BY LINDA BENTLEY | JULY 23, 2014
Citizen calls Trenk’s use of public money immoral
Lipsky said he was curious what council and the town attorney have to say about this ‘immoral and possibly illegal act’
CAVE CREEK – Council voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda, which included the cancellation of the Aug. 18 and Sept. 2 council meetings.
Councilman Reg Monachino spoke from the podium during Call to the Public to congratulate council for approving water and wastewater master plans that have been approved by the county.
Following Monachino was Mark Lipsky (r), who indicated it was a bit odd for council to be congratulating itself.
Lipsky, who stated he doesn’t agree with Sonoran News Publisher/Editor Don Sorchych too often, took to the podium to say he was shocked that public money had been spent to publish the “Cave Creek Coyote” newsletter for Vice Mayor Adam Trenk, who was absent, to say, “Regrettably, as part of the local paper’s routine to fuel discontent and promote a toxic recall in hopes of reinstating its influence …”
Lipsky said he was curious what council and the town attorney have to say about this “immoral and possibly illegal act.”
The executive session preceding the public meeting included consultation with the town attorneys for legal advice regarding the use of public resources.
Mayor Vincent Francia pulled Lipsky aside after the meeting to possibly address the issue.
Denise Zawada spoke to follow-up on an e-mail she sent earlier in the week asking council to review the parcels included in the Specific Area Plan (SAP).
She said none of the area residents were notified additional parcels had been added.
Zawada was referring to the 10 acres behind Lowe’s, which called for potential hotel use with a building height of 30 feet, initially removed when council voted to passed the first reading.
However, council took a short break, residents left, and when the meeting reconvened council voted to reconsider.
After the motion to reconsider passed, a new motion by Trenk added the 10 acres back in to the SAP, unbeknownst to those who left the meeting with the belief those parcels had been eliminated.
Gabe Boyd said he supported the same position as Zawada.
Jody Leazenby, who stated she was a new resident of Cave Creek on El Sendero Drive, asked council to revisit the change in use of those parcels.
Angela Carmitchel (l), who was speaking on behalf of her mother who has been living in direct proximity of the area slated for hotel use by the SAP for 10 years, said she supports the commercial development on Carefree Highway but doesn’t understand how those 10 acres got put into the SAP.
She said a hotel up to three stories is not an appropriate use in a residential neighborhood.
Carmitchel encouraged council to take the area residents into consideration and stated, “Tourism should be in the town core, not in a residential neighborhood.”
Patrick Slevin, another El Sendero Road resident, said he supported the position of the other speakers and stated, “We had no knowledge of this being added. We were never notified.”
With no discussion, council voted 6-0 to approve the second reading of the ordinance approving the SAP, with Councilman Thomas McGuire appearing telephonically.
Meredith Hill from Tischler Bise presented the proposed development fees for water and wastewater.
Apologizing that Carson Bise couldn’t attend, Hill explained how the new enabling legislation must meet the criteria for development fees.
She said in this instance, since the work was already completed to purchase and make improvements to the water utility as well as build the wastewater treatment plant, they used a cost recovery methodology based on population growth estimates.
She said it was a good idea to revisit the fees every five years and adjust them if necessary.
Hill (r) said the proposed fees will be going down since the town had paid off more debt since the July 11 study went to council and staff.
Monachino questioned if the additional 1,100 acre feet of CAP water allocated to the town had to be paid for all at once.
Utilities Manager David Prinzhorn said it did not.
Monachino asked Hill if the town could charge for the additional allocation in fees even though the town hadn’t paid for it yet.
Hill stated it could.
She said Tischler Bise is confident the fees they were asking new growth to pay are fair.
Francia questioned if residential water use of 1 million gallons per day is in line with 2,500 customers.
Prinzhorn said it is.
Monachino asked if the Citizens Water Advisory Committee had reviewed the report.
Bill Allen, who serves on the committee, stated they did not meet in July so they had not had an opportunity to review the report.
