VOL. 17 ISSUE NO. 25   |   JUNE 22 – 31, 2011


Council concerned about nominee’s LearnYes.org PAC affiliation

Riggin recognized for her volunteer work on behalf of open space

korinna rigginCAVE CREEK – Call to the Public brought Bambi Muller, associate planner and trails coordinator, to the podium to honor Korina Riggin (r) with a certificate in recognition of her volunteer work to raise awareness and money for the town’s open space.

Muller said Riggin was responsible for helping to raise thousands of dollars through events she coordinated.

Riggin gave Muller a big hug but said it was through the volunteer efforts of numerous people that these events were successful and noted Assistant Utilities Manager Mike Rigney, who was in the audience, had also pulled off some remarkable fundraising events.

Bob Moore also spoke during Call to the Public and said he was glad to read the noise ordinance is being brought back, stating, “We need to revisit its current shortfalls.”

Moore urged council to put together a joint committee made up of residents and businesses to come up with recommendations.

Mayor Vincent Francia read a proclamation supporting the goals of the Arizona Solar Challenge followed by a presentation by Toni Bouchard of Arizona SmartPower, which she said was the nation’s largest nonprofit organization promoting clean energy.

Pointing out Arizona has over 300 days of sunshine, Bouchard stated it is only number eight in the country in solar energy, when it seems it should be number one.

She said, “Our work is to help promote residential solar … Our goal is to get 5 percent of homeowners to install solar.”

Arizona SmartPower was hired by APS to help promote solar power since APS is mandated by the Arizona Corporation Commission to produce 15 percent of its energy using renewable resources.

Since former Planning Commissioner Shelley Anderson was elected to council, Planning Director Ian Cordwell told council the town ran two ads inviting citizens to apply for the vacancy.

john abramThe town received only one response from John Abram (r), who is retired from the industrial electronics industry.

His letter expressing interest in the position included his current membership in the Political Action Committee LearnYes (PAC).

Abram told council, “The sole purpose of LearnYes is to gain community support of CCUSD’s (Cave Creek Unified School District) override.

Francia stated, “I’m not totally comfortable with you being on the PAC and the planning commission.”

Councilman Dick Esser also expressed concern with Abram’s PAC affiliation.

Abram said if it became a conflict, he could resign from one or the other.

Councilman Jim Bruce, who stated Abram had a great resume, moved to nominate Abram, which was seconded by Councilman Steve LaMar, who said he was impressed with Abram’s volunteer work.

Councilman Thomas McGuire said he didn’t see a conflict with the PAC.

Vice Mayor Ernie Bunch asked Abram if he had horses.

Abram stated he did not but said he was surrounded by others who do and supported their equestrian lifestyle.

Bunch said he was concerned that there were no people on the planning commission who were members of the equestrian community.

Councilwoman Shelley Anderson said she liked Abram’s demeanor under controversy and stated if he ever needed to consult with horse owners, she could introduce him to many.
Council voted 4-3 to appoint Abram to the planning commission with Francia, Esser, who reiterated being uncomfortable with Abram’s PAC affiliation, and Bunch dissenting.

Cordwell said the advertised vacancy on the board of adjustment created by the retirement of George Ross also drew only one applicant, Paul Eelkema, who was appointed by a vote of 6-1 with Bruce dissenting.

Utilities Manager Jessica Marlow received unanimous approval to award a contract to Southwest Pipeline Contractors, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $456,452 to install the final piece of the 16-inch water line from Hidden Valley Drive to Rancho Mañana.

Marlow said the water advisory committee recommended the town award the contract, the town had already obtained a WIFA loan for the work and it was a budgeted expense.

Council also unanimously approved a fifth amendment to the intergovernmental agreement between the town and Maricopa County Library District, ratification of the contract for legal services with Mariscal Weeks, McIntyre and Friedlander, ratification of the town manager’s contract, and the first reading of an ordinance relating to the privilege license tax, adopting the 2010-2011 amendments to the tax code of the town of Cave Creek.

Al Holler, the town’s sales tax auditor, addressed the highlights of the amendments applicable to the town, which included taxation of medical marijuana.

As discussed during the recent council retreat, the agenda included an ordinance amending the town code to provide for a rotating designation of Vice Mayor.

Lamar, who moved to approve the first reading, said, “It’s more of an avoidance so we don’t start out every council with lobbying over who will be vice mayor. I don’t think we need to start out every council with lobbying.”

McGuire, who seconded the motion, said, “I agree.”

Bruce stated he had two main problems with the change. First, he noted, the term is so short and, second, some council members want the post and some don’t.

He said, “I don’t think I can support this.”

Anderson said she too though rotation was a good idea at first but after hearing the mayor’s thought, she changed her mind.

Esser said he agreed with LaMar but thought the length of the term was a problem.

He then had Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek confirm the process if the mayor were to become permanently incapacitated.

Dyrek said, according to the town code, council would select a mayor from the members of council. In other words, the vice mayor would not automatically become the mayor in such a situation.

Francia stated, “Being vice mayor is not ceremonial. The mayor has certain powers in emergencies without having to go to council.”

Pointing out the vice mayor accompanies him and is aware of everything going on, Francia stated, “Personally, I want to be sure I am not putting the community in danger,” and cited, for example, decisions he has had to make during the Cave Creek Complex Fire, such as granting permission to the forestry department to cut fire breaks.

The ordinance was voted down 6-1, with LaMar its only supporter.

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