Monday night’s many unique circumstances

By Linda Bentley | June 18, 2008

marion groeneveldPhoto caption (right): Marian Groeneveld, Cave Creek Town Accountant

CAVE CREEK – Monday night’s council meeting eventually made it through Call to the Public and the first agenda item to hear a presentation by Angela Creedon, APS Community Relations, regarding the state’s energy needs and how to meet the growth expectations of the country and state with respect to the “rising amount of energy use” and “climate change”
Creedon said, “We expect to double our growth every 20 years.”

As she explained what APS was looking at to promote energy efficient programs, conservation efforts and renewable energy, which utilities are now mandated by the Arizona Corporation Commission to include as a percentage of the energy generated, Creedon said they were seeking feedback from the community as to what types of energy sources they wanted.

Although she said there were great benefits to using coal because it is an abundant U.S. resource, Creedon cited the downsides as emissions and “carbon tax exposure.”
She said the nuclear option had the benefits of no greenhouse gases and, once built, it’s a low-cost provider.

However, Creedon said, it takes up to 15 years to permits and there’s the issue of spent fuel disposal.

She also cited land use as an issue.

Natural gas, although abundant, has price volatility and, according to Creedon, has carbon tax potential.

“What it boils down to is,” said Creedon, “What would you like to see and what would your constituents like to see? We care about your input and said they would be seeking input for the next several months.”

Vice Mayor Gilbert Lopez, citing an abundance of both gas and coal, asked, “What was the volatility based on?”

Creedon answered, “Increased demand,” adding, “We are looking at coal, but we do have that federal carbon tax exposure.”

In fact, she said a new coal plant was opening up in northern Arizona using new cleaner technology.

Council unanimously passed the second reading of an ordinance adopting the 2008 amendments to the town’s tax code.

On the next agenda item council voted 5-2, with councilwomen Grace Meeth and Kim Brennan dissenting, to authorize revenue and expenditure line item budget transfers of $8 million from the Wastewater Enterprise Fund, with $1.5 million to the Cave Creek Water System Enterprise Fund and $6.5 million to the Desert Hills Enterprise Water Enterprise Fund.

Cave Creek Town Accountant Marian Groeneveld introduced the item by explaining it was not a transfer of funds and not a source of funds, it was only a matter of moving expenditure limitations from where it wasn’t used to where it was used.

Meeth asked, “Where’s the revenue coming from?”

Groeneveld attempted to explain nothing had changed, as far as any of the revenue sources were concerned, it was just a budget line item being moved and said when an expenditure is moved the associated revenue must be moved so it balances.
During public comment, Ted Bryda wanted to know how much the WIFA (Water Infrastructure Finance Authority) loans were and asked, “Where’s the revenue coming from?”

Groeneveld gave the explanation another go.

Directing her comment at Groeneveld, Brennan stated, “I’m convinced this is just house-keeping and you understand what you’re talking about but I still don’t.”
Council voted 6-1, with Meeth dissenting, to adopt a resolution approving the fiscal year 2008-2009 final budget.

And in a unanimous vote, council approved the levy of taxes on each $100 of secondary assessed property valuation necessary to pay the principal and interest on the general obligation bonds to purchase Spur Cross Ranch.

Town Marshal Adam Stein was next up asking council to authorize an expenditure at a cost not to exceed $24,000 for a medium-sized mobile command post vehicle.
Stein said half of the money was from donations by community members and businesses. He said a used ambulance, since it was already set up with emergency lights and other features, could be easily modified for that use.

dick esserCouncilman Dick Esser said the way the item was presented met neither the town ordinance nor procurement statute. Council’s packets included only two representations of what it was Stein intended to purchase, not three bids as required by statute.
Town Attorney Cliff Mattice reviewed Stein’s quotes and said, “This is a unique situation … it appears to comply with the spirit of the law.”

Expounding on his statement, Mattice said, “It’s not your classic bid. It’s a unique item equipped with different items. I’m not sure you can (comply) unless you ordered a new one from a dealer.”

After Francia asked who donated the money, he called for a short break when Groeneveld said it would take her only a minute to get the names.

As Stein read the names of the donors and the amounts, Francia raised an eyebrow as he asked Brennan if she donated money.

Brennan responded, “My company did.”

Francia then said, “I’d gently ask that you recuse yourself.”

After Brennan left the dais, council voted 5-1, with Esser dissenting, authorizing the purchase.

The last and unanimous act of the evening by council was for a recommendation of approval for a new beer and wine bar liquor license for Bryan’s Black Mountain Barbecue at 6130 E. Cave Creek Road.

Photo caption (above): Dick Esser