Globe Council discusses budget during lengthy meeting

Photo by Susanne Jerome/Arizona Silver Belt Connies bridge underside where sidewalk was just tacked on.

The Globe City Council soldiered through a  marathon meeting, getting out after 11 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11.

In addition to regular business, City Manager, Paul Jepson had Greg Swartz of Piper Jaffray give a special presentation on types of funding including different kinds of bonds and their pros and cons. This took 50 minutes and was intended to inform council as they considered the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Budget which includes a possible new fire station. After various items of new business, Jepson presented a preliminary look at the new city budget for fiscal year 2019-2020.  At the next council meeting, he will come back with suggested changes for further discussion prior to official approval at the first meeting in July.

After Jepson and Jeannie Sgroi went through the proposed operations and management budget, item by item with city department staff explaining each. Commander A.J. Castaneda, of the Globe Police Department went first, needing to leave to attend to some police business. The renovation of the police department building phase II will require wiring, flooring, furniture, cameras and secure access. Also, money was allocated to refurbish police cars the resourceful department had gotten gratis from Florence and ones they hoped to get.

This was followed by a lively discussion between council members about items in the category “Mayor and Council.” When the $4,500 for new chairs came up, Councilwoman Charlene Giles exclaimed, “I don’t need a new chair. That’s a lot of money for chairs. My chair’s fine so don’t get me a new chair.” Sgroi said, “It’s nine chairs at $500 a chair.”  Jepson asked if it was the sense of the council to get new chairs. Fernando Shipley thought his chair was OK. Councilman Jesse Leetham of District 3 said that he was not alright with his chair. He had been told a story about the wheels popping off. Jepson said he would come back at the next meeting with the chairs scratched but Sgroi cautioned that since the next meeting would vote on the tentative final version, after that, items could not be increased.

City of Globe’s IT manager, Danny Trammell, explained a $1,200 item to replace computers that could only run Windows 95 or XP and which would not run Windows 10.

Globe Fire asked for a breathing apparatus. A fit tester for the apparatus so that testing could be done in-house.

The section for parks and streets had a nice addition to it, the 2.8 million dollar state appropriation to replace the almost 100 year-old Bridge 8603 Upper Pinal Creek, “Connie’s Bridge.” City Manager Jepson praised Frank Pratt, T. J. Shope, and David Cook for helping to get that appropriation. According to Jepson a new bridge would improve traffic flow with a less awkward intersection and would not obstruct flow in the creek as much as the current bridge does.

Council discussed the items for fences and backstops and bleachers for city parks and fields. Councilwoman Giles requested a rundown on the dog park phase one and two. The fencing was purchased according to the department and just needed to be put into place.  Council discussed possibilities for getting the school districts that use the parks to contribute their share considering their level of usage.

Under the heading of vehicles, Jepson discussed a truck which could be used for additional prisoners and a minder since it is so hard for the city to hire people.  And he also asked for $24 thousand to “outfit and upfit” police cars the department has acquired and plans to acquire at no cost from other cities.

Time marched on and on as each set of items was given due consideration, until at the end of the process, a couple of additional items were considered. One was the prospect of building a new fire station. In order to hold a bond election, the city would need a plan and land so that voters would know what they were voting for and where it would be. Jepson recommended that council put $50 thousand for a design for the building and around $120 thousand for land.

The second item was the possible purchase of a type III wildland fire truck funded out of fund balance and repaid over a few years by revenue generated by renting out the truck.

Having a full-sized off-the-shelf truck would be contingent on the existence of a new fire building.  A cut-down truck according to chief Gary Robinson would cost more since it would have to be specially made.  Councilman Shipley asked whether the department had an engine boss to spare. Robinson said that the department had an engine boss in training at the Woodberry fire getting his last experience before he could qualify as an engine boss.

Jepson recommended that the council wait a year on the truck.

Stapleton wondered “What if we don’t get the fire station?” but thought a revenue generator was a good idea. 

Rios May have spoken for the whole council, “I don’t know why we saved a three-million-dollar project for the last part of our budget but I think this needs some deep consideration.” He asked where revenues generated by the presently owned type 6 truck go to the general fund according to Jepson. 

Councilman Leetham wondered how the purchase would affect the purchase of a ladder truck, which was under consideration for the future. “Where are we going to be with fund balance?”

Rios: “These are big ticket Items and we need to consider how we can best support our citizens and serve them.” The council decided to move the budget to the next meeting, and the final action item on the agenda was disposed of peremptorily. At which point the council adjourned to executive session.

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