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NEWS

This page is for general Casa Grande city government and other city reporting by Harold Kitching, continuing what he did at the Casa Grande Dispatch for more than 11 years before he resigned after being told that kind of work was no longer wanted.


(Older items are in NEWS ARCHIVE)



Dreamport special City Council meeting, Aug. 16
     (agenda includes sales tax rebate, development agreement)
     You can watch the meeting online at
     http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/citymanager/pio/channel11/

     or on the city's Cox cable channel 11



City Council regular meeting agenda, Aug. 7

You can watch the 5:30 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-line at 
Or watch them on the city’s Cox channel 11.

City Council study session agenda, Aug. 7


Dreamport special City Council meeting, Aug. 2

        The sales tax reimbursement staff report is HERE
        Watch video of the session HERE
        The economic impact report is HERE

Parks and Recreation Board agenda, Aug. 2
                (Meeting was canceled, lack of quorum)

Planning & Zoning Commission agenda, Aug. 3
           (Includes actions taken)

Pumper being purchased for Fire Department


The type of pumper being purchased for the Fire Department

(Posted July 26, 2017)



The full City Council staff report is HERE


The Pierce pumper website is HERE



In a little over a year, the Casa Grande Fire Department will have a new pumper truck, replacing a 2007 same model truck that has been seeing more and more maintenance work.

The 2018 Pierce Quantum pumper will cost $736,713.68 after a $39,500 discount for paying in cash.

Initial approval of the purchase was given during the last City Council meeting, with final approval expected during the next session.

It will take 13 months for the unit to be built and delivered to Casa Grande.

As Fire Chief Scott Miller read from the staff report, “The replacement unit is for shop 432, a 2007 Pierce Quantum pumper. This unit will move into an alarm engine/swap out unit and replace Shop 420, a Pierce Saber Pumper. In addition, we will also be eliminating Shop 418, our retained explorer engine. 

“The Sabers, a 1996 and 1997 are both reaching 200,000 miles and the maintenance repairs have increased. With this replacement purchase we will have two 2007 Pierce Quantum Pumpers as our alarm engine/swap out units. The reliability of these units is much higher. 

“During the past year, shop 420, the 1997 Saber, has required $35,000 in repairs and has been out of service for 45­ days. During this same time period when swap out units are needed for frontline service and there is no engine to swap into, Ladder 502 goes into service as a frontline unit. L502 saw an increase in repairs of $37,000 during this same time period. 

“In order for us to keep an alarm engine/swap out unit for the department, it must be reliable and trustworthy of service demands. By moving units out of the operation it will help reduce down our maintenance cost. 

“This 2007 unit was originally up for replacement in 2019. However, due to the cost to maintain the other vehicles and the number of days they were out of service, it is being recommended by Fleet Services, Finance Department, City Manager's Office and the Fire Department that this unit be replaced ASAP.”

Upfit equipment such as radio and mobile display terminal will be purchased separately and installed when the new pumper arrives in Casa Grande, Miller said.

Councilman Matt Herman asked if Casa Grande personnel would have to go to the Pierce factory and drive the truck back here.

“No, sir,” Miller replied. “They deliver that out here to us. We don’t accept the vehicle until after it gets here, it’s serviced and then we will accept delivery of it. 

“The reason is, it allows for the break-in period, because things have happened. And this way, it’s all on their dime versus our dime, plus not have our drivers drive it out.”

Councilman Dick Powell asked if the units being replaced will be auctioned off. Yes, Miller answered.

Thirteen months is a long time to wait, Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said.

She asked, “How are you going to manage this, then, because it seems we’ve had a lot of increase of maintenance on the other vehicles. So what’s going to happen?”

Miller replied, “We manage it the best that we can with what we currently have for our resources. And hopefully by the amount that was spent this year (on repairs) we’ll not have to spend that kind of amount next year, which is what we’re hoping through Fleet Services.”


Non-critical medical calls vehicle on hold a year

(Posted July 24, 2017)



A request from the Casa Grande Fire Department for a vehicle for noncritical patient calls rather sending a large fire engine won’t be in this year’s municipal budget, the City Council was told as part of discussions during the last meeting.

It’s basically money and a situation of waiting to see what a financial evaluation of the city entering the ambulance business determines.

Whatever, it’s something a majority of the council don’t want to see lost in the shuffle.

“I know this is something that Chief (Scott) Miller has been advocating for a couple of years to ultimately send  out what would be a two-person crew to respond in an ambulance, for lack of better words, for basic life support calls and to do some level of transports,” City Manager Larry Rains told the council.

“The cost that we’ve estimated to hire the staff and the ongoing annual cost is about $800,000 a year.

“From a management perspective, we see this being a perfect incremental step as we begin to evaluate new stations and the personnel that goes to that. Ultimately, what it does is it allows us to achieve some level of reduction in the calls loads to the two busiest stations, Station 501 (on Florence Boulevard downtown) and 502 (Ninth Street at Peart Road), and it also allows us to recognize better response times and the like.

“It’s something that I think is certainly a very important proposal that was submitted.”

The economics was one reason for delaying the request, Rain said, adding that, “but the second thing that I believe is important for the council and for our citizens to understand is that our mayor and council has recently approved for a consultant to do a financial analysis on us getting into the ambulance business.

“And from management’s perspective, going through that evaluation and determining whether or not that’s something we would like to do, where we apply for a certificate of necessity (for operating ambulances), it’s prudent that we do that before we start making any decisions regarding these levels of services, primarily when a decision of that magnitude with the CON could be a revenue stream to us, as well, that could cover these costs.

“It’s something that will obviously stay very active in our discussions of this particular proposal, but one that ends up I’m recommending that we defer at least for a year.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said she supported the proposal when it was first made.

“I think it’s a great program and the data that came from it. but I’m struggling to find $800,000 also,” she continued. “So I understand it, but I really hope we kind of keep this on the top two of the priority list and see if there’s anything we can do.

“I even in the budget session talked if we could do it on one shift, I think that would be something that we can maybe look at.”

Councilman Matt Herman said he has been an advocate for the proposal.

“I’m just disappointed,” he said. “I always thought of it as a cost-saving way to really increase service and save costs. Unfortunately, no one seems to be able to do that for us, so we’re stuck.

“The other thing to realize is it’s not just $800,000. It’s per year going forward and I’ve never seen government expenses go down over the years.

“I’m really disappointed, I thought this would be a great way to serve our community and a great rapid response to relieve calls on our big fire trucks. I want to keep it number one priority, personally for myself.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said she also wants the request to remain as a top priority.

“From the information that I’m getting as far as having that revenue stream and being able to balance the cost with being able to have some kind of revenue coming in,” she continued, “I think it is well worth the wait and hopefully we stay on top of it. I’m seeing that that would happen within the next 12 months and then maybe next budget year is being able to bring the two in.

“I’m just feeling like that we don’t have a good reliable service for our community and if anything one of our core principles is for the city to provide a safe community and that means response.”

Councilman Ralph Varela said he also supports the proposal and “I think maybe we can get a three months review or a six months review to make sure it comes back to us.”

Mayor Craig McFarland said, “I concur with all of my board members up here.”


Part of Val Vista to be closed for culvert work

(Posted July 21, 2017)


The city issued this announcement today:


Starting on Saturday, July 29, the Casa Grande Streets Division will be closing Val Vista Boulevard from Papoose Road to Maricopa Casa Grande Highway for culvert installation. 

This closure is scheduled to begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday July 29, 2017 and the road is expected to reopen at 6 a.m. on Monday, July 31.

Please note that during this time, there will be no direct access to or from Maricopa Casa Grande Highway and Val Vista Boulevard.


The closure area map is HERE


Senior meals program to continue another year

(Posted July 19, 2017)


A contract with Pinal Gila Council for Senior Citizens to continue the senior meals and transportation program for Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center for another year has been approved by the Casa Grande City Council.

Under the agreement, the Pinal Gila council will provide $141,683 in funds from the Area Agency on Aging and The Arizona Long Term Care System.

Casa Grande will provide $128,000 in in-kind services and $7,776 in cash.

