Tags Articles tagged with "city council"

city council

By Marvin L. Brown

Marvin Brown. (Photo by Tyler Loveall)

As a council member of the City of Maricopa for 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work with and observe a number of men and women who also served on council. They brought different attitudes, personalities and philosophies.

Former President Franklin D. Roosevelt said “We need enthusiasm, imagination, and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely.”

There are two men running for council who possess these qualities, one is Henry Wade, a current colleague, who has met the test of leadership and resoluteness. The other is Rich Vitiello, whose passion and enthusiasm, coupled with having 28 years of business experience brings an asset to this council. When I speak with Rich, I am mindful of that old saying by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “what are you doing for others?”

Rich indeed believes in helping others.


Marvin L. Brown is a member of Maricopa City Council and former vice mayor.

Gary Miller

By Gary Miller

Through our common ground to help shape our city into an excellent community, I have had opportunities over the last four years to work with Bob on the Board of Adjustment, Planning & Zoning Commission and other community development matters. I will vote for Bob Marsh to serve on City Council because of his knowledge, experience, and passion, for Maricopa. I do believe that experience is more than just being familiar with a job, or a willingness to serve the public, or even knowing what to expect in elective office. Experience is what I consider first when voting for a candidate.

Bob’s experience reflects a lot of hard work and dedication to the local community development process. His Maricopa experience to name a few includes membership on the Board of Adjustment, Planning & Zoning Commission, Maricopa Multi Cultural Consortium, Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force, 2040 Vision, and is a graduate of the Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy. Through our interactions, I learn that he is a semi-retired engineer with an engineering degree from MIT that utilizes a common-sense approach to solving problems. And he’s lived and worked in Arizona more than 25 years – he knows the territory and its challenges. He’s hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon 32 times! And back out!

Fresh out of college, he designed and built a computer hardware system for NASA that helped in the success of the Apollo moon landing missions. He led a major software development project at Honeywell/Phoenix that got oil flowing in the Alaska Pipeline during a national gasoline shortage crisis. And he was part of the development team in Tempe that developed McDonald’s first ever point of sale system. (Before that McD’s counter staff worldwide had to add up orders on paper with pencils.)

He also has decades of solution-focused experience in Community Development, building, integrating, and innovating Microsoft’s frameworks to better develop Microsoft’s global community of independent business partners – people like Data Doctors here in Maricopa.

His wife Cynthia is a retired RN, family counselor, and Phoenix radio talk show host, and I witness they both support each other’s work that’s devoted to build and to help improve the quality of life for Maricopa, for their subdivision, for seniors, and for the surrounding communities.

His website (https://maricopavotebob.com) does a good job of highlighting his priorities for community development that includes an approach how to meet the need to improve Senior Services, Health Services, Transportation, Employment, Flood Control & Prevention, and Housing within Maricopa. For example, a cost-effective way to improve senior services is by working with the Maricopa Multi Cultural Consortium, Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Committee, and county/state/federal agencies by developing a way for senior services and community services to land in Maricopa by using the existing infrastructure in place.

I believe Bob’s leadership has made a positive impact on people’s lives here in Maricopa. He truly embraces what good leadership and hard work is about, which is why I recommend that you will vote for Bob Marsh for City Council. Vote for Bob!


Gary Miller, Ph.D., is a resident of Maricopa who serves on the Board of Adjustment and the Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board.

 

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

 

The Arizona Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the City of Maricopa and Private Motorsports Group after a lawsuit by a resident.

Bonita Burks filed suit last year alleging a permit granted to PMG by the City for a private sports car recreation facility called Apex would cause her personal harm. Burks’ home in Rancho El Dorado is 5.2 miles east of the proposed racetrack. The decision was filed Monday.

The three-judge panel agreed with Pinal County Superior Court Judge Robert Olson that Burks did not present any evidence that there would be particular injury to her and therefore had no standing to sue.

“They agreed with us,” Mayor Christian Price said. “How are you being harmed in the middle of Rancho El Dorado?”

The judges also declined to waive the “standing” requirement as requested by Burks’ attorney, Timothy La Sota, who wanted to put the zoning actions of the city council before the judiciary.

“We, too, recognize that zoning is an important issue with potentially widespread impact,” Judge Garye Vazquez wrote for the court. “However, this specific zoning issue is restricted to Maricopa and stems from the transition between Maricopa’s old zoning code and new zoning code.  We, therefore, disagree with Burks that this case presents an issue of statewide importance that is likely to recur.”

The court also ruled the City and PMG are entitled to costs.

Though Maricopa had recently adopted a new zoning code, it granted PMG a permit for Apex Motor Club under the old zoning.

Price said the council was within its legislative rights, which the court affirmed.

“It was new zoning. There has to be a phasing period,” Price said. “With a big project, you don’t add it like that.”

He said the City may make that more clear in the future.

La Sota could not immediately be reached for comment.

debate_audience2

All seven candidates for three seats on the Maricopa City Council participated in a primary election forum at Maricopa Unified School District on Saturday. The Junior State of America Club at Maricopa High School organized and hosted the event, which allowed every candidate to answer a handful of questions submitted by the community. Maricopa Rotary Club was the presenting organization. Some responses:

Who has a plan for attracting more businesses and jobs?

Linette Caroselli: “To bring them here, we have to show the value of being here. When you support a small business, you’re supporting a dream.” Caroselli, an MUSD teacher, said the city needs to be customer-based.

Vincent Manfredi: “I think we need to concentrate on small-business owners who will grow.” The incumbent said Maricopa needs more office space, light industrial and infrastructure.

Bob Marsh: An IT consultant, Marsh said he might pull some industry strings connected to the Belmont smart city proposed by the founder of Microsoft. “I would contact Bill Gates and see if they could test some of their concepts here.”

Cynthia Morgan: The Maricopa Chamber of Commerce stalwart said the city should be “talking one-on-one” with companies that have potential to move to town.

Leon Potter: “Shop local.” The former councilmember and current write-in said the city needs to tap into local organizations like Maricopa Economic Development Alliance and Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

Paige Richie: “Hard work and accessibility.” The youngest candidate said the city should ask companies like car dealerships and call centers why they don’t locate to Maricopa.

Rich Vitiello: Asserting international business experience, Vitiello said he plans to “Work hard and meet people we need to work with.”

Henry Wade: The incumbent said the current council may have not always been successful, “but we didn’t quit.”

What is Maricopa’s water future?

Wade: Holding Arizona Corporation Commission’s feet to the fire, Wade said, relies on elections, and scrutinizing Global Water is less difficult “if the right folks are making decisions.” He said the city had looked into buying the private utility, but the subsequent tax rates would have been enormous.

Vitiello: Also saying the council needs to “stay on top of” Global Water constantly, Vitiello said it will take work. “I have a pool. My bills are pretty big.”

Richie: The city needs to work with Global Water, Richie said, “to find more cost effective and more sustainable options.”

Potter: “Regulating water is not within the city’s jurisdiction.” Potter said he intends to work with Global Water but also listen to constituents. “It takes a lot of negotiation and going in front of the Corporation Commission.”

Morgan: “We’ve all tried to fix the problem,” said Morgan, who led a push to take Global Water before the ACC and make a deal on fees. Because Global Water invested a lot of money in Maricopa, it won’t be leaving anytime soon, and she said the best solution is to keep talking with GWR staff one-on-one.

Marsh: “Developers aren’t going to build subdivisions without a 100-year supply.” Marsh said Maricopa had a “secret” water supply with the Santa Cruz. He said developers made the “stupid” decision to create green landscaping to lure Midwesterners into buying desert homes. “We’ve got to stop that.”

Manfredi: With current regulations and Global Water’s wells, Manfredi said, “I don’t believe we’re going to have a water problem for a very long time.”

Caroselli: To assure affordable water, Caroselli said the answer is to “elect a Corporation Commission that’s actually going to do something.”

About 90 attended the forum, which was sponsored by the Maricopa Monitor and Helen’s Kitchen. The candidates will next share the stage Aug. 4 during the InMaricopa.com Town Hall.

Vincent Manfredi is a minority owner of InMaricopa.

Seven people are competing for three seats on the Maricopa City Council. Vice Mayor Peg Chapados opted not to run this year, but Henry Wade and Vincent Manfredi are seeking re-election. They face five candidates, none of whom has held elected office but all of whom have provided varying degrees of community service to Maricopa. The Primary Election is Aug. 28. City council candidates will appear in a Town Hall debate Aug. 4 at Maricopa High School Performing Arts Center.

Here are the candidates in alphabetical order.


Linette Y. Caroselli

Linette Caroselli (submitted photo)

Age: 45
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Years in Maricopa: 4
Occupation: Teacher
Family: Widowed with three children (16, 19, 22)
Political background: First time entering politics, worked with Irvington Municipal Councilmember A. McElroy on Irvington Scholar Program and Community Development Zone
Previous community service: Take It to the Block: Voter Registration Drive, CNN screening- Black in American: Almighty Debt, Breast Cancer Walk, health fairs, chaired debutante balls, March of Dimes, Operation Big Book (donated school supplies to Maricopa Elementary and Desert Wind Middle School for four years), Swim 1922 (initiated program in Maricopa to teach children water safety with the AZ Seals), and more; I have over 20 years of community service experience.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? My campaign slogan is Your City, Your Voice! The one thing I would love to change is development of community programs that involve the true voice of the city. I believe we can implement a full community collaboration that will provide quality services that are relevant, convenient and beneficial to the public involving all stakeholders. We can offer programs that benefit the community at large: human trafficking education, outreach programs for our veterans, health fairs inclusive of mental health, teen suicide prevention, campaign for a 24-hour emergency center, and exclusive activities and enrichment resources for our senior population.

Qualifications? A fresh perspective for Maricopa that involves thinking outside the box is what I offer. My ability to identify, analyze and implement efficient and wise targeted expenditures while providing greater service, greater progress to the public makes me qualified to serve my constituents.

