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City of Maricopa


In a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., Maricopa City Council may vote on the distribution of AZCares funds to a list of businesses and nonprofits.

The agenda has two resolutions. In one resolution, 29 small businesses and three nonprofits would receive a combined $460,150.

In the other resolution, two businesses would receive a combined $14,400. Councilmembers are involved in both businesses – Vincent Manfredi at InMaricopa and Rich Vitiello at Kooline Plumbing – necessitating their separation from the others. They are expected to declare a conflict of interest and not vote on the second resolution.

The City of Maricopa received just under $6 million in AZCares funding through the federal CARES Act to help offset the costs of COVID-19.

The balance of the money went to public safety to relieve the cost accrued from COVID-19, including personal protective equipment.

The City created the Business Reemergence Program to help small businesses and the Food & Aid Distribution Non-Profit Assistance to help nonprofits. Small businesses can only use the funds for rent and reimbursement for the purchase of PPE. Only nonprofits that “have supported the citizens and promoted community health and safety” qualify for the funds.

The resolutions emphasize the funds are not a gift. Entities that misuse the funds have 30 days to repay the City the amount misused. Entities also had to be within the city boundaries of Maricopa. Businesses and organizations outside the city were asked to apply to Pinal County for AZCares funds.

Immediately before the meeting, the council will meet in closed session to discuss the potential legal issues with the proposed distribution.


Business Name                                            Suggested Award
Yogurt Jungle                                                     $11,850
Country Stylin’ Salon &Spa                             $8,550
TTS Catering                                                       $2,460
Sports & Cuts Barber Shop LLC                     $15,000
Kitchen Queens Catering                                 $1,400
Monarch Zen Healing Arts                              $1,850
CrossFit Maricopa LLC                                    $9,150
BlackStones Entertainment LLC                   $1,640
Honeycutt Coffee                                              $10,200
Longevity Athletics                                           $11,600
Brooklyn Boys Pizzeria and Restaurant       $24,100
The New HQ LLC                                              $12,150
Maricopa Heritage Pointe                               $4,500
AC Infantry LLC                                                $1,000
Nails 4 U LLC                                                    $10,250
Suzy Rawlins, Independent Mary Kay         $1,300
Helen’s Kitchen and Catering                        $13,000
Desert Sun Performing Arts                           $12,400
Blue Cactus Preschool                                     $17,800
Wells Counseling Service, LLC                      $1,400
Native Grill & Wings                                        $4,000
Maricopa Wellness Center                             $10,000
A-l Health and Wellness                                 $11,050
Just Weeds LLC                                                $800
Solutions Therapy, PLLC                                $750
Outside the Box Marketing, Inc.*                   $500
Rusinski Law Firm LLC                                  $2,250
Tacos N More Mexican Grill                          $25,000
Sunrise Taekwondo                                         $19,200
Total:                                                             $245,150

Non-Profit Name                                      Suggested Award
F.O.R. Maricopa                                              $100,000
Graysmark Schools                                         $15,000
Boys and Girls Club                                        $100,000
Total:                                                            $215,000

Business Name                                         Suggested Award
Kooline Plumbing LLC                                  $5,500
85239.com, LLC dba InMaricopa               $8,900
Total:                                                            $14,400

*Scott Bartle, primary owner of InMaricopa, also owns Outside the Box Marketing.

High water rolls through a wash after a storm filled Maricopa's natural drainage channels. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


During the past decade, the City of Maricopa has leaned on three far-reaching, collaborative, highly expensive projects with hopes of transformation.

One, the grade-separation of State Route 347 at the Union Pacific tracks, was completed last year. Another, the improvement of SR 347 from Maricopa to Interstate 10, is more reliant on other entities like Arizona Department of Transportation, Gila River Indian Community, Maricopa Association of Governments and Arizona Supreme Court.

The last, though less talked about, may have a broader impact on economic development. That is the North Santa Cruz Wash Regional Flood Control Project.

Typically the Santa Cruz Wash sees nary a drop of water, but the monsoon season can change that quickly.

“This has been an on-again, off-again project for over a decade,” City Manager Rick Horst said. “When I got here, it kind of stalled out. So, I kind of re-energized the process. It’s really convoluted to explain.”

The plan is now at an important stage as the City awaits cooperation from Gila Riva Indian Community before it takes the concept to the federal level.

The City has big plans for commercial development around City Hall. That land is currently leased as agricultural acreage until it can be moved out of the floodplain designation. A primary portion of federally established flood zones lies between White and Parker Road on the west, Fuqua Road on the east, Farrell Road to the south and Smith-Enke Road to the north.

If all goes as planned, the project would draw flow from existing channels and accommodate so-called 100-year floodwaters in a new collective system. That would allow 11.2 square miles of property to be removed from the flood zone designation. Those acres could then be developed as the City thought it would be at the turn of the century.

City Manager Rick Horst

Back then, developers had plans to channelize the Santa Cruz to solve the problems of being in the floodplain. But in 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency analyzed the Santa Cruz watershed. Its report changed everything.

“So, the City’s regional project had to take a step back after that data came out and reanalyze,” said Brad Hinton, a member of the Maricopa Flood Control District Board who has also worked for the City and for El Dorado Holdings.

He said the new study showed a different flood pattern that took in much more land than originally thought. The FEMA conclusion drew acres poised for development into the Special Flood Hazard Area map.

That had financial consequences for landowners, like mandatory flood insurance if they wanted to build on or improve their site or if they wanted to get a loan on property in the zone.

“Now it breaks to the west through existing development,” Hinton said. “The City has more skin in the game. Now, rather than just channelize the Northern Santa Cruz alignment, it involves improving the Santa Rosa channel as well.”


With the Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and Vekol washes at hand, Maricopa is familiar with high water. The monsoon season in particular often sees roadways deep in runoff. It doesn’t even have to rain in Maricopa to bring stormwaters through the washes.

The Santa Cruz River has a northbound flow. It collects stormwaters from the southern mountains and sends them up through the washes in Maricopa and Hidden Valley and on to Gila River Indian Community.

Major floods over the decades have damaged property and stifled movement, even covered railroad tracks, playing a factor in the removal of the train route between Maricopa and Phoenix.

Maricopa historian Patricia Brock noted impactful floods in 1890, 1891 and 1905. Sweeping floods in 1946 and 1949 “caused great destruction and left them stranded for long periods of time.”

In 1983, a dam broke on the Santa Cruz River, sending a wall of water into Maricopa, again closing roads and inundating homes and businesses. Brock reported the height of the railroad tracks kept most of the water on the south side.

In 1990, it was a breach in the Smith Wash south of town that brought floodwaters into Maricopa again. Arizona felt the heavy rains that soaked the nation in 1993, resulting in more high water for Maricopa.

Maricopa Flood Control District board members (from left) Scott Kelly, Brad Hinton and Dan Frank. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson


The Maricopa Flood Control District and Pinal County Flood Control District maintain miles of channels. The Maricopa FCD is a special taxing district that has an elected board and is responsible for repairing damage and clearing vegetation that could prevent the flow of floodwaters.

It reviews plans by homeowners’ associations that may impact the Santa Cruz or Santa Rosa washes.

The Pinal County FCD has dozens of projects and studies ongoing, two of which directly impact Maricopa. A feasibility study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has analyzed 80 stream miles of the Lower Santa Cruz River in search of a regional solution to flooding.

Though actually in District 3, the Russell Road Industrial Area project is attached to Maricopa. The project is studying drainage problems at Ak-Chin Regional Airport and the Saddleback Farms Subdivision.

The Pinal County and Maricopa entities disagree about the status and condition of the Santa Rosa levee, which is just south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The City of Maricopa’s plan might make the “discrepancy of opinion” on the levee go away.

“The county doesn’t have proper records of the inspections when it was built,” Hinton said. “And then there have been some utility crossings that they think have cut into the integrity of the liner. They have maybe some valid reasons to raise some concerns, but I think we’ve mitigated it by doing our additional testing.”

Dan Frank, president of the Maricopa FCD board, said the City’s design potentially could remove the levee designation.

“That gets the county and FEMA, and its requirements to report to them and do certain maintenance things, kind of off our back,” Frank said.

Preliminary Design Concept


“There is a large percentage of property within the current city limits that is within the floodplain,” Horst said. “We are working to try to mitigate that, in other words, to bring that property to where it can actually be developed.”

The recommended system for channelizing the Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa washes includes “interceptor/collection system, conveyance, detention and outlet systems.”

The Santa Cruz system would begin at Peters and Nall Road/Murphy Road and flow northwest to Steen Road, collecting from a South Side channel and traveling west along Steen before turning north at Fuqua Road. Flows would also be collected from Farrell Road to Fuqua and taken north toward the Gila River Indian Community boundary.

The recommended system for the Santa Rosa Wash “includes a proposed interceptor channel that will collect flow at the Peters and Nall Road alignment west of the UPRR,” according to the executive summary. An interceptor channel will tie into the existing Santa Rosa channel just west of Fuqua Road.