The renewed program will provide 33,000 meals.

$281,650 in community partnership grants OK'd

(Posted July 17, 2017)



Community partnership grants totaling $281,650 were approved Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.

They are:

• Access Arizona, ­$25,000.

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Arizona, ­$120,000.

• Casa Grande Main Street, ­$39,150.

• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society, ­$34,000.

• Chamber of Commerce, ­$43,500

• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority, ­$20,000.

The staff report accompanying the agenda item says, “The FY18 budget contemplates funding the various service organizations requests shown below. Each of these organizations provide a direct benefit to residents of the city of Casa Grande. Historically, each of the organizations listed has previously applied and been awarded funding support from the city.

“Each service organization submitted an applicant package which included a funding request, an outline of the services provided and a copy of their most recent financial statement audit.

“The funding composition for this request include $161,650 from the General Fund and $120,000 from the Promotion and Tourism Fund.”


The application packages from organizations, with reasons for the requests, are below:

Access Arizona

Boys & Girls Clubs of Arizona

Casa Grande Main Street

Casa Grande Valley Historical Society

Chamber of commerce

Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority


City Council regular meeting agenda, July 17

You can watch the 5:30 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-line at 
Or watch them on the city’s Cox channel 11.



Openings on three Casa Grande city boards

(Posted July 7, 2017)


The city posted this announcement today:


Casa Grande is accepting applications for the following boards:

• Board of Adjustment, one opening.

• Board of Appeals, two openings.

• Police Advisory Board, one opening.

Application and information may be obtained from the City Clerk’s Office at 510 E. Florence Blvd. or at the city’s website at http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/clerk/boards/serving/

Application deadline is July 20 at 4 p.m.

For further information, contact Anna M. Guerra, deputy city clerk, at 421-8600.


Grande Innovation Academy expansion plans
    (This report was prepared for the Planning and Zoning Commission's       meeting Thursday night)

City budget, fees hearings scheduled
              (Proposed fees schedule is HERE)

$178-million tentative budget, lower property taxes

(Posted June 19, 2017)


The proposed property tax rates are HERE


The complete tentative budget is HERE


A simplified explanation of budget is HERE


Video of the budget presentation is HERE



A tentative city budget of $178,334,615 for the fiscal year beginning July 1 was approved Monday night by the City Council.

It is a prelude to initial approval of a final budget during the Aug. 7 meeting.

Once a tentative budget is approved, it can be lowered but cannot be increased.

“The proposed budget focused almost exclusively on maintaining current operations and service levels, as well as one ­time capital expenses which meet council’s adopted priorities and legal mandates,” the staff report says.


Next City Council meeting will be on June 26

(Posted June 20, 2017)


The next City Council meeting will be on Monday, June 26, rather than July 3, it was decided during Monday night’s meeting.

The staff report on the items said “it appears there will not be a quorum of the council at the regular meeting of July 3” because of the Fourth of July holiday.

Rather than cancel the meeting, it was decided to move it up a week to June 26.


City Council resolution supports I-10 widening

(Posted June 19, 2017)


The complete resolution is HERE



A resolution supporting widening of I-10 between Casa Grande and Chandler was approved Monday night by the City Council.

The staff report accompanying the agenda item says, “The Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) along with county and municipal officials and planning staff has identified the importance of this corridor with the expected growth of Pinal County. 

“Identified as the ‘key commerce corridor’ and the bridge to the Sun Corridor, by the Arizona Department of Transportation, the I-­10 connects Arizona’s two largest metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson. Therefore, this is one of the primary transportation corridors for movement of freight between Pinal County and other metropolitan areas.”

The report says Pinal County is expected to increase its population by 29 percent within the next 10 years, “which is projected to be the largest growth increase of any county in Arizona, while the employment growth rate is anticipated to increase by 18 percent over the next 10 years.

“It is the determination of the Sun Corridor MPO that the acceleration of the I­-10 widening project is in the public’s best interest. This is based on concern over the increasing amount of crashes on I­-10 causing shutdowns of the I­-10 corridor which affects freight mobility and traveling visitors.”

The report said the MPO will work with state and local leaders “to explore additional funding, creative financing, and additional statutory flexibility in order to advance the construction of the I­-10 widening project into the ADOT Five­-year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.”


Local Interstate 10 widening projects approved

(Posted June 16, 2017)


The Arizona Department of Transportation made this announcement today:



Casa Grande area improvements to Interstate 10 were among projects approved Friday by the State Board of Transportation as part of the annual update to the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.

The local projects are:


Interstate 10 widening

• State Route 87 to Picacho: This $109 million project (combined with the dust detection and warning system) was accelerated to Fiscal Year 2017 and will continue to construction in FY 18. The highway will be widened to three lanes in each direction and traffic interchanges will be improved.

• Earley Road to Interstate 8: This $40 million project was accelerated to FY 2018. The project will widen the highway to three lanes in each direction and improve traffic interchanges south of Casa Grande. Upon completion, the entire stretch of I-10 from Casa Grande to Tucson will have been upgraded to a six-lane highway.


Interstate 10 safety improvements 

• Sunshine Boulevard to Picacho Peak Road (dust detection and warning system): The construction for this project will be combined with the I-10 widening project from  SR 87 to Picacho ($109 million total for the two projects). The project was accelerated to FY 2017 and will advance to construction in FY 18.

City's sewerlines cleaning program to continue

(Posted June 8, 2017)


Casa Grande will continue its sewer cleaning program, the ongoing effort to prevent corrosion of pipes and the resulting odors, that was begun six years ago.

Initial approval was given by the City Council during Monday night’s meeting for as-needed contracts with Ancon Service Co. and Hoffman Southwest Corp. (doing business as Professional Pipe Services). Both have offices in Phoenix.

The annual cost is estimated at $250,000 to $350,000, depending upon the amount of work to be done.

“These contracts are not guaranteed to any one amount, but for us to decide how best to use that throughout our sewer efforts as we go and address the H2S levels in our system, as well as the affect of the odors that come from that H2S,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the council.

H2S?

The staff report accompanying the agenda item gives this description:

“This routine cleaning reduces hydrogen sulfide (H2S) levels within the collection system, which reduces

corrosive effects and helps reduce complaints from residents regarding sewer odors throughout the city.”

The staff report points out that the city has a wastewater collection system of approximately 260 miles of sewer pipelines, 4,500 manholes and eight lift stations.

“This program has been very successful,” Louis said.

“Each year, we clean on average about 25 percent of our system, but there are those areas that we clean on an annual basis or sometimes twice a year, some of those larger trunk lines like the Kortsen (Road) line from Pinal Avenue out to the treatment plant. Those lines get done on a more frequent basis, as needed.”

Initial approval of the contracts was unanimous. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.



Casa Grande moving to self-insured program

The ordinance was passed Monday night as an emergency action, putting it into effect immediately


Appointments to three boards, one commission

(Posted June 5, 2017)


Appointments and reappointments to three Casa Grande boards and one commission were approved Monday night by the City Council.

They are:

• Reappointed Gene Lehman to the Part-Time Firefighters Board of Trustees.

• Reappointed John Ontiveros to the Police Advisory Board.

• Appointed Carol D’Souza to the Personnel Advisory Board.

• Appointed Lynette Butron, Dylan Goodsell, Adrianna Guerra, Mackenzie Lopez, Thalianna Mercado, Jasmine Moreno, Lincoln Opara, Madison Reeves and Henry Scholes to the Casa Grande Youth Commission and reappointed Alexandra Chaparro, Sheyenne Donlay, Ackela Eldridge, Nathan Harris, Gloria Holt, Alex Shawn Johnston and Simarah Smith.


Sewer rate hikes do not affect residential

JUNE 5 UPDATE: The notice of intent to increase was approved Monday night by the City Council



(Posted June 3, 2017)


The staff report is HERE


The presentation is HERE



Before the rumors and the “I know what I’m talking about” postings begin running rampant on local social media, the proposed increases in some sewer rates in Casa Grande do not affect residential users.

Repeat: Do not affect residential users.

