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2019 - 2020 ARCHIVES
Regular Meeting of the
Tri City Regional Sanitary District
Board of Directors
Tuesday November 19, 2019
IBEW Local 518, Hwy 188

The biggest obstacle currently faced by the Tri-City
Regional Sanitary District's sewer project was discussed at
tonight's regular meeting of the Board of Directors.  And that
is whether a necessary bridge loan can be obtained. 
Financial advisor Leo Valdez didn't mince words when he
explained the problem.  Banks don't want to loan the
necessary $1.5 million to the district without some guarantee
of payment.  Why financial institutions are so leery is found
in the details of the deal. The USDA's Rural Development
department is already committed to $12 million in loans, and
$6 million in grants for the sewer project, but the money
doesn't kick in until the preliminary work is done.  That
means the TRSD has to pay for the completion of the
engineering component and matters pertaining to the bidding
process, which, total, should run about $1.5 million.

Where banks are concerned is that there are two possibilities
they might never see repayment.  One is if the project is
abandoned altogether and the $12 million USDA loan is not
forthcoming. The other is if all the bids exceed the TRSD's
estimated budget for the work, it may render the TRSD
incapable of fulfilling the bridge loan terms.

Valdez suggested it might be helpful if the board passed a
resolution of intent to levy taxes against the properties in the
TRSD in the event the loan could not be repayed.  Valdez
suggested the tax could run the owner of a $100,000
property $300 a year for two years. But the question of
whether that is a realistic figure came out in the ensuing
discussion.  It's based on an assumption that every property
owner in the district would pay the additional tax, and many
properties are already abandoned, with others likely to be so
in the future.  Factoring that, the burden to those paying
taxes would escalate.

Valdez stressed that such a resolution would show the
board's willingness to back the loan, but would not firmly
obligate them to do so.  Whether it would be effective in
persuading banks to loan the money is as unknown as the
real tax burden involved, a concern voiced by some of the
property owners in attendance.

Board President, Malissa Buzan was firm in her resolve to
collect more information before bringing the matter to vote,
a position shared by most in attendance.  With board
members Stephen Palmer and Bill Tower absent, and John
Chism attending by phone from his sick bed, TRSD attorney
Bill Clemmens weighed in that the matter should not be
decided until all the board members were present.  A work
session on the matter will be scheduled.  And the issue will
be discussed at the next meeting to be held on December  9th
at 5:15 at the IBEW hall.

The status on the Vertical Heights withdrawal from the
TRSD boundaries was discussed.  An impact statement will
be forthcoming by the next meeting, and it's expected
Resolution 19-003 allowing the withdrawal will be on the
agenda.   How the TRSD could continue to tax homeowners
who they admit will never be served was not addressed,
regardless of the impact of their exodus.   The status of the
Miami Gardens de-annexation was also on the agenda.  The
properties in question are being served by the Miami system
already, so their exit is all but guaranteed, however as with
Vertical Heights, a lengthy process is involved. Nary a word
on whether these property owners who TRSD will never
serve would ever see a refund from past taxes paid for
services that will not be received.

Status on the modifications to the TRSD website was on the
agenda, but no details were mentioned.  Currently there are
two sites:, a slick, professionally done
site, created apart from the TRSD by participants in the
project, and the official, an amateurish effort
featuring pictures of cats and off centered text.  When asked
by KQSS what image the district thought it was portraying
with that site, Buzan answered, a stinky one.  On that metric,
it has succeeded.

Tuesday January 29, 2019  10:00AM
Courthouse Supervisors Meeting Room

The benefits of a study to determine a regional solution for
wastewater in Southern Gila County was presented at
Tuesday morning's Board of Supervisors' Work Session.

Ray Montoya, a professional engineer with Kimley-Horn
and Associates, a firm contracted with the state of Arizona,
provided a summary of expectations of the survey and an
outline of what it will cover.  The results will be provided
through an overarching view of regional approaches
undertaken by Miami, Globe and the Tri-City Sanitary

It's not meant to critique what anyone has done, rather it will
focus on the best solutions going forward, from an outside
company, unaffiliated with any of the systems, which will be
able to assess it from a clean slate.

