Water issues take center stage at Cave Creek’s Town Council meeting


While rezoning, biker week and temporary structure issues were addressed at Monday night’s town council meeting, it was the presentation by the Water Advisory Committee and the proposed Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that garnered most of the attention during the course of the evening.

At the outset, the only public announcement was offered by Mayor Ernie Bunch that tickets were now available for Cave Creek Rodeo Days online. (www.cavecreekrodeo.com)

Action was taken as follows:

– Amending the official town of Cave Creek zoning map from desert rural to multi-family residential (The Reserve at Black Mountain) was approved, with conditions, including a 100-year water guarantee. Both the public and council members went on record to compliment Meritage for their professionalism and cooperation during the process.

– A motion was made to authorize the Town Manager to send out the Request for Proposals for a Sewer and Water Rate Study Consultants and was approved.

– A motion to approve Council Policy #44 (Council member attendance at boards, commissions and committees) was approved after defining the meaning of liaison and the potential ramifications of a quorum.

– There were motions to approve the amended lease agreement between the town of Cave Creek and Cahava Springs Development Corporation and to approve the reimbursement agreement related to Cahava Springs Operational Line Expenses between the town of Cave Creek and Cahava Springs Development Corporation. There was a heated debate related to future expectations and leasing versus ownership. Both motions were approved. Notable quote: “I would rather lease a Corvette for $1/year than own one.”

– A presentation by the Town Marshal for the approval of a Special Event Application (SE-17-10) for the Hideaway hit a snag with compliance on documents submitted or not submitted, whether the presentation was necessary before the council rather than staff, safety/traffic/parking/bike lane issues and the number of days required for the event. The event, commonly referred to as Biker Week, was acknowledged as having an excellent relationship with the city historically and council members resolved to continue that heritage. The motion to approve was granted with the caveat that compliance with all required documents and final approval would be entrusted to staff.

– The highlight of the evening was a presentation by the Water Advisory Committee and the discussion with council members regarding the proposed Capital Improvement plan. The presentation included a comprehensive slide show, broken down into sections involving “Situation, Strategy, Improvements, Analysis Process, Tier Options and Recommendation.”

From the outset, it was made clear that there would be no recommendation at the end of the presentation, as the number was “too large” and would require at least another month to go over the data in more depth. Some of the relevant data showed that, over recent years, the town has seen a 7% increase in rates, but has not passed it along to the residents. Excessive grease in the sewer is causing severe damage and high expenses, but can be prevented by quality control and maintenance requirements for all restaurant grease traps, something that existed in the past and needs to be revisited with hefty fines for non-compliance. Refurbishing an existing well, electricity cost, maintenance and reliability were all presented as improvement options. On the financial end, most of the attention was focused on 5-year (or longer) payback scenarios, rate structures, investment guidance, expenditures, policies and budgets.

After commending the Water Advisory Committee for it’s efforts and due diligence through a difficult time, the motion to approve the presentation was passed.

– There was a discussion only on the subject of temporary structures, particularly the difference between zoning and/or building permits, the language and length of time, currently set at 180 days. Specific examples were noted and alternative solutions were put forth. No action was taken.

The next meeting is scheduled Monday, April 3