A routine action during the City Council meeting on Monday night is for a notice of increase, setting the stage for further actions and a public hearing on Aug. 7.

As the staff report for the agenda item puts it, “It should be noted that the proposed fees will only affect non­domestic users regulated by the city’s pretreatment program. These fees cover the permitting and oversight of these users. 

“Additionally, surcharges are proposed for industrial dischargers that exceed permitted limits for BOD & TSS. “These fees and surcharges are not applicable to domestic, residential users.”

BOD and TSS?

A BOD definition is given as “biochemical oxygen demand is supposed to measure the amount of food (or organic carbons) that bacteria can oxidize.”

A TSS definition is given as “total suspended solids (TSS) is the dry-weight of particles trapped by a filter. It is a water quality parameter used for example to assess the quality of wastewater after treatment in a wastewater treatment plant. It is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act.”

The presentation set for the council identifies both as, “These contaminants are essentially solids which must be removed from the waste stream. Excessive and uncontrolled discharge of these can greatly affect the efficiency of the treatment processes.”

A full explanation of proposed rates and reasons is given in that presentation, linked above.



It's the time of year that we begin hearing about needless drownings of children in unsafe or unattended pools.


The Casa Grande Fire Department has a page for pool safety tips -- with video -- at

http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/fire/pool-safety-tips/


You can watch video of both meetings at  


Lane restrictions on McCartney and Peart Roads

(Posted May 26, 2017)


The city issued this announcement today:


The Casa Grande Streets Division, along with contractor Southwest Slurry Seal, will be performing micro seal resurfacing on McCartney Road from Peart Road to Pinal Avenue, and on Peart Road from McCartney Road to Rodeo Road from May 30-June 2, 2017. 

These streets will remain open with lane restrictions.

Drivers should expect delays until the work is completed, and are encouraged to drive cautiously.

For additional information or questions, contact the Streets Division at 421-8625.


Proposed city fees schedule

(contingent upon approval by City Council after budget sessions)

Chavez scholarship raffle has baseball package

(Posted May 18, 2017)


The Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Committee of Pinal County is holding a raffle to raise funds for local college scholarships.

According to Chairperson Ralph Varela, Arizona Public Service is donating its baseball suite for the June 24 Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies game.

Varela said the winner will get 12 seats in the APS suite behind home plate, two parking passes, food and soft drinks.

Only 250 of the $20 raffle chances will be sold, he added. The purchase deadline is noon on June 9.

They may be purchased by calling him at 520-466-7765 or by email at [email protected].

“Thank you for any consideration,” Varela said. “I’ll make sure tickets are delivered to you.”

The drawing will be June 9 at Eva’s restaurant, he said.

This year, the 11th for the program, the committee awarded $45,000 in scholarships to 51 Pinal County students.


Added work, minimum wage increase are factors
in $100,000 increase for city cleaning expenses

This schedule is taken from the call for bids document:


SCHEDULED WORK HOURS 

AND CLEANING 

SPECIFICATIONS


A. Animal Control

Square footage 1,168

After 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding city holidays)


B. CityHall (main building)

Square footage 34,500

After 6 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


C. City Hall (annex fronting Florence Boulevard) 

Square footage 13,050

After 7 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


D. Dorothy Powell Center

Square footage 10,200

After 10 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


E. Len Colla Center

Square footage 12,800

6-8 a.m. Monday-Saturday (excluding city holidays)


F. Main Library 

Square footage 16,050

After 7 p.m. seven days a week (excluding city holidays)

         

G. Landfill scale house 

Square footage 1,500

Must start at 1 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


H. Municipal Court 

Square footage 10,150

After 6 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


I. North Operation Center 

Square footage 12,000

After 6 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


J. Peart Center 

Square footage 2,100

5-8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding city holidays)


K. Police Communications Building (former Police Department on Marshall Street)

Square footage 7,764

After 3 p.m. seven days a week (holidays included)


L. Public Safety Building

Square footage 48,400

8 a.m-8 p.m. seven days a week (holidays included). Four hours each on Saturday and Sunday.


M. Teen Center 

Square footage 4,317

After 11 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding city holidays)


N. Women’s Club 

Square footage 3,461

After 9 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding city holidays)


O. Golf Course Pro Shop 

Square footage 2,397

After 8 p.m. seven days a week (holidays included)


P. Waste Water Treatment Plant 

Square footage 3,000

After 4 p.m. Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)


Q. City parks restrooms 

Square footage 3,510 total of all eight

10 p.m.-6 a.m. seven days a week (holidays included)


R. Parks and Recreation Building 

Monday-Friday (excluding city holidays)

(Posted May 17, 2017)



The staff report is HERE



The $100,000 increase in the cost of cleaning city facilities stems from additional work required, who provides supplies and the impact of the minimum wage hike to $10 an hour.

That was part of the presentation by Public Works Director Kevin Louis during Monday night’s City Council meeting. The council gave initial approval to the contract, with final approval expected during the next meeting.

This year’s cost will be a minimum of $319,800, with another $15,990 set aside in case of additional work, such as emergency situations, by New Image Building Services.

“Each of the buildings have been evaluated and determined how many days per week, whether Monday, Wednesday, Friday, every day of the week, what type of cleaning services need to be provided,” Louis said.

“We’re looking at an increase of about $100,000 between last year and this year.

“Some of the big items that I identified, we have changed how we’re cleaning our facilities.

“We’re cleaning some facilities that were being five days a week are now being cleaned seven days a week.

“Another ticket item that we identified was the parks restrooms. Last year we were cleaning those for right around $22,000 for the year and this year it’s about $48,000.

“And again, we’re increasing the level of service based on what we feel the necessary cleaning levels are.

We wanted to increase that service level in those facilities.”

The minimum wage hike was also factored in, Louis said.

“That  had a huge impact on these types of companies,” he continued. “They went from $8.05 to $10 an hour, plus sick time.”

Providing cleaning supplies will now be the responsibility of the contractor rather than the city, Louis said.

“In the previous contracts, we had provided all the cleaning supplies and all the materials, hand wipes, this types of things. Last year, we spent just over $32,000 on those materials.”

The new contract is in line with other areas of the country, Louis said.

“We did look at the cost of this contract versus the standards that are out there for cleaning services of buildings of our age and type,” he added. “The national average is $1.61 per square foot and we’re at $1.63 with this contract, so we’re right in the ball park of what the national average is.

“The last three years of contracts we thought we had a great deal. They were the low bid three years ago and it was like ‘wow.’ Didn’t get quite as good a price this time but they’re still the low bid.

“We think we are getting good value, and they’ve done a great job for us. It should be noted that New Image has been our contractor for several years now and we’ve been very happy with their performance.

“Any time we’ve an issue with this company, from our monthly inspections that we do with their supervisory staff to all of the annual trainings that they perform with their staff. We actually let them use the North Operations Center and they bring all their staff in to do their annual trainings, which ensures that they meet those standards, as well.”

As Councilman Dick Powell sees it, “I think that’s key, if you have somebody that’s been working for you and they've

done a good job and they end up being the low bid for the next year.”

Louis responded, “We’ve had some challenges in the past with some contractors, so this has been a great relationship and if we get to keep it, that’s wonderful.

“I guarantee you, if I had to hire the employees and do it in-house, it would be much more expensive.”

The question was raised about safety of the supplies the contractor will use, such as environmentally.

Louis responded that, “We specify all of the hand towels, toilet paper, those types of consumables. We also require green chemicals. So, all of our chemicals the are used in our facilities are environmentally safe. We do set those specifications and they must follow those.”

The council vote for initial approval of the ordinance was unanimous.


New CG location for county public health clinic

(Posted May 11, 2017)


Pinal County made this announcement today:


To better serve a growing population, Pinal County's Public Health Department is moving its Casa Grande  clinic to a new location, going from the Pinal County Administrative Complex at 820 E. Cottonwood Lane to 1729 N. Trekell Road.  

To help facilitate the move, the Casa Grande Public Health Clinic will be closed for one week from Monday, June 3, until Friday, June 9.

