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city council

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The Maricopa City Council approved the extension of a 16-inch water main down State Route 238 west of Maricopa Tuesday evening at their regularly scheduled meeting.

In a three-way agreement, a 16-inch water main will be extended one mile from its present location at Smith-Enke Road and SR 347 by Global Water Resources then the City of Maricopa will extend the line another three miles west along SR 238 with the goal of servicing the new Apex Motor Club location. The cost of the line is estimated to be about $750,000 per mile, possibly more.

The city’s share of the extension is $1.5 million, and Apex will kick in $1 million.

The city eventually is expected to recoup its $1.5 million from Global Water as developers build in the area and pay to tap into the new water main.

Global will also pay for the upsizing of the water main along the city’s three-mile extension area from 12-inch to 16-inch pipe.

At the city council meeting, a citizen asked members of the council what the city will gain from spending $1.5 million for the extension.

City Manager Rick Horst said the Maricopa city limits already extend west of the city into the area where the water line will be constructed. He said other municipal utilities also are available in the area.

“We are currently looking at making this as an economic development investment,” Horst said. “This is a program to have 100 percent of this returned to us by the utility. It is an investment with a full return of it back to the city. What this does for us is open up thousands of acres for future development, both residential and commercial. More importantly, as a part of our strategic plan process, we are looking at a long-range industrial park with a possible rail spur inland port. It will support future jobs. We are making a performance investment with 100 percent return in exchange for tens if not hundreds of millions in private investments.”

Ron Fleming, CEO of Global, said Monday that extending the 16-inch trunk line one mile west will improve water pressures and services to residents and businesses already in the area. The line extension will connect in the Estrella Gin area, near the location of the new fire department. The city also has the Estrella Gin business park, that is a 50+ acre, city-owned parcel located just west of the intersection of Edison Road and Roosevelt Avenue.

 

The opening step toward a new Maricopa Public Library was taken Tuesday at the regular meeting of the city council.

Maricopa City Council approved a $830,530 contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, for design and construction administration services to build the new library facility. Hidell Associates Architects’ sole job is designing libraries around the nation.

The council approved the beginning of a new city library with a unanimous vote.

“The current library facility is too small and somewhat outdated,” said City Manager Rick Horst. “The city has anticipated, for a long time, the opportunity to create a new facility to this city.”

Horst said the Arizona Legislature adopted new debt fee rules in 2014. Under those rules changes it is now required that the city expend these funds for a library prior to the end of 2019 or they lose them. The funds could only be used toward a library project, according to Horst.

“We should do more with the architect design, construction and guidance, so that we do not risk losing these funds,” Hosrt told the council.

The library project being proposed Tuesday was what Horst called the first phase of the library. He said the proposed building would be about 25,000 square feet in size when phase one is completed. It will double in size when phase two is implemented.

“We feel, as a staff, that we can do this without any tax increases to our constituents,” he said. “We feel very comfortable that we can do this without any debt to the city. Ultimately, 25,000 square feet will not be enough, so we are planning space-wise for an additional 25,000 square feet.”

Horst said the city will likely also add branch libraries around the community.

There will be at least two public meetings in March and April where citizens can have input into the library’s design. The dates of the meetings will be announced soon, he said.

The location of the library has been planned to be part of the 140-acre city center complex and built just south of city hall. The city center complex is the geographical center of the City of Maricopa boundaries.

Horst said the new library will likely cost about $8 million to build but final costs, after furnishings and technology are installed, will be more in the $10 million range.

Funding for the $800,000 contract awarded to Hidell Associates Architects on Tuesday is paid from the city’s Library DIF1 ORG-32133135 funds.

Horst said the current library location on Smith-Enke Road will likely be turned into use by senior citizens, veterans, arts and performing art presentations, musical performances, public meetings and rentals for special events. He said that the space should accommodating between 200 and 250 performances annually.

The current Maricopa Veterans Center, next to the new Heritage Park on the Maricopa/Casa Grande Highway, could be turned over to the Historical Society for a museum next to the Zephyr rail car, according to Horst.

 

In other matters Tuesday evening:

The council voted to keep its regular meetings at 7 p.m. and mostly eliminate the work sessions they have been having at 6 p.m. before the regular meetings. The work sessions, if needed, will be part of the regular meetings or called as a special meeting. The start time of the regular meetings can also be adjusted with the declaration of a special meeting in the event of a lengthy agenda.