“I think what’s ingenious about this is we’re not having to build a lot of infrastructure,” Horst said. “We’re able to use the Santa Cruz Wash to carry a lot of this load. It’s already a natural channel and will save us a lot of money even though it seems like an expensive project.”

The rough estimate is $60 million.

“In essence, this will take approximately 11.2 square miles of property out of the floodplain. So, that’s a lot of acres,” he said. “And that acreage, once we bring it out of the floodplain, we will be able to ultimately develop it. If we develop it according to the current city pattern we’re following, that would be about $1.4 billion of new development opportunity.

“Of course, that won’t happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all if we don’t get it out of the floodplain.”

And even if the plan does not change the designation of the Santa Rosa levee, Hinton said the project “is going to help address and maybe do improvements to the levee to get the county and FEMA comfortable with it.”

On the other end, the City still must get GRIC on board, because all that re-directed flow won’t necessarily end up where they would like it. It is yet another project that must please local, county, state, federal and tribal entities to move forward.

The project 10 years in the making is only at the design level.

“Right now, the design concept report has been reviewed, and it has gone back into the county and the city for a second review and approval,” Hinton said. “After that, we’ll move forward with the 30% design, which is the CLOMR package.”

A Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR) is FEMA’s input on a project that will cause hydrologic or hydraulic changes. Maricopa is close to starting that process, but FEMA takes its time with these proposals.

“Projections are that we have a year-and-a-half process before we’re close to having FEMA’s approval,” Hinton said. “It’s a year-and-a-half to two-year construction process, too, though. It’s a big job.”

Optimistically, if FEMA and GRIC cooperate, it would be 18 months before any construction begins. GRIC is not an outlier. A GRIC engineer is part of the stakeholder meetings, and the sovereign nation knows it is an important player in a plan that could change Maricopa. Like FEMA, it has a long process in place and authorities to go through.


The elephant in the room is the funding.

In this case, having so many entities involved could become an advantage. All have different resources and connections. The city and the county are looking at various funding possibilities, and the flood control district sees options, too.

“That’s where the district could be involved,” Frank said. “We could look at the district’s ability to levy a tax or increase its levy.”

Is that likely?

“It’s hard to say,” Frank said.

That’s not a matter of the district doing a favor; it is affected by the City’s decisions. Maricopa FCD has easements through most of the channel. Maintenance agreements must be worked out, and that is a district specialty.

The City’s Capital Improvement Budget comes from taxes, fees and grants. With a COVID-caused slowdown expected, priorities could shift during the long process for approval. But Horst doesn’t mind spending $60 million to net $1 billion or more.

Hinton credits Horst with movement on the plan, calling him a “breath of fresh air in dealing with the City.”

“I think the project has moved in a positive direction,” he said.

This story appears in the July issue of InMaricopa.

Crews start construction of a crossing over the Santa Cruz Wash. (City of Maricopa photo)

The City of Maricopa has started construction of a crossing over the Santa Cruz Wash  on Bowlin Road next to Rancho Mirage Estates.

Using money from the Highway Users Revenue Fund (HURF), the capital-improvement project is part of a plan to improve Bowlin Road to White and Parker Road. Residents in Rancho Mirage and Sorrento will then have another direct route to the west side of town. The route will pass by the new library being built south of City Hall as well as Central Arizona College.

The project was budgeted over two fiscal years (VIDEO).

BEFORE, June 2020. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson
NOW, July 2020 construction. (City of Maricopa photo)

There will be not one but two fireworks displays in the city on the Fourth of July, but residents won’t be able to watch them from one of the most popular vantage points.

The Copper Sky Recreation Area, traditionally a gathering place for family activities and the fireworks on the holiday, will be closed at 6 p.m. to prepare for the southern display. There will be no Great American 4th celebration in the park this year, a casualty of social distancing guidelines at a time when coronavirus cases are surging in the state.

To expand the visibility of fireworks to more homes and backyards, a second display will light up the skies in the northern part of the city, the city announced Wednesday morning. In addition, the shows will feature high-altitude pyrotechnics. The 15-minute displays will occur simultaneously at 9 p.m. The northern location has not been disclosed, but it will not be a location that allows car or walk-up traffic.

The fireworks will cost about $25,000, about $5,000 to $7,000 more than last year’s display, according to Nathan Ullyot, the city’s director of community services. The event will be well under budget with the city not incurring the expenses – portable toilets and trash collection, for example – associated with the traditional celebration at Copper Sky, he said.

Ullyot said he knows many Maricopans will be unhappy about the lack of daytime events and a nighttime gathering spot at Copper Sky to view the show.

“I’m sure they will be frustrated,” he said. “I am sure they will be disappointed. This is the best decision out of bad choices.”

With the risk of further community spread of the virus, it would “not be responsible to open the park and sanction a gathering,” he said.

Another factor in the decision, Ullyot said, was concern that a day-long celebration at Copper Sky with food vendors and entertainment in the park, and fireworks afterwards, would draw hundreds or thousands of out-of-towners with other cities and towns in the state canceling their own festivities.

The city will be suggesting home activities and contests for residents on its social media pages in the coming days and weeks. Possible ideas include backyard BBQ contests and virtual cornhole competitions, Ullyot said.
“Even though we aren’t able to celebrate the 4th the way we normally would, we want to provide a little piece of normal for our residents,” he said. “We’re hoping our residents will be able to see the shows from anywhere in the city. We will also connect through social media and photo contests, with some pretty sweet prizes.”

When City Manager Rick Horst estimated Maricopa taxpayers would save up to $1.5 million by refinancing its Copper Sky bonds in June, he was a bit short.
The $9.9 million in bonds received over $19 million in orders, the City announced today, resulting in interest savings of $1.8 million in secondary property taxes.
“To get bond upgrades, a bidding war on our bonds, a quick sale with higher than anticipated returns, all during the COVID-19 crisis speaks tremendously to the fact that something special is happening here in Maricopa and the rest of the country is starting to see that,” Horst said.
The City received bond-rating upgrades from three agencies and had interest rates in its favor. The general obligation bonds are paying off the construction of the regional park.
Standard & Poor’s Global raised the City’s bond rating to AA from AA-.
“The raised rating reflects our view of the city’s improved budgetary performance and maintenance of very strong available reserves,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst David Mares.
Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the City of Maricopa general obligation bonds to AA2 from AA3, the second upgrade in less than 10 months.
“The upgrade to AA2 reflects continued material improvement in the city’s tax base, fostered by rapid development and population growth. The city is well positioned to weather the impacts of coronavirus and impending recession, having demonstrated its management strength and financial flexibility through the last recession when reserve levels remained above 70%,” according to the news release published by Moody’s.
Fitch Ratings assigned a AAA rating to the City of Maricopa, their highest score.
The rating “reflects the city’s sound fiscal performance and conservative budget practices, which have maintained a strong degree of financial flexibility,” Fitch shared in its news release regarding the rating.

Maricopa City Council Candidates
Five candidates for Maricopa City Council joined InMaricopa.com for Facebook Live interviews.

In late May, InMaricopa.com launched its Meet the Candidates series on Facebook Live, an opportunity to sit down with city council candidates and discuss a range of important issues ahead of the Aug. 4 primary.

Six candidates, including two incumbents, are running for three seats on the council, including the seat being vacated by Councilmember Marvin Brown, who is not seeking re-election.

Five candidates participated. Four of them – challengers Andre LaFond, Amber Liermann and Bob Marsh, and incumbent Nancy Smith, stopped by the office to chat. Incumbent Julia Gusse joined us via Zoom during the governor’s stay at home order.

Challenger Linette Caroselli declined to participate.

Among other things, candidates shared their ideas to fix for SR 347 and attract new businesses to Maricopa, and weighed in on state and local response to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the primary election less than five weeks away, InMaricopa has collected the interviews so voters can watch them all in one place. They appear below in order of the candidate’s appearance:

Andre LaFond, challenger, April 21 :

Julia Gusse, incumbent, May 5, via Zoom:

Amber Liermann, challenger, May 26:

Nancy Smith, incumbent, June 2:

Bob Marsh, challenger, June 9:

Copper Sky pool
A lifeguard watches over swimmers at the Copper Sky lap pool. File photo by Kyle Norby

Three lifeguards at the Copper Sky Multigenerational Recreation Complex have tested positive for coronavirus.

None of the lifeguards have worked since June 20, according to the City, which issued a news release on Monday night.

“We do not believe the affected staff came in close contact without taking appropriate precautions with any of the public during any potential shift where they may have had COVID-19,” said Nathan Ullyot, community services director for the city. “Copper Sky Aquatic staff have taken great care to provide aquatic services within the state, federal and CDC guidelines for pool operation.”

City staff have been following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for public pools, which includes physical distancing, wearing face coverings where possible, performing daily temperature checks, and staying home when exhibiting any symptoms, the city noted in its announcement.