There will be a grand opening ceremony for the new clinic on Trekell Road on Wednesday, June 14, at 1 p.m.

The new clinic will be open Monday-Saturday from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, call 1-866-960-0633 toll-free Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

The clinic will continue to provide Community Health Nursing and Women, Infant and Children (WIC) services, as well as offer a new Vital Records Office for birth and death certificates.

As the Pinal County population exploded in recent years, including more than 10 percent growth from 2010 to 2016, Pinal County Public Health quickly outgrew its clinic space in Casa Grande. The Casa Grande clinic currently serves over 7,200 nursing patients annually, as well as provides over 31,200 WIC visits and 4,000 immunizations each year.

After extending clinic hours to include Saturdays in 2008, Pinal County Public Health is expanding to more than 8,000 square feet of new clinic space in Casa Grande with multiple exam rooms, a larger waiting room, nutrition counseling rooms, and vital records area.

The clinic was chosen as the first pilot site in Arizona for the eWIC program, which allows WIC clients to purchase their prescribed food benefits with a more efficient card system rather than the older check payment method.

WIC provides nutrition education, supplemental food packages, and breastfeeding support to pregnant mothers and children up to age five.  The new card payment system is preferred among grocery stores and clients for its ease of use.

"We are looking forward to bringing eWIC to Pinal County to help kids get access to healthy foods," stated Rosanna Ringer, Public Health manager

The clinic will also provide free childhood immunizations, family planning, birth control supplies and education, pregnancy testing, HIV and STD testing, and Well Woman HealthCheck for cancer screening. Furthermore, anyone born in Arizona may obtain a birth certificate at the clinic.

Pinal County Public Health accepts most insurance plans. Most nursing services are available on a sliding fee scale based on family income and number of household members. No one is refused service due to inability to pay. Payments and donations are accepted in cash, credit or debit.

For more information about Pinal County Public Health, visit www.pinalcountyaz.gov/publichealth.


City Council regular agenda, May 1
You can watch video of the 6 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-line at 

Economic development strategic plan sought

(Posted April 26, 2017)



Casa Grande is looking for economic development consultants to submit proposals for a five-year city economic development strategic plan.

The deadline for submittals is May 26, with the winning company expected to have the plan completed by March 2018.

According to the request for proposals, the selected firm will:

The selected firm will be required to perform the following:

• Meet with city management and Economic Development Division staff to learn top overall economic development priorities, past economic development plans, targeted industry sectors and current services, such as business retention and expansion, small business and entrepreneur assistance, and marketing strategies.

• Initiate a public input process that will engage community and business leaders to identify issues and opportunities that must be addressed within the strategic plan.

• Conduct individual interviews with elected leadership, city manager and primary economic development stakeholders including Central Arizona College, Arizona @ Work Pinal County, Pinal County, Access Arizona, Greater Phoenix Economic Council and the Arizona Commerce Authority to develop a custom strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis.

• Asset mapping of the community to provide local stakeholders a site selector’s perspective of Casa Grande.

• Collect data from a variety of qualitative and quantitative sources in order to provide an understanding of current global, national and regional economic conditions and trends.

• The market analysis will evaluate the current and future trends of the local economy and provide an analysis of the issues, which are most critical to the success of existing businesses and the attraction of new jobs and capital investment.

• The community will be analyzed on various factors, but not limited to, such as business climate, workforce development and education, marketing and economic development efforts, sites and infrastructure, quality of life, tourism, etc.

• The plan will survey strategic assets such as major employer sites, educational institutions, workforce development organizations, significant commercial development sites and quality of life infrastructure.

• Assess the future impact of current development projects including the PhoenixMart, Lucid Motors, Attesa, Dreamport Villages and the proposed new recreational center.

• Propose an alignment among elected officials, city management and regional economic development organizations as to the major opportunities and challenges confronting economic development in Casa Grande.

• A consensus on the guiding principles for the City of Casa Grande Economic Development Strategic Plan.

• A framework for implementation of the strategic plan, including assessment of the city’s employment attraction potential, priorities for Casa Grande's economic development efforts and recommended priorities for the City of Casa Grande's Economic Development Division.

• Identify areas in which increased collaboration would encourage economic growth and empower all parties and community partners to achieve strategic objectives. This could include key partnerships (government, private and nonprofit) that will improve the success of the plan. Provide recommendations as to the appropriate level of involvement from each party.

• Identify marketing strategies to inform and influence site selection decision makers and consultants to attract targeted industries.

• Identify local incentive programs that will help attract new job growth in targeted industries, as well as programs that will help retain existing jobs in targeted industries.

• Identify changes in land use and/or zoning as well as other city policies or procedures that could facilitate achievement of the desired economic development objectives in relationship to the identified target industries and potential locations.

• Develop outcome measures to assess, monitor and improve the action strategies on an ongoing basis.

• A presentation and summary of all work is to be given at two public meetings. The presentation will detail the methodology employed in creation of the plan and long term strategies for the future.

 

Casa Grande meeting May 10 on proposed I-11

(Posted April 21, 2017)


The Arizona Department of Transportation made this announcement:



As the Interstate 11 environmental study progresses and new proposed corridor alternatives have taken shape, the Arizona Department of Transportation is once again looking to the public and agencies to get involved and comment on the work that’s been done over the past year.

Six public meetings, including in Casa Grande, have been scheduled in May as part of ADOT’s commitment to study and get input on a 280-mile-long corridor stretching from Nogales to Wickenburg.

The Casa Grande meeting will be Wednesday, May 10, in the dining room of the Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center, 405 E. Sixth St.

The other five public meetings will be in Tucson, Marana, Nogales, Wickenburg and Buckeye.

All meetings, which will have an open house format, run from 5-7 p.m., with presentations beginning at approximately 5:15 p.m. Following the presentations, study team members will be available to answer questions. The same information will be presented at each meeting.

During the first year of this three-year study that began in March 2016, ADOT evaluated a wide range of alternatives — or possible routes — in order to narrow the choices to the recommended range of reasonable alternatives to be evaluated further in the Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. These alternative corridor options will be available for review and comment at the public meetings and during a 30-day public comment period.

The final set of corridor options, which will be determined after the public comment period, will be subject to further analysis as part of the Draft Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement. A no-build option will also be evaluated.

I-11 is envisioned as a multimodal corridor connecting Arizona with regional and international markets while opening up new opportunities for mobility, trade, commerce, job growth and economic competitiveness. While the planning phase for this high-priority corridor is well underway, funding for further studies, design and construction has yet to be identified.

The alternative corridor options that will be presented for review were developed from several factors: input from last year’s public and agency scoping period, technical analysis, findings from previous studies, and public comment through emails, calls, mail and the study website.

The public comment period will begin on April 28. That’s when the latest study and meeting materials will be posted to the Interstate 11 website at i11study.com and an online mapping and comment tool will be activated. The comment period runs through June 2. 

The recommended I-11 corridor would likely follow US 93 from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge south to Wickenburg. The 280-mile corridor that is the focus of the current environmental study begins in Wickenburg and runs west of the Phoenix metropolitan area, south to the Tucson area and then to Nogales.

Throughout the course of the study, the public, communities and other stakeholders will always have the opportunity to comment and help shape the proposed I-11 corridor. All comments are entered into the project record. Comments can be sent to:

Email: 

[email protected]

Toll-free bilingual telephone hotline: 1-844-544-8049

Mail: 

Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team

c/o ADOT Communications

1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F

Phoenix, AZ 85007

 Visit the I-11 Study website at I-11Study.com/Arizona  for more information.


You can watch video of the 6:30 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-line at 

Council study session agenda, Monday, April 3
       (A brief update on proposed community recreation center)

Work resumes on Florence east of I-10

(Posted March 29, 2017)


The Arizona Department of Transportation issued this announcement this afternoon:


Work has resumed on State Route 287 (Florence Boulevard) east of Interstate 10 in Casa Grande, following a stop in work until temperatures allowed for paving.

SR 287 will have lane restrictions between I-10 and Hacienda Road from 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, to 5 a.m. Thursday, March 30, for paving. 