Montoya stressed that the only way such a study could be
done was with the full cooperation of the three existing
entities, making all of their records available. All three
districts have agreed. If the study is commissioned,
Kimley-Horn will have the opportunity to look at each
district's entire operation including records, bonds, billing
and collection, and have access to staff for interviews.

Montoya said, the study will uncover what's working and
what's not. Maybe one district has plenty of capacity but no
way to get wastewater there, he offered as an example.  The
results will provide a picture of the true capacity for
wastewater handling, what's best for today, and what will be
needed in the coming decades in accordance with predicted
growth and usage. 

Representatives from Globe and Tri-City were at the
meeting, Miami was not. Tri-City's Board President Melissa
Buzan voiced her support but wondered if Phase 1 now
planned would be studied, in addition to phase 2 and 3.
Everything will be studied according to Montoya who said
the study will provide a full picture of wastewater in
Southern Gila County, along with a slate of options on how
to best handle it.

Though Montoya carefully explained that a key benefit to
such a study was the outside perspective so results could be
gleaned without political considerations,  Globe City
Manager Paul Jepson suggested that politics should be
considered.  He said if a choice A or B was best for the
bottom line, that the political/managerial cost of getting  it
done and keeping staff on board should be factored.  His
intent was to request balance, which seemed to undermine
the thrust of the study. 

County Manager James Menlove explained the cost of the
study would be $40,000 and Montoya indicated that once
there was a go-ahead, it could be completed in six weeks. 
All three Supervisors voiced appreciation and acceptance of
the idea, which will likely come up for a vote shortly.
MAY 14, 2019  6:30

What's the difference between garbage and recyclables? 
Nothing, not any more, at least not in Globe, it was revealed
at Tuesday night's Regular Meeting of the City of Globe
Mayor and Council.  Residents are talking trash-and trashing
trash collector Right Away Disposal, RAD, for very good

Imagine being a senior citizen who has dutifully taken their
trash out each week, placing it in the alleyway behind their
home, only to discover that it's no longer being picked up
there.  Yes, RAD no longer does alleys.  They don't do
recycling either, but I'll get back to that. 

The problem with alley trash is many of these homes are
located in a way that it is virtually impossible for all but the
young or athletic to get the stuff to the street in front of their
house.  So what happens now?

Who knows?  The city manager said the contract calls for
RAD to accommodate the disabled-but is an otherwise
healthy but frail elderly resident disabled?  For some of them
it might be easier to climb Mount Everest than to navigate
the imperiled route they'd have to take to get the trash to the
front of their house.

Jeremy Takas from RAD, Right Away Disposal, was there
to explain himself about the alleys, the lack of recycling and
in some cases the lack of any collection at all. In Call to the
Public, Michelle Johnson said she had no trash pickup in
April, and none in the first two weeks of May.  She said she
called RAD and left messages, but no one returned her call. 
She wasn't alone.

Ellen Kretsch from the Chamber of Commerce spoke of the
erratic service and customer service problems, noting it's to
the point that you have to call the city to complain because
RAD doesn't respond.  

Linda Gross concurred, saying RAD was not responsive.
She was also concerned about resolving the alley issue and
the lack of recycling.

Takas admitted to the customer service problems, as well as
RAD no longer recycling the recyclables.  According to
Takas, the money he made from recycling dropped so much
it's no longer worth it.  But is that a good enough reason?

Former Councilmember Thea Wilshire, in Call to the
Public, noted Globe is paying extra for the recycling.  And
one of the reasons RAD was chosen was they agreed
contractually to do it.  To Thea, it's open and shut.  RAD
committed itself to doing it, and their money problems are

So what's happening to recyclables?  They're being dumped
here along with the garbage.  Now, you can use that
recycling can for whatever you want. Place two cans by the
road and they'll both be picked up by the same truck and
taken to the Russell Gulch landfill.