The council approved the sale of land to Maricopa Auberge LLC in the Copper Sky Commercial district. The location will allow Maricopa Auberge to build an approximately 90-room business class LaQuinta Hotel at the site. The 87,120 square foot site is being sold to Maricopa Auberge for $435,600.

The council approved the elimination of the Non-Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and eliminating the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. The changes are requested as the three committees are no longer necessary or functional.

The current library building was constructed in 2009.

Maricopa City Council will consider hiring an architect to design a new public library at tonight’s city council meeting.

The measure to establish a new library begins with a $830,530 contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc., of Carrollton, Texas, for design and construction administration services for the new library facility. Funding to pay the contract is already secured.

The matter is currently on the Council’s consent agenda but may be moved into the regular agenda items, if one of the council members seeks to discuss the awarding of a more than $800,000 contract in more detail.

According to the meeting consent agenda, “The Mayor and City Council shall discuss and possibly take action to create a project in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by drawing on existing capacity in the CIP, and to approve the Design Consultant Contract with Hidell Associates Architects, Inc.”

Funding for the project includes an amount not to exceed $722,220.00 plus a City Manager’s allowance of $108,300 (equal to 15 percent), for a total amount not to exceed $830,530.

Also on the agenda is the possible amendment of the times the council meets to 6 or 6:30  p.m. or to remain with their regular 7 p.m. meeting times.

The council will also discuss the elimination of the Non-Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and eliminating the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. The changes are requested as the three committees are no longer necessary or functional.

The library moved several times in its long history. Before the current library was built in 2009, it was housed in what is now the Maricopa Veterans Center.

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City Manager Rick Horst leads a discussion of Maricopa's goals. Photo by Jim Headley

Wildly Important Goals (WIGs)
1. Expedite removal of Maricopa from the FEMA 100-year flood plain.
2. Public/private utilities infrastructure of the city ensures that economic development remains robust and citizens are served in the best and most reliable way.
3. Encourage development of industrial and business parks to enhance employment opportunities and bolster the local economy.
4. Creative placemaking and event tourism – creating a destination city.
5. Evaluate annexation of land to accommodate the city’s projected growth and economic prosperity.

At a city council retreat on Wednesday, Maricopa City Manager Rick Horst recommend the city and Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) combine offices because they essentially have the same mission – promoting Maricopa.

“Their website and our website are two different websites with the same information,” Horst said. “We are paying for and managing two separate websites. I’m not sure that make sense. We are all invested in the same plan. They could act as a business facilitator for us.”

He said MEDA often has different conversations with individual builders, developers and investors that the city doesn’t, because MEDA can keep information more confidential, while the city may not be able to.

“Why don’t they (MEDA) have a larger presence,” he said. “They should be front and center as a partner organization with the city of Maricopa. We are a partner of MEDA and we’re tied at the hip. Their strategies and solutions really shouldn’t be different than ours. There is value from them that we can receive that we are not yet receiving.”

The city has been discussing the 500-acre Estrella Gin Industrial Park. Horst suggested the construction of a 10,000 to 12,000 square foot spec building and including MEDA in that new building.

“I think MEDA needs a home,” he said. “It needs a place where citizens can come in. It says Maricopa EDA, not MEDA. With a presence, so people can come in and know where they can go.”

He said staffing would be a problem if MEDA were to open an official office. His solution is to combine the city economic development office and MEDA into the same location, so they could help each other. The combined office would only be a small part of the larger spec building.

“I think we would save money,” he said, “because of the redundancy. We don’t need separate marketing programs. We don’t need two separate websites. Look at theirs, look at ours, I dare you to find anything different in them. They should help us achieve our objectives and our projects. I think they could help us with the flood plain issue. At the end of the day, we are going to have to pay for it. Who better than they can help us get the financial support. Those are my thoughts on MEDA. To take a great organization and raise it to a new level by combining forces.”

Horst’s seven-hour workshop on Wednesday focused on the city’s 2040 Vision Plan, “which is the foundation of any long-range plan, is aspirational in nature and articulates the desired future state of the community,” according to the presentation.

The 2040 plan is intended to inspire the stakeholders in the community to have a common goal in the success of Maricopa.

Horst explained the city strategic plan, a two-year program “designed to provide a higher strategic direction that will give the community a better sense of where the city is heading.”

He spoke about how to execute the plan, sustain the city’s mission, government efficiency and the identification of the city’s Wildly Important Goals (WIGS).