Traffic will be alternated to the open lane and guided through the work zone by a pilot vehicle, work crews and traffic devices.

SR 287 will be narrowed to one lane in both directions between SR 87 and La Palma Road from 4 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays beginning Thursday, March 30, through mid-April for paving.

The $2.2 million improvement project includes milling and replacing existing pavement, applying a double chip seal coat, crack sealing shoulders and replacing pavement markings on a 10-mile stretch of road that extends from I-10 to State Route 87 (Arizona Boulevard) at La Palma Road.

For more information about this project, call Paki Rico, ADOT senior community relations officer, at 520-388-4233 or email [email protected].


Initial approval for Arizola/Kortsen right-turn lane

(Posted March 20, 2017)


The staff report, with additional details, is HERE



Initial approval was given Monday night by the City Council for a contract to construct a right-turn lane on southbound Arizola Road at Kortsen Road, a major bottleneck.

Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.

The cost will be $77,722, with a 20 percent contingency for unexpected problems, for a total of not more than $93,267.

“Everyone’s well aware of the congestion at that intersection and the trouble with vehicles trying to turn right off of Arizola,” Deputy Public Works Director Terry McKeon told the council.

“We had hired Rock Engineering to do an analysis of the intersection and design an appropriate remedy,” he continued.

“Originally, this was considered for a full traffic signal at this intersection.

“At this time, that’s not warranted, so the intent is to construct a right-turn lane to free up that traffic so that not everybody’s backed up by people trying to go straight or left.

“This project will construct that right-turn lane, relocate some of the existing infrastructure and landscaping in that area.”

No construction start date is listed, but the contract says, “Time is of the essence for this contract. The contractor agrees to commence work … within 15 calendar days after the date of authorization specified in the Notice to Proceed and to diligently prosecute the same, day to day, to completion within 90 calendar days.”


Three appointed to city boards and commission

(Posted March 20, 2017)


Appointments to three Casa Grande boards and commissions were made by the City Council during Monday night’s meeting.

They are:

• Anthony Estrada and Dennis Dugan to the Planning and Zoning Commission.

• Charles Wright and David Snider to the Board of Adjustment.

• Terry Filson to the Board of Appeals.


Pavement repair, striping projects move ahead

(Posted March 20, 2017)


The pavement staff report is HERE


The striping staff report is HERE


The Main/VIP work map is HERE


The paving micro seal work map is HERE



The Public Works Department has received final City Council approval to continue its streets maintenance and striping programs.

Included in the pavement maintenance program are asphalt chip seal, micro surfacing, slurry seal, fog seal and crack seal.

“One project is our Main and VIP projects,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the council, “and that’s Main Avenue between VIP and Thornton, as well as VIP from Main Avenue down to Gila Bend Highway.

“It should be noted that this project was downgraded as an effort to save some money. We had originally planned on reconstructing both of these roadways at a cost of about $2.5 million. This cost is obviously much less with the cape seal, which a chip seal and a slurry seal combination, very similar to the project we used on Thornton Road when we tried to extend the life of that before we reconstructed it. We’re doing the same thing here.”

The pavement work has a limit of $1.5 million and the striping at not more than $200,000.

According to the street striping staff report, “The contract would provide for pavement striping of various city streets, including center­line (double and skip), edge lines, turn lanes, crosswalks, stop bars and turn arrows. On average, street striping is replaced every three to five years with heavy traffic areas requiring shorter increments.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked if the striping work is as needed or if some streets received priority.

Louis responded that, “We first focus on the high traffic areas. Anywhere around a school we try to identify, some of those we do on an annual basis. Again, it really depends on the amount of traffic in those areas.

“But they’re on an as-needed basis, as well as all of our striping.

“There’s still no good estimate unless you go out and drive and do the measuring yourself, so we do that.”

Louis said he believes there is a link between striping conditions and accidents.

“It’s obviously a factor that would contribute to increasing accidents in an area,” he continued.

“Right now, there are no standards we have to adhere to … so we try to keep the roads in as good a condition as we can.”


$8.98 million in Gila River casino grants sought

UPDATE: Approval of sending all requests was given during the March 30 council meeting.


(Posted March 16, 2017)


Approval of submitting requests from area civic and government organizations for $8.98 million in Gila River Indian Community casino money grants is on the agenda when the City Council meets Monday night.

The staff report listing organizations and their requests is HERE.

Click on names in blue at bottom of page for explanations of each request.


City wants updated flooding, drainage plan

(Posted March 7, 2017)


The full request for qualifications, with area maps, is HERE



Casa Grande is seeking professional engineering help in preparing a citywide drainage master study and plan, replacing an outdated one last revised in 1987.

According to the request for qualifications, the study and plan “will help the city to identify and characterize existing drainage and flooding problems within the city’s annexed and planning limits. 

“The deliverables will include, but may not be limited to, a drainage master study and plan listing the immediate, intermediate and long-term drainage infrastructure projects, potential drainage improvement districts and guidelines for future developments.”

The request add that if funds are available, the city could award another contract “to provide conceptual design alternatives and cost estimates of immediate stormwater drainage infrastructure capital improvement projects for the city’s short term and long term needs and potential Federal Emergency and Management Agency  floodplain delineations.”

Under today’s conditions, the request notes, “there are potentially four major offsite flooding sources that pass through the city limits: the North Branch of Santa Cruz Wash, Santa Cruz Wash, Greene Wash, and Santa Rosa Wash.”

It is pointed out in the request that Casa Grande present master drainage study and plan was prepared in 1985 and updated in 1987. It used hydrological methodology from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which is now outdated.

“Unfortunately, this plan was not fully implemented,” the request says. 

“There is a need to verify infrastructure built based on the recommendation of that master plan. In addition, the city has grown substantially in size during the real estate boom of 2005.”

The deadline for submitting qualifications is April 14, with the City Council choosing a firm on July 3 and work on the documents beginning 30 days later.

Completion is expected by June 30, 2018.


Final approval of engineering for improvements
at Trekell, Arizola intersections with Florence

(Posted March 6, 2017)


Scroll down in SPECIAL ARCHIVE for major report from October 2016, including charts and explanations)


The scope of work is HERE



Final approval was given Monday night to hire an engineering company to design major improvements to the intersections at Trekell Road and Florence Boulevard and at Arizola Road and Florence.

Although a Casa Grande Dispatch story said approval was given at the Feb. 21 meeting, that was not the case. The action comes under an ordinance, which requires two hearings before the City Council.

The cost is not to exceed $150,000, including a contingency of $12,200.

Rick Engineering Co. was selected for the design following review of proposals from nine companies.

“Through negotiations with the city, an appropriate scope and fee was negotiated for the design and construction of street, signal, signing/striping and related improvements for the Trekell Road/Florence Boulevard Intersection (including the restriping of Trekell Road from Doan Street to

Eighth Street) and for the Arizola Road/Florence Boulevard Intersection …,” the staff report says.

“Improvements will include new curb/gutter, street widening where needed, sidewalks, sidewalk ramps, signal upgrades and traffic control signage and markings.”

The work will include two left-turn lanes from northbound Arizola to westbound Florence, long a bottleneck.

“This project will provide improved capacity and safety for both intersection and includes the ‘road diet’ narrowing of Trekell Road from a four-lane cross ­section to a three-lane plus bike lanes on each side … A southbound left turn lane will be included for the shopping center located at the southeast corner of the intersection,” the report says.

During an explanation to the council at the first hearing, Public Works Director Kevin Louis reminded the council that, “this does not include construction. That contract will come back to you at some point in the future. But it will design the street signals, any striping or signage improvements, road widening, turn lanes and whatever else is determined to improve the performance of those two intersections.

“You’ll recall … we did discuss the striping work that we had proposed south of Trekell. This will also include that work, as well.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said that since the initial presentation about Florence/Trekell last October, “I’ve made even more observations. There’s going to be that time lapse of people getting used that. Maybe we can put up some temporary signs to make people slow down, take a look and see where those lanes are.”

Kortsen said she believes one area taking getting used to would be on Trekell near the Len Colla center.