Proudest achievement? My proudest achievement is being blessed to be a blessing. When I serve my community, it makes me proud and happy to pay it forward, exemplifying servant leadership. You do not have to be rich to serve your fellow man, but I have learned it requires collaboration, implementation and vision.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? I just completed the Maricopa Citizen Leadership Academy, which was a great experience. I would love to learn more about transportation to better serve my constituents. With the current issues of Route 347, it is important to understand the dynamics and then present different avenues to resolve the problem.



Vincent Manfredi (incumbent)

Vincent Manfredi

Age: 47
Hometown: West New York, New Jersey (Exit 16E)
Years in Maricopa: 8
Occupation: Maricopa City Councilmember, director of advertising and small-business owner
Family: I am married with 3 beautiful daughters.
Political background: Current Maricopa City Councilmember and district chairman for the Pinal County Republican Committee. Campaigned for many candidates throughout the state.
Previous community service: Numerous nonprofits, including the City of Maricopa itself. Volunteered with Babe Ruth League, Little League, Maricopa Pantry, Maricopa Food Bank, The Streets Don’t Love You Back, Maricopa High School Football Boosters, Maricopa High School Baseball and Softball Boosters, Relay for Life, Maricopa Board of Adjustment, Maricopa Zoning code re-write taskforce and more.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? I have worked to make many changes, but perhaps the one that has evaded me is the ability to make Maricopa a city of YES. We have made strides to get there, but we have not quite achieved the goal of being a city that says YES when approached by developers. To clarify, I want us to never say “No, we can’t do that,” but instead say “Yes, we can, and this is how.” Together we can make Maricopa a destination for development of residential, retail and industrial.

Qualifications? Before I ran four years ago I served on two city boards and commissions, attended two years of council meetings and worked with our mayor and staff on various issues. Since being elected in 2014 I have nearly perfect attendance at meetings, and have networked with other elected officials throughout the state while serving on various boards.

Proudest achievement? As a councilmember I would say it is a toss-up between keeping our budgets balanced and working with the mayor, council and staff to facilitate the start of the SR 347 Overpass. On a personal level, my proudest achievement is working together with my wife to raise three daughters who make us proud every day.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? This is a hard question to answer as an incumbent councilmember. We must be knowledgeable in all aspects of city government. One aspect where I could use improvement would be Human Resources, as council does not normally weigh in on HR issues.

Vincent Manfredi is a minority owner of InMaricopa.


 

Bob Marsh

Bob Marsh

Age: 74
Hometown: Poultney, Vermont
Years in Maricopa: 7.5
Occupation: IT industry consultant, former electrical engineer, software engineer, systems engineer, and project manager, former human resources manager, compensation manager, and community development manager
Family: My wife, Cynthia, 2 children and their spouses, wife’s 3 children and their spouses, children, and grandchildren
Political background: Ran for Maricopa Flood Control District Board (lost by 3 votes)
Previous community service: City of Maricopa Planning & Zoning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force, Subdivision Ordinance Rewrite Citizens Committee, Vision 2040 Citizens Committee, General Plan Update Committee, vice president of Arizona Industrial Compensation Association, board member of International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners – Arizona Chapter, treasurer of Maricopa Multi Cultural Consortium.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? While transportation, flood prevention, employment, health services and housing are rightfully top of mind in Maricopa, I would like City Council also to prioritize the development and distribution of senior services in our city. We are about the only city in Arizona that doesn’t have a senior center, and we are currently missing out on many senior benefits because we have no place for those programs to land and no one to administer them. I think the city is missing out on a great opportunity to raise the quality of life for our seniors.

Qualifications? I’m an engineer with experience and proven skills in problem solving. With over 25 years in Arizona, I understand the state’s resources and issues. At Microsoft, I worked in Community Development, where I created programs that grew Microsoft’s worldwide services community from 30,000 to now more than 17 million people.

Proudest achievement? Personal: My two grown children. My daughter has a master’s degree in library science and works in a university library in Texas. My son is a software engineer at a major consulting company in Washington state. Professional: Having computer equipment I designed and built used by NASA on the lunar landings.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? I don’t have experience in playing politics. I’ve always worked on boards, teams, commissions and committees to build consensus and to get things done by working as a team player in group efforts. I feel that’s the way an effective city council should work.



Cynthia Morgan

Cynthia Morgan

Age: 60+
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Years in Maricopa: 11
Occupation: “MURDER IN…” Mystery Dinner Theatre and events.
Family: Husband Lindy Tidwell, 2 daughters, 3 stepdaughters, 9 grandchildren: 2 attended Maricopa H.S. and 1 Butterfield Elementary.
Political background/previous campaigns: In California 1973-74: worked at Democratic Campaign Headquarters on Jerry Brown Campaign for governor and Robert Mendelson for Controller. Switched parties and worked on Pete Wilson campaign for governor. In Arizona, worked with Sen. Barbara Leff and the Arizona Film Commission on authoring the tax bill to attract more film business to Arizona. Helped with numerous local and state campaigns, from Anthony Smith to Doug Ducey.
Previous community service: I’ve been committed to service to my community since a teen when I spent almost every weekend and my entire summer breaks as a “Candy Striper” at Indiana State Hospital (we were called Pinafore Girls), Lions Club, Rotary Club, Soroptimist Club, Copa Film Fest, Seeds of Change, F.O.R. Maricopa food bank, numerous chambers of commerce, including volunteer positions with Maricopa Chamber. Started the first Miss Maricopa Pageant here in 2011. Founded the “Stop Global Water Coalition” and helped organize the first time we got GW in front of the Corporation Commission.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? Council’s refusal to work with its own Chamber of Commerce is NOT in the best interest of the community.

Qualifications? Passion. Love for community. Lifetime of hard work and long hours. I’ve always worked well with others. I am in touch with and communicate very well with the people, my fellow taxpayers and citizens. I listen to ALL opinions and points of view to make an informed decision.

Proudest achievement? A tie: 1) The P.A.T.H. program: “Training and placement of Actors with Disabilities, Women and Minorities to create Diversity and Equality on Stage & Film” because it changed the industry. 2) The 3 biological grandchildren of my late husband. We raised them, as his daughter was a drug addict criminal who abandoned them, & instead of excuses and playing victims to justify bad behavior, they took the alternate path. No drugs or bad behavior, instead were honor students. Of the 2 oldest who attended Maricopa H.S., one graduated NAU with Honors and is a counselor at Southwest Mental Health; the second just graduated ASU Magna Cum Laude and has already taken a job at EXXON Corporate, in Houston, and the youngest is a straight A High School Junior, and plays Varsity Football. I like to think that is because of the values we instilled in them against the bad hand they were dealt.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? Crunching numbers! UGH!!!

This is a corrected version of an item previously appearing in print.


 

Paige Richie

Paige Richie (submitted photo)

Age: 20
Hometown: Mesa, Arizona
Years in Maricopa: 8
Occupation: Student
Family: I am the youngest girl of 6 children to Janine and Thomas Richie, both active members of the community who value growth and development of our youth. My mother is a teacher who has spent much of her career in Maricopa and my father is an active member of Maricopa who has coached school teams and taught as a substitute.
Political background: This is my first campaign, but I am registered as an independent.
Previous community service: Assisted in planning and promotion of multiple fundraiser events for local schools. Participated as a mentor for youth for several years and directed a number of community events for students and local youth. Assisted teachers in building lesson plans, student projects and developing classroom environments. Organized and promoted a number of fundraising events for the community and local families. Devote time to reach youth and encourage civic engagement in our community.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? I’d like to work on Maricopa’s environmental impact and sustainability. With the effort our city has made to prevent light pollution, I feel as though we have expressed a value in our role in the environment, and I would like to further pursue that value and help our city to lessen our environmental impact. Furthermore, by looking into environmentally friendly options, this may open new pathways for economic stimulation in the form of jobs and growth for Maricopa.

Qualifications? I have extensive knowledge and experience of working with the Arizona community and their state programs through working with the Department of Economic Security. This experience is furthered by my political science major at ASU, giving me the tools and knowledge to apply justice and sustainability to my community.

Proudest achievement? I am most proud of my education. Coming from a family where a college education hasn’t always been an option, I am proud that I am actively a senior at Arizona State University.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? Zoning regulations and how they are applied in order to make our city as efficient as possible.



Rich Vitiello

Rich Vitiello (submitted photo)

Age: 53
Hometown: New York City, New York
Years in Maricopa: 13
Occupation: Sales
Family: Wife Joann, 4 daughters, 8 grandkids
Political background: Previously campaigned for Maricopa City Council and Pinal County Board of Supervisors
Previous community service: Volunteer with Maricopa Police Dept.; Food Bank; 2040 Vision Committee; City Board of Adjustments; MUSD J.V. softball coach; fundraisers for Maricopa residents in hardship; donations of bicycles to fire and police depts.; umpire at the American Legion Annual Softball Game; graduated from Maricopa Leadership Academy.

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why? Maricopa needs more local, high-paying jobs. I look forward to using my 27 years of business experience to work with the economic development dept. And attending educational and trade meetings and conferences to bring more business opportunities to our city to improve the quality of life.

Qualifications? Transparency, honesty and accountability are what made me successful. I have been actively engaged in city government issues and have participated first-hand in initiatives that have a direct impact on Maricopa’s development, growth and quality of life. I was endorsed by Fraternal Order of Police and Arizona Association of Firefighters.

Proudest achievement? Being a husband, father and grandfather. Family is the most important thing to me. My family is part of this community, and my dedication to my family and this community is steadfast.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? One-third of Maricopa is in a flood zone, affecting city housing, transportation, growth and business development. I am learning more about how this issue may be resolved by sitting in on meetings with Flood District President Dan Frank and Mayor Christian Price. I look forward to learning more.


 

Henry Wade (incumbent)

Henry Wade (submitted photo)

Age: 63
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Years in Maricopa: 10
Occupation: Director of Housing Counseling Services, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc., City Councilmember, City of Maricopa
Family: Gayle Randolph, Jeremiha Ballard and Jovan Wade
Political background: Member of Maricopa City Council since 2014, campaigned for County Supervisor 2012
Previous community service: Planning & Zoning Commission (2 years as Vice-Chair), Chair – Pinal County Democratic Party, Affirmative Action Moderator Arizona Democratic Party, Vice Chair African-American Caucus Arizona Democratic Party. Numerous community task force and committees. Scout leader and 20 years active duty military (Air Force retired)

What is the one thing you would like to change about Maricopa as a councilmember and why?  I would love to change the access to our community. I think the most significant concern of most residents, including myself, is the extreme limitation of State Route 347. Not just because it is restricted to four lanes but that the entry and exit to feeder roads are dangerous and deadly. I am prayerful that through the efforts of the recently formed Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), we are steps closer to fixing a problem that has harmed many of our citizens and plagued us all enough.

