Pinetop-Lakeside Planning for FY 2020 - 2021 Budget

Encompassing a large portion of the town’s budget, the Pinetop-Lakeside Public Works Department employs 17 people. They handle a multitude of vital town services from roads to parks to IT and more.

Editor’s note: This is the third and final installment of three-part series that provides an overview of the Feb. 13 work-study meeting of the Pinetop-Lakeside Town Council and department heads in preparation for the drawing up the town’s FY2020-2021 budget. Part three covers the Public Works Department which encompasses a large portion of the town’s budget.

PINETOP-LAKESIDE — Under the direction of Public Works Director Matt Patterson, public works is responsible for the maintenance, rehabilitation, cleaning and improvement of all town-owned buildings, streets and storm water facilities, maintaining Mountain Meadow Recreation Complex and Woodland Lake Park and watering, mowing and cleaning those facilities. They are responsible for snow removal from streets within the incorporated limits of the town. They now also oversee information technology. There are 17 employees in Public Works.

Patterson presented a PowerPoint presentation so the council could see the results of past accomplishments completed or left on the drawing board, and offered alternative ideas on some of those for the town to consider. Each of the items is listed chronologically with a brief explanation.

Collection Center

In late June 2019 the Collection Center recycling facility opened adjacent to the public works building on Woodland Road. From June until December 2019, 4,827 customers went through the center and they hauled 64 loads to Blue Hills, the Sanitation District, City of Phoenix, S&D Recycling and Green Waste for a total of 617.2 tons. This figure included hauling everything from the parks as well. Expenses totaled approximately $55,000 and a there was a net loss of around $17,000.

(A work study was held on Feb. 20 updating the income and loss figures; the draft minutes said the overall income exceeded $61,000. Patterson said that though solid waste brought in $40,000, expenses were $20,000 and after overhead was figured in, the loss is $23,000.)

Police Department Expansion and Remodel

Patterson reported that he was able to secure a metal building for $27,000 which they will use for the police department expansion, tying the new building into the old. He said they will need an architect to ensure things are done correctly and the estimated cost for the services of the architect will run between $25,000 and $60,000. Once the plans are approved, they will go to Community Development for a building permit and then contact local contractors for quotes. Once they determine the loan amounts based on the quotes or budget in the general fund, they will begin construction in phases.

The building will have a sally port and armory. A sally port is a secure, controlled entryway.

Phase I will be the installation of the metal building where the front door will be. Downstairs will house the evidence room, files and front office. Upstairs will be occupied by Chief Barnes and Commander Guy Willis and provide extra space needed for growth.

Phase II will focus on booking and holding cells. The interview room will act as a safety buffer during construction for public works and police department employees. Phase III will be the upper portion of the new building.

The existing building is 6,000 square feet; the total building size with the addition will be 11,600 square feet. Patterson said it will be larger than the current town hall building.

Town Manager Keith Johnson interjected that the tax on businesses from online sales (the Wayfair lawsuits) opened up a new and unexpected revenue stream for the town. He said in just two months they have received $20,000 and are forecasting $100,000 of which $70,000 can go towards the police department expansion to pay for the architect.

Billy Creek Update

Patterson said the bridge was ordered on Feb. 5 and will take a couple of months to receive. It will come in one large piece which will require a road closure to install. The town has received the first of two draws from ADOT in the amount of $630,000 and Rawlings Specialty Contracting has billed for $62,000.

Pinetop Hills Full Depth Reclamation (FDR)

Patterson explained this was a realignment of roads and drainage improvements. According to an industry website, Full Depth Reclamation is a pavement rehabilitation technique in which the full flexible pavement section and a predetermined portion of the underlying materials are uniformly pulverized and blended together to produce a homogeneous stabilized base course so drainage issues can also be addressed through this process. Seven roads (behind Circle K in midtown) were completed to final grade in one week. The town’s labor cost was $18,000; materials $10,000, and contractor cost $282,000, for a total cost of $333,000. Because public works did the work, it saved the town over $700,000.