His lists of WIGS were:

Expedite removal of Maricopa from the FEMA 100-year flood plain.
Public/private utilities infrastructure of the city ensures that economic development remains robust and citizens are served in the best and most reliable way.
Encourage development of industrial and business parks to enhance employment opportunities and bolster the local economy.
Creative placemaking and event tourism – creating a destination city.
Evaluate annexation of land to accommodate the city’s projected growth and economic prosperity.

Horst also spoke about changes and eliminations of city boards which are no longer needed. He recommended eliminating the Non Profit Funding Evaluation Committee, the Veteran Affairs Committee and the Youth Internship Program Advisory Committee. All three committees have not met for quite a while and the Veteran’s committee doesn’t have the expertise necessary to assist Veterans while other community services are available to better assist them, according to Horst.

He proposed re-purposing the Parks, Recreation and Library Advisory Committee into the Community Services Advisory Board. He also recommended combining Cultural Affairs, Event Tourism, Age-Friendly Maricopa and Arts commissions into the newly established Community Services Advisory Board.

He recommended making the Community Services Advisory Board a nine-person board appointed by city council. He also recommended sub-committees under the board.

Mayor Christian Price presents the Black History Month proclamation to Rev. Arnold Jackson. Photo by Jim Headley

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Christian Price made a proclamation declaring February as National Black History Month in Maricopa:

Whereas, Diversity of social identity, including racial and cultural identity, contributes positively to the development of society and is a matter of pride and celebration; and
Whereas, Americans of African descent have made valuable and lasting contributions to our country and our state, achieving exceptional success in all aspects of society including business, education, politics, science and the arts; and
Whereas, in 1976, Black History Month was adopted to honor and affirm the importance of the history of African Americans and to focus on the stories and teachings of those who helped build our nation, advance the cause of civil rights and strengthen families and communities; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa continues to work toward becoming an inclusive community in which all citizens, past, present, and future, are respected and recognized for their contributions and potential contributions to our community, the state, the country, and the world.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, do hereby proclaim the month of February 2019 as Black History Month in the City of Maricopa, Arizona, and we urge all citizens to join with us in celebrating the significance of Black culture in its past, present, and going forward into the future.

After he presented Rev. Arnold Jackson with the proclamation, a short reception took place in the city hall lobby to honor Black History Month. Cobbler and ice cream were served by Helen’s Kitchen, and the anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was sung.

After returning to session after the short reception, the city council discussed changing the way council meeting are run, including the elimination of most of the 6 p.m. work sessions that take place before the regular meetings at 7.

Council members also discussed whether they should start their regular meetings at 6, 6:30 or 7 p.m. The matter will be discussed and potentially voted on at their next meeting on Feb. 19.

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The transportation plan looks at current and proposed lighted intersections.

The final edition of the Maricopa Area Transportation Plan (ATP) debuted Tuesday night at a city council work session.

The report, compiled by Wilson and Company of Phoenix with a price tag of $75,000, examines the transportation needs of Maricopa, both now and into the future. Most of the burden of the study’s cost was paid for by Maricopa Associations of Governments (MAG) through the Arizona Department of Transportation and the additional $30,000 was credited as staff work by the city of Maricopa.

The study examined the transportation needs inside the city. The final report will be submitted to the city council for approval on Feb. 19.

Amy Moran, senior project manager for Wilson and Company, told the council members Tuesday the study’s purpose was to provide guidance for the connectivity of collector and local facilities to the arterial and parkway facilities identified in the ATP, develop Access Management Guidelines for use by city staff and initial efforts focus on incorporated area for proof of concept before expanding to entire planning area.

Amy Moran, senior project manager for Wilson and Company. Photo by Jim Headley

Moran said the anticipated needs of traffic signals in the city should remain at the half-mile and mile intervals that is currently being practiced. There are a few exceptions to those needs as traffic patterns dictate, she said.

Moran also presented the Transit Demand Study prepared by her company.

Moran told the council members Tuesday the study’s purpose was to identify potential transit service enhancements, to address existing and future needs of residents and visitors, to improve current services, to expand services within the city, address regional connectivity needs and anticipate influence of changing technologies.

During her presentation, Moran said current regional service needs, in order of importance, are to Chandler, then Tempe, Ahwatukee/South Phoenix and Casa Grande. She said projected needs in 2040 will remain the same but their order of importance should change to Chandler, Casa Grande, Tempe and Ahwatukee/South Phoenix.

She proposed a new route to someday take people to Tempe and Sky Harbor Airport.

Both the Transit Demand Study and the Area Transportation Plan will be presented to the city council for approval on Feb. 19.

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Fee changes for the use of Copper Sky received the OK from city council Tuesday.