Qualifications? I have hands-on job experience. My qualifications and experience comes from successfully serving the community on council diligently and faithfully for last 3+ years. Additionally, I serve as liaison or vice on Maricopa Unified School District #20, Planning and Zoning Commission, Cultural Awareness Advisory Committee and Youth Council.

Proudest achievement? Connecting the underserved community to city government, encouraging citizens to serve on Boards, Commissions and task forces along with participating in the Maricopa Leadership Academy (MCLA).  I am especially thrilled at the recent successful, youth conducted, Mock City Council meeting, as part of my Councilmember on the Corner outreach program.

On what aspect of city government are you least knowledgeable? If I have a limitation, it is in the Human Resources department. As a director of staff, I recognize that HR is a special department with many moving parts and aspects. I applaud the civil servants’ that manage those duties. It is an ever-changing landscape.


This article appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Rick Horst. Submitted photo

A finalist for the Maricopa city manager was awarded a three-year employment agreement Tuesday after city council voted to offer him the shorter-than-usual contract.

“[Maricopa] has a leakage of about $367 million where citizens are spending money in other communities, and my expertise is in how to reverse that.” — incoming City Manager Ricky Horst

Ricky Horst, the current city manager for Rocklin, California, will begin his contract in Maricopa on June 25 and receive $180,000 for the first year of the contract, paid in equal, bi-weekly installments. Each of the following two years he will have an opportunity to make even more, according to the stipulations of his contract.

“After the first year of this Agreement, the Employer may increase [Horst’s] salary as part of the City’s annual budget process [sic],” the contract states.

The three-year contract is shorter than usual for a reason, Mayor Christian Price said. It gives the city the option to revisit the contract in a few years to determine if things are working out, something which is harder to do with a five- or 10-year contract.

“I think everybody wants someone that is going to have buy-in,” Price said. “[But] there’s a flip side to that. What if you don’t like the individual? What if they’re not working out? What if things aren’t going so well?”

By keeping the contract shorter, Price said, it gives the city the ability to come back in a few years and assess the city manager’s performance.

In a phone interview Wednesday Horst said, he and his wife were elated to be coming to Maricopa, a city which dually shares his vision and could use his experience.

“[Maricopa] has a leakage of about $367 million where citizens are spending money in other communities, and my expertise is in how to reverse that,” Horst said. “So, then we can continue to provide for public safety, better infrastructure and quality of life amenities that will continue to make Maricopa the special place that it is.”

Horst went on to say Maricopa is offering him more than just a role in developing such a young city, and the city also fits the mold for a place he would like to call home.

“I’ve been at this for a while, and frankly I’ve had a lot of invites to go to a lot of cities to look at what they’re doing, but I have the right to be picky now,” Horst said Wednesday. “And I picked Maricopa both for career reasons and professional reasons, but also for personal reasons and quality-of-life reasons.”

A city Stakeholder Panel was convened to help in the city manager selection process. The nine-member group of residents, businesses owners and local organization leaders aided in the culling the original candidate selection down to two finalists – Horst and a former assistant to the Maricopa city manager, Nicole Lance.

The Stakeholder Panel consisted of Ioanna Morfessis, president and chief strategist of Io.Inc; AnnaMarie Knorr, Maricopa Unified School District Governing Board president; Dan Frank, president of Maricopa Flood Control District; Joe Hoover, owner of Legacy Montessori; John Stapleton, owner of CopaTV; Paul Shirk, president of Maricopa Historical Society; Linda Cheney, vice president of El Dorado Holdings; Glenda Kelly, board member of Maricopa Chamber of Commerce; and Mario Ortega, retired Maricopa Police officer.

Councilwoman Julia Gusse lodged an ethics complaint against Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, but withdrew it last week, according to city records.

A formal complaint of violating the city council’s Code of Ethics was withdrawn last week, two and a half weeks after being filed and nearly two months after the accusation was made.

The complaint, filed March 29 by Councilwoman Julia Gusse, accused Councilmember Vincent Manfredi of violating three sections of the code, which was adopted in 2013. The accusations stemmed from Manfredi’s social media posts that criticized a reporter with the Maricopa Monitor.

In her complaint, Gusse said Manfredi “used his official title to blast his personal opinion against Bethany Blundell calling her an unethical liar with little experience.”

Manfredi is a minority owner of InMaricopa.

Gusse called the exchange on his city council Facebook page “unbecoming” a councilmember. The post in February was in response to questions raised by residents based on an opinion piece written by Blundell accusing Manfredi of passing privileged information to InMaricopa reporters and trying to unduly influence upcoming candidate debates.

He is up for re-election this year.

Based on Manfredi’s response, portions of the Ethics Code Gusse cited were Article VIII, Sec. 2-131.a (highest standards of ethics); Article VIII, Sec. 2-133.c (professionalism and courtesy); and Article VIII, Sec. 2-133.h (communications).

City records show a month before filing the complaint, Gusse wrote Manfredi a Feb. 28 letter demanding a formal public apology.

“As much as you want to believe that this is YOUR opinion and only YOUR opinion, it is NOT,” she wrote. “You are using your title and your position to defame and demoralize this young female journalist that happened to write an opinion piece that you did not agree with.”

In his response that same day, Manfredi told Gusse, “after speaking with our attorney and the Mayor, I decided to issue a retraction and apology to Ms. Blundell for the words I used to describe her.”

Gusse went forward with the formal complaint, however, including the statement, “I have been judged by my peers for these same violations. Mr. Manfredi should be given the same opportunity to face this Council regarding this violation.”

She was referencing a 2014 incident during her previous term in office when she publicly questioned a former councilmember’s ethics and called him a bully. She received an official warning from the council afterward.

The city council’s discussion of the Manfredi matter was in closed session April 16.

April 17, Gusse wrote to interim City Manager Trisha Sorensen, “I believe Councilman Manfredi’s apology regarding his comments was sufficient. Please be advised that I requested an apology, one was delivered and do not request any further action from the City related to my Ethics Complaint and consider this matter resolved through the Ethics Code’s informal process.”

A statement from City Hall said the matter was resolved through an informal process and there will be no further action.

“As the subject of the complaint, I feel the Code of Ethics worked well and it was able to help Councilwoman Gusse and myself resolve the issue at its lower level,” Manfredi said.

“I am proud of my fellow councilmembers for resolving this issue,” said Mayor Christian Price. “This is a great example of councilmembers working together to achieve a resolution that best allows the City to move forward in a positive direction by following the provisions outlined in the city code. Checking in on ourselves to ensure we are maintaining the utmost standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, honesty and fairness is a good practice and makes us stronger as a body.”

Gusse did not respond to a request for comment. 


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Rick Horst. Submitted photo

At the Tuesday, April 24 City Council meeting the Council will vote on a contract to hire Ricky Horst as the new City Manager of the City of Maricopa. The contract lists his start date as June 25.

Horst has been the city manager of Rocklin, California, since 2011. He has more than 28 year of experience in the field of public administration with 23 years in the position of City Manager. Horst is a credentialed City Manager, certified with the International City/County Management Association.

The City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. at Maricopa City Hall, 39700 W. Civic Center Plaza.

Horst’s resume

At a meet-and-greet last week with fellow candidate Nicole Lance, Horst told the audience city administrators should “astonish” the public with their clarity and openness. He also touched on the relationship between the city manager and the city council.

“The truth is, if you don’t get along, there is no success,” he said.

by -
Photo by Mason Callejas

Tuesday, Mayor Christian Price proclaimed March Women’s History Month:

Women’s History Month proclamation

Whereas, women of every race, class, and ethnic background have made historic contributions to the growth and strength of our Nation, our State, our County, and our City in countless recorded and unrecorded ways; and
Whereas, women contribute to the local, regional and national economic development as business owners, partners, executives, entrepreneurs and managers; and
Whereas, women have played and continue to play critical social, cultural and economic roles in every sphere of life by constituting a significant portion of the labor force working inside and outside of the home; and
Whereas, women have played a unique role throughout the history of Maricopa by providing much of the volunteer labor force in our the City, and
Whereas, women created and continue to play a vital role in sustaining Maricopa’s charitable, philanthropic, and cultural institutions; and
Whereas, women of all races, ages, and ethnic backgrounds have served, and continue to serve, as leaders and valued members of our City government, department Directors, public safety, and staff; and
Whereas, women have served our country courageously in the military; supported and encouraged military families through their leadership and contributions in auxiliary organizations; and
Whereas, despite all of these incredible contributions, we continue to honor and respect women throughout our history, and presently, for their great deeds & accomplishments, but also in their cherished roles as mothers, wives, aunt’s, sisters, nieces and grandmothers; and
Whereas, we wish to recognize and acknowledge all women for their wisdom, strength, resolve, compassion, dedication, perseverance, devotion and unwavering love to all mankind;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, do hereby proclaim the month of March 2018 asWomen’s History Month in the City of Maricopa, Arizona.
Dated this 20th day of March, 2018

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department want a preplan in place for commerical areas in case of major fires.

Maricopa City Council approved a transfer from the city’s contingency fund Tuesday to pay for a fire preplan for as many as 96 commercial buildings around the city.

The $48,000 expense will bring Maricopa in line with other fire departments in the Phoenix metro area in better preparing firefighters responding to major fires in the city.

“Right now, when people come in, as well as our own commanders, they come in blind,” Maricopa Fire Chief Brady Leffler said.

The preplanning, he said, creates multiple maps that both MFMD commanders and outside emergency personnel can view when responding to fires. The maps contain locational information about hydrant, sprinklers, electrical breakers and gas shutoffs.

