Well, where to begin? Chronologically, I suppose.
Tuesday afternoon there was a work session to discuss paying for yet another study of the Town's water and sewer rates. The most important thing you need to know is that Town mismanager Alex Taft did not draw up a specific proposal for what exactly what was to be studied and put it out to an open bid. So what you had was the representative from economists.com with an impressive powerpoint presentation and bid of $23,000, and the shady Town Engineer PBS & J with a bid of $71,000. After a vigorous round of questions by the public, and Mayor Foster's stated desire for a flat rate usage billing system, the work session ended with a promise that it would someday come to pass! Later that evening, at the regular meeting, the council voted to go with the rate study by economists.com (the group that created the convoluted mess we are currently paying for). Best quote of the work session goes to Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell who said "I'm not that smart - you'll have to spell it out!" Second place goes to the rep from ecomists.com, with talking points like "financial disincentive", "rates accomplish more than just raising revenues", and "it is important to review this data in light of your very aggressive hook up plan". He also confirmed that when they did the $25,000 study in 2009, the Town was "insolvent" and borrowing money from HURF and the General Fund.
Also at Tuesday evening's regular meeting, everything on the agenda passed. Jennifer "Jade" Jones was the first to enter the political fray and announced that she would run for Town Council, but did not state which recall candidate she would take on in the upcoming election. Jones also announced the tentative December debut of her "free community newspaper" (rumor has it that Mayor Foster may have licensed The Quartzsite Mineshaft" to her) Advertisers wishing to get in on the deep discounts available for the premier winter season should stop by her grooming salon located this year at J & S Covers on Hwy 95.
Thursday was a very busy day with a special meeting, a work session and training from the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
The special meeting saw the appointment of Doug Ross to the Planning and Zoning Committee. Barbara Bowman's appointment to the Municipal Property Corporation will complete the term of Nella Shaw. In what seemed like an intentional oversight by the Town mismanager, all members of the Council except the Mayor were on the agenda to approve themselves and Alex Taft as "account/check signers for the new Horizon community Bank accounts". An oversight Taft wisely chose to rectify.
The work session had Quartzsite's vendors squarely in the cross hairs of Taft and the (trained at Town's expense) "Building Official" Al Johnson. Talk of changing the business license code, proposals for new County health regulations for mobile kitchens, reducing the vendor permit to 180 days, new ideas for revocation of permits, and other nightmare scenarios are not yet a done deal and changes will NOT affect the current season. However, vendors who want to return next year should attend the next meeting on this topic, the date of which is yet to be announced.
The League of Cities and Towns came to the aide of Mayor Foster and put his critics in their place last night! By the end of the "training", Vice Mayor Cowell's voice was quivering as if on the verge of tears! Police Chief Jeff Gilbert was warned that he had no authority to control the meeting unless ordered to do so by Mayor Foster, and that if he asserted himself in such a manner it could result in a lawsuit. (The warning was overdue, because it already has!). Town Attorney Pamela Walsma was instructed that she works for us, the citizens, through our Mayor and Council. A reality that had apparently not occurred to her as she is dangerously unfamiliar with this legal specialty. At every turn, it seemed as if our Mayor had been correct all along.