In addition, the city said, Copper Sky initiated several protocols to limit the spread of COVID-19 to the public including capping pool capacity to 100 people, expanding the pool deck area into the adjacent lawn to allow for further physical distancing, spacing pool deck furniture around the deck area and removing furniture to limit gatherings and operating open swim in two-hour periods, allowing 30-minute closures to clean and disinfect the pool area.

Earlier Monday night, the city announced the Copper Sky facility will close for at least 30 days in response to the Gov. Doug Ducey’s new executive order, announced earlier in the day. Members will not be billed for services for July. Additional information will be sent at a later date to members about the impact of the closure.

Open swim at the aquatic center will also be closed for at least 30 days in response to the specific stipulations included in the executive order in regard to public pools, the city said.


Exceptional Healthcare Hospital
A sign promoting a new "community hospital" appeared Monday morning at SR 347 and Honeycutt Avenue. Photo by Bob McGovern

When a signboard went up Monday on John Wayne Parkway announcing a “community hospital” coming soon, eyebrows were raised at City Hall.

Exceptional Healthcare posted signs on the northwest corner of State Route 347 and Honeycutt Avenue. The signs quickly became noticed as a collision stopped traffic near the intersection at midday.

Mayor Christian Price said his understanding is the plans are for a surgery center and emergency room. Exceptional Healthcare is based in Texas.

The company did not have a city permit to erect the sign, however. Neither has it submitted paperwork for the pre-application process let alone a building permit.

“We haven’t had any applications,” Community Development Director Nathan Steele said.

He added the City has now had a conversation with the company about the importance of following the process.

Price said he doesn’t think that pending project will interfere with any future plans for a full-service hospital, which is still “in the works.”

For several years, Dignity Health has owned more than 18 acres on the northeast corner of SR 347 and Smith-Enke Road, behind CVS and Freddy’s, but has not announced any plans to develop it.

Maricopa Random Acts of Kindness wants to hear your stories, big and small.

The City of Maricopa announced a new program to celebrate good-deed-doers, thanks to the generosity of the founder of Nikola Motor Company.

The Maricopa Random Acts of Kindness program encourages residents to share good deeds they have witnessed. Those who share their stories may receive a gift card. Nikola Executive Director Trevor Milton is donating personal money to communities to help those who have been helping those in need.

Maricopa is receiving $30,000. Of that, $10,000 goes to Maricopa Community Foundation, $10,000 goes to the food bank, and $10,000 goes to Maricopa Random Acts of Kindness.

“We are so very thankful for Mr. Milton for selecting our community as one to so generously invest in,” said Mayor Christian Price. “This donation is structured to help businesses, residents and recognize the tight knit community that makes all of us so thankful to live in the City of Maricopa.”

If you are a recipient or contributor of kind act, email your story of a random act of kindness in 100 words or less (with a photo if possible) to RAK@maricopa-az.gov.

The City will then share selected stories on social media. Story contributors will be randomly selected to receive a gift card to a local restaurant. Submissions are open until the funds run out.

Nikola is currently hiring for its future plant in Pinal County.

Brian Petersheim

By Brian Petersheim

So you think you’re ready to take the plunge and put in an offer on the home you’ve always wanted, whether it’s your first home, a bigger home for your growing household, or an investment property? Seems pretty easy right? Just go online and get some tips, read Facebook, or watch a YouTube video on how to make an offer and get the right home for you.

While that is one way you can do it, it will most likely end up causing you to pay more money that you should and many months trying. Midway through 2020, things in the Maricopa housing market have changed a little bit. If you haven’t heard, there is currently a shortage of homes for sale, which makes it a very strong seller’s market.

Currently in Maricopa, there are only 90 homes available for sale. Subtract the 24 homes that are in Province, the active adult community, and the 15 homes that are brand-new builds and will take between four and six months and you are left with a whopping 51 homes to choose from.

Those, by the way, are the same 51 homes that everyone else and their brothers are looking at, too.

These problems are not just local to the Maricopa market. Just for comparison, on any other given year there were about 35,000 homes for sale in the Phoenix Metro area. Currently, as of the end of June, there are only 9,390 homes for sale in the metro area, or about 25% of the typical average.

So, it’s not just a Maricopa problem, it’s a trend seen all over the state and in several other states, too.

If the last time you purchased a home was either during the foreclosure market, or even up to a few years ago, the market was much different and it was actually slanted toward the buyer.

So, here are some great tips to help you navigate this new seller’s market.

  1. Have your agent reach out to the seller’s agent. Find out if there’s any other offers and find out what the seller’s reason is for selling and their timeframe. If the seller currently lives at the house and they don’t have to start a job in another state for three months, that is great information to have. If they have a brand-new home that has just been built and are getting ready to move in quickly, that is great information to have and can be used to make your offer stronger.
  2. Write the cleanest offer possible. There are certain items that need to be attached to every offer. One is a prequalification letter. The second, at least in the city of Maricopa, is an HOA addendum. Submitting an offer missing either one of those documents makes it an incomplete offer that may not be given serious consideration by the seller.
  3. Avoid asking for personal property. This is something to avoid in a seller’s market. If your offer is the one that asked for a bunch of extra furnishings, the seller may focus on other offers.
  4. Write a personal letter to the seller. Compliment them on their choice of decorating and furnishings. Let them know they have taken great care of the home and you would love to see you and your loved ones in that home making memories. This personalized, handwritten letter can be submitted with the offer and it will get the attention of the seller. If another offer is very similar, the letter may make all the difference!
  5. Have your lender, the one who wrote the pre-qualification letter, reach out to the seller’s agent first thing the next morning. That agent receiving a call from the lender will let that agent know that the loan officer is indeed responsible and easy to communicate with. While the lender is on the phone with the agent, he/she can also let the realtor know that the prospective buyers are very strong financially and the loan process should be flawless.
  6. Add an escalation clause. An escalation clause is something that many newer agents are not familiar with because they’re generally only used in a strong seller’s market. Basically the clause reads that your client agrees to increase their offer $500 higher than any competing offer up to a specified amount. The other agent will need to prove the amount of the other offer(s).
  7. Consider giving the seller occupancy after closing for X number of days. Many sellers are hesitant to sell because they don’t 100% have another home lined up. Doing this may calm their fears and get them to pick your offer over one a little bit higher just because there is less stress involved.
  8. Close on the home faster. This goes back to tip number one. If the home is empty, the sooner it sells, the less the seller pays in property taxes, utilities and possibly mortgage. You closing on the home early may save the seller $1000 over another offer.

These are a few tips, but here’s the bottom line: trying to buy a home in a seller’s market is a different beast than buying in a market that is buyer-friendly. Communication is so important, and finding out as much information as you can may really help your offer be successful without costing you any more money.

A final, but extremely important tip, is make sure you have a local Maricopa real estate agent who knows the market inside and out. Homes are like fingerprints, each one is unique and an experienced real estate agent can help you find your match.

Brian Petersheim
HomeSmart Realty


The Heritage District, also known as Old Maricopa, is the focus of ideas for a CDBG grant.

Pinal County wants to give away $130,000.

Specifically, it wants to fund Community Development Block Grants in Maricopa. The county was designated an “urban county” last year, meaning it can receive CDBG program funds directly from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rather than through the state.

This fiscal year, that means $1 million for unincorporated areas and $130,000 each for Maricopa, Florence, Eloy and Mammoth.

The county’s grants administrator, Heather Patel, said a CDBG project can involve a block, a street or a neighborhood, as long as at least 51% of the population in the designated area is determined to be of low or moderate income. That does not apply to Maricopa as a whole but does describe some areas.

“Ultimately, your community will decide upon what project you’re going to do, and the Board of Supervisors will decide on the projects the unincorporated portions of the county will do,” Patel said at a meeting of the Heritage District Advisory Committee. “Then we submit that information to HUD.”

Projects must have an urgent need and must address “slum and blight.” She said that means the project should be in a redevelopment area.

The Heritage District is undergoing a revitalization effort in the wake of the completion of the overpass, which runs through the middle of it. CDBG projects can include streets, sidewalks, community facilities, parks roads, even sewers.

Deputy City Manager Kazi Haque said an effort to replace Rotary Park as a recreation area in the Heritage District could qualify. That park and its swimming pool were removed during work on the grade-separation project.

An Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation program that died for lack of interest in the Heritage District may also qualify if the City decides to bring it back in future fiscal year. Judy Ramos, revitalization and transit coordinator, said only six residents had shown interest this year, and only two completed the application process.

Ramos said suspicions and reservations resulted from misinformation spread in the neighborhood and the City’s communication limitations during COVID-19 protocols. But the purposes of that program align with CDBG goals.

Residents of the City of Maricopa or unincorporated areas of Pinal County have about a month to turn in ideas.

“By July 24, the City needs to have an identified project and submit it to the county,” Patel said.

The timeline has projects starting in March.