Preplan example

This information, he said, is lacking for almost all the city’s major buildings, public and private.

“Currently we don’t have any [preplans],” Leffler said. “We don’t have anything for [city hall], Copper Sky [has] nothing, the schools [have] nothing.”

MFMD recognized the need for such a plan roughly two years ago, Leffler said.  And at that time the department tried to do the preplanning themselves, however due to the complex nature of the planning, he said, they “failed miserably.”

“This is very technical, it involves the Phoenix [computer aided dispatch], and it also involves [geographic information system],” he said. “We tried doing hand drawings, we tried everything, so we reached out to people that do this for a living.”

The city is part of an automatic aid consortium Leffler said calls upon in the event of an exceptionally large incident or if MFMD is occupied, thus making this fire preplan essential.

Councilmember Henry Wade expressed concern about the burden of providing such information, asking if it should be up to the owner or occupant of a building to pay for such a plan.

In response, Leffler said the city currently does ask for certain information from developers, but the information lacks certain details and is never uploaded to Phoenix regional dispatch system for other departments to access.

The initial $48,000 of the contract with Phoenix based company, The Preplanners, would be spent to create the necessary documents for 96 buildings around the city.  An additional reoccurring $5,000 annual fee would be attached to the contract should the city decide to retain the company services to create additional fire preplans as the city grows.

Though not opposed to the idea of budgeting for a fire preplan, the $5,000 reoccurring fee is where councilmember Nancy Smith expressed concern.

“Here we are almost in March, we are going to be approving a brand-new budget in June and if this is part of that approved budget, at that point, then we move forward,” Smith said.  “And what I’ve lost is three months, but what we’ve gained is clarity in terms of the other must-have [expenses].”

The “must haves” she spoke of were the many similar, seemingly “crucial” expenses council sees requests for each budget cycle. And considering the reoccurring $5,000 expense, she said the matter should not rely on contingency funds.

In the end, council approved the measure 6-1, Smith voting against.



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

by -
Vice Mayor Peg Chapados

Vice Mayor Peg Chapados invites all City Council candidates, or anyone interested in learning more about what serving on City Council involves, to a free 90-minute workshop entitled: Top 10 Lessons Learned on City Council. The workshop is Feb. 27, 7-8:30 p.m., in Council Chambers at City Hall.

“Serving on City Council is a ‘learn the job by doing the job’ endeavor. There aren’t a lot of classes, books or courses that offer ‘how to” instructions,” said Chapados. “What I am sharing are important lessons I’ve learned as a member of City Council.”

Chapados was originally appointed in November 2012. She was elected to a four-year term in 2014 and unanimously voted vice mayor in December 2017. She  serves on the Budget, Finance & Operations (BFO) Council Sub-Committee and as a Council Liaison to the Age-Friendly, Cultural Affairs and soon-to-be Arts Committees, as well as the Board of Adjustment and Planning & Zoning Commission. She is active on the City of Maricopa Housing Needs Assessment Steering Committee, Housing Plan Committee and the Subdivision Ordinance Review Committee. She is also a sustaining Platinum MAP (Maricopa Advocate Program) member.

“There’s more to being on Council than just meetings,” Chapados said. “There are expectations and requests that demand your time. You must find a balance between everything you want or need to do with what your schedule will allow. Knowing all this ahead of time helps prepare you and your family for what lies ahead during the campaign and if you’re elected.”

Topics covered in the workshop are:

  • It’s All About You/Who? – elected officials, politics and public service
  • 24/7/365 O.J.T. – what is this, and how does it impact your position/life
  • Icebergs & Governance – perceptions, scope, and so much more!
  • The “easy” part
  • O.I. – it’s much, much more than what you think
  • SMEs – Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • Connecting the “DDOTS” – influences & resources for effective and positive decision-making
  • The ART of asking – questions and answers are just the beginning
  • Building something – economic development, or something else?

Chapados will share her experiences and tips as well as some programs and initiatives that she has successfully brought forth during her tenure on Council.

“Now is the time to prepare and learn all you can. If you’re elected, your first decisions happen right after you take the Oath of Office. You begin making decisions and fulfilling your duties at your first meeting. There’s no waiting period and the learning curve begins with every action you take.”

She will also share strategies and steps that candidates can take advantage of today. “I encourage all council candidates to attend, ask questions, and learn what’s involved and expected if you are elected to City Council. The more you can learn now, the better prepared you will be.”

There is no need to register in advance, but if you have questions, you can contact Vice Mayor Chapados at peggy.chapados@maricopa-az.gov.

by -
Photo by Michelle Chance

The Maricopa City Council approved an application for federal transit funds Tuesday.

The vote followed a presentation by the city’s transportation department and a public hearing about plans for developing public transportation in the community.

Council unanimously approved submission of the application for grant funding through the Federal Transit Administration, a grant that has become a mainstay in the city’s transit budget.

Development Services Director Martin Scribner said the federal Section 5311 grant is something they apply for every two years. By continuing to do so, the FTA remains informed about the goals of the city, making it more likely to continue to receive the funds, which make up more than half of the transportation department’s budget.

The combined proposed transportation budget for fiscal years 2018-19 and 2019-20 is roughly $924,000, of which $579,000 are federal funds.

 “This is a great time for us to come and say, ‘Here’s where we’re at right now, here’s where we see going in the very near future,’” Scribner said.

In 2017, the City of Maricopa Express Transit – COMET — saw a growth in ridership of roughly 2,700 more people than in 2016, Transportation Director David Maestas said. That’s a 39-percent increase.

This, Maestas said, follows an overall trend that indicates the city needs to begin to expand transit services. By doing so, he said, the city becomes eligible for more housing tax-credits, which together spurs development.

“There definitely is no question about this,” Maestas said. “There is a strong correlation between development and transportation.”

COMET offers two main types of service: a route deviation service and a local and regional demand response service.

The route deviation service is more like a typical bus route with 11 stops, each with a scheduled service currently operating between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The demand response service is a dial-a-ride type service that offers curbside pick-up and drop-off at specific locations around Maricopa and to any location within five miles of Banner Hospital in Casa Grande or Chandler Regional Medical Center. 

The trend seen with the increase in ridership, Maestas said, indicates a preference to the local scheduled route deviation service.

“We’ve already surpassed demand response and we’re operating conservatively fewer hours, so the trend would suggest to us the efficiency of operating a route deviation service versus demand response,” Maestas said.

As such, the city is hoping to use a combination of federal funds and funds from the recently approved RTA tax to purchase six bus stop shelters to cover all 11 current stops on the scheduled route and have one as a reserve.

Maestas also said, given the uptick in scheduled route riders, the city is looking to possibly expand hours of operation from 7 a.m.–5 p.m. to 6 a.m.–to 6 p.m.

As for the demand response service, trips cost riders only $1 per one-way local-trip and $3 per regional round-trip. Typically, with fewer than five riders for regional trips, which primarily go to hospitals, this is extremely inefficient in terms of cost.  

Councilmember Vince Manfredi inquired about alternative options such as rideshare programs like Lyft Uber and Waymo, given that medical trips through those services are typically subsidized by insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.

Considering these options and the relative inefficiency of the regional demand service, Manfredi asked, “At what point do we get to that tipping point where we really do have to look at rideshare services that are doing it more efficiently, quicker, and just better than the government.”

Manfredi has driven for both Uber and Lyft. When asked if shifting toward promoting ridesharing services for medical access transportation instead of a city services, would be a conflict of interest, he said, “I don’t see it as a conflict… I don’t drive for Uber medical.”

The actual service is called Uber Assist and is typically available for the same rate as a regular UberX. From Maricopa to Chandler Regional Medical center, a one-way ride typically costs a rider $20-25. The current cost for COMET regional demand service is $3 dollars per rider for a round trip.

However, Manfredi said, the actual cost to the city is closer to $40-50 per round trip. With typical trips taking fewer than five riders, that means the city is picking up a cost of any where between $25-45 dollars per regional demand trip to the hospital in Chandler.

If there were an increase in demand for the regional demand service, he said, he would support it.

“Once we can get enough people on a bus, maybe it makes sense, but as we sit right now it’s not making sense.”



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

Freda Mae Black and Melvin Benning. Photo by Mason Callejas

February is proclaimed Black History month annually in the city of Maricopa. It is a month of reflection and celebration, as well as an opportunity to come together as a community.

This year, the Men’s Cultural Awareness Symposium at City Hall discussed the politics of skin tone in the African American community Saturday. During this year’s proclamation Tuesday, council chambers were filled with residents who celebrated with music, singing and refreshments.

In January, Maricopa celebrated the life of Martin Luther King Jr. at Copper Sky. At that event was Melvin Benning, one organizer of the city’s very first MLK event years ago.

Benning, the first African American president of the local Rotary Club, and Freda Mae Black were on the ground floor of African American celebrations in Maricopa.

Black is an Arizona native, and Benning hails from Detroit, Michigan. Both moved to Maricopa in 2006 and met as neighbors in Senita.

The friends quickly bonded and organized the city’s first Martin Luther King Jr. and Juneteenth celebrations at Rotary Park in 2008. Benning and Black said their efforts to establish positive traditions in their new community did not come without its obstacles.

“It was a struggle because I didn’t get the backing that I thought I would from the town of Maricopa,” Black said.

Organizers say they were frustrated with the city’s lack of involvement in the inaugural events celebrating African American history and culture.

The turnout was good despite the struggles. Future Mayor Christian Price, Councilmember Marvin Brown, future Councilmember Henry Wade and Pinal County NAACP President Constance Jackson were among the attendees.

The lack of support elsewhere discouraged Black from planning future events in the city.

“I never try to use color as a factor in anything, but that’s how they make you feel,” she said.

Black decided to refocus her events in Phoenix with her nonprofit organization that provides resources for the homeless and those living with HIV. Benning, a musician, continued booking local concerts around the county with his band.

Seven years passed, and the city held its second MLK Day, this time hosted by new organizers.

Benning still has family ties to the city and says race relations in Maricopa are improving, citing Mayor Price’s and Maricopa Police Department Chief Steve Stahl’s work in the community and the local active NAACP.

