Southern Utah News Articles
Fredonia Water Project out of time and over budget
The Fredonia Town Council began with public comment regarding the two office positions coming available. Office employee Kelly Hilding asked the council to consider keeping the front desk position full time, because with two new staff members, part time may not be sufficient. She also suggested re-evaluating the Town Clerk position. She stated when the position was originally created things were very different. It is now a “whole different ball game,” with not only a government entity side, but also a full business. She suggested considering splitting the responsibilities into two positions. Possibly contracting or hiring a part time CPA to handle the financial aspect of the job, eliminating the need for costly accountants, and then hiring a separate Town Clerk to handle the governmental duties. She explained she was not going to be applying for the position, so was not making the suggestions for herself, but believes it should be re-evaluated to possibly save money and frustration.
Town Manager Dan Watson gave his report, updating the council on the Fredonia Park Rehabilitation Project. He informed them that representatives from the Coconino County Parks and Recreation Commission were coming up September 28 to discuss the possible use of funding that had been set aside in 2002 for a Kanab Creek Trail (later deemed unsafe) for adult and youth fitness trails at the Fredonia Park.
He also informed them of the fundraiser started for the park. The town has teamed up with Flower Power to sell flower bulbs. There is a large variety of flowers, such as tulips, iris, lilies and more, that are shipped directly to the buyer. The town receives 50% of all proceeds. Order forms are available at the Fredonia Town Office, Fredonia Library and Senior Center. Flowers can also be ordered online through the link at www.fredoniaaz.net or the Fredonia Park Facebook Group page.
Watson next explained he had met with the accountants and there appeared to be less income than planned for in the preliminary budget. He stated they “will have to make some difficult decisions and cuts.”
Russ Funk, of Sunrise Engineering, addressed the council regarding the Fredonia Water Project. He stated the project has run into a budget problem, so he was there on his own time to discuss possible solutions. Funk updated the council on the status of the project.
The contractors are working on the completion of the reservoir, but accidentally tore the liner while covering the slope. The ripped piece can be replaced and welded in if the contractors are able to find the correct material. Johansen Construction is confident the project can be completed by October 7, 2011.
With regard to the filtration system, Loprest is coming to install additional media in hopes this will solve the two-hour back wash problem. If not, a coagulant will have to be used, creating an additional cost to the town.
Funk explained that by his estimation, the project will go over by approximately $8,000. If the town receives the bond claim on the water tank project, that number can be reduced by $7,000. Fredonia may also be able to save on fencing. “The schedule going on and on is scary to me,” Funk stated.
Watson questioned Funk, “Where did we start going over with you guys?”
“The initial budget is based on the construction period…there have also been tons of things added into the project that weren’t anticipated. What the town’s got in this project has been great for the town,” Funk continued, “I’m really disappointed we’re in the situation that we’re in, but there are certain things we don’t have control over.”
The council raised concerns that the contractors are no longer pushing to get the project done. Funk stated he will contact the contractor with all of the council’s concerns. The council agreed to allow the contractors until October 7 to finish the project.
Representatives from the North Kaibab Ranger District addressed the council regarding the Forest Revision Plan. Project team leader Ariel Leonard informed the council that the Forest Service is getting ready to finalize the Forest Revision Plan Draft. The plan, which has been five years in the making, addresses “priority needs for change” on the North Kaibab. The draft plan can be viewed at the North Kaibab Ranger District or at http://fs.usda.gov/goto/kaibab/plan_rev_docs. The Forest Service hopes to publish the plan in December. Once published, there will be a 90 public comment period.
The council was presented with the resignation of Town Clerk TinaMarie Horlacher. Mayor Heaton accepted the resignation, giving his utmost thanks and appreciation for all of her hard work.
Next, the council was presented with the resignation of front desk clerk Jessica Lathim.
Watson explained to the council that he would like to make the position part-time because of budgetary issues. The position will be posted as quickly as possible.
In the mean-time, an emergency temporary person will be brought in to assist. That person will also be allowed to apply, but is not guaranteed to receive the permanent position. The council expressed its thanks to Lathim, accepting her resignation.
The council would like to see a re-evaluation of all office staff positions. A work meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 4 at 5 p.m. to discuss the positions and where overages may be cut.
Finally, the council was presented with Fredonia Town Ordinance 11-004 regarding medical marijuana. Watson explained there are currently many lawsuits in the works throughout Arizona regarding medical marijuana and he did not foresee any dispensaries or growing facilities in Fredonia’s future, but the town does need to be prepared. The council accepted the first reading of the ordinance.