But, as Wilshire commented, using the landfill for
recyclables cuts down on the lifecycle of the dump.  

Former Councilmember Lerry Alderman also spoke in Call
to the Public, saying it was the first he heard of the cessation
of recycling.  He recommended finding another company,
but cautioned against the city doing it themselves, citing the
large capital expenditures involved.

Most residents who spoke didn't particularly care who
picked up their garbage- as long as someone did.

Lisa Bittner, in Call to the Public, said she never got a
notice about no alley pickup. All she's heard about why her
trash goes uncollected are excuses.  She lives on 2nd Street,
and to get the trash to the street she'd have to haul it up steps,
which she is unable to do.  And for larger items, like a
mattress, for instance, she says leaving it in the street isn't an
option in any case.

John Rickett, who lives nearby 2nd Street concurred with
Bittner that getting the trash up to the street is difficult. 
Alley collection could always be done before.  Why not now,
and why are we playing for recycling if RAD is not doing it,
he wondered.

Takas candidly replied to that last query, ' So we can break
even.'  As for the alley change, Takas chalks it up to new
equipment that can't navigate the small alleys, low hanging
wires they encounter, and drivers who aren't willing to put
themselves at risk.

Speaking of drivers, or lack thereof, Takas blamed part of
the reason trash has been going uncollected on the lack of
local drivers.  Everyone comes from the Valley. That
admission was of great concern to Mayor Al Gameros who
said he'd like to see people in Globe becoming drivers.

Exactly how hard RAD has tried to find local workers was
not mentioned, but KQSS stepped up to the plate when Jon
Cornell offered to run free help wanted ads for RAD every
day until the workforce was fully local.  If it takes three
years, we'll do it, he promised.  (We'll reach out to them for
details on how to apply. Hopefully, we'll get a reply.)

Takas used the alley issue as another reason drivers were
hard to hire, saying candidates were reluctant to take a job
they viewed as challenging and unsafe.  But it's not the
alleys that have changed, noted several folks in attendance,
virtually all of who said it would be impossible for them to
comply with moving the trash to the street.

Sue Gatewood in Call to the Public said she was 77 years
old and sick. 'I can't push that can uphill even when it's
empty.  Getting out to the street is impossible.  I live alone.
What can I do?'

Takas didn't know, but he did say that RAD wasn't
responsible to help her.  But maybe they are, if the definition
of the disabled that RAD is contractually required to
accommodate is expanded.  That's a legal question, and
those kinds of things are handled in Executive Session.  And
there was a long one.

There's no doubt that RAD is not living up to its contractual
obligations.  Most likely the contract could be broken.  And
it's highly probable that it would suit Takas just fine. Though
he didn't come out and say that, he did admit that the
company is losing money on the deal.

When the meeting reconvened after the lengthy Executive
Session, Mayor Gameros said that the issues have largely
arisen in the last six months.  Prior to that, since 2010 when
RAD was hired, it's gone smoothly. He's hoping there's a
way to get RAD back on track, and he wants to give that his
best efforts.  But if it doesn't work?  That question remains
unanswered.  But maybe a clue is in one of the solutions
employed for alley pickup.  The city has used Copper States
Sanitation, which apparently has trucks and drivers who can
get down those allegedly treacherous paths and live to tell
about it.  

Joe & Evo

On a happier note, Globe Fire Canine Evo, and her handler
Fire Marshall Joe Bracamonte received a citation from the
FBi for assisting in the finding of an old gravesite.

And two new officers were sworn into the Globe Police
force by Judge John Perlman.  One is fresh out the of the
academy: Patrick Martinez.  The other is veteran officer
Trenton R. Clatterbuck.

