Mammoth Council gains, loses councilman

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By John Hernandez

At the Mammoth Town Council meeting held on Thursday January 17 a new Board member was appointed by the Council out of a group of four people who had shown interest. The four were Ernest Bustamante who withdrew his name for consideration at the meeting, Pete Gallego, Jennifer Large, and Donald Jones. Pete Gallego was appointed and sworn in at the meeting. By the end of the evening they lost one of their Board members as Eric Romero announced he was resigning and walked out of the meeting.

Council Member Joe Brewer asked some questions about the Treasurer’s report. He brought up that three council members and two salary personnel had taken a trip to Florence to attend a Pinal County Board of Supervisors meeting. He felt it was an illegal trip. He questioned whether they took a Town of Mammoth vehicle and charged meals to the Town. Mayor Barcelo told him it was legal and that they could do it. They were attending the meeting representing the Town of Mammoth to find out what was going on with the Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department. The Mayor said that overnight trips had to be approved by the Council. Councilman Brewer had believed that they were going to Florence to help break up the Fire Department. Councilman Juan Barcelo explained that the Town of Mammoth has no authority over the Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department, that they are a separate entity. He also explained that they were there to find out what is going on around the county and with the Superior Police Department.

Curbing on Main Street for water runoff was discussed. Joe Brewer and Mayor Barcelo argued over the priority of beautification projects in Mammoth over the potential damage to property. Don Jones in the audience voiced his concern over his property on Main Street. Mayor Barcelo and Councilman Barcelo said that the curbing would eventually get done.

Mayor Barcelo reappointed Department Commissioners. The Mayor will now be the Commissioner over Administration; Rogina Medina, Public Works Commissioner; Frances Wickham, Planning & Zoning. Ms. Wickham then appointed Lynn Zeiler to the planning & Zoning Committee.

Police Chief MacIntosh asked the Council to approve expenditures for a fencing and security project. The fencing would go around the north east corner of the parking area at the lower rear area of the police station. The project would eventually include lights, cameras, and concertina wire on top. It would allow them to park their vehicles in a secure area. Public Works Director David Garcia said they could save money by doing the work themselves. The Council approved money not to exceed $9,300 for the project. Chief MacIntosh also said that for a future project, they have the opportunity to get a K-9 dog and six weeks of free training for the dog and handler. The dog kennel could be placed inside the fenced area.

In other business, Beverly McGhee of OWN (Oracle Women’s Network) spoke to the Council about the new Oracle Visitors Center scheduled to open in March. She invited the Town of Mammoth and businesses in Mammoth to provide them with information about attractions, things to do and businesses for the Centers to provide for tourists and newcomers to the area. Lynn Zeiler representing Mammoth Seniors said they would like to see a brochure at the Miner’s Memorial. The Seniors will be publishing a newsletter entitled Mammoth Neighborhood News. It will have current events and recognize people of Mammoth. They will also be opening a Facebook account. Vice Mayor Wickham and Councilwoman Medina requested to have a 2 day swap meet at the Miner’s Memorial March 1 & 2. Proceeds would go to benefit the seniors. Motion was approved.

Vice Mayor Wickham requested that the Council approve a plan to recognize an Employee of the Quarter. Motion was approved. David Garcia and the Council discussed allowing employees that are on the Mammoth Volunteer Fire Department to leave work and respond to the fire emergency. It was approved that employees could leave work to respond to an emergency fire or car wreck but they would be off the clock.

NCS Engineering gave an update on the CAG/CDBG Funding – Water Study. They are looking at plans to drill new wells which will eventually improve the quality of water in Mammoth. The Council also approved a donation for Project Graduation.

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