Black said events like these should be embraced by the whole community because it is an opportunity to learn from each other.

“We fear change because we don’t want to understand it,” Black said. “You need to stop fearing change and embrace it because everybody comes with so many good ideas.”

A new event in Maricopa debuts this week at the Maricopa Public Library. The African American History Live Musical Revue will take place Feb. 10 at 4 p.m.



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

by -
Maricopa City Council: (seated, from left) Vice Mayor Marvin Brown, Mayor Christian Price, Councilmember Peggy Chapados; (standing) Councilmembers Nancy Smith, Henry Wade, Julia Gusse and Vincent Manfredi (City of Maricopa photo)

City of Maricopa
39700 W. Civic Center Plaza
520-568-9098
Maricopa-AZ.gov

 

Mayor
Christian Price
520-316-6821
Christian.Price@Maricopa-AZ.gov

City Council
Vice Mayor Peggy Chapados
520-316-3826
Peggy.Chapados@Maricopa-AZ.gov

Councilmember Marvin L. Brown
520-316-2020
Marvin.Brown@Maricopa-AZ.gov

Councilmember Julia Gusse
520-568-9098
Julia.Gusse@Maricopa-AZ.gov

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi
520-316-6823
Vincent.Manfredi@Maricopa-AZ.gov

Councilmember Nancy Smith
520-316-6822
Nancy.Smith@Maricopa-AZ.gov

Councilmember Henry Wade
520-316-6825
Henry.Wade@Maricopa-AZ.gov

 

Maricopa Unified School District
44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.
520-568-5100
MUSD20.org

Governing Board
President AnnaMarie Knorr
AKnorr@musd20.org

Vice President Gary Miller
GMiller@musd20.org

Member Torri Anderson
TorriAnderson@musd20.org

Member Patti Coutré
PCoutre@musd20.org

Member Joshua Judd
JoshJudd@musd20.org

 

Maricopa Flood Control District
480-980-0531

Board of Directors
President Dan Frank
Secretary Brad Hinton
Member Scott Kelly

 

Pinal County

Sheriff
Mark Lamb
971 Jason Lopez Circle, Building C, Florence
520-866-5997
PinalCountyAZ.gov/Sheriff

County Attorney
Kent Volkmer
30 N. Florence St, Building D, Florence
520-866-6271
PinalCountyAttorney@PinalCountyAZ.gov
PinalCountyAZ.gov/CountyAttorney

Justice of the Peace – Precinct 8 (Maricopa/Stanfield)
Lyle Riggs
19955 N. Wilson Ave.
520-866-3999
PinalCountyAZ.gov/Judicial

Constable – Precinct 8 (Maricopa/Stanfield)
Bret Roberts
19955 N. Wilson Ave.
520-840-5294
Bret.Roberts@PinalCountyAZ.gov

Assessor
Douglas Wolf
31 N. Pinal St, Building E, Florence
520-866-6353
Assessor@PinalCountyAZ.gov
PinalCountyAZ.gov/Assessor

Recorder
Virginia Ross
31 N. Pinal St, Building E, Florence
520-866-6830
Recorder@PinalCountyAZ.gov
PinalCountyAZ.gov/Recorder

Board of Supervisors
135 N. Pinal St, Building A, Florence
520-866-6220
PinalCountyAZ.gov/BOS

Supervisor Anthony Smith [District 4, Maricopa] 41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, Suite 128
520-866-3960
Anthony.Smith@PinalCountyAZ.gov

Supervisor Pete Rios [District 1] 520-866-7830
Pete.Rios@PinalCountyAZ.gov

Supervisor Mike Goodman [District 2] 520-866-8080
Mike.Goodman@PinalCountyAZ.gov

Supervisor Stephen Miller [District 3] 520-866-7401
Steve.Miller@PinalCountyAZ.gov

Supervisor Todd House [District 5] 480-982-0659
Todd.House@PinalCountyAZ.gov

 

Central Arizona College (Pinal County Community College District) Governing Board
8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge
800-237-9814
CentralAZ.edu

Member Dan Miller [District 4 – Maricopa] Dan.Miller2@CentralAZ.edu

President Gladys Christensen [District 1] Gladys.Christensen@CentralAZ.edu

Member Debra Banks [District 2] Debra.Banks@CentralAZ.edu

Member Rick Gibson [District 3] Rick.Gibson@CentralAZ.edu

Member Jack Yarrington
Jack.Yarrington@CentralAZ.edu

 

State of Arizona

Governor
Doug Ducey
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix
602-542-4331
Engage@AZ.gov
AZGovernor.gov

State Legislators
Steve Smith – State Senator – District 11 (Maricopa)
1700 W. Washington St, Room 33, Phoenix
602-926-5685
STSmith@AZLeg.gov
AZLeg.gov

Mark Finchem – State Representative – District 11 (Maricopa)
1700 W. Washington St, Room 129, Phoenix
602-926-3122
MFinchem@AZLeg.gov
AZLeg.gov

Vince Leach – State Representative – District 11 (Maricopa)
1700 W. Washington St, Room 226, Phoenix
602-926-3106
VLeach@AZLeg.gov
AZLeg.gov

Secretary of State
Michelle Reagan
1700 W. Washington St., 7th Floor, Phoenix
1-800-458-5842
AZSOS.gov

Attorney General
Mark Brnovich
1275 W. Washington St., Phoenix
602-542-5025
AZAG.gov

State Treasurer
Jeff Dewit
1700 W. Washington St, 1st Floor, Phoenix
602-542-7800
AZTreasury.gov

State Mine Inspector
Joe Hart
1700 W. Washington St, 4th Floor, Phoenix
602-542-5971
ASMI.AZ.gov

State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Diane Douglas
1535 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix
800-352-4558
adeinbox@AZED.gov
AZED.gov/superintendent

Corporation Commission
1200 W. Washington St, Commissioners Wing, 2nd Floor, Phoenix
AZCC.gov

Chairman Tom Forese
602-542-3933
foresee-web@AZCC.gov

Commissioner Bob Burns
602-542-3682
rburns-web@AZCC.gov

Commissioner Doug Little
602-542-0742
little-web@AZCC.gov

Commissioner Andy Tobin
602-542-3625
tobin-web@AZCC.gov

Commissioner Boyd W. Dunn
602-542-3935
dunn-web@AZCC.gov

 

U.S. Congress

Tom O’Halleran –  U.S. Representative – U.S. House District 1
126 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
202-225-3361
211 N. Florence St, Suite 1, Casa Grande
520-316-0839
3037 W. Ina Road, Suite 101, Tucson
928-304-0131
OHalleran.House.gov

John McCain – U.S. Senator
218 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
202-224-2235
2201 E. Camelback Road, Suite 115, Phoenix
602-952-2410
407 W. Congress St, Suite 103, Tucson
520-670-6334
McCain.Senate.gov

Jeff Flake – U.S. Senator
Senate Russell Office Building 413, Washington, D.C.
202-224-4521
2200 E. Camelback Road, Suite 120, Phoenix
602-840-1891
6840 N. Oracle Road, Suite 150, Tucson
520-575-8633
Flake.Senate.gov

 

President of the United States
Donald Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
Phone (White House Switchboard): 202-456-1111
Phone (Comments): 202-456-1414
Phone (TTY/TTD): 202-456-6213
Phone (Visitors Office): 202-456-2121
WhiteHouse.gov


2018 is an election year. For updated elected official information, visit http://www.inmaricopa.com/newresidentguide/

by -

In the first week the paperwork was available, two incumbents and seven challengers have pulled election packets to run for three seats on Maricopa City Council.

They become candidates only after they turn in the completed packets and petitions between April 30 and May 30.

Henry Wade and Vincent Manfredi are sitting councilmembers wishing to return. Peg Chapados’s seat on the dais is also available.

Contending for those seats are Viola Najar, Robert Marsh, Cynthia Morgan, Leon Potter, Sarah Ball, Linette Caroselli and Rich Vitiello.

Najar, a member of the Age-Friendly Maricopa Advisory Council, Marsh and Potter, both members of the Planning & Zoning Commission, must resign to run. Potter is a former councilmember.

Vitiello was a candidate for council in 2014, facing off with Nancy Smith, and ran for county supervisor against Anthony Smith in the Republican primary in 2016.

Morgan, who chairs a networking committee for the Maricopa Chamber of Commerce, Caroselli, a teacher and activist, and Ball are venturing into city politics for the first time.

Others interested in running for council have until April 30 to pick up an election packet at City Hall.



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

by -
Should voters know the political party affiliation of their city council members?

A bill recently introduced in the state Legislature could turn local elections partisan.

Introduced by Rep. Jay Lawrence (R–District 23), House Bill 2032 would require cities and towns to print candidates’ party designations on ballots for mayor and city council elections.

Local leaders expressed opposition to the proposal, arguing city policies are nonpartisan in nature.

“I understand that we all tend do lean one way or the other,” said Mayor Christian Price. “But at the local level, the beauty of the pothole in the middle of the street is that it is not Republican or Democrat; it’s just a pothole that needs to get fixed, and that’s the joy of doing my job at a local level and working for the people.”

It’s not the first time a bill for partisan city elections has been proposed by the Legislature. Price said, if passed this time, the bill would give undue power to the party system.

“I encourage the voter to figure out who they’re electing and why, and not just [look] at an ‘R’ or a ‘D.’ While that’s helpful, it’s not always as helpful as they’d like to think it is,” Price said.

Councilwoman Julia Gusse, a registered independent, agreed, pointing out candidates do not always vote along the lines of their registered parties.

“Democrats and Republicans are not monolithic; not all Democrats are pro-choice, just like not all Republicans are fiscally conservative,” Gusse said.

Gusse said an informed voter in a non-partisan election will know the party where a candidate most likely aligns. Gusse said she fears partisan elections could also influence candidates to rely solely on a party designation to win office.

“I want individuals to earn their seats and I want to be elected because people voted for me, not the letter next to my name on that ballot,” Gusse said.

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi said the bill serves no practical service to residents.

“As a councilmember, you work for your community, so your community is going to know you anyway,” Manfredi said. “Regardless whether you have an ‘R’ or ‘D’ next to your name they’re going to vote for people they feel are going to provide the most value for your community.”



