By Adam Wolfe
The Maricopa City Council honored Denyse Airheart for being named “One of the Most Influential Women in Arizona Business” by Arizona Business Magazine, and Rocky Brown for being awarded the “Emergent Leader Award” from the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.
The majority of the City Council meeting Tuesday night was driven by members of the public. Although Mayor Price and the majority of the City Council who were in attendance debated a few issues, the spotlight was on the public speakers such as Judge Lyle Riggs, Maricopa Police Chief Steve Stahl and concerned citizen Joe Matrishion, who came forth to address the council on the issues facing the community.
Riggs, who is justice of the peace, gave a moving speech about how the community has handled the recent tragedy involving Nate Ford, a teenager killed in a traffic accident. Riggs was thankful for the officers who took care of the Ford family after breaking the news of their son’s passing, and he thanked the community for rallying around the family and showing such tremendous support.
“We have suffered yet another tragedy in which a young life ended,” Riggs said. “This community has become too familiar with this. While this tragedy is neither greater nor less than the other recent tragedies, it is personal to me. Nate Ford and his family are personal friends of mine and of my family. While I do not pretend to speak on their behalf, I do wish to express my personal appreciation for the way this community responded.”
Stahl addressed the council regarding the planned redevelopment of the Heritage District. The committee for the Heritage District will hold a public hearing to discuss the grant awarded to Maricopa for redevelopment of the area. The grant was awarded for blight and slum prevention, but Chief Stahl made it clear the Heritage District is not viewed in this way.
“The city of Maricopa and the police department are holding a public meeting and hearing to discuss the reaffirmation of the Heritage District as a redevelopment area,” Stahl said. “We do not mean to indicate that the city of Maricopa in any way, shape or form views the Heritage District or any part of the Heritage District as slum or blight, only that it is a requirement of the grant to receive the funding so we can address the safety needs and safety issues of certain parts of that community.”
Matrishion stated he would like to see the timing on the train track crossing arms adjusted to allow drivers more time to stop. He was recently rear-ended while leaving Wal-Mart when he had to stop quickly to avoid hitting the arms after progressing through a green light.
The City Council, working on a short agenda for the night, approved a contract with Devau Services Inc. to provide payroll services for the Census workers. In doing so, the city hopes the process will run a bit smoother and the workers will be compensated with ease and efficiency. The Council also approved the purchase of two new street sweepers for a total cost of $485,494.69. However, the city is responsible for only about $40,000 of the total. Approximately 95 percent of the costs will be covered by an air-quality grant.
The only issue that hung up the council Tuesday night was the contract renewal with Albert Holler and Associates for Transaction Privilege Tax services in an amount not to exceed $36,000. Some members of the council were confused by the need for the contract, but due to extreme understaffing by the State of Arizona, there aren’t enough state personnel to take care of the issue. Instead of potentially losing more tax revenue due to delays by the state, the city will pay the contract and potentially receive near $150,000.
The next City Council meeting will be Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers at City Hall.