Bruce and Trenk spar, ‘Let’s take the gloves off … cut the BS’

‘I would assume Councilman Trenk will recuse himself when that parcel comes up’

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CAVE CREEK – Council unanimously approved a resolution reauthorizing a credit agreement with Harris Bank and a revenue tax anticipation note in an amount not to exceed $500,000.

By a vote of 6-1, with Councilman Dick Esser dissenting, council passed a resolution authorizing the application for a Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA) revolving fund load, which will allow the town to complete the water line improvements south of Carriage Drive to Carefree Highway.

According to Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow, the town’s main water line is too small to provide sufficient water flow and pressure to parts of the system during high demand periods, with water pressure in the southern and western portions of the town’s system dropping below 30 PSI during peak times in the morning and evening, which Marlow deems “unacceptable.”

The WIFA revolving fund loan would finance the replacement of the existing eight-inch water line with a 16-inch water line, as recommended by CH2M Hill in the 2008 Water Master Plan.
Councilman Steve LaMar stated he was concerned about incurring additional debt but said, “It is incumbent upon us to get this done,” as it was equally unacceptable for people who live in the area to not have enough water to take a shower.

Planning Director Ian Cordwell introduced the next agenda item, the second reading of an ordinance to replace Appendix A - Use Descriptions for each of the commercial zoning districts. He noted the category for body and paint, which was inadvertently omitted from the document during the first reading, was added back in along with the amendments council made during the first reading.

paul eelkema             Paul Eelkema

During public comment, Paul Eelkema, a resident of the Estado de Cholla subdivision just north of Carefree Highway, said he was “trying to avoid a surprise and potential conflict,” pointing out the town has alluded to commercial development on the north side of Carefree Highway, and he said he would like to see some indication in the code that there’s some sort of “urban separator.”

Councilman Adam Trenk said he wanted to “make a small proposed change” that would allow site plan approval for animal arenas in the town core instead of requiring a special use permit (SUP).

“I failed to effectively communicate this change two weeks ago,” said Trenk, who stated his motion was based on the town being unique in its western nature.

Francia confirmed the use had previously required a SUP and council was not eliminating any rights previously held.

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch offered a second to Trenk’s motion and stated he was for anything that will bring people to leave their sales tax in the town.

Councilman Jim Bruce said, “Let’s take the gloves off. Let’s cut the BS. We all know who this is for,” and indicated Trenk was offering the amendment on behalf of his “campaign manager,” alluding to T.C. Thorstenson, whom Trenk accompanied to town hall to apply for a general plan amendment and rezoning of the former Julie Terry property for such a use.

Trenk responded, “As long as we have the gloves off, I’ve never had a campaign manager,” and said he could think of three or four properties in town” that would lend themselves to being animal related venues.

adam trenkAdam Trenk

jim bruceJim Bruce

Additionally, Trenk stated it wouldn’t apply to Thorstenson’s property, since it is zoned residential.

LaMar said, “I would assume Councilman Trenk will recuse himself when that parcel comes up” for rezoning and defended the SUP process as a means for achieving quality development.

“If not done right, it can hurt all the businesses in the town core,” said LaMar.

Trenk said he didn’t want to drag Town Manager Usama Abujbarah into the discussion but asked him to tell council what he told Trenk about SUPs being a deterrent.

Abujbarah said an SUP did not encourage certain development.

During public comment, Bob Moore said SUPs were perhaps a slight cause of deterrent but stated, “This body has honorably reviewed SUPs in the past.”

Mayor Vincent Francia commented about how the community has changed, “in a good way,” from the days when a cowboy would ride through the saloon doors on his horse to have a shot of whiskey and said a SUP takes into consideration all the differences in the community.

Again, Trenk’s motion failed by a vote of 3-4, with Bunch and councilman Ralph Mozilo joining Trenk in favor of the amendment.

Bunch then moved to amend retail sales in Commercial Buffer zones from a SUP to site plan review, but it too failed by a vote of 1-6.

Council unanimously approved the town’s FY 2010/2011 final budget with a few clerical corrections noted by Town Accountant Marian Groeneveld.

During public comment Bob Moore recited a disparaging poem about the town’s finances but said afterward, “I’m not here to play ‘gotcha.’” Moore said he predicted the downturn in the economy two years ago, one that turned out to be worse than even he anticipated.

Mozilo stated, “We’ve gone through the budget, line by line, item by item,” and said he continues to have confidence in the town manager and staff.

Council also unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to levy a tax rate of $0.6452 per $100 on assessed valuation sufficient to raise the amount necessary to pay principal and interest on the general obligation bonds for the purchase of Spur Cross Ranch.

Groeneveld said there will be only one more year after this one until the final payoff.

Bruce said, “I’m happy every time this comes up. What a great thing.”

Mike Rigney presented the last agenda item, a request for authorization to upgrade the town’s computer server, operating software and municipal government business software.
He said staff was able to work out funding the improvements over a three-year period.

Rigney said, after pouring over last year’s invoices, the town spent enough money in emergency calls for service to have funded a new server.

Groeneveld stated, “As of Friday, we had our debt service plus about $25,000.”

Council voted unanimously, with Bruce recusing himself, to approve the request with Mozilo stating, “I agree this is absolutely necessary,” while expressing his admiration for staff’s creativity to fund it.