Winslow officials address concerns over utility services payment date

By L. Parsons

Winslow City Manager Steve Pauken addressed a concern residents have expressed regarding the utility payment schedule at the Aug. 8 city council meeting. He explained that last year, the due date for water service bills was changed from the 21st of the month to the 1st in an effort to relieve delinquency.

“This change lowered the delinquency rate by exactly zero,” said Pauken. He then explained the decision by the finance department to return to the original bill due date to alleviate accounting burdens faced by the department.

“During the brief first of the month due date period, we had 108 of 2,700 total accounts go on to a payment plan,” Pauken said.

He then acknowledged the possibility of a need for more accounts to take advantage of the payment plan available, but noted that unless residents come forward, the finance department is not directly aware of that need.

As a result, the utility bill containing water service, wastewater service, and garbage pick up was changed back to the 21st of every month, a decision made by the council last month.

Mayor Robin Boyd made two proclamations at the meeting. Aug. 5 was declared Suvoyuki Day in Winslow. Homolovi State Park held a special celebration on that date to recognize Arizona’s rich cultural heritage and the history of the Hopi people.

The other proclamation by Boyd declared Aug. 10-12 Winslow High School Class of 1964 Reunion Days. Councilman Tom Chacon read the proclamation, which stated in part, “The Class of 1964, born in 1946, helped create the ‘baby boomer generation.’” Members of the class accepted the proclamation.

Animal Control Officer Stratton Salyers gave the Winslow Animal Control quarterly report. He noted that in the months of May, June and July, the facility hosted 34 dogs and 15 cats, which is its maximum capacity. Eight animals were euthanized during the quarter, six for aggressive behavior, and two due to illness or injury.

Winslow Visitor’s Center Director Bob Hall also offered a quarterly report, including the success of the recently launched Winslow Mobile Application.

“Approximately 1,500 downloads of our app have been made,” he said. This is due in part, according to Hall, to promotion of the application using tabletop materials in restaurants in town, and brochures being sent to other visitor’s centers in the state and around the county.

Hall also mentioned recent Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center activities through the quarter, including the Taste of Winslow, the Route 66 All Community Meeting, and Fourth of July festivities. He then thanked the community of Winslow for its continued support as he and Chamber Assistant Angela Gonzales received the Spirit of Service award at the recent Governor’s Conference on Tourism.

Upcoming events discussed during the meeting included the Standing On a Corner Festival, which will be held Sept. 29 and 30. The Standin’ On the Corner Foundation submitted a request for and was granted a special events liquor license for the festival at the meeting. This year, the event celebrates 19 years in the area. The foundation also requested and received monetary assistance from the city for clean up and set up crews, waiving of vendor fees, insurance, sanitation and Winslow Police Department security. The amount asked of the city is not to exceed $6,000. The city has granted this amount in each previous year.

Monetary assistance was also granted to the Just Cruis’n Car Club in the amount of $3,000 to cover expenses related to sanitation, insurance coverage and promotion of its 23rd annual car show slated for Oct. 6 and 7. The club was also allotted WPD support for logistics during the burnout contest and traffic control.

The council approved the appointment of Nita Hardy to the Historic Preservation Commission.

Also approved was the continuation of an agreement between the city and the Arizona Department of Fire, Building and Life Safety Office of Manufactured Housing (SOMH). The city has performed inspections on behalf of the SOMH for the last eight years.

Winslow Fuel Company was awarded a contract for unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel at its cost plus 12.5 cents per gallon markup and $50 per hour for off-site delivery.

The council approved an ordinance declaring the collection of the approved tax levy an emergency so that it may take effect immediately instead of after the normal 30-day grace period.

Following the meeting Pauken explained that all cities and counties have the same fiscal year, and have to wait for the state to review and approve the tax levy calculations.  The fiscal year has already started when the city approves the tax levy and Navajo County officials are waiting on the city to send it to them for approval, along with theirs, and those of all of the other cities and towns in the county.  Because of that, the cities declare an emergency to get the levy into effect as early as possible at the start of the fiscal year rather than waiting another month, so as not to hold up the process.

The council’s next regular meeting is slated at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the council chambers at 115 E. Second St.