Haque said as ideas take form, they will be run by the Heritage District Committee for their input, and it will be discussed again at their July meeting.

Learn more about Pinal County CDBG at https://pinal.gov/Grants/Pages/CDBG.aspx.

Past county projects included housing rehabilitation and waterline improvements.

Traffic signal Honeycutt White Parker
A crew works Wednesday on installation of a traffic signal at Honeycutt and White and Parker roads. The intersection is currently a four-way stop. Photo by Kyle Norby

A long-anticipated traffic light at a busy intersection in the eastern end of the city will keep motorists waiting just a little bit longer.

The signal at Honeycutt and White and Parker roads is expected to be operational in mid-July,  according to Luis Vila, communications coordinator for the city.

Originally expected to be completed by June 30, the project is waiting for delivery of a computer on backorder to control the signals, Vila said. Once delivered, it will take a few days to install and program the computer.

This weekend, crews will be striping the intersection, he said.

Currently a four-way stop, the intersection becomes a bottleneck during the morning and evening rush hours as Tortosa, Rancho Mirage and Sorrento residents drive into town or make their way to State Route 347 for the work commute to the Phoenix metro area.

Traffic backups of 15 to 20 minutes at the intersection are common during those peak periods and get worse during the school year when two schools in Tortosa – Desert Winds Middle and Santa Cruz Elementary – let out for the day.

The cost of a traffic signal is generally $250,000 to $350,000, but this project will cost more as it includes realignment of the intersection and a right-turn lane on westbound Honeycutt, city officials have said.

Property taxes are in a generally downward trend, but there is still uncertainty in local budgets. That is causing finance experts to calculate zero revenue growth in building budgets.

The City of Maricopa and Pinal County are dropping their tax rates as the overall tax levy increases. Maricopa Unified School District expects its secondary tax rate to decrease while the primary rate rises.

With economic and population growth, even through COVID-19, the City’s lax levy is gaining about $190,000. That is allowing the city to lower its primary tax rate from 4.7845 to 4.6309 and its secondary rate from 1.1871 to 0.9348.

The county is planning to drop its primary property tax rate from 3.79 to 3.75 when rates are adopted in August. Angie Woods, director of Management & Budget, said it was a huge effort by the county to meet goals of bringing down the tax rate. The budget, she said, was built with an eye on the pandemic.

“Our local excise tax and state shared tax revenues were built in as flat,” Woods told supervisors this month.

She said April revenue numbers were better than projected.

“Very, very positive numbers for the month of April,” she said in a supervisors’ meeting this month. “Very surprising.”

MUSD’s governing board will discuss its proposed budget at its meeting today. The district’s secondary tax rate, which pays for the voter-approved override and bonds, is scheduled to fall from 2.5557 to 2.5327 for fiscal year 2020-21. The primary rate, however, may rise from 4.2475 to 5.2256, as previously reported. Without the addition of an Adjacent Ways levy for the second high school, the primary rate would have decreased about a cent.

The budget is based on the estimated 100-day average daily membership. That has grown from 979 in 2016 to 1,593 in 2020.

“Before the COVID-19, closure I was projecting a growth of 340 ADM,” Finance Director Jacob Harmon said during an earlier meeting. “Since there are so many unknowns due to the changes in the world and our economy, we’ve decided to build the budget based on zero growth so we can be prepared for worst-case scenarios.”

Though the district is receiving funding through the CARES Act, estimated at $1 million, how far it will stretch is a question.

“I have a strong feeling, based on different information we’ve seen in trends in other states, other districts, that the expense of reopening is probably going to outweigh the CARES money,” Harmon told the board.

The governing board meets tonight at 6:30 p.m. and can be viewed live on the district’s YouTube channel.

Maricopa City Council
Maricopa City Council: clockwise from top left: Councilmember Rich Vitiello, Vice Mayor Nancy Smith, Councilmember Vincent Manfredi, Councilwoman Julia Gusse, Councilmember Henry Wade, Mayor Christian Price and Councilmember Marvin Brown. (Maricopa City photo)

City of Maricopa
39700 W. Civic Center Plaza


Christian Price

City Council
Vice Mayor Nancy Smith

Councilmember Marvin L. Brown

Councilwoman Julia Gusse

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi

Councilmember Rich Vitiello

Councilmember Henry Wade


Maricopa Unified School District
44150 W. Maricopa-Casa Grande Hwy.

Governing Board
President AnnaMarie Knorr

Vice President Ben Owens

Member Torri Anderson

Member Patti Coutré

Member James Jordan


Maricopa Flood Control District

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



Pinal County

Mark Lamb
971 Jason Lopez Circle, Building C, Florence

County Attorney
Kent Volkmer
30 N. Florence St, Building D, Florence

Justice of the Peace – Precinct 4 (Western Pinal)
Lyle Riggs
19955 N. Wilson Ave.

Constable – Precinct 8 (Western Pinal)
Glenn Morrison
19955 N. Wilson Ave.

Douglas Wolf
31 N. Pinal St, Building E, Florence

Virginia Ross
31 N. Pinal St, Building E, Florence

Board of Supervisors
135 N. Pinal St, Building A, Florence

Supervisor Anthony Smith [District 4, Maricopa]
41600 W. Smith-Enke Road, Suite 128

Supervisor Pete Rios [District 1]

Supervisor Mike Goodman [District 2]

Supervisor Stephen Miller [District 3]

Supervisor Todd House [District 5]


Central Arizona College (Pinal County Community College District) Governing Board
8470 N. Overfield Road, Coolidge

Member Dan Miller [District 4 – Maricopa]

President Gladys Christensen [District 1]

Member David Odiorne [District 2]

Member Rick Gibson [District 3]

Member Dave Waldron


State of Arizona

Doug Ducey
1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix

State Legislators
Vince Leach – State Senator – District 11
1700 W. Washington St, Room 303, Phoenix

Mark Finchem – State Representative – District 11
1700 W. Washington St, Room 310, Phoenix

Bret Roberts – State Representative – District 11
1700 W. Washington St, Room 344, Phoenix


Secretary of State
Katie Hobbs
1700 W. Washington St., 7th Floor, Phoenix

Attorney General
Mark Brnovich
1275 W. Washington St., Phoenix

State Treasurer
Kimberly Yee
1700 W. Washington St, 1st Floor, Phoenix

State Mine Inspector
Joe Hart
1700 W. Washington St, 4th Floor, Phoenix

State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Kathy Hoffman
1535 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix

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

Chairman Bob Burns

Commissioner Boyd W. Dunn

Chairman Sandra Kennedy

Commissioner Lea Márquez Peterson

Commissioner Justin Olson


U.S. Congress

Tom O’Halleran –  U.S. Representative – U.S. House District 1
324 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C.
211 N. Florence St, Suite 1, Casa Grande
3037 W. Ina Road, Suite 101, Tucson

Kyrsten Sinema – U.S. Senator
317 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C.
3333 E. Camelback Rd, Suite 200, Phoenix
20 E. Ochoa St., Tucson

Martha McSally – U.S. Senator
404 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C.
2201 E. Camelback Road, Suite 115, Phoenix
407 W. Congress St., Suite 103, Tucson


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

2020 is an election year. For updated elected official information, visit https://www.inmaricopa.com/newresidentguide/

Maricopa aerial
Maricopa is a city of neighbors. Photo by Kyle Norby (flight courtesy Desert Rat Aviation)

The City of Maricopa is strongly encouraging its residents to wear face masks to prevent the most vulnerable in the community.

“…The Maricopa Mayor and City Council, and the City of Maricopa strongly encourage & request residents to wear masks where social interaction takes place, while visiting businesses and other institutions outside of one’s close familial circle, and especially where social distancing is not possible in these given locations,” said a news release released by the city on Thursday afternoon.

While face masks are not mandated, Mayor Christian Price said he wants all people in the city to cover up.

Get free face masks from 10 a.m. to noon Friday

“Wearing a mask is a small thing each of us can do to protect those most vulnerable in our community,” Price said in the release. “The Governor said he would like to see every Arizonan wear a mask. I specifically, would like to see every Maricopan wear a mask, especially when unable to social distance from others around us. All of Arizona’s businesses, non-profits & institutions are now required to establish these new and updated guidelines for our well-being. So as we frequent these various entities let’s all do our part and show off how much we care about each other by masking up Maricopa!”

The City said its staff will follow requirements from Gov. Doug Ducey, including wearing face masks when they are within six feet of others and/or when interacting with the public.

“Thank you to all our caring residents who plan to do the same,” the release concluded.

On Wednesday, Ducey gave local governments in Arizona the authority to mandate masks in their cities. The governor’s move came amid public pressure for him to take action to address the surging number of new coronavirus cases in the state. On Thursday, state health officials reported 2,519 confirmed cases, eclipsing the previous single-day high of 2,392 cases reported on Tuesday. The number of deaths rose Thursday by 32 to a total of 2,519.

Ducey said Wednesday any mandate should rest with local authorities because the number of new cases varies greatly from city to city.