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

by -
Peggy Chapados was selected the vice mayor on the recommendation of Councilmember Marvin Brown, her predecessor in the seat. Photo by Mason Callejas

A changing of the guard took place within the Maricopa City Council Tuesday during the annual selection of the vice mayor.

The now former vice mayor, Marvin Brown, stepped aside during the council’s regular meeting while simultaneously nominating Councilmember Peggy Chapados to fill the position. She becomes the first female vice mayor of Maricopa.

During the meeting, Brown said he took pleasure in nominating someone whom seven years ago he himself appointed to the Parks, Recreation and Libraries board and now serves as “a trusted colleague” on council.

A native New Yorker who moved to Maricopa in 2006, Chapados said she is honored to have been nominated and to have the confidence of her fellow councilmembers.

“I am just excited to continue representing Maricopa as I have been for the past five years,” she said.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Chapados added she doesn’t have any plans of immediately running for another term upon the expiration of her current term in December 2018. However, she said, she may consider running in the future if the conditions are right.

For now, she said, she wants to finish what she’s started.

“I’m still involved in a lot of different committees and projects, so I want to make sure those get completed.”



MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

City Councilmembers (from left) Nancy Smith, Henry Wade, Peggy Chapados, Mayor Christian Price, Vice Mayor Marvin Brown, Vincent Manfredi and Julia Gusse turn dirt for the formal groundbreaking ceremony Monday. Photo by Mason Callejas

An infrastructure project 15 years in the making finally broke ground Monday morning.

City officials broke ground for the overpass at State Route 347 and the Union Pacific Railroad crossing.

A who’s who of Maricopa leadership came out to a vacant lot on John Wayne Parkway and Honeycutt Road, property that will be beneath the future overpass, to witness the ceremonial launch of the historical event.

“When we’re here today on this momentous and historic day, it’s not because we just decided that yesterday we needed an overpass and we just finally got around to doing it,” said Mayor Christian Price speaking to a sizeable crowd. “It’s because it’s been in the works for 15 years.”

Along with city council members and staff, Price also reunited with the city’s former leaders to break ground on the State Route 347 overpass above the Union Pacific Rail Road crossing.

Former Mayors Edward Farrell, Kelly Anderson and Anthony Smith attended the groundbreaking.

Price honored his predecessors with a gift for their contributions to the overpass.

“I think this goes way, way back to probably August of 2003 when Mayor Farrell formed the committee to incorporate because if we hadn’t taken the step to incorporate we would not be here because we didn’t have the political clout to do this,”

Farrell is the first mayor of Maricopa. He led the once-small town toward cityhood over 15 years ago.

I think it’s awesome, as Kelly can agree with me because we were here from day one, and at day one that overpass was a priority. For the mayors that follow after us to take it where we left off – Mayor Smith starting it in 2008 – and Mayor Price to take it from third-base-to-home, he did an outstanding job. It’s a very special day,” Farrell said.

Smith, now a Pinal County supervisor said the overpass is one step in a long line of upcoming improvements to the 347.

“This is kind of a warm up for really where we are heading in the future, so I know it’s difficult, but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Smith said.

City leaders braced residents to be patient with the project’s related traffic delays. Construction is slated to being by Nov. 25. Until then, Price said it’s time to celebrate.

“Congratulations, we’re getting an overpass,” he said.


MOBILE USERS GET NEWS FIRST. Download InMaricopa for Apple and Android devices.

City Manager Gregory Rose at a crowded city council meeting this year. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

By Raquel Hendrickson & Mason Callejas

Maricopa is hunting for a new city manager.

After almost four years, Gregory Rose announced to staff Tuesday morning his intention to leave for a similar position in University City, Missouri. He starts his new job Dec. 28. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, his salary will be $170,000. His Maricopa salary is $173,000.

“I think we’re all sad to see him go,” Mayor Christian Price said. “I know he has family back in the Dallas area, and University City makes it a little bit better to get to. And [University City is] going through some challenges that fall within his wheelhouse.”

University City has had financial and development problems as well as political issues. Rose said he felt that was a main reason he was selected.

University City has been under interim management since the previous city manager was fired in March amid controversy. The suburb of St. Louis has a population of around 35,000.

Rose started city administration in University City in 1997 as a deputy manager. He left in 2001.

“It’s always been a city I enjoyed when I was there, and I knew if ever there was an opportunity to return I would seriously consider it,” said Rose, who said he had not been searching for another job when the University City position opened.

“It was the only city I would have considered,” he said.

Rose has been a city administrator in Hyattsville, Maryland, a city manager in North Las Vegas, Nevada, and principle of the consulting firm Rose & Associate until he was named city manager of Maricopa in February 2014.

Rose replaced Brenda Fischer, who went on to serve as city manager of Glendale for less than 18 months before moving to Las Vegas.

The development of Maricopa’s 2040 Vision, the completion of Copper Sky and the pending overpass on John Wayne Parkway across the Union Pacific Railroad tracks are three of the accomplishments he’s most pleased to have been a part of in Maricopa. He said he hopes Maricopans “appreciate what we accomplished together.”

He said the 2040 Vision, a long-range planning document the community created, is “an extremely clear vision that will transcend many administrations.”

Though Rose and city council have not yet worked out his departure date, Rose said he definitely would be present for the groundbreaking ceremony for the overpass Nov. 20.

“You couldn’t drag me away,” he said.

For the moment, Rose wants to work with council and staff to help the interim transition go smoothly.

Price said the hiring process for a new city manager could take 3-5 months. If city council follows the same procedure it used in hiring Rose, an interim manager will be put into place as the search process begins. He said the interim could come from within city hall or be someone outside.

Then council would compile a stakeholders group comprised of commission members and prominent members of the community. They will look at applicants and pass along their recommendations to a directors group, which would winnow the applicants to six or seven. Then the council would narrow those to the top three.

But that procedure could change.

“The council has to decide which way it wants to go,” Price said.

Quintin Baker directs Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship. Photo by Mason Callejas

The director of Maricopa’s small-business incubator presented its third quarter update to City Council Tuesday, during which he proclaimed he would no longer be using certain metrics to measure success despite councilmembers previously requesting more detailed numerical data.

Quintin Baker, director of the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship, presented its Q3 numbers which showed growth in certain areas such as attendance, social media presence and mentorship. However, he showed the number of clients served, and the jobs created, slipped.

In the Q2 report, Baker reported four jobs created and 39 clients served, but in Q3 there were zero jobs created and 32 clients served.

As such, Baker said he would no longer be providing metrics related to job creation. But, that’s a good thing, he said.

“It’s not that I don’t think it is [important], it’s just that the numbers weren’t there,” Baker said. “The small businesses weren’t showing job growth, and yet they were still showing measurable success and accomplishments along their milestones and things of that nature.”

In terms of average reoccurring attendance at MCE programs, Baker said, those numbers doubled from seven in Q2 to 14 in Q3. Likewise, social media likes nearly doubled from only 894 in Q2, to 1,662 in Q3.

Baker attributed this new-found local awareness to the attention generated by the organization’s recent Pitch Competition.

The winner of that competition walked with a $500 cash prize provided by MCE’s parent organization – The Norther Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET).

MCE also picked up three new mentors, Baker said, something he attributed to that new-found awareness and the fact that people are showing greater willingness to help.

“I think it’s because people know who we are and what we’re about,” Baker said. “People have been wanting to contribute.”

Those businesses, he said, want to help with specific industries and can provide accesses to resources that could significantly improve small businesses.

Members of that new mentor pool now include Councilmember Peggy Chapados and other area community and business leaders.

MCE further accomplished several other tasks Baker said are helping the organization reach its goals, including a Boot Camp and a new Business Advisory Board.

Combined, he said, all of these elements will help MCE not only provide success to others, but also promote its own success and eventual self-sufficiency.

“The whole point of this is to try to get us to a foundation to where we can then be in a position to be self-sustaining, whether through leveraging different funding options or by being able to generate revenue through our programing.”

Baker said he hopes to soon see 15 percent of the MCE’s expenses sponsored by other organizations or companies.

City Hall has already started a search for organizations that could run the business incubator after city council expressed dissatisfaction with NACET. At Tuesday’s meeting, the councilmembers spent very little time questioning Baker.

Still-dirty corners of city facilities have council looking at its cleaning-services contract anew. Submitted photo

The Maricopa City Council batted down the extension of a janitorial contract Tuesday due to what some members said was sub-par service.

The one-year contract, valued at nearly $340,000, was to be granted to Carnation Building Services Inc., the city’s previous janitorial service provider. However, Mayor Christian Price and others on council expressed dissatisfaction with both the quality of service and what they felt was an inadequate bidding process.

“I don’t want to say we haven’t been happy, but I can’t say that we’ve been thrilled with this particular service here,” Price said.

Both Price and Councilmember Vincent Manfredi referenced instances in which both constituents and themselves personally have been to Copper Sky Recreation Complex when the facilities were unusually dirty.

In photos submitted to InMaricopa, areas around Copper Sky can be seen to be only partially clean, with certain surfaces and areas behind furniture left dusty.

Price said one possible solution would be to divide the contract into multiple, smaller contracts. By doing this, he said, it would not only allow for a more fair and competitive bidding process but also may allow for more specialized janitorial services.

The contract currently includes the cleaning of City Hall, Copper Sky, the Fire Administration and Public Works offices and special events.  The broad scope of the contract, Price said, is where the city is going wrong.

“It makes me wonder if we haven’t hindered ourselves by putting together this entire quote, because they’re different things,” Price said.

Price compared it to going to Costco and needing mayonnaise but being forced to buy a tub of mayonnaise because it is all they offer.

“You might save some money in some respects, but you might waste a lot, too,” Price said.

Price suggested separating the contract into basic janitorial services and additional special events and/or Copper Sky services.

Public Works Director Bill Fay said the average number of received bids for any government contract is around 4.2 bids per contract. However, this contract received considerably less than that.

“My understanding is that there were two bids,” Fay said. “One was declared non-responsive, so that left one.”