Trenton Clatterbuck, Chief Dale Waters, Patrick Martinez

High School graduation ceremonies are just around the
corner. Globe on May 23rd and Miami on the 24th.  The
Summer Concert series downtown at the historic train depot
starts in June.  And perhaps best news of all: the city council
meetings are now live online!   You'll see a link to the live
stream under meetings on the right hand side of this page.  
The IT department promises to archive them as well.  We'll
pass along those links here as soon as we get them.
TUESDAY JANUARY 15, 2019   5:15 PM 

Yesterday's Special Meeting of the Tri-City Regional
Sanitary District Board of Directors included a public
hearing on project protests.  Three hours of protests, as it
turned out.  Most fell along two themes.  People are upset
about the lack of information they have received from the
Board throughout the almost eight years the project has been
in the planning stage.  (As Jay Spehar succinctly said to the
Board,  “You're not being transparent.”)   And property
owners are concerned over the cost to them, which some
have no ability to pay. (90% of the people here are on a fixed
income, commented one of the less than 50 attendees at the

Frustration was evident over the perceived lack of
information about the protest period, held from December
4th through the 18th.  Despite notices mailed to 1830
property owners on December 3rd, and posters publicly
displayed throughout the district, complaints came in about
not receiving notice, and not being able to decipher the signs.

In order for the project to be halted, over 50% of the
property owners in the district must have submitted a protest.
For this project, 4.6% of property owners did.  Project
engineer Mike Krebs said that 79 protests were received
from 100 parcel owners. (Some people own more than one
parcel.)  The protests were counted and verified on
December 19th. 

When the issue of extending the comment period was raised
by disgruntled attendees griping about 8 years of confusing
and scant information, sometimes limited to post office
notices on the day of a meeting, it was quickly struck town. 
There is no provision in state law to extend the comment
period, even if everyone was in agreement, said bond
counselor Fred Rosenfeld.

Krebs and Rosenfeld fielded questions.  Little concrete
information was shared, but one issue has been resolved: 
Properties currently served by Globe or Miami will not be
assessed, nor will properties that cannot be served by the
district, such as Vertical Heights.  Owners can volunteer to
be taxed, but it will be on an opt-in, not opt-out basis.

As of now, homeowners can opt out of connecting to the
new system.  That will alleviate the service fee, but
properties in the district that can be served will be taxed,
regardless of if the owner chooses to be served or not. 
For many, this project will not be a burden, it will be an
impossibility.  While costs are projected to be relatively low-
$15 a month for service and $32 a month for taxes-it is an
elusive amount for many.  Fear of not being able to continue
to live in the district was palpable.

Confusion exists over the details of the project, which are
still not set in stone.  There's a lot to be determined.  Cost
estimates, however, are firm.  It is a $70 million project for
all three phases.  The debt to the community is $30 million. 
The rest of the funding comes from a USDA grant.

So what if bids are solicited for a phase and every bidder
exceeds the project estimate?  The project could be
abandoned, or it could be redesigned, or grant money from
the USDA might be increased. But it will not automatically
go forward.

Abandoning the project ultimately would be the death of the
area, which is primarily served by outdated cesspools and
aging septic systems, none of which fall under today's health

Ignoring the obvious, the motion finding the number of
protests to be insufficient failed.  Why?  Only four board
members were present and the vote was 2 to 2.  Board
Member John Chism phoned TRSD attorney Bill Clemens
at the start of the meeting to say he wouldn't be there as he
was in the hospital.

Anna Petty swore in the newly elected Board members: 
Stephen Palmer and Bill Tower.  The results of the
November 6th election were made official, and then the
election of a new Chairman of the Board was settled. 
Melissa Buzan unanimously got the nod. 

Since its inception, the District was led by Board president
Bob Zache, who lost the November election amidst upset
over the way the project has been handled.  The Board
recognized his service, and presented him with a saguaro
walking stick.  He thanked them and walked out.
MONDAY  APRIL 1, 2019   5:15 PM 

The Tri-City Sanitary District will never serve Miami
Gardens or Vertical Heights, yet property owners in both
areas continue to be taxed for a non-existent utility. That was
brought up again in Call to the Public at last night's Regular
Meeting of the Board of Directors of the District.  It's
complicated, said Board President Malissa Buzan, though
it's quite simple to a Miami Gardens homeowner who is tired
of paying taxes for services he'll never receive.  Buzan and
Board secretary Mary Anne Moreno explained it was a
convoluted process involving the state and CAG to remove
an area from a taxing district.  They promise an answer by
the next meeting on May 6th but there was no word on
whether refunds for money collected erroneously for so long
would be forthcoming.