Tuesday evening the Maricopa City Council unanimously approved a resolution that will change fees at Copper Sky Multigenerational Center at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The new fees will impact the use of day passes while promoting six-month and annual memberships in an effort to make Copper Sky more sustainable and offer more services to citizens.

“While we probably didn’t please absolutely everybody, I think we generally reached a consensus,” Community Services Director Nathan Ullyot said of conversations with city committees. “For the most part, we have some support for these schedules.”

With all the changes in membership costs, the city is adding a scholarship program that gives discounts on memberships and classes based on income levels.

Seniors automatically get a 10-percent discount but can get further discounts based on income levels. If seniors qualify for the scholarships and the regular senior discounts, they could save up to 50 percent off their memberships.

Seniors will no longer have a separate price point.

Some seniors may also qualify for assistance through their health insurance programs.

The scholarship program has two discount levels of 20 and 40 percent off membership costs. The application for a scholarship is simple and only one-page long.

In applying for a scholarship, the city asks for a tax return, a current income statement and proof of residence like a utility bill or driver’s license. Copies of the documents will also be returned or destroyed after application processing, which should take two weeks or less.

Councilmember Nancy Smith said her earlier concerns over the fee changes were centered on the senior rates.

“I felt so strongly about this concern, that I wanted you to have lots of people to talk to,” she told Ullyot. She thanked Ullyot for presenting the information in many settings, including city committees. Smith also said senior advocate Joan Koczor was a vital part of getting the word out and starting strong communication between residents and City Hall.

Members will also save with discounts on sports programs, like aquatics classes or enrichment classes, as part of their membership. They also receive free event parking and fun-zone passes. Members also receive 10 guest passes per year.

Rates will be categorized at three levels for Copper Sky – member, resident and non-resident.

Copper Sky has about 6,800 members with approximately 2,000 senior members.

The Council also heard a presentation by Denyse Airheart, Maricopa’s director of Economic Development, on plans for an 18-acre development around Copper Sky that will include La Quinta Hotel, 620 units of multifamily housing, a 172-unit Morning Star Assisted Living Center and 53,000 square feet of new retail space.

Airheart unveiled the $146-million plan at the Jan. 9 special meeting between the Maricopa Economic Development Alliance (MEDA) and Maricopa City Council.

Ron Fleming, CEO of Global Water, talks about water supply with Maricopa City Council. Photo by Jim Headley

“The Pinal County water management system is broken. It’s been broken for two-and-a-half years.” — Ron Fleming, Global Water

Global Water Resources CEO Ron Fleming said the lack and expense of water will someday seriously limit growth in Arizona.

He said the water issue is already hindering growth in some parts of Pinal County.

In speaking before the Maricopa City Council on Tuesday during a work session, Fleming said he doesn’t see the water situation as a crisis because outside water can be purchased if local reserves aren’t enough. He did admit that buying water will be expensive.

“Water, it’s a very complicated topic right now. There’s a lot of moving parts,” Fleming said. “It is important to know that smart water management that we have put into place in this city is more than adequate right now.”

Global Water is the main water utility in Maricopa.

He said smart meters and reuse of recycle water is vital to Pinal County’s future.

“The Pinal County water management system is broken. It’s been broken for two-and-a-half years,” Fleming said. “It’s been a year since the Department of Water Resources has met the stakeholders and talked about how we work together to fix that broken water supply program.”

He said the good news is that the City of Maricopa has wells, and growth can occur.

However, in other parts of the county the lack of quality water is already impacting growth opportunities, but he didn’t say what areas are impacted.

Arizona has launched a Drought Contingency Proposal (DCP) program with the federal government. Fleming said the DCP will likely result in more underground pumping in Pinal County as less water will be taken out of the Colorado River.

“Groundwater is the foundation for growth in Pinal County for the foreseeable future,” Fleming said. “What we need to do is truly understand the groundwater aquifers in the county, so that we can properly establish that foundation that the state can build from. We need to try and determine what adaptation and mitigation strategies are necessary to address a longer-term issue.”

He said Global Water is using the state’s water model as a guide, but the company wants to use it in different ways to possibly find better solutions.

“People are surprised to learn that there isn’t a regional water plan. It is up to the independent city,” he said, adding the state does regulate water but they don’t necessarily solve issues that arise.

He said it makes sense that cities in this area work together to make a more regional resource plan.

Jake Lenderking, Global Water’s director of water resources, told the city council water resources are adequate currently in Maricopa. He went through a PowerPoint presentation showing water demand and expectations for the future.