That number could have much greater, Price said, if the contract were separated so businesses that specialize in offices could bid on a contract that doesn’t include special events or fitness centers.

Furthermore, Price said, by continuing the contract, the city is doing a disservice to paying members of Copper Sky who may notice the unclean areas and decide to discontinue their memberships.

Council ultimately voted to reject the current contract and directed city staff to reconfigure the contract.

Carnation Building Services will likely continue on a month-to-month contract until the matter is resolved.

An example of a house being used as a business and not necessarily a home.

City officials revealed a plan at Tuesday’s City Council meeting that could allow homes in the Heritage District to more freely be used as small businesses.

“What we’re trying to achieve here is that you don’t have to live in the home anymore to consider it to have a business in there.” — Rudy Lopez

The “Adaptive Reuse” Plan, Maricopa senior planner Rudy Lopez said, will allow for homes with fewer than 5,000 square-feet to operate “low-impact professional office or appointment base business [sic].”

Examples of potential “mixed-use” uses are insurances offices, accounting offices, hair salons, barber shops and coffee shops.

“A lot of cities across the metro Phoenix area, and even Pinal County as well, are using this type of tool to reinvest within older portions of town,” Lopez said.

As part of the Adaptive Reuse plan, the city will streamline the permitting process by modifying parking, landscaping and mechanical-screening standards allowing for minor developments to support the businesses.

The current city code, Lopez said, already makes room for “home occupation.”

“What we’re trying to achieve here is that you don’t have to live in the home anymore to consider it to have a business in there,” Lopez said.

This allows for the property to possibly even be leased to another small business without anyone living at the property.

“The biggest thing we are trying to get out is that business can now have signage,” He said. “They can expose their business.”

These types of businesses would still have to abide by nuisance regulations that prevent sight obstruction, loud noise and harsh smells.

Examples of other cities doing similar things are Phoenix, Chandler and Gilbert.

Council will likely vote on the matter in the coming weeks.

Heritage District map

by -
Enrique Gomez speaks to Maricopa City Council on behalf of the Mexican Consulate. Photo by Mason Callejas

Representatives from the Mexican consulate appeared before the Maricopa City Council Tuesday, presenting information about the consulate and their role in the state and nation.

Answering an invitation by Councilmember Henry Wade, Deputy Consulate Enrique Gomez spoke on behalf of Consul Ricardo Pineda, highlighting statistics on Mexican nationals and immigrants in the United States and the programs offered to them and the community as a whole.

“Mexico has 50 consulates in the United States,” Gomez said. “It’s the largest consular network that one country has into another one.”

Five of those consulates are located in Arizona: Yuma, Nogales, Douglas, Tucson and Phoenix. The reason for having five, Gomez said, is because of three things: population, trade and immigration.

In Arizona, 27.3 percent of the population is of Hispanic origin. In Tucson that number is just over 40 percent of the population.

Mexico also trades more with Arizona than they do with all of Central America combined, Gomez said. Likewise, 40 percent of Arizona’s exports go to Mexico.

Because of this, the consulate offers numerous resources and programs for Mexicans abroad through legal assistance, and advice on labor, criminal, and administrative issues.

Other large programs are offered through the Institute for Mexicans Abroad – Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior – or IME.

“[The IME] promotes strategies and programs to help Mexican communities living and working abroad to integrate and maintain contact with their countries of origin,” Gomez said.

The program offers education, community development and health and wellness advice and services.

The consulate, Gomez said, also works within the academic world, tracking advanced studies and networking with and connecting researchers all across the globe.

Locally, Gomez said, the consulate works with state and local governments and law enforcement agencies in both Pinal and Pima Counties, including Customs and Border Patrol and sheriffs offices in both counties.

Councilmember Julia Gusse asked Gomez if the consulate did much to work with undocumented immigrants who may be afraid to report crimes, given their status.

The consulate, Gomez said, understands their frustration and works with local law enforcement agencies so people may understand what their rights. He said he would be happy to work with the city of Maricopa to have the same discussion.

However, he said, “if there is ever any [criminal] issue, people should always collaborate with the authorities.”

In addition to these lesser-known services, he said, the consulate also provides typical passport and Matrícula services to Mexican nationals, and visa services to U.S. citizens looking to travel, study or work in Mexico.

For more information on Tucson’s Mexican Consulate and the services offered visit their website.

 

The Maricopa City Council voted Tuesday to sign a lease on behalf of a local small-business incubator, extending its ability to function despite uncertainty about the city’s contract with the incubator’s parent organization.

Voting 5-1 in favor of the move, the city signed the 12-month lease with Transition Investments giving the Maricopa Center for Entrepreneurship the ability to operate for another year in their current offices.

Councilmember Julia Gusse cast the lone vote against the measure, despite personally benefiting from the programs offered by the MCE.

Gusse said she was reluctant to put the city on the hook for $2,232 a month – $26,793 a year – given that the city has not yet extended its contract with MCE’s parent organization – the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology.

“My son is going to go to ASU,” Gusse said. “I’m not going to get his room, I’m not going to get his classes scheduled, I’m not going to get anything unless he’s actually been accepted to the university.”

With this lease, the city will be the signatory, Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said, as opposed to the past when NACET signed the lease. However, she said, the lease would be paid for out of the $200,000 grant MCE receives on behalf of the city.

MCE’s lease expired Sept. 30, Airheart said, so they would have to be out as soon as possible.

The organization was given an extension by the property owner to allow time for the city to decide on the matter.

Airheart further stressed the importance of the incubator, emphasizing its role as one of the three legs of the city’s economic development plan. The space, she said, would be under control of the city, which would allow them to sublease in the event the contract with NACET was not extended.

Mayor Christian Price agreed it’s better to have the space and not need it, than need it and not have it.

“We’re covering our rear-ends, so to speak,” Price said.

To be clear, Gusse’s vote against the measure was not out of disdain for the organization, she said. However, she thought it would be premature without a decision on the extension of the NACET contract.

The contract extension with the incubator will likely be decided on in the near future.

by -
City Council is trying to determine if having City Hall open earlier and later than normal operating hours and closed on Fridays has been a benefit to employees and residents.

The Maricopa City Council weighed in on the city’s condensed hours of operation Tuesday, declaring an intragovernmental survey conducted on the matter was inadequate.

The two-question survey did show that roughly 87 percent of non-elected city employees who participated preferred to work four 10-hour days – Monday-Thursday. However, the survey asked only two questions and had only 33 respondents. This lack of a sample size was deemed by several councilmembers as insufficient to close the books on the issue.

Councilmember Nancy Smith, who said she first supported the two-question format, now feels the questions were inadequate and in need of constituent and customer input.

“I receive, on a regular basis, input from developer groups or businesses,” Smith said. “If they want to ask questions, and if they wait until Thursday afternoon, they’re not going to get an answer for three days later.”

Smith also noted the employee comments made in the survey, suggesting changing the four-day workweek could result in the loss of several employees.

To combat any such flight, she suggested the survey consider an off-set or “hybrid” work schedule in which one group of people work Monday-Thursday and another group works Tuesday-Friday. She also suggested considering nine-hour workdays Monday-Thursday and four-hour Fridays.

The city is historically slow on Fridays, from a business standpoint, given as the reason it moved to the four-10 workweek nearly five years ago. However, Smith said she wants to make sure the residents and businesses were getting reasonable access to their city government.

Councilmember Peggy Chapados said she wanted to see other data concerning reductions in sick-time and improvements to employee morale. She indicated that morale should almost certainly be better considering the likelihood of Mondays being holidays, which essentially means a “mini vacation” for city employees.

Even if the survey is expanded to residents, she said, she already knows what it will prove.

“I think we know what they want to see,” Chapados said. “They want to see comprehensive services.”

To provide that, she suggested a gradual change such as possibly making City Hall open one Friday a month.

City Manager Gregory Rose agreed with Smith and Chapados. However, he said, changing the work schedule doesn’t mean more employees, so it’s important to understand the impact of diluting services.

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, though reluctant to spend any money on a third-party survey, said he also felt the survey was not broad enough and should include the residents.

“Regardless of what we want, it’s what the people want,” Manfredi said.

Judge Lyle Riggs also weighed in, saying he wanted to consider a move in the opposite direction. The Maricopa Municipal Court is currently open on Fridays, which he said, much like the city, is its slowest day.

Moving to a four-10 workweek for the court would not have much of an effect on the judicial process he said. In the case of search warrants or other emergency actions, he said he is still on-call 24-7.

In light of the conversation, Council directed Rose to conduct more research, including a broader survey which will also lend consideration to the Municipal Court.

The Apex Motor Club's plans for a private track in Maricopa are stalled during legal wrangling.

Another lawsuit has been filed against the city regarding the construction of a private motorsports track in Maricopa.

The suit, filed in Pinal County Superior Court July 19 by former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods on behalf of Maricopa resident Bonita Burks, alleges legal missteps by the Maricopa City Council in granting a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to Scottsdale based Private Motorsports Group to construct a private racetrack in Maricopa named Apex Motor Club.

The argument presented in the suit is three-fold.

First, the suit alleges the Maricopa City Council “misinterpreted and misapplied” the city’s zoning codes “resulting in action contrary to law and in excess of their legal authority.”

The suit argues the land in question, a 280-acre plot on the northwest corner of Ralston Road and State Route 238, which is classified under the city’s “old code” as an “Industrial Zone” could not be granted a CUP without first being rezoned for commercial use under the city’s “new code.”

The new code, adopted Dec. 4, 2014, does not contain Industrial Use Permits (IUP), which the suit alleges is necessary to allow for the construction of a racetrack.

The city argues in its analysis that a CUP is “the most compatible zoning application” and is “being reviewed with a level of scrutiny as an IUP.”

Second, the suit alleges an ordinance enacted by city council to speed up the referendum process also violated the law.

City Council enacted the ordinance (17-07) as a result of an Application for Referendum filed by a group called Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, which is seeking to force a public vote on the decision to grant Private Motorsports Group a CUP.

The ordinance, forces proposed referendums to occur during the “next,” or soonest, general election in an attempt to “make the process more timely and for the efficient administration of City services and elections.”

