Cave Creek welcomes new MCSO District IV Captain

Cory Morrison

CAVE CREEK – During Monday night’s council meeting, Town Marshall Adam Stein introduced recently promoted and newly reassigned Maricopa County Sheriff’s Deputy Capt. Cory Morrison, who previously served in District IV, as the replacement for former Capt. Kip Rustenburg, who was promoted to deputy chief.

Interim Town Manager Carrie Dyrek announced there will be a newsletter about the next general plan public input session included in water bills, both by mail and email for those receiving electronic billing as well as being posted on the town’s website.

She said the next public input session will be at 6 p.m. on July 20.

Council voted unanimously to pass the second reading of an ordinance amending the section titled Fireworks.

Building Official Mike Baxley said the ordinance remained the same as it was for the first reading.

Councilwoman Eileen Wright, who brought the item forward, stated, “Fireworks pose a real danger to our community … Fireworks are highly explosive.”

She said the changes to the ordinance tighten up regulations “without taking all the fun out of it.”

Vice Mayor Ron Sova questioned the allowable date ranges for fireworks around the fourth of July, Christmas and New Years and wondered if the ordinance shouldn’t also include the month of May, in the event the balloon festival chooses to include a fireworks display.

Baxley stated that would be allowed under a different section of the ordinance, whereas the dates in the ordinance are established by statute for consumer fireworks, not public displays of fireworks.

Councilwoman Susan Clancy questioned if there was a requirement to wet down areas and asked what would happen if there were unexpected circumstances such as wind.

Baxley said the town requires wetting down areas before hand and can always shut a fireworks event down at the last minute over safety concerns.

When asked if fireworks had ever been canceled, Mayor Ernie Bunch responded, “Once, in 2005.”

Council also voted unanimously to pass the second reading of the ordinance amending the section titled Explosives.

Wright stated, “Let me be abundantly clear – ammunition is not an explosive.”

Wright held up a jar of smokeless powder and pointed to the label, which she said stated “not an explosive.”

She then went on to explain how ammunition works.

When Bunch asked for a motion, Wright asked Baxley if he wanted to make the motion.

Baxley responded that is council’s responsibility.

Town Attorney Bill Sims said he split the next agenda item into two items because there was some indication council may want to pass one part and not the other.

He explained the first part, which was the first reading on an ordinance to amend the section of the town code titled “Officers,” correcting an open meeting law violation that had been in the town code for years, whereas it required four members of the planning commission to request an item be placed on the agenda. The change amends that section to require two commissioners to make such requests.

The second part was placed on the agenda by Bunch to amend the section titled Agendas to increase the number from one to two council members to place an item on the agenda.

Wright argued there was no reason to place elected officials on the same level as commissioners by requiring two members of council to place an item on the agenda.

Bunch stated when he first got on council it required three members but noted it also says “may” not “must” place an item on the agenda.

Bunch noted Wright is constantly making requests to place numerous items on the “next agenda,” and it can make agendas far too unwieldy and long if items are not prioritized.

He said if two people are interested maybe it should be on the agenda. However, he pointed out it also currently says it “may” get placed on the agenda and doesn’t mean they have to do it.

Bunch said they could change it to “must” if they wanted.

The change to must was not offered and the first reading of the ordinance passed by a vote of 5-2 with Wright and Councilwoman Mary Elrod dissenting.

Introducing the next item, Dyrek said she asked Finance Director Robert Weddigen to present the budget, which now included all the updated numbers for benefits, in an abbreviated form.

Weddigen provided a summary of the budget and asked council to pass the tentative budget, setting the limit at $18,302,678 which comes to $19,000,509 when including transfers to cover budget shortfalls.

Councilman David Smith moved to pass the tentative budget and stated three members of council were involved in developing the budget along with staff, whom he said did a great job.

Smith said traditionally council will spend two hours going over a $10,000 item and two minutes on the budget.

Bunch wanted the public to know the increase to this year’s budget is for maintenance on the town’s assets so it won’t cost more down the road and assured everyone that the town wasn’t going on a spending spree.

Council voted unanimously to pass the $18 million tentative budget, which will come back to council in July as the final budget.