He said the annual water that flows into the Colorado River system is being directly impacted by the drought that has been going on for decades.

The shortages mean less water is available for everything including cities and agriculture.

“The good news is … we’re in a good place,” Fleming said after the presentation. “We won’t see any of these issues. The issue is long-term. The things we talked about here today could prevent growth at some point. Economic development, job loss, tax revenues. When we step out from the city of Maricopa, that situation is already occurring in some parts of Pinal County.”

He said the state of Arizona is trying to ensure “we get the maximum benefit of the water resources that we have available.”

He said this also impacts the cost of water and makes it rise “fairly rapid.”

“What DCP is about is protecting the Colorado River and Lake Mead,” he said.

Fleming said once Lake Mead hits the maximum drought line, there are “immediate mandatory restrictions” put into place on the state’s ability to take water is seriously impacted. The DCP is to help prevent Lake Mead from hitting the drought line, so deep restrictions don’t occur.

Pinal County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution Jan. 9 to urge the state Legislature “to provide sufficient funds to Pinal Agricultural Enterprises to access the groundwater necessary to allow the Pinal County agricultural economy to continue when Colorado River water is limited.”

“I don’t believe that we are going to get to a place in the local community or in the greater state where it significantly inhibits our ability to grow and do business,” Fleming said. “It’s just going to cost more, take longer and get more complicated, but we will solve this.”

He said the cheapest water resource available is “what we have today.” He said everyone needs to protect, stretch, conserve and get maximum benefit from current supply before “we have to go after other resources.”

He added, “But that day will come … It won’t limit the growth here, but we need to know that it will come with additional costs. The resources are out there. It will just cost more and take more time to put it into place when that day comes.”

City councilman Marvin Brown has been concerned about water for decades. He questioned Fleming’s optimism about the future of water in Arizona. Many, including Brown, believe the state’s water resources will be in serious shape by 2026.

“2026 will happen,” Brown said.

Fleming said that the future of water is not a crisis yet, but it is also not “rosy.” He said the solution is “to import water from somewhere else.”

“We are blessed in Pinal County with very large high quality underground aquifers. The situation that has developed is through the state’s ensured water supply program, which is based on a regulatory construct and their projections of huge demand in this area,” Fleming said, adding that 95 percent of water pumping is for agriculture.

He said he believes, in the future, ag producers will likely have to give up some of their water resources.

“There is a lot of opportunity to do more with the resources that we are blessed with here. I think Pinal County can handle a significant amount of growth,” he said.

Fleming told the city council Global Water’s board of directors just approved $8 million for infrastructure improvements in Maricopa. He said the funds will be used for well, distribution and pipeline improvements.

“What we’re going to focus on primarily are pipeline projects,” Fleming said. “We need to do some new pipeline extensions that further connect our distribution grid.”

He said it will make pressure and flow much better across their pipeline system, especially with the growth of Maricopa and across the farther reaches of this network.

He said the expansion of the Copper Sky area will mean more water will be needed in the city as housing for 3,000 additional residents will be added. Global Water will also be fixing some of the older parts of their pipeline system.

Another project on the table is Global Water’s first aquifer recharge facility.

“We will be taking the excess recycled water and recharging it into the underground aquifer,” he said, adding this is the second recharge facility in Pinal County.

The facility will eliminate all present water discharge into the Santa Rosa Wash.

“We reused the recycled water for all outdoor common area irrigation,” he said. “However, in winter months, there is more supply than there is demand.”

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Six new fighters were pinned Tuesday. Photo by Jim Headley

 

Four city of Maricopa employees were honored Tuesday evening as the city presented their 2018 City of Maricopa employee excellence awards at the regular meeting of the Maricopa City Council.

Human Resources Director Fernanda Osgood said 13 employees were nominated this year.

“They were all highly qualified, she said. “It was actually was very tough for the executive committee to come to a decision of who the winners will be.”

Margeux Edwards, was selected for her excellence as a non-management employee; Mike Riggs, as mid-management employee; Jorge Del Ruo, for public safety; and Kathy Irwin, as a part time employee. A total of 13 employee nominations were received this year. The city’s employee award program began in 2013.

Tuesday, the city also pinned six new firefighters, Adam Wilson, Jeffry Fuller, Jay Boss, Benjamin Foster, Anthony Ruiz and Benjamin Blanco.

In other matters Tuesday evening, the city council approved changes to the city’s Chapter 8 Business Regulations. The changes were necessary because the city is eliminating the need for business licenses, except for “adult” based businesses.