He also announced enhanced guidelines for businesses, organizations and professional offices, including that they must “require face coverings when physical distancing is not feasible.”

In a Facebook post Wednesday, Price referenced that new requirement: “The Governor now says that citizens of Arizona are requested – HIGHLY SUGGESTED even – to wear masks or face coverings when out and about from your own home …. It’s not necessarily “mandated”, per se, but we are requested to follow the most up to date CDC guidelines and in the Gov’s own words: “He would like to see every Arizonan wear a mask or face covering.” (Especially when unable to social distance).

Among the dozens of comments in response to the mayor’s post were expressions of support and pleas to make masks mandatory.

A petition posted created on MoveOn.org  urged Price to make masks mandatory.

A number of mayors in other Arizona cities – Chandler, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale and Tucson among them – have already moved to require face masks.


This morning, the City of Maricopa opened its application process for small business and nonprofits affected by COVID-19 to receive AZCares funds.
The new webpage has details on The Maricopa Business Reemergence Program and the Maricopa Food & Aid Distribution Non-Profit Assistance Program. Applicants have until 6 p.m. on Monday, July 6, to submit their complete application.
The AZCares Fund is Arizona’s portion of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Maricopa City Council assigned $1.35 million to the Reemergence Program and $350,000 to the Nonprofit Assistance Program.
Many nonessential businesses in Maricopa were closed for 10 weeks and have struggled to regain their clientele. The Reemergence program can go toward rent or mortgage payments from March, April and May, purchase of personal protection equipment and related items. It is not for payroll or utilities, but the City is touting other business resources that may help mitigate other expenses.
Applications will be reviewed and allocations announced in mid-July.

People wear face masks while waiting in line to enter the Ross store in May. Photo by Bob McGovern

Use of face masks in Maricopa will not be mandatory, the city mayor has decided.

Mayor Christian Price announced on Facebook Wednesday afternoon that he would not force residents to wear face coverings in public.

He did echo the request of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for residents to wear face masks voluntarily.

Letter: Sheriff announces he has COVID-19

Get face masks from 10 a.m. to noon Friday

“The Governor now says that citizens of Arizona are requested – HIGHLY SUGGESTED even – to wear masks or face coverings when out and about from your own home…,” the post said. “It’s not necessarily “mandated”, per se, but we are requested to follow the most up to date CDC guidelines and in the Gov’s own words: “He would like to see every Arizonan wear a mask or face covering.” (Especially when unable to social distance).”

As far as restaurants, Price said if restaurateurs are already complying with earlier Phase 1 requests, then all is good. If not, he added, the Pinal County Health Department will be enforcing those guidelines.

“So please just be a good actor here and do your part,” he wrote.

Among the dozens of comments left on his Facebook post were sighs of relief and pleas to make masks mandatory.

Earlier Wednesday, Ducey gave local governments the authority to mandate masks in their cities. The governor’s move came amid public pressure for him to take action to address the surging number of new coronavirus cases in the state.

Ducey said any mandate should rest with local authorities because the number of new cases varies greatly from city to city.

A number of mayors in other Arizona cities – Phoenix, Tucson and Mesa, among them – have already moved to implement a face mask requirement for residents.

Officials in Chandler sent out a tweet on Wednesday saying the City Council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday to “discuss & possibly take action regarding directives for residents relating to reducing the spread of COVID-19 including masks/social distancing.”

A vote will be taken Friday in Gilbert on the matter.


Brian Petersheim

By Brian Petersheim

A local builder is now offering homes with two of the most sought-after amenities in the Maricopa market: waterfront property and RV garages in the Lakes at Rancho El Dorado.

A little history on the Lakes at Rancho El Dorado. The development is actually part of the main Rancho El Dorado subdivision, even though it has a different homeowner’s association. The legal name of the Lakes is “Rancho El Dorado Phase 3.” (Phase 1 and 2 are the golf course community). The Lakes have a total of 1,643 lots for homes, while currently there are 660 homes built.

The first builder to construct homes in the Lakes was named Hacienda, back in 2006. Hacienda went under during the real estate bubble and the bank sold some of the remaining homes. Meritage Homes also owned many other Lakes lots and has sold homes there sporadically between 2007 and 2016.

Currently in the Lakes, Richmond American Homes are starting construction of model homes to begin selling waterfront and interior lots. A builder new in Maricopa, Gehan Homes, will also begin developing waterfront and interior lots.

As a real estate agent in the Valley for 14 years, my experience is that one of buyers’ most popular requests is a home with a view (specifically on the water). Coming in second place: RV garages, somewhere home buyers can legally park their recreation vehicle, work trailer or boat without getting in trouble with the HOA.

Richmond American is making it possible to get both at the Lakes.

There are six new floorplans available in the Lakes at Rancho El Dorado, including four with an attached RV garage.  They also have waterfront lots available for new homes.

Non-RV homes will start at $289,990 while homes with RV garages will start at $302,990

Having a buyer’s agent on a new build is very important in order to get the best deal possible on both new builds and completed homes. There is never a cost to have a buyer’s agent to protect your best interest. Keep in mind, the salesperson that works at the model homes works for the builder. Your buyer’s agent works for you (builder pays agent, not you).

Please consult a local real estate professional for help buying or selling a home.

Brian Petersheim
HomeSmart Realty

City Council gathers ideas to put AZCares funds to use

WHAT: Maricopa City Council meeting
WHEN: June 16, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Maricopa City Hall, remotely available at https://www.youtube.com/user/myMaricopa20

When executive orders closed nonessential businesses in Maricopa for 10 weeks to flatten the curve of COVID-19, the pain was felt quickly by small business owners.

They took a hit in rent, payroll, inventory and utility costs with minimal, if any, revenue  coming in. Those who relied on spring business to help them through the slow summer months were left with little to lean on.

For those deciding how to spend nearly $6 million in CARES Act money coming to Maricopa through the AZCares program, the plight of small businesses is a major focus. The same is true of the community’s nonprofits, as many saw a serious decline in contributions or were called on to overextend themselves to meet community needs.

Christian Price

Maricopa City Council received suggestions from 30 individuals and will discuss the ideas at an upcoming meeting.

“I am grateful that they echoed much of what I am leaning toward: a balance between our businesses and nonprofits in need,” Mayor Christian Price said. “But there is much more to it than that, so our staff is also analyzing some recommendations to be brought forth, that will help clarify and even broaden the categories of possibilities on who we can help.”

About a third of the submissions came from individuals asking the council to use the funds to support the Be Awesome Youth Coalition. There were also pleas to help local food banks, the Boys & Girls Club, STEAM education and other nonprofit organizations.

“The majority suggested small businesses and non-profits, which aligns well with my desires,” Vice Mayor Nancy Smith said. “Two suggestions were related to building affordable small business rental space, and one suggestion dealt with a medical facility. Those are great suggestions.”

Nancy Smith

Smith, who is running for re-election this year, said the City’s ongoing plans at Estrella Gin can help create small-business rentals.

The businesses who shared their plight with the council were a sampling of the impact COVID-19 had in Maricopa. That included a nail-salon owner staring at three months’ worth of rent, a catering company that lost at least 10 major events this spring while potential clients remain uncertain about planning future events, and a clothing boutique that had just opened its doors in February when nonessential stores were shuttered.

Councilwoman Julia Gusse, also up for election, said Maricopa should look ahead and take care of its own.

Julia Gusse (submitted photo)

“In my opinion, these funds will best be used to prepare us for what the future may hold,” Gusse said. “Being proactive rather than reactive and taking care of our own. All the public ideas should be taken into consideration, and I can see fulfilling many of these; food bank, small businesses, families, veterans and children affected by COVID…taking care of our own.”

Councilmember Vincent Manfredi outlined the specific spending he would like to see. That includes $1 million for a grant program for local small businesses and charities impacted by the COVID-19 closures, up to $3 million on infrastructure improvements “to help entice economic development and job growth,” up to $400,000 for food banks, and other funds for reimbursing COVID-related expenses, with the rest going into the City’s emergency contingency fund.

Vincent Manfredi
Vincent Manfredi

“I think economic development is what will drive our recovery,” Manfredi said.

The four outsiders challenging for the three seats available on council are also looking closely at the decisions that loom over City leaders.

Bob Marsh said he wants the City to use the funds exactly as outlined in the U.S. Treasury guidelines: medical expenses, including COVID-19 testing; public health expenses, including personal protection equipment; payroll expenses for employees dedicated to the emergency; expenses incurred by compliance with executive orders, including distance learning and working remotely; and economic support to small businesses, including grants.

Bob Marsh. Photo by Kyle Norby

“I think the coverages that will have the most positive impact in Maricopa are covering the costs of COVID-19 testing and providing economic support to small businesses,” Marsh said.

Linette Caroselli’s priority list includes helping small businesses get back on their feet, creating a utilities relief fund for residents, and funding programming for youth programs and resources, including help with online learning.

