Mackey Camp: Corrections and Updates
The following clarification is offered in regards to Sept. 23 letter-to-the-editor (“Public Safety in Mackey Camp”) so that readers are fully aware of Gila County’s decades-long effort to collaborate with Mackey Camp residents and the Town of Miami on an acceptable solution to the maintenance and improvement of this town road. This additional narrative offers the recent history and back-story of Mackey Camp Road.
In brief, Gila County District 2 Supervisor Tim Humphrey and Public Works Director Steve Sanders have continued over the past two years to answer local residents’ concerns – most recently meeting for an April 2020 site inspection, driving and assessing the road, and exploring the creation of a new intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the town of Miami to return the road to drivable condition.
There is more history to this issue than last week’s letter-to-the-editor would lead readers to believe.
Consider this timeline: * October 2004: the Gila County Board of Supervisors accepts a citizens’ petition asking to bring Mackey Camp Road into the County’s maintained road system. * January 2005: the Board of Supervisors authorizes Country Dirt Road Easement paperwork to be delivered to the Town of Miami Public Works Director to acquire signatures from residents living along the road – as is required of them to grant required property easements to Gila County. Completed and signed paperwork was never returned. * August 2005: the Gila County Attorney’s Office and county leaders investigated a letter from a resident requesting assistance with a risk management issue related to Mackey Camp Road. Gila County Public Works once again responded, reiterating the road is private, and re-stating statutory illegality for County Government to expend public funds on maintenance of private roads. Public Works also reiterated the sincere attempt that was made seven months earlier to work with Miami and acquire the necessary easements from property owners. * June 2007: residents submit a petition proposing making Mackey Camp Road a Country Dirt Road. County staff once again conducted a site inspection and, again, prepared a revised easement for signatures and notaries.
As of October of that year, the amended easement remained incomplete and unsigned, barring Gila County from moving forward. * October 2015: the Gila County Board of Supervisors assisted the town, approving and funding an Economic Development Grant on behalf of the town, providing an essential 10-percent local match to qualify for a much larger grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rebuild a crossing providing public and emergency access across the wash. Gila County readily provided the requested financial backing and support, however the town never followed through on its grant proposal to FEMA.
Fast Forward, 2018 - 2020
Gila County District 2 Supervisor Tim Humphrey has been in repeated contact with residents of the area, as detailed in a series of letters dating from December 2018 through July 2020. Within this correspondence he clearly reiterated the Gila County road atlas and other maps show Mackey Camp Road is within the Town of Miami boundaries. Local residents were reminded of this, again; in a letter that also provided contact information to reach-out to the Town of Miami leaders.
Supervisor Humphrey took the additional initiative with attempts to contact Miami’s then-Mayor on this issue, but without success. Last April Supervisor Humphrey and Assistant County Manager Homero Vela personally drove the road and assessed the area. Miami’s new mayor, Sammy Gonzales, had been invited to join them. Though unavailable for the site inspection, he participated with a follow-up discussion that explored creating an IGA with Miami to get the road back in drivable condition.
On July 16 Supervisor Humphrey sent a letter to the local resident, informing him about recent developments, explaining the IGA proposal, and reiterating that an IGA faces the exact same roadblock that was encountered back in 2005: no signed easements from property owners along the road. The resident acknowledged Supervisor Humphrey’s report, adding a note of thanks.
Gila County’s Board of Supervisors and Public Works Department staff who have been trying to resolve this issue for nearly two decades remain committed to finding a solution in collaboration with the Town of Miami.