Louis responded, “With any traffic control change, we’re required to notify the motoring public. When we typically do that I think you’ll see the diamond, yellow diamond construction signs that say traffic change. Any time we do a signal change, speed limit change, the signage that we have out there we may decide to use the orange plaques to bring attention to those.

“But there will be variable message signs for each of the projects notifying the public of the coming changes and then the new changes.”

Councilwoman Lisa FItzgibbons said, “My concern when I saw the design (at the October meeting) was I saw that you have a turn lane pulling into that little strip mall. I don’t know how it’s going to go (work) because you’re going to have a turn lane going left onto Florence, west onto Florence but then you’re going to have a lane going into the southeast into that mall. You’re the experts, I’m sure they know how to design it, but I can’t visualize it.”

Louis responded, “I’ll say this, and I don’t know if our traffic engineer will agree with my answer — but if we were starting from scratch we could design somethings perfect. We are not starting from scratch. We are going to make as many improvements to improve the safety as we can but it will never be perfect.”

Kortsen said, “ I did see in the last week two occasions where the way it is now you have people over here trying to go in here, you have traffic queuing up here, you have the lights changing and that. I just can’t see that it’s not going to be at least some improvement, maybe not perfect.”

Councilman Ralph Varela asked if the design will come back before the council.

“I drive that every day,” he said, “and I’m just trying to visualize how it’s going to work. As it is right now, it creates a problem when you’re passing south beyond Florence, going south on Trekell. You have folks that are coming into (the center) and it backs up everybody. I guess what my concern is, I’m just trying to visualize how it’s going to work to help mitigate that situation.”

The design work will be back before the council for approval and notifications will be made.

“We haven’t identified every public outreach effort that we’re going to make throughout this project,” Louis said, “but I envision us having some type of an open house for that neighborhood so that people can come look at those plans. We could also bring a study session back (to the council) and maybe follow that with the open house.” 

“When we get the final design we can definitely bring that back to council prior to us putting it out on the street for a construction contract.”


City Council agenda for Monday, March 6
     You can watch video of the 6 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. 
    regular meeting on-line at 
 

Gloria Leija confirmed as Casa Grande city clerk

Gloria Leija, left


(Posted Feb. 21, 2017)


Gloria Leija, who was Casa Grande city clerk for 19 years before retiring in January 2012, is back in the position.

Her hiring was unanimously confirmed by the City Council during Tuesday night’s meeting.

After retiring, Leija entered teaching but in 2013 took the position of clerk for the town of Wickenburg.

When the agenda item came up near the end of the meeting, Councilman Dick Powell said, “It would be my honor to move that we accept her. She was the one that brought me onto council to begin with. We certainly welcome her back and she’s very, very talented. If you haven’t worked with her, you’ll be very happy.”

Councilman Ralph Varela added, “It would be my honor to second that, because she kept me in line for all those years.”

When Leija retired, she was replaced by Remi Miller, who has since moved on to be town clerk of Pinetop-Lakeside.

Since Miller’s departure, Deputy City Clerk Anna Guerra has been filling in.

Noting that, Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said, “I just wanted to thank Anna for your work with us. You’ve taken a lot of time from your family and everything and we really, really appreciate everything you’ve done. Gloria and you are going to be a great team and we look forward to it.”

Mayor Craig McFarland added, “I will echo Lisa’s comments, too, Anna. Nice job. Thank you for all your hard work.”

Leija spoke briefly to the council, saying, Thank you, mayor and council and staff for giving me the opportunity to come back and to serve you. I’m looking forward to work with the city clerk staff. I’ve had an opportunity to meet with them and they certainly are awesome.”

Leija has a bachelor of arts from University of Phoenix and a masters in education from Northern Arizona University. She is also a certified municipal clerk, certified municipal election official and certified Arizona election official.

In brief, the city clerk is responsible for planning and coordinating city elections, keeping the city records management program in compliance with Arizona statutes, managing the publication of official notices, agendas, ordinances, and resolutions and managing technical bidding processes and city contract approvals.


New lease changes Teen Center programming 

(Posted Feb. 21, 2017)


(Scroll down under COMMUNITY for initial report and City Council discussion on Teen Center problems and alternatives)


The City Council, acting Tuesday night, has given initial approval to an amended lease with Central Arizona College for the Casa Grande Teen Center building at 520 N. Camino Mercado, south of Florence Boulevard just west of Interstate 10.

Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, “The stated use of the building will be modified from a Teen Center to a site for family, youth, and teen programming. 

“As discussed with council, the attendance and use of the Teen Center has steadily declined to the point that there are many days with no participants visiting the facility. With this change in use the city will be able to program a wider variety of activities from the center.”

The report says phasing out the Teen Center will save $19,000 yearly in part-time staff costs at the facility.


Dreamport entertainment complex     
    The complete proposal is HERE
    The north and south area staff reports in one document, with maps,       charts and explanations HERE
    (A favorable recommendation was sent Thursday night, March 2, to the
    City Council, which has final say)


City Council regular meeting agenda, Feb. 21
    Watch video of the 6 p.m. study session and the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-         line at 

Special interest bill favoring contractors over city 
crews for streets work more than $25,000 opposed

(Posted Feb. 8, 2017)


The staff report is HERE


The City Council resolution is HERE


The full bill is HERE



The City Council is opposing what appears to be a special interest bill in the Legislature that favors civilian contractors over city maintenance crews, limiting local work to projects under $25,000.

As Mayor Craig McFarland said during Monday night’s council meeting, “You can’t pave a parking lot for $25,000.”

So far, the bill has gone nowhere in the Legislature.

According to the council staff report, the bill, HB2143 by District. 11 Rep. Vince Leach, R-Saddlebrooke, would require that “the construction, reconstruction, or maintenance of any street, road, bridge, water or sewer work may be performed either with or without the use of the agent's regularly employed personnel without advertising for bids if the total costs of the work does not exceed $25,000. This is a substantial decrease in the current threshold, which had a baseline of $150,000 and is currently just over $200,000 per year.

“Rural communities already face a difficult task in securing competitive bids for this type of work as compared to urban areas. The cost of mobilization alone is much higher in rural areas which impacts the bids that the city receives for its projects. This would prevent the city's crews from doing any street work or maintenance which would negatively impact the city's budget. As a result, the burden on taxpayers would increase or the city would be unable to complete as many roadway projects annually, resulting in additional deterioration of city infrastructure.”

Senior Management Analyst Steven Turner told the council that, “The way the bill is worded with the construction, reconstruction or maintenance, we are to assume this includes street sweeping, traffic signal repairs, grading, anything that can be easily done with our city crews using our city equipment, which would save our taxpayer dollars, would not be able to completed if this House bill was able to be put into effect.”

The staff report gives three local examples of how the bill requirements would have raised the costs for Casa Grande taxpayers:

• Early Road prep work for double chip seal:

­Cost through city resources, ­$45,499

­Cost through third party contractor, ­$192,385

• First Street paving project:

­Cost through city resources, ­$77,536

­Cost through third party contractor, ­$161,699 

• Crack sealing project:

­Cost through city resources­ $132,025

­Cost through third party contractor ­ $390,150

“In each of these projects, we see a significant increase if they would have been completed through a third party contractor,” Turner said.

“Staff believes that this is a bad bill and as a result would increase the burden on our taxpayers to maintain our city infrastructure.

“And as Public Works Director Kevin Louis Kevin spoke about at last council meeting about city infrastructure, if we don’t do the continual maintenance the deterioration of our city infrastructure would increase exponentially.”

Answering a question from Councilwoman Donna McBride, Turner said the local costs of the three examples include employee wages and wear and tear on city equipment. 

Turner said city staff is following the bill weekly with the Arizona League of Cities and Towns.

Councilman Dick Powell said, “That is really, really good, because a lot of times things happen to us and we were blind to it and didn’t get the input.

“And this one is certainly bad medicine and a huge expense to the community and the taxpayers who ends up paying it.

“I just want to compliment your doing that and bringing that forward.”

Councilman Matt Herman, using sarcasm, said, “It’s no secret how I feel about the state telling us how to run our city.