The matter was quickly approved with no discussion and goes into effect on Jan. 1.

The city is creating a business registry to replace the business licensing. Learn more about the registry here

The council voted to approve a new Geographic Information Systems Technician position to help the city easily have information needed to map utilities and infrastructure accurately.

The council approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the State of Arizona and the City of Maricopa for design and construction of improvements that add four miles of fiber backbone infrastructure for City of Maricopa use.

The council accepted an US Department of Justice – Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) STOP School Violence Prevention Program award in the amount of $147,365 with a performance period of two years.  The city has a matching component for each year.  A matching requirement of $49,122.00 has been budgeted in the coming year.

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Peg Chapados was presented with her own faux street sign as she stepped down from council Tuesday. Photo by Victor Moreno

Vice Mayor Peggy Chapados borrowed one from David Letterman as she retired from the Maricopa City Council after six years Tuesday night.

At Tuesday’s regular city council meeting, Mayor Christian Price said Chapados is one of the “kindest people” he knows.

“We may not always agree with her, but you know where she stands. She is always thinking of other people in one fashion or another. If you know Peg at all, you know she is one of the most organized people you will ever meet. So, to go away – of course she has a PowerPoint presentation. You think I’m kidding but she has one. Take it away,” Price said.

Chapados said she wanted to go out in an “unconventional” manner, so she read her top 10 list of “take-aways that she has learned by being on the Maricopa City Council.”

10. Be a public servant.

9. You don’t know what you don’t know.

8. Preparing for government is something like an iceberg – you only see what’s on the surface.

7. The meetings are the easiest part of this job.

6. It’s not about me, it’s about my city.

5. Serve before self.

4. It’s about building something positive.

3. You can’t do this job alone.

2. Maricopa has the greatest volunteers, staff, public safety personnel, executive team and city manager.

1. This is the best job I’ll ever have – so thank you.

Following a standing ovation, Chapados personally thanked those who helped her during her six years on the city council, past and present. “My fellow council members, thank you for the privilege of serving with you. We made a lot of great decisions here and we got a lot accomplished. We should be proud,” Chapados said. She also thanked the voters of Maricopa for putting their faith in her and electing her to office.

The city fire department presented Chapados with a bronze firefighter figure and made her a lifetime honorary member of the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department.

Council members presented Chapados with a custom-made Maricopa street sign with the street name of “Chapados Way” on it. They also presented her with a “basket of snacks” and a cat-themed Christmas sweater.

Re-elected Councilmember Henry Wade takes the oath from Judge Lyle Riggs. He was subsequently voted vice mayor by the rest of the council. Photo by Victor Moreno

Following her farewell, re-elected members of the council Vincent Manfredi and Henry Wade were sworn into office by the Honorable Judge Lyle Riggs along with Rich Vitiello, who is replacing Chapados on the board.

The council stopped its regular meeting for a short reception in the lobby to celebrate the swearing-in ceremonies with cookies and lemonade.

Besides the consent agenda and some presentations and reports, the only thing on the council’s agenda was the re-zoning of three tracts of land in the Copper Sky Development.

While zoning changes might be important, these three changes don’t really change the zoning of the land very much, according to Maricopa Senior Planner Rodolfo Lopez. Instead the changes simply modernized wording to update the properties from old to new zoning codes.

There are no proposed development plans for the property at this time, according to Lopez. There was no discussion about the zoning changes by members of the council on Tuesday evening as they approved the measures.

One matter at the end of the zoning changes did allow the city to modify the maximum height of buildings allowed in the city from 40 to 60 feet. The change was approved by the council unanimously with little discussion.

At the end of the meeting, board member Marvin Brown, a former vice mayor, nominated Henry Wade as vice mayor, and the council voted 7-0 to approve his nomination.

Prior to Chapados’ exit, the city council opened Tuesday’s meeting with a pinning ceremony for the city fire department promotions of Brad Pitassi and Joshua Eads to the rank of captain and Justin Henzel to engineer.



Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.

Sworn in Tuesday were (from left) Vincent Manfredi, Rich Vitiello and Henry Wade. Photos by Victor Moreno

The Peed property was once envisioned as a site for City Hall. Now it sits without infrastructure and is used to store asphalt. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

 

From State Route 238 to Stanfield, the City of Maricopa owns a wide array of land parcels. Since 2004, the City has acquired about $143 million in property.