Want to make a FOIA request from the District (that's the
freedom of information act which allows you to view copies
of a public entities records)?  It'll cost you $.25 per black and
white page, it was revealed at the meeting.  The cost is in
line with what Gila County and Globe both charge.   Many
documents are supposedly online on the website,
but the only material of use KQSS could find was the
minutes from prior meetings- assuredly a welcome feature,
but financials and other details were nowhere in evidence.

Actually they were missing from the meeting too.  There was
no financial report for March, and on the agenda, the
executive session to discuss the budget didn't happen.  Why
budget talks should be undertaken in executive sessions
rather than publicly became moot when it was announced
the board didn't have enough information to discuss the

They had enough money to approve attorney Bill
Clemmens' March bill.  Exactly what he did for $10,234
was not announced. Ted Thayer got $87 for the TRSD
website.  We'd kick in a couple bucks if he'd center the
content and take out the endless white space below it on
each page.  (See what we mean at

Maybe Board member Stephen Palmer will be the savior
there.  With a background in these sorts of things he's
volunteered to help.  He'll also be working on the upcoming
Facebook page, but first an email address for the district has
to be created.  The board unanimously voted to do that.  It'll
be  Speaking of email, if you'd like to be added to
the email notifications for meetings, see Roxy at Wild
Horses Saloon or Cowgirl Antiques in downtown Miami. 

An executive session did take place, as attendees discovered
when they were unceremoniously ushered outside during the
half hour or so private talk.  When the public was later let in,
it was announced that office space for the district had been
obtained.  No word on when they'll open, but the offices will
be in the Gila County Complex at 5515 Apache in Central
Heights. The space will cost the district $50 a year.  But
again, why that discussion had to take place in Executive
Session while the public was out in the cold literally wasn't

Arizona Water Company's Freddy Rios gave a presentation
on AWC's five-year plan for replacing water mains.  He said
he met with Clemmens and TRSD engineer Mike Krebs
earlier in the day to discuss how the project would move
forward.  Why TRSD is in the mix is the requirement that
water mains and sewer lines must be six feet apart no matter
where they are, and that's a challenge on many narrow
streets in the district.  Replacing a water main is a six month
long effort, so getting it right the first time is essential.
TRSD and AWC will work collaboratively.

Krebs updated the Board, with the exception of member Bill
Tower who was absent, on the status of negotiations with
Globe and Miami on DMAs, the Designated Management
Areas that form the boundaries of each district.  Bottom line,
areas serviced by Globe and Miami will remain as they are,
and property owners served by either district but taxed by
the TRSD will be removed from the district's tax
rolls-eventually.  Environmental approval for the legal
descriptions of the three DMAs-Globe, Miami, and Tri-City
has been sought, as has approval from CAG.

TUESDAY  JULY 9, 2019   5:15 PM 

Property owners in the Tri-City Regional Sanitary District
will see about a $20 tax increase per $100,000 of assessed
property, it was voted after a public hearing titled Truth in
Taxation, at Tuesday night's Regular Meeting of the TRSD
Board.  Board president Malissa Buzan, and members John
Chism, and Stephen Palmer by phone, all voted yes.  Bill
Tower and Mary Ann Moreno were absent from the

The tax, which increases property taxes due to the district by
19.2 percent, will bring in an extra $30,000 for the TRSD. 
That amount is exclusive of increased secondary property
taxes from new construction, or any changes that might
occur due to voter-approved bonded indebtedness.

The vexing issues of Vertical Heights, which is taxed but
will never be served; and Miami Gardens, which is taxed but
is part of the Town of Miami wastewater project, are no
closer to resolution. In part due to the Internet woes of the
county making info unavailable, and primarily due to what
the TRSD describes as “a complicated and long process,” it's
unlikely to be resolved this year, but it will be on the next
agenda. Again. And never a mention if these owners
improperly taxed can ever hope to see a refund. 

