COMMUNITY MEETING TO DISCUSS
THE TRI CITYSANITARY DISTRICT
LED BY FRED BARCON
Tuesday October 2, 2018 6 PM
IBEW Hall - Apache Trail
Construction on the Tri City Sanitation Project will not start
soon, it was learned at last night's Community Meeting to
discuss the issue. According to Michael Krebs from Pace
Engineering, the firm working on the system design for Tri
City, it's likely to be 18 months before any work is
underway, not next month as had previously been mentioned.
That means there is time to consider alternatives, and the
USDA is on board with doing that. Robert Lanford, the
USDA Rural Development employee overseeing the project
emphasized that while funds have been approved for the
project, the manner in which they are spent is still up for
discussion. Krebs stressed that there are potential
alternatives, which can be investigated.
Concerned citizen Fred Barcon, who called for the meeting,
said his goal is to stop what Tri City is doing and explore all
the alternatives. He brought a petition reflecting those aims
to the meeting for property owners to sign.
Both Lanford and Krebs strongly suggested that property
owners in the district with comments, questions or
suggestions, should attend the regularly scheduled meetings
of the Tri City Sanitary District to voice their opinions.
Vertical Heights resident Bill Marshall echoed the
frustration of many, when he said he's never been notified
about anything, including the formation of a taxing district.
That last point is particularly vexing to Marshall as Vertical
Heights is within the taxing district, but outside Tri City's
plans for sewage handling. Marshall views it as taxation
without representation and feels it's not constitutional. He
plans to discuss it with Gila County Attorney Bradley
Beauchamp. He also is intent of opting out a district that
wants to charge him but admits it will not serve him.
The only thing that seems to be set in stone is that customers
of the existing Globe and Miami plants will not be migrated
to Tri City. If you're served by one of them now, you will
continue to be, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the Tri
City efforts. Lanford explained that the USDA will not
permit the loss of even one Miami account, as the financials
for repaying the USDA loan are based on the customer base.
As it is, that base is about 100 less than expected. So Globe
customers will remain Globe's and Miami's will remain
The rest seems to be up for grabs, but it's more structured
than it appears, and the final decision rests with none of the
entities mentioned. Globe Mayor Al Gameros explained
that CAG, the coalition of Central Arizona Governments, is
the final arbiter. CAG has oversight on the DMA boundaries.
DMA's are the Designated Management Areas. Cities such
as Globe can file a 208 permit with CAG asking them
change the existing boundaries, which is exactly what Globe
will be undertaking.
Globe's issue with the current boundaries is that properties
squarely within the Globe City Limits are in the Tri City
District. But it's not that simple. City limits that fall in
adjacent areas are not in dispute. For instance, all of Central
Heights is in the Tri City Sanitary District. Some of Central
Heights is within the city of Globe. Most is unincorporated
county land. Globe is not attempting to remove properties
within its boundaries in Central Heights from the Tri City
district. That not only sounds confusing, it is.
Probably more than any other facet of the project, the
district's boundaries create the most consternation. It turns
out that Walmart and the hospital, which appeared to be part
of the Tri City district, are not. Walmart is served by Globe
and is in the Globe district. The Cobre Valley Regional
Medical Center is served by Miami and is in the Miami
district. So Tri City's plans were not dependent on either
mega facility becoming a customer.
Miami Gardens, however, where Tri City board prexy Bob
Zache lives, is not as simple. Miami Gardens is
unincorporated county land, some of which is currently
served by Miami. According to the USDA, it will continue
to be. But all of Miami Gardens is within the Tri City taxing
district. If Marshall's argument about Vertical Heights is
successful, that it is unconstitutional to be taxed by a district
that does not serve you, then the portions of Miami Gardens
served by Miami will need to be removed from the Tri City
There was discussion about the history of negotiations for
Tri City to use Miami's or Globe's plants. According to
Barcon, the issue with Miami was not the hookup cost,
quoted at $1.5 million, which seemed reasonable, but Miami
would not commit to an ongoing rate structure. It was also
mentioned that negotiations ceased when the Tri City board
made it a condition that Tri City would manage the Miami
plant if they hooked up.
Gameros said using the Globe plant was a possibility but
there haven't been any real negotiations to determine
whether it's a good fit for either side.
The financial difference between Tri City building a plant or
using an existing one was clarified. It's not $200. It's
$200,000 less to use an existing plant, but that estimated cost
is spread over five decades, and in that light, it is quite
Apart from which plant serves what area, what worries
Barcon most is needless duplication of sewer lines. Barcon
showed a map of Miami and Globe's lines, and Tri City's
proposed lines, and pointed out a significant amount of
duplication. He emphasized that he worked on the Miami
system and knows precisely where the lines are. His goal is
to keep costs lower with no duplication.
The location of the proposed plant was also discussed. The
hospital is concerned with it being virtually in its backyard.
There's also the prospect of flooding. Tri City's flood study
was done before the Pinals fire. The contention that it isn't
valid any longer was refuted by the USDA, which has
examined the fire site, post-fire during heavy rains and found
no indication of different flooding patterns. The USDA
views the environmental impact as acceptable. It's a fairly
tight facility on a small plot of land, said Lanford. But
again, he mentioned his willingness to entertain alternatives.
Tri City Meetings are held regularly, generally at 5:15 PM at
the Tri City Fire Station in Claypool. Roxy Hadley, Tri City
Sanitation staffer and assistant to attorney Bill Clemmens
who is Tri City's lawyer, makes the dates public. KQSS will
publicize any information it receives.