The lawsuit claims the city “declared an ‘emergency,’ and stated the purported purpose for Ordinance Number 17-07 was to ‘preserve the peace, health and safety of the city of Maricopa.’”

The Application for Referendum was ultimately denied on the basis that the granting of the CUP was “an administrative act, rather than a legislative act and, therefore, not subject to referendum.”

Maricopa Citizens Protecting Tax Payers filed suit against the city in June regarding the application denial.

Finally, the suit filed by Burks alleges the proposed racetrack will “result in, among other things, significantly increased noise, odors, dust, gas, and smoke emanating from the property, all of which uniquely and negatively affect Plantiff’s use and enjoyment of her property.”

Burks’ home is roughly five miles from the proposed site.

The suit also asserts the track will result in “significantly increased traffic resulting in longer drive times, increased fuel consumption, and creates an increased safety risk to Plaintiff who travels in the area on a frequent basis.”

In the past, Apex President Jason Plotke has emphasized that the track would be a “private facility,” closed to the general public, which would see a maximum of “a couple hundred people,” during a full day’s time.

Burks is seeking injunctive relief prohibiting “any further action related to the Conditional Use Permit to PMG… until such time as the court has made a decision on Plaintiff’s claim for declaratory judgement.”

The suit asks the court to reverse the CUP, to void Ordinance 17-07 and for reimbursement of legal costs.

Burks has not yet returned a request for comment.

Vintage Partners Leasing Director Casey Treadwell speaks at the ceremonial groundbreaking for Edison Point July 31. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A project 10 years in the making hit another milestone Monday morning with a ceremonial groundbreaking.

Edison Pointe, a commercial development south of Fry’s Marketplace, is scheduled to include Ross, Planet Fitness, Brakes Plus, Burger King and Dunkin Donuts. The mayor, councilmembers, Vintage Partners Leasing Director Casey Treadwell and Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart participated in turning earth at the site where areas have already been prepped for foundations.

“We’ll be done with all of the main construction in February,” Treadwell said. “There will be some stuff that could actually open earlier.”

That includes Burger King, which is planned for the northwest corner of the property near Fry’s gas station.

“They’re way ahead of everybody else,” he said. “They’ve been chomping at the bit, but they’ve been very patient. They’ve spent a lot of money in order to go forward.”

Ross and other anchor establishments are expected to open in February and March. With a shared boundary, Vintage Partners has been coordinating with Fry’s during development.

“All of these properties are tied together in their agreements, so we had to maintain certain things for Fry’s,” Treadwell said. “In exchange for the help they’ve given us, we’re going to give them a little land so they can add another gas [island] at the end. It’s just a tiny piece.

“We had to get the property subdivided, which will happen next month.”

The property was planned for development in 2007 but became a victim of the recession. Vintage took over the project four years ago.

“We’ve all been waiting for this project for a very long time,” Mayor Christian Price said. “One of the things I think it’s important that everybody understands is how much work goes into a project like this… Just because you see this land sitting here, it doesn’t make it so easy to suddenly pop something out of the ground.”

Price said Vintage understands the community and what it wants.

“I’m excited to welcome these new retail amenities to the community because this is what keeps the residents here local and supporting these businesses,” Airheart said.

Councilmember Henry Wade praised Vintage for being “smooth and comfortable but impactful and effective.”

“I’m happy as a former Planning & Zoning commissioner to know that things actually do get done,” Wade said.

“When people ask us what cities we like to work with, Maricopa’s at the top of the list,” Treadwell said.

 

by -
The intersection of Desert Greens at Smith-Enke Road with library in background

The Maricopa City Council agreed to test a left-hand turn restriction on a residential street near the public library at a meeting Tuesday.

Soon, during peak traffic hours, the city will begin limiting left-hand turns from Desert Greens Drive onto Smith-Enke Road due to recent concerns about the safety of drivers turning east.

After inquiring with Maricopa Police Department, Director of Public Works Bill Fay said since their most recent traffic study about a year ago, there has been only one accident at that intersection. Nonetheless, the city feels a traffic control device of some sort is needed.

“I had a commander in the military, years ago, that said to me, ‘Bill, if there is right way to shower and shave a cat, the army has a regulation on it,” Fay joked, alluding to the litany of regulations surrounding an issue like this.

A number of those regulations, Fay said, dictate a stop sign to be appropriate for the intersection.  However, since the danger has been assessed to only be a concern during high traffic hours, limiting left-turns was favored over a stop sign.

Some officials expressed concern with a complete left-turn restriction, saying drivers trying to head east on Smith-Enke would instead make a potentially dangerous U-turn farther west at Province Parkway.

“So [then], we haven’t really solved the problem,” Mayor Christian Price said. “We’ve only increased another problem.”

To better understand the effects of the restrictions, City Manager Gregory Rose suggested a testing period.

“Let’s do a BETA test,” Rose said, “see if restricting the left-hand turn during peak hours accomplishes what we’re trying to accomplish.”

In the end, council directed city staff to proceed with a limited left-turn restriction trial at Desert Greens Drive and Smith-Enke Road.

The exact time the restriction will go into effect, and the hours when left-turns will be limited, has yet to be determined, Fay said. Signs will be ordered, and times will be determined most likely in the next week or so, he said.

Though he couldn’t comment on what exact time of day the restrictions will be, Fay did say they will most likely be during morning and evening “rush-hour.”

The plans for Apex Motor Club have gone through the Development Services Department, Planning & Zoning Commission and City Council.

A group calling itself Maricopa Citizens Protecting Taxpayers has filed a complaint against the City of Maricopa over its dismissal of a petition against Private Motorsports Group.

That club of car enthusiasts is seeking to construct Apex Motor Club on the west side of the city. In April, the city council approved a conditional use permit allowing the construction. MCPT, which lists non-residents Robert Rebich and David Prom as its officers, circulated petitions to force that decision to a referendum.

Though the petitions had enough signatures to make it a ballot issue, the city claimed the permit was not a legislative act but an administrative act and was not subject to referendum, according to the Arizona Constitution.

The suit filed Monday in Pinal County Superior Court lists the City of Maricopa, the mayor and all members of the city council, Private Motorsports Group and City Clerk Vanessa Bueras as the 10 defendants.

City spokesperson Jennifer Brown said the city had not yet been served but will follow the standard procedures for responding to a lawsuit. That includes evaluating whether the city’s attorney, Denis Fitzgibbons, should handle the case or outside counsel should be involved or the city should coordinate with the co-defendant in the case.

Apex has been represented in its land-use dealings by Rose Law Group. In this case, Apex is represented by Coppersmith Brockelman Lawyers. MCPT is represented by Timothy A. La Sota, PLC.

In deciding how to respond to the suit, the council will meet in executive session, which might be a special meeting outside the regular meeting schedule. Because of the Fourth of July next Tuesday, the next scheduled meeting of the council is not until July 18.

After being served, “we generally have to file an answer within 20 days,” Brown said. Once an answer is filed, “the court basically dictates the next steps for us,” she said.

Rebich has not returned calls for comment on the Apex issue. He and Prom are listed as plaintiffs on the suit, along with MCPT. 

by -
Maricopa's floodplain designations have been an obstacle to development of the Heritage District.

The city council voted Tuesday to apply for grant money to conduct a floodplain analysis instead of assisting a local food bank with relocation costs.

The decision to fund a floodplain analysis of the Heritage District, instead of assisting the relocation of F.O.R. Maricopa food bank, came after a contentious debate over where the funds would best serve the city.

The money in question, an approximate $265,000 Community Development Block Grant, is a biannual federal grant awarded to the city through the state and is meant to aid community development needs, in particular the needs of low- and moderate-income persons.

Both the floodplain analysis and the food bank relocation meet the CDBG requirements, a fact which became the main source of contention.

Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Terri Crain spoke on behalf of F.O.R. as the organization’s volunteer director, Wendy Webb, was unable to attend the council meeting. Crain pled for the funds she said would go to assist in the purchasing of property and the construction of a new building.

“If the food bank closes its doors, there will be a serious and immediate threat to the welfare of this community,” Crain said. “For those of you who know what we do, and how it helps our community, you realize that they [F.O.R.] are an essential service in town.”

The council, despite Crain’s urgings, opted to fund the floodplain analysis for multiple reasons. The city’s ability to bring a considerable portion of the Heritage District out of the floodplain is likely the weightiest.

Mayor Christian Price said the choice was not an easy one to make. The decision, he said, came down to the long-term benefits of development for the city.

“That’s kind of an issue for everybody in this area based on a 2007 post-Katrina world, it’s stuck,” Price said. “They can’t adjust their home, they can’t fix it, they can’t tear it down, its grandfathered in, but if you’re a business and you want to come in and create something there, what are you going to do for the floodplain?”

If the analysis deems any part of the Heritage District to be within one foot of the required elevation to be considered safe from flooding, it is possible numerous homes could be removed from the floodplain designation. That elevation could help property owners in the Heritage District, a large number of which are low to moderate-income, sell their homes and increase the value of their properties.

CDBG funds have, in the past, been used to help similar organizations like F.O.R.

Against Abuse found a home in Maricopa because of its access to CDBG funds.

Councilmember Vince Manfredi attempted to highlight the importance of the floodplain analysis by saying he would have voted for it instead of helping Against Abuse had the analysis been an option two years ago.

“If [Against Abuse] was up against the Heritage District Floodplain Analysis that would pull all these people out of the floodplain,” Manfredi said, “I would have voted for the Heritage District Analysis that would have pulled all the people out of the flood plain.”

Councilmember Nancy Smith was the lone advocate for using CDBG funds to help the food bank relocate. Others voiced support for the food bank, but instead voted for the analysis, saying it was the more “common sense” thing to do.

Smith wanted to find a way to do both by using some of the city’s $1 million in Contingency Funds to pay for the analysis. That option would, however, be difficult given that the city is about to transition into the next fiscal year.

The council, in the end, unanimously approved the use CDBG funds for the floodplain analysis.

The food bank has temporarily moved its offices to 19756 N. John Wayne Parkway, Suite 108, leaving the former county jail building that will be removed to make way for the overpass.