BY LINDA BENTLEY | NOVEMBER 20, 2013
Interim town manager’s contract extended through Feb. 14
McDonald’s agrees to add hitching post and horse enclosure
CAVE CREEK – During Call to the Public, Cave Creek Merchants & Events Association (CCMEA) President Johnny Ringo thanked the town and recognized all the Wild West Days Planning Committee members who helped make the event a success and said, “It couldn’t be done without this incredible team.”
Wild West Days Chair Jean Glass passed out a report to council and said it was a preliminary accounting for the 10th annual Wild West Days. She said the event donates money in excess of $5,000 to several local nonprofits, including horse rescue organizations and Foothills Food Bank.
Rural Metro Fire Chief John Kraetz, in conjunction with Foothills Food Bank, said he hopes the community’s generosity continues and there are more children in need this year for the Toys for Tots program.
Toys may be dropped off at either the Cave Creek or Carefree Rural Metro Fire stations.
Donations need to be dropped off before Dec. 14, when the toys will be handed out.
Foothills Food Bank Executive Director Pam DiPietro said, “This is a tough time,” pointing out the number of clients they serve continues to grow.
She passed out brochures to council and let everyone know “We are an Arizona tax credit organization.”
Interim Town Manager Rodney Glassman announced the town now has a kiosk at town hall where individuals can access public information if they don’t have a computer at home or access to the library.
He also said the town has begun a pilot program with the help of Planning Director Ian Cordwell and CCMEA to place banners throughout town to promote special events.
APS representatives presented a $15,539 rebate check to the town for its participation in the Peak Solutions Program, which encourages businesses to reduce their electrical use during peak hours.
Dennis Smith, executive director of Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), gave a presentation and stated MAG is a regional planning organization with 28 cities and towns as members.
He described some of the issues with the 20 year regional transportation plan and pointed out dust was a big problem in the area with the EPA’s rule making on air quality.
Some of the projects involving MAG include road safety assessments, synchronization of traffic lights, domestic violence council and shelters.
He also said a study indicates baby boomers have no intention of going to senior centers and want to remain in their communities.
According to Smith, population growth over the next few decades will be primarily in three counties and the majority of developable land in Arizona is state land.
Declaring Mexico as having the largest growing middle class, Smith said they were trying to expand tourism through the entire state rather than just 75 miles from the border.
He also pointed out Arizona was losing its share in trade to California and Texas.
Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Mike Durkin dissenting, to approve a site plan for a McDonald’s restaurant on Carefree Highway just west of Cave Creek Road.
Attorney Paul Gilbert of Beus Gilbert PLLC said the project had an “interesting long history,” that also survived a referendum.
He said the site plan received a strong recommendation from the planning commission.
Durkin questioned the fence at the property line and buffer from residential to commercial and said they seemed like they were all in the wrong locations.
Cordwell stated it meets the zoning ordinance, which requires a solid wall up to six feet tall where commercial abuts residential.
Councilman Charles Spitzer asked if a traffic report had been completed and if it called for a deceleration lane.
Cordwell said the traffic will need to be resolved at the time the building permit is issued and stated both the developer’s and town’s traffic engineers concurred it will need a deceleration lane.
Vice Mayor Adam Trenk asked if it met the height requirements and stated, “I know we can’t impose design standards, but that’s a particularly bland design.”
He asked Gilbert if it could be made more “Western.”
He said he didn’t know what the “yellow thing” was in the front of the building but stated, “I think it’s ugly.”
With elevation renderings displayed, Gilbert, who stated the building would be deep brown block construction, said, “I don’t see that.”
Trenk asked if the developer gave any thought to a hitching post and equestrian parking.
Gilbert said, “We can put a hitching post on the north retention basin.”
Cordwell stated, “We can work on that.”
Durkin stated, “I realize the town can’t and shouldn’t impose design … Cave Creek is a unique place. Sedona is a unique place and has a McDonald’s that doesn’t look at all like a regular McDonald’s.”
Gilbert responded, “Providing a hitching post and access to it is as much as we’re willing to bend.”
Councilman Ernie Bunch, who said, “I think this is a good use down there,” made the motion to approve the site plan with the addition of a hitching post and safe enclosure for horses.