Linette Caroselli

“I would also like to see a significant donation to the food bank, funding to cover the cost of testing, public safety and public health employees,” Caroselli said. “In addition, donations to the homeless and women’s shelters in our community would also prove to be beneficial.”

Andre LaFond said the majority of the AZCares funds should go toward the construction of a “town center” area for affordable storefront space and low-interest business loans.

Andre LaFond (submitted photo)

“The cost of business space is higher in Maricopa than Scottsdale,” he said. “This prevents small businesses from easily moving from home-based to commercial space opportunities. The tax revenue along with the economic growth would be a great benefit to our city.”

Amber Liermann reiterated goals of the city council’s Strategic Plan, saying the council needs to keep those predetermined goals in mind.

Amber Liermann. Photo by Kyle Norby

“Protecting ‘quality growth and development’ and ‘economic development’ would continue to be my top two priorities,” she said. “The application process will be important to clearly identify specific needs in our community. Special consideration may be appropriate for healthcare providers including first responders.”

A former councilmember and vice mayor also shared her insight with the current council among the public submissions. Peggy Chapados said her top suggestions were recognizing “front-line” workers, helping businesses most impacted by COVID-19 and supporting nonprofits who provide food and aid.

She also suggested creating a process like the now-defunct Non-Profit Funding Initiative that would identify priorities with objective criteria.

“I know how we do everyday things will change, maybe a little, maybe a lot, and I also know first-hand what Maricopans are capable of, especially when we work together,” Chapados said.

Chopping up $5.98 million among the most deserving while COVID-19 is still impacting daily life in Maricopa is an illuminating challenge. It not only is about identifying those entities that should be entitled to funds but also creating the system for applying for them. That is something the council wants in place quickly.

“Hopefully, we will have some agreed-upon parameters to evaluate by this next council meeting so we can start getting this money into the hands of those who need it most,” Price said.

Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.


Maricopa BLM Protest
People hold signs during a peaceful protest to support the Black Lives Matter movement, on June 2 near Edison Pointe in Maricopa. Photo by Bob McGovern

The curfew is over.

In announcing on Twitter late Monday morning that he would not extend the 8 p.m.-to-5 a.m. statewide curfew, Gov. Doug Ducey thanked peaceful protesters and law enforcement officer alike.

“Arizona has avoided much of the violence we’ve seen in other states and large metro areas,” Ducey wrote in a series of tweets around 11 a.m.

Peaceful protests have continued daily since the beginning of the curfew, with thousands of people in Phoenix and downtown Scottsdale speaking out on Sunday against institutionalized racism and police brutality.

In Maricopa, several protests have been held, including a candlelight vigil on Friday night and a march on Saturday. All have been peaceful.

“I’m also thankful to all Arizonans for their patience during this time,” Ducey tweeted. “Our state and nation are facing multiple challenges, and I’m very appreciative for how the citizens and leaders of our state are conducting themselves during this historic moment.”

The curfew went into effect at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 31 as part of a Declaration of Emergency after protests in many U.S. cities had turned violent, with arson and looting.

A day before the curfew, peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police became violent. In New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, police clashed with rioters. Businesses were vandalized and looted, and buildings set afire.

Maricopa Peaceful Protest Sign
A woman holds up a sign listing the names of people of color who died at the hands of police, during a June 2 protest in Maricopa. Photo by Bob McGovern

In Phoenix, stores at the Scottsdale Fashion Square were vandalized and looted.

The governor has said the curfew was instituted at the request of local leaders and in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

The expiration of the curfew does not mean all is normal, however.

“With the curfew expiring, @Arizona_DPS will remain vigilant, working with local law enforcement leaders to ensure they have the tools necessary to keep our streets safe and protect the rights of all residents to make their voices heard,” Ducey tweeted.

“For the past 8 days, we’ve seen Arizonans exercise their Constitutional Rights in a peaceful manner. With this approach, Arizona can continue to be a good example of how First Amendment rights and public safety will be prioritized.”

Tanner Rogers Maricopa
Tanner Rogers, 33, of Maricopa was charged with domestic assault after an incident Tuesday at his Rancho Mirage home, police said.

A Maricopa man is facing domestic violence charges after his arrest Tuesday.

Tanner Rogers, 33, was charged with domestic assault after a physical altercation occurred between Rogers and his wife when he was caught cheating, police said.

Officers responded to a home on West La Paz Street in Rancho Mirage after a 12-year-old child called to report hearing mom and dad fighting, and mom saying, “Get off of me,” according to police.

On scene, officers made contact with Rogers who was in the process of packing his belongings into a vehicle. Rogers told police that after his wife caught him having an affair by finding out he was sending nude photos, they had an argument. Rogers said he held his wife by her shoulders to prevent her from leaving so he could explain himself. He claimed she tripped during the exchange and he landed on top of her, police said.

Police reported observing red marks around his wife’s neck. She told police she had caught her husband sending nude photos to women on his phone earlier in the day and told him to be out of the house by the time she got home from work. When she arrived back home and Rogers had not left, she avoided conversation with him. He allegedly tackled her into the bathtub, police said.

Rogers allegedly wrapped his hands around the woman’s neck and began choking her before she escaped his grasp, according to the police report. Running to the living room with her phone in hand, Roger allegedly picked her up and threw her to the floor, causing rug burns on the woman’s elbows, according to police.

Rogers was arrested and booked into Pinal County Jail, police said.

Brian Petersheim

By Brian Petersheim

The Maricopa real estate market continues to strengthen despite the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic.

The tightening of the housing market is great for sellers but poses many challenges for buyers and investors. The number of available homes for sale is down more than 60% from a year ago.

In recent months, on any given day, there were 300 homes for sale – on average – in the city of Maricopa. Currently, there are only 130 homes for sale.

That number is mind-blowing because once you add any required parameters to a real estate search there are only a handful of homes to choose from, and other buyers using the same requirements will be looking at the same homes.

Of the 130 homes currently available:

• 27 of them are for sale in Province (active adult community)
• 52 of them are new build/spec homes
• That leaves 51 homes that are existing resale homes

When using numbers of bedrooms as the parameter, of the 130 available homes, the numbers breakdown like this:

• 2 bedrooms – 23
• 3 bedrooms – 46
• 4 bedrooms – 41
• 5 bedrooms – 18
• 6 bedrooms – 2
• 7+ bedrooms – 0

Searching by garage capacity?

• 2-car – 90
• 3 car – 39
• 4 car – 1

Using price as a parameter?

• $150,001-175,000 – 0
• $175,001-200,000 – 2
• $200,001-225,000 – 10
• $225,001-250,000 – 27
• $251,001-275,000 – 27
• $275,001-300,000 – 23
• $300,001-350,000 – 23
• $350,001-400,000 – 13
• $400,001-450,000 – 5
• $450,001+ – 0

What about a pool?

Pool – 14
No pool – 116

So, what does this all mean?

For buyers: Put your best foot forward. Before shopping for a home, get prequalified. If you do find the perfect home, a pre-qualification letter must be attached to the offer. Without the letter, it is an incomplete offer. Be prepared.

For sellers: A well-priced home listing will get quick attention in this market. Your first week after being listed may be busy and chaotic. Make your home available for showings, you may get more than one offer.

Bottom line: The market is strong, and homes that are priced competitively are selling. Get out there and meet your new neighbor.

Here’s current inventory in Maricopa for the week of June 1. These numbers only focus on the homes in HOA subdivisions, since the non-HOA areas are so diverse.

• 130 homes currently available for sale, not under contract, looking for offers
• 247 homes currently under contract (should close escrow within 45 days pending inspection, appraisal, etc.)

• $180,999 – Least expensive home available. (40165 W. Hayden Dr. in Homestead: 3 bed/2 bath, 1,262 square feet)
• $450,000 – Most expensive home available. (42533 W. Sandpiper Dr. in Province: 2 bed/2.5 bath, 2,296 square foot, waterfront featured in Phoenix Home and Garden magazine with gourmet kitchen and loaded w/upgrades)

• 128 regular/non-distressed listings
• 1 Short sale/pre-foreclosure
• 1 Foreclosed/bank owned

Please consult a local real estate professional for help buying or selling a home.

Brian Petersheim
HomeSmart Realty

Three bond-rating companies upgraded Maricopa's Copper Sky bond.

The taxpayers of Maricopa are paying off Copper Sky Regional Park, and City Hall is trying to get a better interest rate.

Monday, the City is taking $10.15 million of its general obligation bond into the market for refinancing. The odds are in its favor, as three bond-rating companies upgraded Maricopa’s bond in late May.

The City had been warned by all three companies – Standard & Poor, Moody’s and Fitch – that the market was tenuous because of COVID-19 and other economic factors. Tuesday, City Manager Rick Horst told the city council he had been told to expect to stay at the same rating or even drop, but the bond rating was in fact upgraded by all three.

