1/8/2014 8:29:00 AM Bond election could turn water over to Town
Review file photo Although the Town of Chino Valley owns its sewer plant at Old Home Manor off east Perkinsville Road, Fann Environmental operates it. In 2014, town officials plan to negotiate with the company to have town staff take over operations.
The subject of water in Arizona has deep historical roots, and it's no different for the Town of Chino Valley, which has a relatively young water and sewer system.
Town Manager Robert Smith, who started in August 2012, said staff is working on two goals to prepare for an estimated $13.5 million bond election in November 2014.
One goal is to negotiate with Fann Environmental, the company that built and operates Chino Valley's sewer plant. Legally the Town cannot get tax-exempt financing through the bond that would benefit a private party, meaning Fann.
The second goal is for the Town to obtain the City of Prescott's water distribution system currently in Chino and its 650 water customers. Becoming part of Chino's water system would have three benefits, Smith said:
Provide relief to residents who would pay less for water through the Town of Chino Valley than from the City of Prescott.
Expand the Town's water system, geographically, by a factor of three.
Provide additional fire protection for residents.
Smith added that the specific terms of the agreement with the City of Prescott will be up to the Chino Valley Town Council.
The bond's main purpose would allow the Town to construct additional water and sewer lines along parts of Highway 89. Without these services, it's expensive for new businesses to build along the highway, where the majority of businesses now are.
Gaining more water credits for the Active Management Area that Chino is in will come through treated wastewater, not through the filtration system of septic tanks.
Maintenance is an ongoing challenge with the Town's 130 miles of roads. Chip sealed roads last seven to 10 years, Town Engineer/Public Works Director Ron Grittman said, and by rotating maintenance work every 10 years, the Town would have to repair 13 miles a year. Grittman said the last bid he received on road maintenance is $100,000 per mile or $1.3 million a year. The Town budget has about $135,000 for all road maintenance, along with $100,0000 designated from a carry forward account. In a nutshell, the Town is falling behind on road repair, with no money to catch up.
Towns the size and budget of Chino often have to pay on a rotation schedule for large expenses, such as replacing heavy equipment and patrol cars or building sewer and water extensions, roads and other projects, Smith said.
Because Chino doesn't have income from property tax, it must rely on sales tax, and that limits Town revenues.
A 2013 accomplishment for the Town was to lift a furlough that involved a 10 percent pay cut for employees and a reduction to a 36-hour week because town income dropped.
"Employees worked fewer hours but had to get the same work done," Smith said.
General Services Director Cecilia Watts said that as of July most employees are back to their former pay and are working four 10-hour days, the senior center is open five days, and the library is open six days.
The 2013-2014 budget that went into effect this past July is $1.5 million higher than this past fiscal year's budget, allowing for the Town to lift the furlough.
In addition, the Town will build a new skate park at the Community Center Park on Road 1 East. Money will come from the Parks and Recreation impact fees. It will be located south of the old skate park.
Smith also said groups are talking to the town, but haven't necessarily finalized plans, to bring new events in 2014, such as the Chino Grinder Bike Race from Chino to Williams and back, a concert sponsored by the American Legion, a bigger haunted house at the old BMX track, and others.
And lastly, as required, a 14-member committee appointed by the Town Council, and under the guidance of Dava Hoffman of Dava & Associates Inc., is updating the Town's General Plan this year. The committee is comprised of citizens, business people and representatives of specialized institutions. It will study aspects of the General Plan, including Land Use/Growth Areas, Ciculation/Transportation and Economic Development, and Open Space, Environmental Planning/Water Resources and Cost of Development.
"The General Plan gives us goals, benchmarks for the staff to achieve and ways to get there," Smith said. "Every time a town employee takes an action, they have guidelines that are spelled out for them."
People can read the review draft of the General Plan at the Town's web site: www.chinoaz.net.
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Article comment by:
The last round of sewer upgrades didn't work out so well for the CV residents. Perfectly good septic tanks replaced with a $100/month bill, unfulfilled promises of business and job influx, and cops going out with town to collect unpaid bills less their home be condemned.
... Now is not the time for CV to borrow more money. They can't even manage the current one correctly and want to hike rates. Our town needs to adhere to common sense practices.
I want new businesses and jobs as much as anyone, but there are smarter ways than this. Don't vote for this or let it happen.
Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014
Article comment by:
This is awesome ! Looks like we have good, willing to get things done leaders in Chino Valley now! Thank you, thank you, thank you!