“Once again, I’m glad we’re bringing this forward and I really want to make it known that we vehemently oppose this, because it just makes no sense.

“I know they’re very responsible at the state level with our money and their budget and infrastructure, so I’m glad that they like to tell us how to do ours, because I think the city of Casa Grande is in much better shape than most. That’s my two and a half cents.”

Another factor, Mayor Craig McFarland said, is “the one thing that happens when you go with a outside vendor, they charge you for transportation of the equipment, they charge for all of that transportation costs. We don’t have that transportation cost and we have the equipment. So that grader that chews up the blacktop that you bought last year, we couldn’t use it if this bill passes, basically. You can’t pave a parking lot for $25,000. It’s a huge difference.”

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said she feels that historically “just because cities, most particularly rural cities, express their dislike for these bills, it doesn’t seem to have a lot of effect on the leadership at the Legislature.

“What I would really to see is the numbers. That’s what our elected officials look at: how many calls did I get on one issue? If it’s from somebody like the League of Arizona Cities and Towns or if it’s from a city, that’s one thing. But if they get 10 calls from somebody in their area, just private citizens, that’s huge.”

Local residents need to call state representatives and voice their opposition, she said.

Councilman Ralph Varela asked if the city is working with the local representatives to see where they stand on the bill.

“I’ve been in contact with all of them,” Mayor McFarland said. “I’ve send emails personally to all of them.

“They say it won’t pass, but we just want to make sure.”

Turner told the council that, “ Currently, the bill is being held in committee. The League feels good about our chances, but still is encouraging us to pass resolutions.”

McFarland said Coolidge has already approved such a resolution.

The vote approving the Casa Grande resolution was unanimous.


Proposals sought to rehab historic Shonessy House

(Posted Feb. 1, 2017)


The request for proposals, outlining needed work, is HERE


An earlier presentation on structural problems with the house is HERE



Years of talk about restoring the historic Shonessy House south of the railroad tracks next to the old Casa Grande Hotel is taking a step forward with Casa Grande issuing a request for proposals for a certified historical architect.

Proposals are due to the city by Feb. 22. The beginning of the project is to be in early April, with completion in June, the RFP says.

According to the request, “The Shonessy House (115 W. Main Ave.) is one of the oldest adobe houses in Casa Grande. The Shonessy House is part of the "Life on Main" master plan that provides a blue print for redeveloping approximately 15 acres of vacant land that the city owns south of the Union Pacific Railroad in downtown Casa Grande. The main component of the master plan is the “historic plaza” which features the Shonessy House and will be the focal point as the city implements its recently approved master plan for the area.

“The house was built in 1890 and is in need of significant structural repairs to ensure the long- term stability of the building. As such, the City of Casa Grande seeks a qualified historical architect meeting appropriate federal professional qualification requirements as published in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archaeology and Historic Preservation to work with the City of Casa Grande to rehabilitate the Shonessy House to restore its structural integrity.”

In an earlier presentation about the Life on Main proposal, Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said, “The Shonessy House is really an important structure within the Life on Main area. It’s probably one of the oldest, if not the oldest, adobe residential structures in Casa Grande. 

“The city owns it. We’ve been able to secure it from trespass, but it still is not secure from the elements. Part of the roof is peeled back on one corner. We still have some work to do to secure it from the weather, from deterioration. There’s some cracks in the adobe wall that need to be stabilized. 

“We intend to do that to stabilize the structure and then long term totally rehab it for some kind of adaptive reuse. The intent of the city is to retain ownership of that and to rehabilitate it and to find adaptive reuses that might be compatible with that structure.”

According to the local historical society, “Rancher-businessman William Shonessy arrived in Casa Grande around 1900, at age 65.

“This house, which retains its original configuration except of a shed-roofed addition on the back and the enclosure of a rear screened porch, was built some time before 1890 and is considered an outstanding example of Casa Grande's settlement period homes.

“It was once the home of W.C. Smith who owned one of the first stores on Main Street during the 1880's.

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Fisher lived here for awhile in the 1920's and used the back porch for a mortuary. Harry was killed crossing the railroad tracks coming home one day.

His wife handled the burial arrangements. She later married Bill Plenz and had a mortuary on the corner of N. Olive Avenue and Eighth Street.

“Between 1933 and 1943, the Don Chun Wo family lived here and operated the store and rental apartments next door.” 


City financial disclosure requirements updated
         Staff report     Rules     Resolution     Ordinance     Form

Modernizing Fire Department radios approved

(Posted Jan. 20, 2017)


The detailed staff report is HERE


Motorola’s description of the radio, plus fact sheet and other information HERE




Final approval has been given for the Fire Department to begin a three-year process of modernizing its hand-held radios, giving the capability of communicating with area departments that operate on a different frequency system.

At the moment, the staff report says, “Casa Grande, Eloy, and Arizona City currently utilize the VHF band for radio communications while Gila River, Maricopa and all of our partners in the Phoenix area use the 800 MHz band. Pinal County is in the build­out phase of implementing a county­wide 800MHz system. 

“If this system is offered to Casa Grande as part of a regional wireless communications system, these new radios will already have the capability to access the system. The APX radio has multi­band capabilities, which will allow all personnel to seamlessly manage and use one radio throughout all radio systems.”

The ability to communicate is critical when Casa Grande firefighters call for mutual aid from area departments.

As Mayor Craig McFarland said during the last City Council meeting where the final approval was given for the first-year $166,759 purchase (or about $500,000 over the three years), “I talked to several of the firefighters and one of the biggest complaints they had was that their radios won’t talk to everybody else. They can’t talk to Maricopa. They’re all people we use and help us fight fires.

“This last summer, I think maybe in June, when we had those two houses to up at once and there was a lot of help coming from everywhere else they couldn’t communicate with some of those fire departments.”

Addressing Fire Chief Scott Miller, McFarland added, “One thing I would ask you to do is make sure when you go back to your team to make sure they understand that we heard them and that that was an issue and we’re going to take care of it for them.”

As Miller told the council, “This is our lifeline for the Fire Department, this is our communications. And it’s one of the biggest items out there that’s important to us, because we want everyone to go home.”

The first year of the upgrades, 20 radios would be purchased. Miller said the $166,759 cost also includes “also purchasing the batteries, the vehicle chargers which have to be mounted in the vehicles to charge each of those radios, the adapter kits which go into our fire stations and into the current existing chargers that we have so it was accept those radios, remote speaker, microphones that we have on our lapels and in order for us to do our own programming staff will provide the cable in order to be able to program our radios.”

Each radio, expected to have a life span of 10 years, comes with a five-year warranty.

Councilman Dick Powell asked how much repairs to radios would cost after the warranty expires.

Miller replied, “Currently, when I send in a portable for repair I’m looking a minimum of $500 to $1,000. I don’t have history on where these new ones are projected to be. Obviously, for the first five years we won’t have any. After that, hopefully it won’t be as expensive.”

Most of the present radios have been in use since 2008, with some older than that, Miller told the council.


Initial approval for new water tender/pumper

(Posted Jan. 19, 2017)


The detailed staff report is HERE


Video of the presentation is at

http://casagrandeaz.swagit.com/play/01172017-2127



Initial approval has been given by the City Council for the Fire Department to purchase a new Pierce Freightliner water/pumper at a cost of $505,506.17.

It’s the second time around for the Fire Department to try to purchase the vehicle.

The council had given approval in October 2015 for buying one, but the company chosen later said it could not meet the required specifications and asked for changes$505,506.17. The department said that was unacceptable, touching off a lengthy process of getting that company to refund the city’s money.

(Details of the process are in the staff report, above.)

This time, purchase will be made from Pierce, with paying in advance saving the city $22,407. By purchasing now, the city will also save about $16,000 from scheduled price increases.

According to the staff report, the purchase will replace a 1989 pumper/tender that had reached it 25-year life span and had been removed from service.

Federal regulations and the fire response rating service, which includes the Casa Grande Fire Department, both require replacement at 25 years.

The equipment, which includes a compressed air foam system, will take about 11 months for Pierce to build, Fire Chief Scott Miller told the council.

