Miami Town Council cleans house at regular meeting

Susanne Jerome/Arizona Silver Belt Brian Seppala addresses the Miami Town Council.

After proclamations on Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Cities and Towns Week, the council discussed budget items and listened to the Town Manager and Mayor/Council Reports.

Joseph Heatherly, the town manager, reported that on the agenda of the Gila County Board of Supervisors was an offer from the Town of Miami to purchase two small parcels near the Miami Swimming pool as a waiting area and a bus stop to get kids to the swimming pool in the summertime. The price would be $31 for each.

He also reported on a letter from a muralist who was working on a grant from the national endowment for the Humanities. According to the letter the muralist had completed murals for several Arizona towns and would charge Miami nothing for a mural. Heatherly said that he would consult a local art expert who will be getting more information from muralist.

Heatherly also reported on the Superior Burro races and praised the event as the sort of thing which would attract tourists from all over.

Councilmember Michael Black gave an update on his medical schedule and said that he might miss a couple of meetings but would be back after surgeries. Angel Medina celebrated the weekend sports including the Miami football game. “I’m still buzzed and overcoming a ‘fun overdose.”

Councilmember Sammy Gonzales thanked city staff for their efforts to facilitate the Miami High School homecoming parade, which Chief Thompson lead. He reported on a conversation with a “citizen” who coached at Globe, but thought that Miami had more school spirit than Globe and thanked everyone for attending and helping with town events.

In response to the call to the public, Shelly Perry came forward to say that she was “very pleased with the response” from members of the city to her concerns about animal control.

Brian Seppala of Resolution reported on the state of the Draft Environmental Statement and asked the council to take a letter provided by his company and tweak it to include Miami’s particular concerns for submittal commenting on the draft EIS to influence the final EIS. The council voted to approve the letter with some additions including concerns regarding traffic on local roads. One of the bullet points in the letter claimed that the draft EIS underestimated indirect benefits that the mine would produce. Seppala explained, “We just wanted to help you guys out with an idea of what a letter could look like.” He showed the letter that Superior submitted the week before and recommended that the council follow Superior’s lead on their written concerns on traffic.

The council then approved a liquor license for Guayos El Rey Restaurant, opening and closing a special meeting for that purpose. This was to meet a routine legal requirement that the long-standing restaurant had to meet. Margaritas were saved to go with El Rey tacos as the council followed the vote with a bit of good humored banter.

There was more controversy about letting the town manager approve special Event Liquor License Applications, after which he would inform the council. Heatherly presented the Globe resolution as a model. Unlike the Globe City Council, though, the Miami council decided that if an applicant for a special event license did not get it in in a timely way, they should not be able to burden the town’s hard-working staff. The balance in Globe was for the show to go on, but Miami decided not to change their current policy regarding council approval of the licenses. Councilmembers Medina and Bringhurst felt there was not enough need to change or dilute the authority of the council in the matter. Councilmember Medina questioned the need to make a change. And Councilmember Black expressed the view thus, “I’ve been on this council for 11 years and if there’s a rush for a permit or coming to the council for it, it’s because of their lack of getting the job done. It’s nothing to do with us, and I think the council should be the people to approve the liquor licenses not just one individual, all of us.”

The council approved an intergovernmental agreement to purchase fuel from Gila County rather than having to build and permit a storage tank for Miami.

The Miami Police Chief, Keith Thompson reported on the Sullivan Street fire, explaining that it would be prohibitively expensive to determine in what gutted building the fire started. Department members also reported on the police station remodel as well as the Kid Machine.

Before adjourning, the council directed staff “regarding current plan and options for Wastewater Project Phase 2 funding.” There was no discussion on this referral.

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