The county Internet troubles also precluded the financial
report.  It, too, will be on the next agenda at the meeting to
be held on August 19th at 5:15 pm at the IBEW Hall.

Regarding the USDA bridge loan, Engineering Consultant
Mike Krebs said he's still working through the details with
the USDA.  Attorney Bill Clemmens said good progress was
being made and he was hopeful for a done deal by the end of
next month. 

CAG's Alan Urban informed the board that he's working on
a joint meeting with all three districts; Miami, Globe and
Tri-City, which he hopes can be scheduled next month.

There was an update on the work Pioneer Title has been
doing, researching the ownership of parcels where Eastern
Arizona Railroad has easements.  Turns out that in many
cases, the railroad has easement rights but is not the owner
of the property.  Much of the land is owned by various
mining interests.  Untangling that, is still ongoing. 

All district records are now in the same, secure place-in
TRSD's offices in the County Administration building, Suite
200, 5515 Apache Avenue in Central Heights.  Records are
currently being scanned and it's hoped that everything
including financial reports will be online eventually. In the
meantime, folks with questions should contact Roxie
Hadley at  or call her at

There was a question in Call to the Public about an auditor
for the district. There will be one, as required by the terms of
the USDA loans and grants. One will be appointed in the
coming fiscal year. 

The board approved bill payments including $14,864 to
Pace; $1,750 to attorney Clemmens,  $100 to IBEW for two
meetings held in their hall, and $50 to Ted Thayer for
website work. 

Thayer will no longer be handling those chores, as the
TRSD's requirements are outside his comfort zone.  Globe's
ML&H Computer will take over. 

On efforts to improve public relations, work is on going on
the district's Facebook page, securing individual email
addresses for all TRSD personnel and board members, and
building a comprehensive web site. Volunteer Mariano
Gonzales is doing legal research and forming an advisory
committee.  Exactly how legal research benefits public
relations will hopefully be revealed at some point.  
Monday February 10, 2020 - 5:15 PM
IBEW Local 518 Hall - Hwy 188 Globe

Vertical Heights, which will never be served, and Miami
Gardens, which is already served by Miami; will no longer
have to pay taxes to the Tri-City Regional Sanitary District,
it was announced at last night's Regular Meeting of the
Board of Directors.  There will be no economic impact to the
district, which did not include them in the financial formula
submitted to the USDA.  But with all that, neither area is
fully removed from the district as of yet.  On Vertical
Heights, the TRSD is waiting for comments from the County
Board of Supervisors. Miami Gardens is still in flux, but
maps of the properties to be excluded, have been created.
The area is basically two blocks plus some neighboring

As to how many properties in the overall district have been
abandoned, a question raised in Call to the Public, the board
doesn't know.

DMA's have been created.  The paper work is going to CAG
for review.  

No definitive news on the bridge loan, on which the future of
the project hangs.  Leo Valdez updated the board, saying he
has talked with WIFA, Clearinghouse, and Dignity, the
hospital group, which is looking into rural development. 
There is interest but no commitment.  Valdez said the Rural
Development division of the USDA has $735,000 available
for bridge loan purposes.  Whether the TRSD would be
eligible to receive it was not mentioned. 

There was no update on the Citizen's Advisory Committee as
Mariano Gonzales was not in attendance.  Board Member
Bill Tower's resignation was accepted. He's leaving the
board because he's relocated to California.  The TRSD will
be looking for interim candidates.  As soon as we have the
relevant info, we'll tell you how to apply.   We'll also keep
you posted on the two board seats that come up for vote this

Financially, the district is below the $500,000 threshold
where audits are required, so there won't be any until project
funds come in. Some bills were paid, though. Ted Thayer
got $50 for the off-center, cat-friendlywebsite.  Bill Clemens
got $6,680: $735 for work in November, $5,945 for January
hours.  $338 was paid to bond counsel. 

The next meeting is March 16h, same time, same place.