Show Low Lake Road and Pine Branch Reconstruction

For an FDR, the town’s materials cost is $83,000; turning lane, $25,000 and Navajo County’s material cost, $36,000. Patterson said the county will pay for the contractor and the pulverizing of the roadway and the town will prep grade for asphalt, all for a cost of $122,000. Pine Branch, another FDR project will cost $94,000. Public works will adjust the grade to improve water flow into the drainage ditches and do ditch improvements. They will install larger culverts to resolve drainage issues and adjust driveways to match the new asphalt level.

Johnson Drive

A federal Community Development Block Grant was approved and closed out by Arizona Department of Highway Safety for this project. Pulverizing was to begin on Feb. 17 and then grade work Feb. 17 – Feb. 21 with paving over Spring Break week. Total reconstruction cost is $48,000; the town saved $68,000.

Chip Seal

Patterson said the five-year chip seal program for pavement preservation has one year left and it is time to decide whether the town will slurry seal and start over again or switch to chip seal.

“It is controversial,” warned Patterson, “but chip seal fixes imperfections and rebuilds your road, but it is expensive.”

Patterson said his department could do it at a cost savings but they would need to purchase a chip seal spreader box at a cost of $90,000 and a rubber tire roller at $60,000.

Patterson explained that slurry sealing provides “a perfectly nice surface and it is quick and easy, in and out.” He said the big difference in the two options is that in chip sealing you are fixing the imperfections in the road and you are building integrity; he also suggested they could alternate the two methods doing chip, slurry and chip and alternate slurry. He said chip seal has the longer life and is a long term solution.

Porter Mountain Road Area Assessment

Patterson reminded council that the Feb. 13 council meeting was only the first of a long series of meetings on this project. The Planning Study was provided by Kinley-Horn in cooperation with the town, Blue Ridge School District and Navajo County.

The purpose of this project is to identify and evaluate potential improvements to Porter Mountain Road to reduce congestion during pick-up/drop-off times at the Porter Mountain campus of Blue Ridge School District to improve safety for students. The Blue Ridge Elementary and Middle School serves around 1,200 students with a capacity of 1,600. Emergency vehicle access in the roundabout during high volume traffic is almost impossible. A vehicle and pedestrian conflict exists at the roundabout crosswalk and there is no connection to residential areas or school paths.

Patterson said, “This is likely a 10-year-plan utilizing grants and our own dollars.”

Woodland Lake Park

Before summer the playground will be replaced and back in working order; as for the ADA path realignment and reconstruction, Patterson said they are waiting on approval from the Forest Service.

If the town is able to complete the purchase of of the developed park acreage, future items that will need attention include the well site, lake storage irrigation, and maintaining the water level. There is also future plans for ballfields, disc golf and an educational area.

Veterans Memorial

Public Works would like to move the memorial from its current location by the Lakeside Post Office to town hall.

Jack Barker

Memorial Park

The park is completed except for lighting and sound – which is needed for events. Ginger Somers and Shane Lohr of In Bloom Nursery have agreed to donate a water feature to the park; it will be a self-contained unit.

Mayor Stephanie Irwin added that there is a plan to add a butterfly section to the park “to remember children who were taken too soon.” A town circle will also be added and pavers will will be sold to raise money to reimburse the town.

Woodland Road and Woodland Lake Road sidewalk

Patterson said the goal is to complete a sidewalk from Mountain Meadow to Woodland Lake Park and to Highway 260 with a bike lane; the timeframe is a 10-year plan and the distance per year will depend on the cost per section of roadway.

The next step in the lengthy budget process began March 10 and will go through March 12 as Johnson and Finance Director Kevin Rodolph meet individually with town department heads who have been tasked with finding ways to save money for the town’s citizens. Following this week’s meetings, the town manager and finance director will review the proposed budget in April before holding another public work-study session May 27.

Reach the reporter at bbruce@wmicentral.com

Barbara Bruce is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering arts and entertainment on the Mountain and the Pinetop-Lakeside town government.

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