Trenk seconded the motion noting, “Citizens spoke. This is what they want down there and I’m not going to stand in their way.”
Mayor Vincent Francia said he agreed with the vice mayor, stating, “The people have spoken.”
Council voted unanimously in favor of directing town staff and the water advisory committee to research and pursue an application for a grant from the Gila River Indian Community.
Glassman explained Proposition 202 provides for 12 percent of gaming revenues to be used to provide grants to nonprofits.
Council voted unanimously to approve the first reading of an ordinance to amend the Public Works section of the town code to provide for fees to be established by resolution.
According to Town Attorney Fredda Bisman, establishing fees by resolution gives the town more flexibility and the resolution is on file with the town clerk.
She said the resolution would not change the fees and would be the same as the ones currently in the town code.
In moving to approve the resolution, Bunch said, “Anything that prevents having to print stuff and stick it in big binders is good.”
Council voted 6-1 with Councilman Thomas McGuire dissenting to “direct staff to undertake a financial and commercial development analysis for the purpose of ensuring sustainability of the town’s current and future revenue stream in order to maintain the unique lifestyle and atmosphere available to the residents of Cave Creek,” introduced by Durkin.
Durkin asked that the draft plan be brought to council by Jan. 6.
Councilman Reg Monachino said he was concerned about the timing being only six weeks away.
Durkin said he could adjust the timing if the town manager thought it was too aggressive.
Glassman said he and staff were comfortable with the timeline for creating a draft plan.
McGuire said he’d rather it be done under the guidance of the permanent town manager.
Trenk said six weeks was plenty of time and thanked Durkin for bringing it forward.
Francia agreed and stated, “We need to be aware of revenue.”
Council voted unanimously to make fund transfers to clean up accounts in the 2012/2013 FY Budget, which Finance Director Robert Weddigen called a “transfer of appropriation authority.”
The last item on the agenda, placed on the agenda by Francia, was an amendment to the interim town manager’s contract to extend Glassman’s employment through Feb. 14.
During public comment, Scott Dahne said, “I guess I’d ask – really? Are you kidding? Another $11,800 plus mileage … How about waiting until Jan. 6,” noting the town clerk could fill in if needed.
Everett Bell stated, “I seriously ask you to vote no. First, as Mr. Dahne said, I have confidence in Carrie and staff. Second, we do not need to spend $11,000 to $12,000. Mr. Glassman’s contract specified tasks to be completed by a certain date.”
Bell went on to point out when Glassman came on board he had no experience and had no mentoring or transition period.
He said, “The job’s not been done. Why should we amend his contract again?”
Francia asked him to elaborate on what hadn’t been done.
Bell said, “Hiring a new town manager.”
Bob Moore said he agreed with both Dahne and Bell and stated, “What citizens are saying out on the street is this shouldn’t cost the taxpayers another nickel.”
Francia moved to approve with a second from Trenk.
Francia said, “I prefer having a town manager in the saddle when the permanent town manager is selected.”
Trenk said the need existed because a contract will not be ratified in time, stating the person selected would probably be employed and the industry standard is usually 30 days notice.
He said, “Under Glassman, we’ve done some extraordinary things at a rapid pace,” stating he appreciated citizens’ concerns.
Durkin stated, “I couldn’t have said it better. We need to keep the train rolling. I don’t want to see the train fall off the tracks. I want to see my study come back in pristine form.”
Monachino thanked the mayor for bringing the amendment forward.
McGuire said, “I will oppose this. If we need some time for transition, we can review it at that time.”
Spitzer stated, “In an ideal world you always want to have overlap. Unfortunately, the search for a new town manager didn’t begin a month earlier.
Bunch stated, “We told the citizens of Cave Creek we’d have a new town manager in six months. This speaks to a non-performance bonus.”
Council voted 4-3, with Bunch, McGuire and Spitzer dissenting, in favor of extending Glassman’s contract through Feb. 14.
As he called for adjournment, Francia asked when the next council meeting was scheduled.
Town Clerk Carrie Dyrek stated there were meetings scheduled for Dec. 2, 9 and 16.