“Moody’s took us from AA3 to AA2. There’s only one step higher, which is AA1,” Horst said. “Fitch rated us for the first time ever AAA, the highest rating that they can give. Standard & Poor rated us as AA, with AA+ being the highest standard.”

He said the strong bond ratings give the City a better chance for a lower interest rate on the bond. He said it could save taxpayers as much as $1.5 million.

Fitch, in giving the bond a AAA rating, also gave the City itself an AA issuer default rating, which the company defines as “Very high credit quality.”

“The city’s long-term liability burden, comprised of overall debt and net pension liabilities, is low at 6% of total personal income,” the company reported. “Fitch expects the long-term liability burden to remain low based on a lack of direct debt plans and the city’s ongoing commitment to accelerate pay-off of its unfunded liabilities related to public safety pensions.”

Fitch also pointed out the City’s revenues grew in excess of the U.S. GDP for the 10 years ending in fiscal year 2019.

Moody’s reported its upgrade of Maricopa’s bond was influenced by rapid development and population growth.

“It further reflects long-term strength and stability of the city’s financial position, bolstered by the city’s differences from a typical Arizona city, including a less volatile revenue mix and below-average pension and OPEB liabilities and costs,” Moody’s reported. OPEB stands for other post-employment benefits.

It described Maricopa as “well positioned to weather the impacts of coronavirus and impending recession, having demonstrated its management strength and financial flexibility through the last recession when reserve levels remained above 70%. While like all cities in Arizona, there is some reliance on sales tax, it is less elevated than most and is supported by the application of sales tax to essentials like groceries.”

S&P had previously rated Maricopa’s bond as A- before the May upgrade.

“The raised rating reflects our view of the City’s improved budgetary performance and maintenance of very strong available reserves,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst David Mares. “Despite the improvement, however, we believe management will continue to wrestle with challenges to align its revenue and expenditures, particularly given the financial uncertainty in fiscal 2020 posed by the pandemic and looming state reductions to intergovernmental revenue.”

That was a warning all three bond-rating companies attached to their ratings report, each saying COVID-19 could alter the bond ratings if the City’s economy takes a hit in the future.

After the issuance of the bond, Maricopa will have $35.5 million in outstanding general obligation bonds.

The show will go on this year.

The fireworks are on – but the rest of the Independence Day festivities at Copper Sky are up in the air right now.

The Great American 4th celebration with pyrotechnics is an annual holiday tradition in Maricopa, and that will not change this year, though residents will be watching from their cars or homes. The skies will light up, beginning at 9 p.m., to mark the 244th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In past years, however, the event has included food vendors and entertainment in the park.

But this year’s plans are being developed amid public health guidelines that discourage the gathering of large groups of people to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The city will decide on June 15 if other Fourth activities will be hosted, according to communications coordinator Luis Vila.

Maricopa protest
Protesters hold signs as traffic passes Monday night on John Wayne Parkway. Dozens and dozens of motorists honked horns and yelled words of support. Photo by Bob McGovern

They carried signs and they were going to be heard.

The 30-or-so people who joined together Monday night on the sidewalk at John Wayne Parkway and West Edison Road, near the IHOP restaurant, chanted “No justice, no peace” to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Earlier coverage: NAACP urges residents: Stay home from ‘protest’ tonight

The peaceful hour-long gathering, coming after days of protest and unrest in cities across the nation in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police, was boosted by dozens of vehicles and a Shamrock Farms tanker truck passing by, their occupants honking horns and screaming their support to the sidewalk.

One black sedan drove by with a BLM sign. A few minutes later, a pickup truck roared past, a Trump 2020 flag held out from the passenger window.

Many in the crowd, composed mostly of young men and women, screamed through face masks and held their handwritten signs high with vinyl gloves. Many declined to be interviewed by the media.

The signs read: “I cannot breathe,” “Count others more significant than yourselves” and “We the People Say Black Lives Matter.” One sign held by a woman had 18 names on it, all people of color who died in incidents with law enforcement, with the words “no conviction” next to each name.

Van Cooper Jr., 34, a Maricopa resident and special education teacher in Tempe, said he wanted to take part in a peaceful protest.

People need to spend less time on hatred, he said. But the problem with law enforcement’s treatment of African American men is real, he said.

“It’s been going on for years,” Cooper said, mentioning Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African American shot to death in February 2012 by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. “It’s sad that it takes a video for people to see what is going on.”

Steve Stahl Henry Wade Kneel
Maricopa police Chief Steve Stahl puts his arm around Councilmember Henry Wade Jr., at center, as they symbolically kneel with others on the sidewalk during Monday night’s protest. Photo by Bob McGovern

The protest started a couple minutes before 7 p.m., with police gathered 50 yards away in the IHOP parking lot. A half-hour later, Maricopa police Chief Steve Stahl walked out to join the crowd, saying hello to some, bumping elbows with others. At one point he joined City Councilmember Henry Wade Jr. and others in a symbolic gesture, getting down on one knee to remember the reason they were all there. Floyd died after a Minneapolis officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The scene was captured on video by a passerby.

“This is just a segment of Maricopa that wants to come out, be heard,” Stahl said. “It’s what I’m supposed to do, listen.”

Stahl said he had seen the video of Floyd’s arrest by four officers in the Minnesota capital, and disgust was in his voice.

“It is one of the more horrific acts of violence that I have ever seen, and I condemn what I saw,” he said shortly after the rally had broken up. “I’ve talked to our police officers in Maricopa, they feel the same way. This is not what law enforcement is representative of.”

One de facto leader, DJ Kali of Maricopa, a youth coordinator for the NAACP, said he attended to lend support and make sure everybody was safe. As darkness crept in, he thanked the crowd on the sidewalk for its support. “You don’t have to be black to love black,” he told them, before encouraging everybody to respect the 8 p.m. curfew.

Maricopa protest Black Lives Matter
Protesters hold signs during Monday night’s gathering on the sidewalk near the IHOP restaurant at the Edison Pointe shopping center. Photo by Bob McGovern

The protesters left as they came – peacefully. They could be heard planning two gatherings on Tuesday – one on the same corner in the morning and another at City Hall in the evening for a City Council meeting.

Earlier in the day, the NAACP of Pinal County had urged residents not to participate in the event after a flyer began circulating on social media.

“The Pinal County NAACP has not been able to confirm that this is a legitimate gathering or whom the organizers are,” said the statement, signed by Constance Hunsberger Jackson, chapter president and city resident. “We have seen reports of nefarious characters of ill intent who seek to sow division during these troubling times all over the county. In an effort to keep our community safe we are asking people to stay home and not participate in this event.”

Maricopa Police Department vehicles sit in the parking lot of the IHOP restaurant around 5:30 p.m. Monday. A flyer circulating on social media promoted a protest near the restaurant at 7 p.m. today. Photo by Kyle Norby

The NAACP of Pinal County is urging residents not to participate in a “day of community support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing revolution” planned for 7 tonight in Maricopa.

A flyer circulated on social media promotes gatherings tonight and at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the corner of John Wayne Parkway and West Edison Road near the IHOP restaurant.

Headlined “SUPPORT EDUCATE DONATE,” it reads: “We will walk up the main street on public property and pass out handouts of resources for people to educate themselves and donate to others.” The flyer, which reminds participants to practice social distancing and wear face masks, does not include the word “protest.” No organizing body is mentioned on the flyer.

In a statement posted on Facebook late Monday afternoon, the NAACP asked people to stay home from the event, which it called a protest.

“The Pinal County NAACP has not been able to confirm that this is a legitimate gathering or whom the organizers are,” said the statement, signed by Constance Hunsberger Jackson, chapter president and city resident. “We have seen reports of nefarious characters of ill intent who seek to sow division during these troubling times all over the county. In an effort to keep our community safe we are asking people to stay home and not participate in this event.”

The legitimacy of the event could not be independently confirmed by InMaricopa.

There was a small police presence at the IHOP on Monday evening 90 minutes before the event was scheduled to take place. The restaurant remains closed from the stay at home order to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The NAACP is planning its own solidarity event and said more details are forthcoming. It also offered some advice to those considering joining a protest.

“Please know we support any efforts at peaceful protest, so please be sure if you so choose to attend any protest: research and know the organizers, stay safe at all times, make sure you have ID with you, and know your rights.

“Please take care of yourselves and others,” the organization said.

The Maricopa Police Department sent out a tweet that linked to the NAACP’s Facebook post.

Curfew begins in Arizona after recent violence

Quiet first night of statewide curfew in Maricopa, Pinal

Police told InMaricopa they are not releasing any further information.

The state is under a week-long curfew that began Sunday night. It was part of a Declaration of Emergency declared by Gov. Doug Ducey in an effort to prevent the looting and violence seen in Phoenix and other U.S. cities in recent days.

The curfew, in effect daily from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., is set to expire on June 8.

Ducey tweeted Sunday afternoon that he was taking action at the request of local leaders and in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

This is a developing story.

An element of public safety in any community is the relationship between police and youth.

