go home.  Councilmember Rosemary Castaneda
suggested a community meeting to discuss Heatherly's plans,
as well as a reintroduction of the Block Watch program that
has been successful in the past.

Wastewater was also under discussion at Monday night's
Regular Meeting of the Miami Mayor and Council for two
reasons- the lack of need for a separate Tri-City treatment
plant, and a possible increase in dumping fees.

Heatherly got approval to draft a letter to ADOT explaining
why an additional wastewater treatment plant is unnecessary.
According to Heatherly, both Miami and Globe's plants are
operating well under capacity and could easily handle the
demands from Tri-City.

Revising the current fee schedule for septic waste disposal
for commercial use was discussed.  The current rate for
dumping porta potty waste and the like is five cents per
gallon.  Heatherly suggested raising it initially to 11 cents
and ultimately to 23 cents to bring it more in line with other
municipalities.  It could possibly add as much as $103,000 in
additional annual revenue.

A temporary liquor license was approved for the Lions Club
to serve alcohol at the Humane Society's auction to be held
at the Bullion Plaza gym on Saturday July 29th from three to
midnight.  Two to three hundred people are expected to
attend.  One Miami policeman will be hired to handle

The council also approved Delvan Hayward and Dale Metz
to write checks on the Town bank accounts.

Head Start wants to expand their facility near Bullion Plaza. 
The build out would eliminate about six parking spaces from
the Bullion Plaza lot. 

And ADOT requested that Miami take over the maintenance
for the bridge at Pinto Valley.  The council found the notion
Tuesday June 27, 2017  6:00 PM
City Council Chambers  - Pine Street

What if a public hearing was held, but no one came to
comment?  The Mayor and Council would then move on to
other business, which was exactly what happened at last
night's regular meeting of the Globe City Council when no
one came to speak about property taxes.

Mayor Al Gameros proclaimed July 1st as the Hundred Year
Jubilee for the Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic
Church, which celebrates 100 years of service to Miami
parishioners this Saturday.

Zoning head Chris Collopy gave a presentation on
post-Pinal Wildfire flood mitigation.  There's no word yet on
the $300,000 pre-flood cleanup grant for which the county
applied last week, so public works is on standby, but most
property owners have granted easement access for clean up
crews when the work begins.  There are some problems with
bigger corporate land-owners due to language in the
agreement, but Collopy predicted the issues will be resolved.

Like Miami the previous night, Globe got approval from the
Council to write a letter against another wastewater
treatment plant, supporting Miami's contention that there
was enough idle capacity at the existing Globe and Miami
plants to handle all of the Tri-City demand. 

The Council also approved the acceptance of a $70,000
Freeport McMoRan grant for Besh Ba Gowah.

And approval was given to Globe's portion of funding for the
Cobre Valley Transit System.  The annual budget for Fiscal
Year 2017-18 is $619,000.  Globe contributes $61,000.  The
budget includes $130,000 for the possible purchase of a new
bus, which would likely be covered by an ADOT grant.

The Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens found some extra
money at the end of their fiscal year, and the Globe Active
Adult Center is $6,000 richer because of it.

The property lease for the newly formed club for boys and
girls was extended a month while the group finalizes its
501c3 status.

Judge John Perlman attended the meeting to have his
annual contract in the amount of $42,164.40 approved for his
magistrate services for the upcoming Fiscal Year.  The
amount is slightly higher than this year because he is
reverting to independent contractor status, which he was
before the city made him an employee, a move that has come
under scrutiny for conflict of interest.  Perlman related that
when he first became magistrate, then-Mayor Terry Wheeler
said, “Don't just punish people. Make our city better.”

The Council unanimously approved the posting of a 60 day
notice to amend the model city tax code for (a) removal of
the $15,000 cap on city sales tax, and/or (b) implementation
of a city use tax.   Much discussion on the cap took place. 
Little mention of the use tax was made.

Udon McSpadden is adamantly against eliminating the
$15,000 sales tax cap.  He finds it unnecessary and
counterproductive.  Unlike many states, which tax vehicle
sales on the resident address of the buyer, Arizona taxes
them on the location of the dealer.  Recognizing that this
creates an un-level playing field, Globe waived its portion of
sales taxes on any amount over $15,000.   Dealers like
McSpadden Ford operate on a very close margin.  In fact, the
additional purchase cost if full taxes are levied might well be
greater than McSpadden's profit. Therefore, it would not be
possible for the dealership to lower its selling price to make
up for the increase in cost because of the tax.

