SLID, landfill, AUSD, legislature were WPCCC topics

J.K. Rowling

Ajo Copper News of Ajo, Arizona

The Western Pima County Community Council had a full agenda for its meeting Thursday, June 2. The meeting was chaired by Deb Morrow in the absence of Lil Jones who is was absent due to health reasons.

Councilor Carol Yokum reported on the street light improvement district project. Due to a misunderstanding on eligibility, it appears that not enough signatures from property owners in favor of the district were submitted. On April 29, a petition with 447 names in favor of the lighting district was submitted to the county. A minimum of 399 property owners' signatures was required. According to the county's determination the petitions represented only 272 owners as defined by the statutes due primarily to joint ownership of parcels by husbands and wives. A public hearing on the proposal had been scheduled in front of the Pima County Board of Supervisors for Tuesday, June 7, but was canceled as a result of the signature count. The project would have covered the area served by Arizona Public Service south of Rasmussen Road and would have included readapting 139 street lights. A $42,000 grant for the work has been made by the To-hono O'odham Nation. Organizers have the opportunity to revisit the project.

Arizona Public Service representatives Kristi Lyzwa and Patrick McDermott were scheduled but were unable to make a presentation at the WPCCC meeting on the subject of outdoor lighting programs offered by the utility. APS has similar programs to that offered in the street lighting district proposal. That presentation will be rescheduled for September.

Councilor John Peck reported that there is ongoing input on the issue of the landfill schedule and that the Ajo Copper News was forwarding questionnaire responses to Supervisor Sharon Branson's office. Deb Miller of Branson's office noted that of 37 comments so far received, 31 are in favor of having the same opening and closing hours each day the landfill is open. The input will be forwarded to Ursula Kramer who oversees county landfill operations.

Miller also shared the news that the county's Health Department hopes to develop an Ajo-based food sanitarian position. The position would require extensive training and would be able to provide inspection services for retail food services and activities. Further information is available by contacting Marcy Flanagan, Priscilla Urbina, or Loni Anderson at 520-243-7908.

Miller provided zoning updates. She noted that the Pima Association of Governments will offer free workshops on understanding and using census data for grant writing on Wednesday, June 29, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Registration, limited to 25, may be made by contacting Nubia Bertsch at or by calling her at 520-792-1093, ext. 458.

State Rep. Peggy Judd, whose Legislative District 25 includes Ajo, provided a brief recap of action at the last session including an inside look at early morning wrangling over budget issues and last-minute bills. Judd discussed her Tea Party affiliation and said she would like to organize a Tea Party activity in Ajo sometime this summer. When asked to comment on the fact that Pima County has been required this year to shift $92 million of county funds to the state as a result of the state's budget shortfall, Judd noted that she had voted in favor of the shift out of necessity. She added that she understands the impact on rural communities but the need to balance the state budget is tantamount. Judd said she plans to be in Ajo for July 4lh activities.

Lt. B.J. Clements reported that interviewing will begin this week for the dispatcher's position with the sheriffs department. He said he anticipates 15-20 candidates. Clements said the hiring process for new deputies will run from July 8-29. There are currently 15 Sheriffs Auxiliary Volunteers assisting the department in Ajo.

Morrow announced that Roberta "Birdie" Nixon has retired from her cemetery caretak-ing position which she has undertaken since 1986. Morrow will be performing those duties in the future. Questions may be directed to her at 602-228-2495.

Alex Harper made a presentation on Ajo Unified School District issues and distributed a petition calling for the termination of Dr. Robert Dooley as district superintendent. His request for a letter of support from WPCCC was declined, although board members urged parents to be more involved in school issues. See related story.

WPCCC will resume monthly meetings Thursday, September 1.

Don't dwell

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live."

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