Carefree eliminates permits for open house signs

Foothills Food Bank Executive Director Pam DiPietro

CAREFREE – With no one wishing to speak during Call to the Public and no updates for Current Events, Mayor Les Peterson began Tuesday night’s meeting by announcing all the members of council signed their acknowledgement of the recently passed Code of Conduct ordinance and said copies are retained on file with the town clerk.

Foothills Food Bank Executive Director Pam DiPietro gave a brief presentation about the food bank and the services it provides.

Foothills Food Bank Executive Director Pam DiPietro

She said it was founded in 1988 by individuals from area churches and now serves people in a 180 square-mile radius.

According to DiPietro, when the food bank first started the makeup of the people it served was 80 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Caucasian. Now she said those numbers are completely reversed.

Cave Creek makes up the largest volume of people served by the food bank, with Anthem making up the second largest group.

She said the services they provide go beyond food and they assist people with obtaining benefits such as SNAP (food stamps), Department of Economic Security utility assistance, Veterans workforce assistance, job search/resume assistance, and vouchers for thrift store, gas and pharmacy needs.

Di Pietro said they serve approximately 500 families per month and assisted 637 new families in 2015.

With over 400 volunteers, DiPietro said they provide approximately 800,000 pounds of food to families annually.

The food bank is planning to build a 2,000 square-foot addition to the front of their building at an estimated cost of $350,000.

She said they still need to raise another $100,000 before they can break ground on the expansion.

Town Administrator Gary Neiss introduced amendments to the transaction privilege tax (TPT) code and said it was the first reading of the ordinance that would make the town’s tax code consistent with the Model City Tax Code.

Al Holler

Al Holler, the town’s tax auditor, said the amendments are being made to conform to state law.

Councilman Mike Farrar asked how much of the 3.5 percent TPT charged for commercial leases the town gets to keep.

Holler said all of it except for the .5 percent that goes to the county.

Responding to questions, Holler said the town has the ability to increase the rate.

Council voted unanimously to declare the document a public record and will vote next month on the second reading to adopt the changes.

Council voted unanimously to pass the second reading of amendments to the town code, eliminating the permit requirement for open house signs.

Town Planner Stacey Bridge-Denzak said she had received no comments or complaints.

Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution authorizing the town clerk to conduct the Aug. 30 and Nov. 8 elections via mail ballots.

Before adjourning, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Ryan Baranyos invited interested parties to sign up for MCSO’s Citizens Academy, a four-day academy held on four Saturdays, April 9, April 23, May 7 and May 21.

The academy provides citizens with an opportunity to interact with MCSO employees, learn about a variety of law enforcement topics, tour facilities, see demonstrations and meet Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Baranyos said there are only 26 spots available and sign up forms are available with a link on the home page.