McSpadden Ford has spent a great deal of money advertising
for distant buyers, both fleet and individual purchase.  The
only lure to get out of town people to buy in Globe is
because they'll save money.  Eliminating the tax cap would
negate that benefit. It would also cause local buyers to
comparison shop out of town.  And due to the state mandate
that municipalities can not favor local bidders, it's entirely
possible it would cause local governments to be forced to
purchase vehicles elsewhere.

More frustrating is the notion that an increase in tax will
result in greater money to the city.  Research repeatedly has
shown that raising taxes lowers purchasing. When
purchasing declines, tax revenue declines.  The contention
that Globe is missing out on $90,000 a year in tax revenue
because there is a cap belies reality. If the cap is lifted, there
won't be sufficient sales to result in an additional $90,000 in
tax revenue.  It might even lead to a decline.

In addition to the increased sales McSpadden Ford attributes
to the incentive of lower taxes (75 vehicles last year, 44
already this year), there's a big community benefit to the cap.
McSpadden is able to hire more workers.  The staff is up to
31 people, from 17 a few years ago.  A lot of money went
into renovating McSpadden's building and lot on Highway
60, which also benefitted local contractors.  The dealership
would have been unable to do any of that without sufficient
sales to generate the necessary revenue.

Councilmember Lerry Alderman asked McSpadden to
supply data on sales tax revenue for the last five years. 
Councilmember Roberta Lee Johnson wanted to know if
other towns the size of Globe have similar incentive plans.
She also wants more city tax data.  Councilmember Charlene
Giles wondered how to justify the cap with other retailers.  

KQSS believes there are many ways to solve the problem
for the city and its retailers and none of them include raising
taxes.  Instead of depriving the city, the tax cap actually
promotes economic growth.  It's not a philosophical
discussion, rather an economic equation. And it's invariable. 
In raising taxes, a point is always reached after which
revenue begins to decline significantly.  It's a lose-lose plan
that could literally put the last nail in Globe's economic
Tuesday June 27, 2017  10:00 AM
Gila County Courthouse

Gila County's Fiscal Year 2017-18 annual tentative budget
was approved at yesterday's Regular Meeting of the Board of
Supervisors in the amount of $98,859,359.  It's a 5.2%
increase over last year's budget, even though there is an
anticipated $14 million decrease in revenue.  It's expected
that grant money will make up the difference.

Supervisor Tommie Martin reported that the Payson fire
was winding down on the Mogollon Rim, but problems
continue in dealing with forest overgrowth.  She mentioned
the possibility of a biomass power plant to turn harmful
wood overgrowth into clean energy.  Snowflake has one, but
it has far less capacity than would be needed.  

Where to locate the proposed new county animal shelter was
discussed.  Four locations were suggested:  near the Globe
ballpark, by the Globe Public Works area, next to the County
Public Works facility, and at the County Fairgrounds.  The
Globe ballpark location is too expensive in land preparation
costs prior to building.  The Globe Public Works area is too
small, even if adjacent property could be bought.  And the
County Public Works facility is situated on low-lying land. 
It's also adjacent to the hospital, which raised noise
concerns.  That leaves the fairgrounds.

In order to be able to use land at the Fairgrounds for an
animal shelter, a waiver must be secured from the state.
County Attorney Jeff Dalton explained that when Arizona
deeded the property to Gila County, it was restricted to use
related to the Fairgrounds.   Supervisor Martin said, don't be
surprised if the state rejects it.  They've been known to do
that.  After the meeting, Finance Director James Menlove
expressed his expectation that the state would lift the deed
restriction for the purpose of an animal shelter.

The location has the approval of Jane Hale from the High
Desert Humane Society and Bill Byrne, the chairman of the
Gila County Fair & Racing Commission. He has no problem
with the concept but does expect that the county would need
to build a road to the new structure, and a fence to protect
nearby animal barns.

The Board of Supervisors adjourned and reconvened as the
Gila County Library Board of Directors in order to adopt the
Fiscal Year 2017-18 tentative budget for the library district,
which they unanimously approved.
Thursday June 22, 2017  5:30 PM

A Declaration of a State of Emergency for the City of Globe
due to post-Pinal fire flood potential was declared at
yesterday afternoon's Special Meeting of the Mayor and
Council.  The Mayor, Al Gameros, along with
Councilmembers Freddy Rios and Roberta Lee Johnson
were not there, nor was much of anybody else. 

An IGA with Gila County regarding the Natural Resources
Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection
Grant was unanimously approved.

The total amount of the grant, for which an application was
filed on Monday, is $300,000. Globe will receive 20 to 25%
of it.  The affected area is 22 miles, five miles of which are
within Globe City limits.