While there are parks, public buildings, streets, rights of way and other uses on much of the property, City Hall has some parcels listed simply as “miscellaneous,” and there are still undeveloped acres. The City has plans for some parcels, but others will sit empty for the foreseeable future.

“We are doing the city an injustice by not developing these properties,” Councilwoman Julia Gusse said. “Our predecessors did a great job of securing these properties for future development and growth; it’s time we put them to good use.”

One of the longest-held properties has been the most divisive and the least likely to be developed any time soon.

PEED PROPERTY

Called the Peed property and noted as miscellaneous, the 11-acre parcel on SR 238 cost the city $1.2 million in 2006.

“It has no water; it has no utilities,” Councilmember Marvin Brown said. “The city bought it because a former council member pushed the former council to do so.”

The property initially was brought to the council as 150 acres for a possible location of a city hall. At the time, the council was set to spend $14.6 million for it. Steve Baker, then-councilmember, was a real estate agent representing property owner Dennis Peed. While Baker recused himself from votes on the matter, it was a relationship that vexed residents and other Realtors.

After months of debate in 2006, the City ended up buying only the southern portion of the property abutting SR 238. Its continued lack of infrastructure keeps it on a backburner, but some current councilmembers have ideas.

Councilmember Nancy Smith said her vision of the SR 238 corridor is “something similar to the Price Road Corridor in Chandler. Basically, it would include light industrial businesses with high paying jobs.”

Vice Mayor Peg Chapados, who is leaving city council in December, said she, too, sees a major transportation corridor, “a development with elements that complement surrounding growth and that offers the benefits and accessibility of being on SR 238.”

Though there has been little recent city discussion about the Peed property, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi sees it being part of a thriving business park, though it is used as asphalt storage now. There are caveats.

“The city only owns a tiny portion of the surrounding area,” Manfredi said. “Much of the development of the Peed properly rests on the shoulders of surrounding development. Before anything can really be accomplished with the Peed property, there are some flood-zone limitations that must be corrected.

 

City Center as space for commercial and residential. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

CITY CENTER

In 2008, Maricopa acquired 129 acres off White and Parker Road for City Hall and a city center at a cost of $3 million. Five years later, the City Hall building ($14.5 million) and police station ($3.9 million) were completed, but there remain wide open spaces for development. What kind of development has been an ongoing discussion this year. Its full cash value now is $12.6 million.

Smith said her vision for city center correlates with an open house held earlier this year for public feedback. “It would include civic buildings, small businesses, diverse housing and restaurants,” she said. “It would be walkable, have open space and be a place to meet up with family and friends.”

Chapados said it should be an area “where people come to live, work, play, learn, socialize and recreate.” Manfredi said it could be something “similar to the Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix.”

Copper Sky is more than just a park but is intended for commercial development, including a hotel. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

COPPER SKY

In 2010, the City acquired part of Bowlin Plaza property that was to become Copper Sky and the police substation at Copper Sky. The cost of the five acres for the substation and 118.5 acres for the park was $6.8 million. Another $15.9 million was invested in the recreation center and aquatic center in 2014.

From the beginning, Copper Sky was seen as more than a park. A recent contract with Commercial Properties Inc. aims at commercial development on city land between the park and John Wayne Parkway, to be anchored by a hotel.

Chapados wants the area to create the “sense of place” developers have long talked about for Maricopa. “A robust combination of retail, a hotel or two, and possibly residential units that complement Copper Sky as an active, vibrant recreation and aquatic destination to be enjoyed year-round.”

Cecil Yates, property management director for CPI, told the Maricopa City Council he already had three hotel users interested. “They want to stick shovels in the ground as soon as possible,” Yates said.

“I think you’ll find that at the end of the day the City will sell that land, but it will be to restaurateurs, hoteliers, residential units, shops, all those type of things,” City Manager Rick Horst said. “The public benefit will come in a lot of forms, to include the revenues needed to support Parks and Rec and Public Safety, but also lifestyle.”

Estrella Gin Business Park. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

ESTRELLA GIN BUSINESS PARK

Maricopa purchased the Estrella Gin property for $3.1 million in 2011. It has been intended for a light industrial business park. Manfredi also imagines a container park.

“This property has a lot of potential, if we can find the right developer to work with us as a city,” he said.

But it has been a struggle to bring in companies. The City ended its agreement with The Boyer Company, which produced no tenants or buildings in four years, and Economic Development Director Denyse Airheart said the city may have a new developer on board soon.

“My experience tells me the market gets it right about 85 percent of the time, and government gets it right about 30 percent of the time, so we have to create partnerships,” Horst said. “There’ll come a time when we don’t have to do that anymore because the market will take over.”