Maricopa Police Department has provided officers to school campuses for years as school resource officers, with the numbers varying, but it’s not cheap. It is also not a certainty.

Last year, Maricopa Unified School District had only one SRO, an officer at the high school, enhancing the presence of hired security staff. The SRO is not just a cop on campus.

“School Resource Officers add a great deal to our school environment,” Superintendent Tracey Lopeman said. “Not only do they provide law-related education, the presence of the MPD adds a sense of safety and security for students, staff and parents.”

The positions have always been grant-funded through the City of Maricopa in an agreement between City Hall and schools. If the city does not land the grant, the position is eliminated.

For the new city budget, the City is applying for a grant to fund three SROs. City Manager Rick Horst said the three-year grant would fund 75%. The other 25% would be split between the City and participating schools. MUSD indicated its interest in participating in a letter to City Hall.

High schools and middle schools tend to be priorities for SRO postings, forming relationships with teens. But both the schools and MPD would like those relationships to be formed even younger.

“In an ideal world, we would have a member of the Maricopa Police Department at every school,” Lopeman said.

However, the City must be awarded the grant, which is not guaranteed. If the grant is awarded, the City and school district must lock in their budgetary obligations for the three years.

“We’re in a good position because we’re a growth city,” Horst said. “We know we’re going to adequately staff police officers as we go anyway. If we were a built-out city, I’d probably be a little reluctant because we may not have the ability to retain their services after the grant period of three years.”

Horst said the positions would be filled by new employees. “We’ll make it clear upfront that this is contingent upon continued grant funds.”

The SROs are not the only positions for which the City has hopes for grants. One of those, a victim youth advocate, is also somewhat related to public safety, helping young victims of crime.

“This is a grant that would fund a position at 100% at no cost to the city whatsoever,” Horst said. “In essence, if we get the grant, we’ll hire somebody. If the grant’s not funded in subsequent years, the position will not continue to exist.”

The final grant-funded position the City applied for was in transit. It would allow the City to move a City of Maricopa Express Transit (COMET) employee from part-time to full-time. Without the grant, the employee would continue as is.

Police lights

In an effort to prevent the looting and violence seen in other Phoenix and other U.S. cities in recent days, the state of Arizona is under a week-long curfew as part of a Declaration of Emergency.

The curfew began at 8 p.m. Sunday and will be in effect daily until 5 a.m. It is set to expire June 8 at 5 a.m.

Gov. Doug Ducey tweeted Sunday afternoon that he was taking action at the request of local leaders and in coordination with state and local law enforcement.

“This gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide,” Ducey announced on Twitter. “Police will be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest.”

Ducey’s declaration authorizes an expanded mobilization of the National Guard to protect life and property.

“Our office will continue to communicate with local law enforcement to provide whatever resources we can,” Ducey said.

Maricopa Mayor Christian Price said he understood the action by the governor to ensure readiness and provide the necessary tools to protect people and property.

“It’s best to be prepared,” he said late Sunday afternoon, “but I hope it it is not necessary.”

Price said he believed Maricopans would rise above such lawlessness because of “that civility we’ve always been known for.”

One Maricopa city council member, however, said the curfew was heavy-handed.

”The curfew does not require any business or function to shut down,” said Vincent Manfredi. “I see this as an overreaction at the state level because individual cities which have been impacted by rioting refused to act.”

The curfew prohibits congregating or traveling on public streets and at public places, but there are exemptions, including for law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics or other medical personnel,  National Guard, as well as any other emergency response personnel authorized by the State of Arizona, and credentialed members of the media.

Also exempted are individuals traveling directly to and from work; attending religious services; commercial trucking and delivery services; obtaining food; caring for a family member, friend, or animal; patronizing or operating private businesses; seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances; and travel for any of the above services.

In cities nationwide on Saturday, peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis then became violent. In New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia and Phoenix, rioters clashed with police. Businesses were vandalized and looted and buildings set afire.

Protests continued Sunday in many cities, including Minneapolis and Washington, where people gathered in a park just a block from the White House. According to TV news reports, looting continued in Philadelphia on Sunday evening.

Earlier Sunday, Ducey released a statement commending law enforcement officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Phoenix Police Department, the National Guard and supporting agencies involved in protecting downtown Phoenix and major targets, like freeways.

“One thing is clear: The more aggressive approach downtown was needed, and it worked,” Ducey said in his statement. “Now, more needs to be done, in more places around the state, to protect law and order and public safety. The looting and violence we saw last night, especially in Scottsdale, simply cannot be tolerated. And it won’t be. Destruction of property does not qualify as freedom of expression.”

Video posted on social media showed people vandalizing and looting stores at the Scottsdale Fashion Square on Saturday night. At least 12 people were arrested, according to multiple media reports.

In Maricopa on Saturday night, police tweeted out their usual reminder for residents to lock up cars and close garage doors, but there was no report of any large-scale protest or violence.

“What we are seeing is happening in cities and states everywhere in America, and Arizona leaders need to be on high alert,” Ducey’s statement continued. “They need a plan. Today should be a working day for every local elected leader, city manager, police chief and sheriff in every jurisdiction in the state.

“The death of George Floyd is tragic and abhorrent. It should be condemned by leaders at all levels ⁠— and we should listen to those who seek to have a civil dialogue on how to ensure it never happens again. In Arizona, we will listen ⁠— and this was demonstrated by the leadership DPS Colonel Heston Silbert displayed on Thursday night as he engaged with protesters at the Capitol. This kind of leadership from law enforcement, working with community leaders, will get us through. But we cannot, and will not stand for violence, looting, and criminal activity.”

One group in Phoenix was moving up their protest walk by an hour to respect the curfew.

The Inclusive People’s Organization had planned to march from North Fifth Avenue to the headquarters of the Phoenix Police Department, beginning at 6 p.m. In a tweet, the organization said it was moving up the peaceful protest to 5 p.m., saying that “starting earlier lessens the risks and give participants more time to safely find transportation before 8PM.”

Disclosure: Vincent Manfredi is minority owner of InMaricopa.

Amtrak station in Maricopa, AZ
For about the past two years, travelers have arrived and departed from Amtrak's station in Maricopa without the assistance of a customer service agent. Photo by Bob McGovern

When Amtrak trains stop in Maricopa on their way to Los Angeles or New Orleans, riders will soon be greeted by a uniformed agent … again.

The rail station, west of West Mercado Street at the overpass, lost its customer service representative in June 2018 due to budget cuts.

According to Trains magazine, agents will return at 15 stations in 12 states following a congressional mandate last year to restore staffing.

“These uniformed workers will be trained to assist our customers with booking and boarding trains, including helping with unaccompanied minors, carry-on baggage and providing information on the status of arriving and departing services,” Amtrak said in a statement. “These employees will be scheduled to meet customers for all trains.”

Amtrak is trying to fill the customer service positions internally, and then will make them available to the public, according to news reports.

Amtrak did not respond to a request for more information about the carrier’s plans.

The Sunset Limited, Amtrak’s southernmost route, travels from Los Angeles to New Orleans three days a week. Westbound trains stop in Maricopa at 9:02 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Eastbound trains make the local stop at 5:40 a.m. on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

An air-conditioned waiting room is available for about an hour before arrivals and about two hours after departure at the station in Maricopa, which is one of about 525 U.S. cities with an Amtrak stop.

Ridership on all Amtrak trains in April was 120,000, compared to 2.7 million in April 2019, a decline of 95 percent, as travel has been impacted by stay at home orders and social distancing recommendations to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As a result, service was cut on numerous routes. Service on the Sunset Limited has remained intact, however.

Copper Sky program
Stephanie Murphy leads a group exercise class at Copper Sky. File photo by Michelle Chance

The Maricopa Public Library will reopen Monday with restrictions in place as some member services return at Copper Sky.

Access to the library will be limited – at least initially – to 20 patrons, who will be required to follow social distancing guidelines during visits intended to be brief, the city announced. It will close periodically daily so staff can sanitize the facility.

Visitors will be able to browse collections as well as access computer printing services. Curbside service will continue to be available as well.

The library will operate under normal business hours: Monday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is closed on Sunday.

Monday will also mark the return of some member services discontinued during the coronavirus lockdown, the city said.

Group Exercise classes, including Silver Sneakers classes will resume with limited capacity and formats. Classes will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Members must check in for the class at the front desk.

Child Watch and CW Leap services will resume on a first-come, first-served with limited capacity and reduced time per visit.

All exercise equipment types will be available – including free weights.

With the return of these services, all membership billing will resume during the month of June, according to the city’s announcement. Billing dates will be determined by the member’s initial join date. Members may choose to suspend their membership for up to three months at this time and will not be charged. Additional information regarding member services will be shared via email with members and on the Copper Sky Facebook page.

For information about the library reopening, contact library staff at (520) 568-2926 or visit them on Facebook here.

For information about Copper Sky services, contact staff at (520) 316-4600.