The grant is specific in its usage:  Funds can only go to
pre-flood clean up of dead debris and live plants under 8
inches in diameter which could impede waterflow.  But once
it starts to rain, money will not be paid. And all funds must
be used within a ten-day window.

Cleanup will be done on public and private land, both
commercial and residential, but private owners must sign a
letter of consent, or clean up crews will not be able to enter
their properties.

For that reason, the city is going door to door to pass out
consent forms to affected owners.  106 properties within the
city limit are involved, and about 50% of the owners of them
have already given their consent. 

Globe will be receiving a shipment of barricades donated by
Coconino County and delivered by ADOT. 

The hospital, which is situated on low-lying land has secured
cement barricades and is putting them in place.

A letter of explanation, and the declaration itself can be
found here.
Thursday June 22, 2017  -  10:00 AM

It was a one issue agenda at yesterday morning's Special
Meeting of the Gila County Board of Supervisors.  County
Attorney Jeff Dalton asked for approval of his response to a
request from Arizona's Auditor General.  Because there was
a tight deadline for a reply, the meeting was called.

Exactly what is going on is hard for KQSS to determine. Our
best guess is that, in its auditing process, the state is asking
the county for information on lawsuits filed or threatened to
be filed against Gila County. Here's the exact wording of the
lone agenda item:

Information/Discussion/Action to authorize the release of
the assessment of pending or threatened litigation, claims
and assessments against Gila County at June 30, 2014, and
for all subsequent fiscal year audits by the Gila County
Attorney to the auditing firm.

Dalton told the Board that with their approval there were
four items he would provide in response to the request.  
There was a suit brought by Strawberry Ridge, and one
brought by Carson Construction, both of which have settled. 
There is a pending suit from Center Ridge Apartments, as
well as several pending solar device cases.

As for future actions, Dalton said it would be impossible to
predict the outcome of lawsuits, which have yet to be filed
and of which he is unaware.

Supervisors Tommie Martin and Woody Cline attended by
phone. Tim Humphrey was present. All three green lighted
Dalton's response.

Tuesday June 6, 2017   6:00 PM
City Council Chambers - Sullivan Street

There's an undeclared state of emergency in the City of
Globe it was revealed at last night's Regular Meting of the
Globe Mayor and Council.  Chief Engineer Jerry Barnes
voiced concern over the prospect of massive flooding due to
the loss of foliage from the Pinal Fire.  Barnes and County
Emergency Management head Michael O'Driscoll are
expecting the worst flooding in over half a century. And
they're expecting it soon.  Monsoons, they think, will be here
by July 4th.

O'Driscoll is holding an Emergency Preparedness meeting at
the County Public Works facility on Monday. He'll have
flow models from the Forest Service that will predict the
path the water will take.  Barnes sees the need for a state of
emergency declaration, but O'Driscoll has asked Globe not
to declare one. He wants Globe Mayor Al Gameros to turn
it over to the County, which would be responsible for the
timing of the declaration.  The reason for declaring a state of
emergency is to alleviate Globe from financial responsibility.
The county, state and federal government would absorb the
costs.  O' Driscoll expects federal funds for the City and
homeowners in the burn area for flood control management.

A public service announcement asking for help in cleaning
out the flood channels below the Pinals has gone out. 
During Call to the Public, Tom Morgan, who manages large
scale operation teams to clear out washes and canyons,
stressed that it must be done immediately. 

O'Driscoll said an evacuation plan has been established for
the communities below the Pinals, covering about 300
homes in Kellner and Ice House Canyons.  Barnes discussed
plans for flood control and said he's met with administrators
at the Cobre Valley Regional Medical Center to discuss
evacuation plans for the hospital, which is situated in a low
lying area.

A presentation was given by Tom Beddow, the BAER Team
Supervisor for the Tonto National Forest.  He announced that
their planning for assessment and implementation should be
complete by the end of the week, and they expect to get
started next week on lessening the impact of the burn area on
the community and forest.  The fire is now essentially out.
Beddow categorized it as a moderate blaze.

A tentative budget was passed for Fiscal Year 2017-18.  The
total amount is $21,590,448, which is still several hundred
thousand dollars above predicted revenue. Work continues
on how to reach break-even.

The Council passed the employee health plan renewal.  The
City will absorb the increase in premiums without passing
the expense on to workers.

Mayor Gameros announced that Besh Ba Gowah is receiving
a $70,000 grant from Freeport McMoRan. The cultural site
will also be getting a tourism kiosk in the next few weeks. 
The kiosks contain an attraction map done by KQSS' Jon
Cornell.  Another one will be placed soon near Judy's