Senator tells Carefree ‘the federal government is going to be an issue’

Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion to get shade and audio/visual upgrades
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steve pierceCAREFREE – Sen. Steve Pierce (l), R-Dist. 1, was invited to speak to council during Tuesday’s meeting.

A third generation Arizonan and rancher, Pierce lives in Prescott and also represents Carefree, Cave Creek, New River, Desert Hills and Anthem in the newly redrawn Legislative District 1.

Pierce is chairman of Natural Resources and Rural Affairs Committee, serves as vice-chair of the Transportation Committee and serves as a member of the Judiciary Committee.

Pierce anticipates the new legislative session will most likely have more discussion on Medicaid and health care, pointing out the federal funding for the Medicaid expansion is only for three years and they need to know where the money will be coming from after that.

He said the EPA will be an enormous issue as it is trying to close down Arizona’s coal generating stations.

While the EPA wants to utilize alternate and renewable energy sources, Pierce stated they need to identify those sources and have time to transition.

He said, “The federal government is going to be an issue,” calling out the EPA and federal regulations directed at the Arizona Department of Game and Fish.

Pierce said he would continue doing what he’s doing in the Senate, stating, “As long as I’m doing the right thing and can sleep well at night.”

While Gov. Jan Brewer has indicated she would like to have a short session and just get the budget done, Pierce didn’t appear as optimistic.

Pierce said there needed to be reforms, including money put back into education. He stated in his district some teachers haven’t had a raise in nine years.

He also said he supported the practice of returning Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) to municipalities as intended.

Pierce also said Arizona needs to foster a relationship with Mexico.

Jo Gemmill provided council with an update on the sixth annual Christmas Festival to be held Dec. 13-15.

Gemmill said this year’s festival will be more spectacular than ever, adding, “I say that every year.”

She named all the volunteers who help make the festival a success and stated there will be over 100 vendors this year.

“Sponsorships have been flying in,” said Gemmill, noting corporate sponsorships were already up to $25,000.

No one spoke during Call to the Public.

During Current Events, Councilman John Crane invited everyone to attend the Salute to Veterans musical tribute at 3 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 at the Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion.

Mayor David Schwan publicly thanked Venues Café for stepping in to provide food for the Parkinson ’s disease event, previously provided by the now closed Carefree Station.

Schwan also announced the court hired a new court clerk, who Councilwoman Melissa Price pointed out was also an interpreter.

Town Accountant Jim Keen presented the financial report with the town’s auditor Crimson Singleton, who appeared telephonically.

Keen stated the only major adjustment was a transfer of revenue posted in July that the auditors felt should have been posted in June.

Singleton said there were clean opinions on both court and town audits.

During public comment, Jim Van Allen said, “I thought the judge and Adrianne would be here. There was not one detrimental item this year. Cave Creek should be happy to get them.”

Council voted unanimously in favor of a resolution to adopt a section of the model city tax code as a public record as it gave the first reading to an ordinance adopting a use tax.

John Traynor, who didn’t wish to speak, submitted a slip expressing opposition to the tax.

A use tax is imposed on items purchased out of state for use in Arizona. The tax is paid voluntarily through a provision on the state income tax form with the exception of purchases of up to $1,000 being exempt.

According to Tax Auditor Al Holler, the town could be missing out on approximately $100,000 in annual revenue by not having a use tax.

Council held the first reading of an ordinance amending the town code to assess a Court Enhancement Fee of $25.

Town Administrator Gary Neiss said the fee is already being charged by Cave Creek and, as part of the court consolidation, will help reduce operation costs and reduce the amount of the subsidy paid by the town.

Town Planner DJ Stapley introduced two ordinances for text amendments to the zoning ordinance and town code that would increase the number of real estate and open house signs allowed from five to eight. It also amended the permit process so the permits would be issued to the realtor instead of the property and allowed signs to be located in the town’s right-of-ways.

Both passed unanimously.

Council also voted unanimously to approve contracts with Total Shade, LLC for the purchase and installation of additional shade sails at a cost of $107,941, and with Technology Integrated for the installation of audio/visual and electrical services, including an additional $2,500 to include installation of additional conduit for future improvements to Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion at a cost of $107,933.

Councilman Glenn Miller made the recommendation to add the additional conduit, stating they would only need to pull up pavers at the amphitheater this one time in the event they want to make improvements in the future.

The improvements will be paid for by Sanderson Lincoln over a 10-year period in exchange for the naming rights.

During public comment, Van Allen said after looking over the paid bills, he noted the town had already spent over $12,000.

Neiss explained there were costs related to preparing the bid packets, which he thanked Miller for helping with.

Schwan also stated the mayor and vice mayor have the authority to approve expenditures up to $15,000.

Council voted to adjourn to go into executive session to receive legal advice concerning development proposals in Carefree Town Center.

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