Chapados said she would like the business park to complement “Maricopa’s Heritage District and rich history through design function, and tenancy.” She added it “is poised to be Maricopa’s first job-center/business-park destination that also offers a place to house historically significant components, like a museum. It’s easily accessible with room to grow and lots to offer.”

Maricopa is also heavily invested in the under-construction overpass that will re-create midtown. Smith sees an interesting future coming to the Heritage District that involves Estrella Gin property.

“It would be great to have a nice, historical-looking building that serves as a train depot, café and historical museum by the railroad tracks,” she said. “Close to this building is the pedestrian overpass that allows both communities north and south of the tracks to safely cross the railroad tracks, especially for the high school students who currently cross there.”

MISCELLANEOUS

  • The area now called Pacana Park was acquired in 2006 for $1.8 million. It was 18 acres. In 2008, the City acquired 10 acres for $700,000 to expand Pacana Park to the south.
  • In 2007, the City – with its municipal fire department taking over for the Maricopa Volunteer Fire Department – purchased scattered pieces of property of 1-3 acres each for future fire stations. The stations have been built on Porter Road, Edison Road, Bowlin Road and Alterra Parkway. There remains one parcel lying well outside the city boundaries but in the middle of Maricopa’s future planning area. What is listed as the Stanfield Site is a one-acre, vacant lot on Pepper Place in Hidden Valley Estates. It was acquired for $10,000 on a quitclaim deed, costing the city nothing, and the council has started discussions of disposing of it.
  • The city acquired the building for the current Maricopa Public Library in 2009 with a sale price of $1.9 million, according to county records.
  • In 2010, Maricopa paid $3 million for a strip of land along the Santa Rosa Wash east of White and Parker Road and south of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

Vincent Manfredi is a minority owner in InMaricopa.


This story appears in the November issue of InMaricopa.

The proposed Vista Village property (star) is almost six acres.

A developer wants to build a 100-unit apartment complex in Maricopa, and a vote by Maricopa City Council on Tuesday may spur the project.

As proposed by Englewood Group, Vista Village will be constructed on a triangular, six-acre lot north of Walmart and south of Banner Health on Porter Road. The multi-building development would include two-story and three-story buildings with a pool, laundry, fitness center and playground.

The city council approved the re-zoning of the property from light industry to general mixed use. It was not an approval of the project but allowed Englewood Group to start the development process. It would be the first apartment complex in the city.

No member of the public or city council spoke against the re-zoning at the Tuesday hearing. Planner Rodolfo Lopez said the Development Services department did not receive any public comment, either.

The rezoning was previously recommended by city staff and by the Planning & Zoning Commission.

Development Services commissioned a study last year on housing needs in Maricopa. The idea of an apartment complex has been controversial in the past, with opponents saying rentals bring crime, but it has gained interest in the past year.

The Housing Needs Assessment Report from July 2017 noted that 97 percent of Maricopa’s housing is single-family homes, far above the Arizona average of 64 percent. It found a lack of “work force” housing for teachers, police, etc.

“For single people who wish to live alone, there are no housing options other than living alone in a large home,” the report stated.

The result is two or more families renting one “single-family” home.

Englewood, which has 74 properties in Arizona, Indiana and Illinois, has been eyeing Maricopa for more than a year.

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Maricopa City Council marked October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month with a proclamation by Mayor Christian Price. The entry to City Hall was also lighted in purple symbolic of the event.

Whereas, domestic violence is prevalent throughout the region, and more than 90 people lost their lives due to domestic violence in Arizona in 2017, with at least 53 deaths occurring within the Maricopa Association of Governments region; and
Whereas, every 44 minutes in Arizona, one or more children witness domestic violence, and up to 60% of perpetrators of intimate partner violence also abuse their children, according to an Arizona Department of Health Services report; and
Whereas, the trauma and suffering caused by domestic violence destroys families, threatens the safety of neighborhoods, and weakens the ability of communities to thrive; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa works collaboratively with community agencies to effectively address, prevent, and eradicate domestic violence; and
Whereas, the City of Maricopa is dedicated to ensuring the safety of domestic violence survivors and holding abusers accountable; and
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Christian Price, Mayor of the City of Maricopa, do hereby proclaim the month of October, 2018, as DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH in the City of Maricopa.

Dated this 2nd day of October, 2018

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. 


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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.

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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.



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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.

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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.”



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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.



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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/

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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.



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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.”



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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.”



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