David Smith said he had asked a number of times about this aspect of fees and thought it would be useful for the committee to review the report first so they could address many of the questions council had raised that evening.
Councilman Charles Spitzer, who moved to approve the proposed fees, stated “I sort of wish the water advisory committee would have reviewed it first.”
Councilman Mike Durkin seconded the motion and said, “It’s obvious to me we can’t adopt this this evening until we have the final numbers.”
Francia suggested Spitzer withdraw his motion and send the report to the water advisory committee for review and then bring it back to council when all the numbers were in, which is what council decided to do.
Planning Director Ian Cordwell updated council on the proposed annexation area on the west side of Cave Creek Road south of Carefree Highway.
Cordwell said Maricopa County agreed to provide funding for intersection improvements at Cave Creek Road and Carefree Highway if the town annexed the area.
However, Cordwell advised a property owner who owned over 50 percent of the land and valuation, did not wish to annex into the town. So, while the town did its due diligence to annex the area, its efforts failed.
However, Cordwell did say there were two parcels that make up a triangle bounded by Cave Creek and Oleson roads and 53rd Street that are owned by Ben Pearson and his wife, who are interested in annexing.
Council voted unanimously to pass the FY 2015 budget, which Town Manager Peter Jankowski stated was about a $1 million reduction in expenditures over last year.
Council voted unanimously in favor of approving a variety of expenditures for the utilities department, including $46,544 for pumps associated with the Code Red Water Emergency just before the July 4 holiday weekend.
Also approved were $8,246 to replace the Leisure Lane booster and fire pumps burned up during an APS power failure and $12,489 to purchase water modeling software from a sole-source vendor.
According to Prinzhorn, their claim to APS is a little over $10,000.
During public comment, Ted Bryda warned council, “I don’t want you to think this can’t happen again,” stating it can happen with any three-phase equipment.
He said, “I hope you’re taking preventative action to protect the equipment.”
Francia praised Prinzhorn and staff for their actions during the emergency but stated, “Like Mr. Bryda said, it could happen again.”
Prinzhorn said when they completed the repairs they were down to six hours of water left.
He said, “Mr. Bryda is absolutely correct. We ordered motor savers for each of these pumps.” He said they cost about $400 per unit, but will automatically shut the pump off in the event of another electrical problem, and alert the town that the pump is shut down.
During public comment Johnny Ringo said there was something Prinzhorn said a while back, “The solution to pollution is dilution.”
“I’m on a well and septic,” said Ringo, who asked if they were going to force citizens to hook up to the town’s water and sewer systems, stating it would be very costly.
He said a lot of his neighbors wanted to hook up and some did.
Ringo said while restaurants had been called out as the biggest problem, he hoped the fines imposed for not complying with grease trap regulations get them to comply, but was concerned residents would be forced to hook up to the town’s utilities.
Although the agenda indicated a request was being made for an expenditure of $32,200 to purchase 1,200 water meters for the Desert Hills system, allowing the meters to be read via radio frequency, Prinzhorn stated the town had already authorized the purchase of the meters and this was actually a request for installation only.
He said the town had already approved a purchase agreement to purchase 100-200 meters per month until it had purchased 1,200 and they currently had 800-900 meters.
According to Prinzhorn, staff was initially going to install them but they haven’t had the time with other priorities.
When asked if the meters would save the town money, Prinzhorn stated it currently takes around three to four days to read the meters. He said the new meters would allow them to be read in about one day, saving man hours and freeing up about 36 days a year that could be put toward other activities.
Council voted unanimously to approve the bid for installation.
A request by Prinzhorn to contract for archival documentation and storage of historical engineering and utilities drawings and plans was continued to a future date after Councilman Mike Durkin questioned if the PDF files would be searchable by key words.
Prinzhorn said he didn’t know.
Jankowski said it would be better to find out what sort of technology the other departments in town were using so they all used the same type.
For the last item on the agenda, council voted unanimously to approve a sole-source purchase of filter membranes for the wastewater treatment plant in an amount not to exceed $25,395.