Councilman Dick Powell asked how the foam system would help fight a fire.

Miller replied that the foam can be made “as soapy as your dish soap kind of soapy water or you can make it all the way into a shaving cream, depending upon how much air and how much foam you put and mix in with the water.

“In theory your 2,500 gallons of water (on the truck) will increase at least four to five times its capacity when you utilize air and foam into the system, so that 2,500 gallons is really like 10,000 gallons of firefighting water system out there for us.”

Regular fire trucks carry 750 gallons of water, the chief said.

Miller said the equipment will initially be housed at the fire station on McCartney Road to be able “to shoot down the freeway into the areas that we need to be at.

“The main reason is to take care of those non-hydranted areas or situations that may occur out on the freeway that you need to bring water to.”

The initial approval was unanimous. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.


O'Neil reappointed as City Court magistrate

(Posted Jan. 18, 2018)


Video of the interviews of O’Neil and Smith is at

http://casagrandeaz.swagit.com/play/01172017-1155



Incumbent Casa Grande City Court Magistrate Christopher O’Neil was unanimously reappointed Tuesday night by the City Council.

The position runs concurrent with the term of the mayor, requiring an appointment every two years.

It was pointed out during the special council meeting that there were 28 applicants, which the selection committee pared down to two: O’Neil and Scott Smith, who oversees the Casa Grande Drug Court for the Pinal County Probation Department. 

O’Neil’s salary was set at $107,736 yearly. The council vote on that was 6-1, with Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons saying her opposition to the amount was because she would like to see performance evaluations before raises are given.


Video of the meetings and study session on-line at 

Right-turn lane sought at Kortsen and Arizola

(Posted Jan. 12, 2017)


Casa Grande is calling for bids to construct a right turn lane from Kortsen Road onto Arizola Road.

Bids will be opened Feb. 7, the city said, with a contract awarded April 7.

The work is expected to be completed by mid June.

The bids request lists says the work “involves the widening of Arizola Road on the west side to provide a right turn lane for southbound traffic.”

It says the work will include:

• Remove existing pavements, curb and gutter sections and landscaping.

• Excavate for the proposed street widening to accommodate the right turn lane.

• Prepare the subgrade for the new street pavement.

• Place, install and compact aggregate base course.

• Construct new asphaltic concrete pavement.

• Construct new curb and gutter sections.

• Construct new decorative brick paver street pavement.

• Construct new sidewalk and sidewalk ramps.

• Install new traffic control signing and striping.

• Adjust catch basins and utility fixtures to finished grade.

• Restore the landscaping.

• Other miscellaneous and contingent work needed to complete the project.


Cold weather halts paving on Florence, east of I-10

(Posted Jan. 6, 2017)


The Arizona Department of Transportation issued this announcement today:



An Arizona Department of Transportation project on State Route 287 (Florence Boulevard) east of Interstate 10 in Casa Grande has been stopped until temperatures allow for paving. 

Work is expected to resume in March.

Work began in November 2016 on SR 287 between SR 87 and La Palma Road for paving and from Promenade Way to Mission Parkway for sidewalk work.

The $2.2 million construction improvement project includes milling and replacing existing asphalt concrete, applying a double chip seal coat, crack sealing shoulders and replacing pavement markings on a 10-mile stretch of road that extends from I-10 to State Route 87 (Arizona Boulevard) at La Palma Road.

For more information about this project, call Paki Rico, ADOT senior community relations officer, at 520-388-4233 or email [email protected]


Jack in the Box proposed for Pinal-Cottonwood

(Posted Jan. 6, 2017)


The staff report is HERE

Scroll down in report for developer’s letter and building sketches


A major site plan and conditional use permit for a Jack in the Box fast food restaurant at the southeast corner of Cottonwood Lane and Pinal Avenue were approved Thursday night by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The proposal is for a 3,390-square-feet building with drive through.

There would be one entrance off of Pinal and a second from Cottonwood by utilizing the present 20-foot alley.

According to the staff report, “Approximately 33,000 square feet of this lot will remain undeveloped to the south of the proposed Jack in the Box. The major site plan associated with this proposed development provides conceptual detail of a future building to be used as retail and restaurant space.”

 

Better sports lighting set for Carr McNatt Park

(Posted Jan. 6, 2017)


Casa Grande will spend $272,000 to improve part of the sports lighting at Carr McNatt Park.

The initial approval Tuesday night follows final approval of spending $584,900 for better lighting at the Little League field. Final approval for Carr McNatt is expected during the next City Council meeting.

The work is part of a phased improvements plan for the park.

According to the staff report accompanying Tuesday night’s agenda item, “The area of the existing sport field lighting is over 20 years old and is need of an update to increase lighting quality and enhance park's safety. The cost includes demolition and removal of old light system, supply and installation Musco's Light­Structure Green, underground wiring and conduit, service entrance panel, controls installed by a licensed contractor, delivery and warranty. The Musco Sport Field Lighting frame comes with an unmatched product assurance and warranty program that includes materials and on­site labor, eliminating 100 percent of the city of Casa Grande maintenance costs for 10 years.”

Councilman Dick Powell asked where the lighting will be located.

“The middle use field,” Interim Community Services Director Jim Burke replied. “They’re really old lights, really just there as security lights but they’ve been using them for practice. This will give them quality lighting for that event space. The rest would come at a later phase.”

Powell also asked if the new lighting will last the same 20 years.

“That’s an excellent question,” Burke responded. “This is the new LED lighting, so I believe the life span is expected to be longer, but the proof will be in putting them out there. This is the first time we’re using them here in Casa Grande.”

Burke said the contractor will be asked for an analysis of how much money would be saved on maintenance with the new system, given the 10-year warranty.

Mayor Craig McFarland, noting the $272,000 for McNatt and the $500,000-plus for the Little League field, said the public needs to be made aware of the improvements.

“Is there any way we can get that information out to our citizens?” he asked.

“Certainly,” Burke replied. “We can do email blasts, we can post the properties, we can do a variety of things.”

During gathering of public comment on the park’s master plan, signs were put up informing the public, he said, adding that the same could be done in this case.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said a sign could be put at the park’s main entrance, “to let them know construction is going to be happening, just to point that out and just say these are monies being spent towards our youth.”

Burke responded, “That’s a great idea, that’s a good idea.”

Perhaps the signs could include before and after pictures, McFarland said, adding, “I just think that there’s a lot of investment, there’s a lot of infrastructure investment that people don’t see and I think that somehow we need to make sure that the public understands where we’re spending their money and that they’re getting something for it.”


Fourth Street repairs begin Tuesday, Jan. 10

(Posted Jan. 5, 2017)


The closure map is HERE


Fourth Street will be closed between Marshall and Florence streets for maintenance beginning Tuesday, Jan. 10.

The city announcement said the work, expected to be completed by Friday, Jan. 13, is to remove and replace part of the pavement.

The city said additional information is available from the Public Works Department at 421-8625, ext. 4820.


You can watch video of the meetings on-line at 

Kortsen/Pinal sewer repair project on the way

UPDATE: FInal approval was given during the Jan.3 City Council meeting


(Posted Dec. 24, 2016)



“We don’t want to find out what happens if that line collapses,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the City Council before initial approval was given for repairs to an 18-inch sewer line at the intersection of Kortsen Road and Pinal Avenue.

As the staff report accompanying the agenda item during the Dec. 19 council meeting put it, “During routine cleaning and video inspections of the existing 18-­inch sewer line … multiple cracks (longitudinal, spiral and circumferential) were observed. 

“Staff recommends rehabilitation of the sewer line utilizing an ultraviolet light cured­-in-­place pipe method. This method provides a reinforced liner with minimal pipe diameter reduction to maximize the existing capacity of the pipe.”

The project by Achen-Gardner Construction will cover rehabilitation of 530 feet of sewer line and will include sewer cleaning, pre/post videos, bypass pumping, liner installation, traffic control and permits from the Arizona Department of Transportation, which controls Pinal Avenue.

The initial approval (with final approval expected Jan. 3) was for a cost of not more than $188,135, broken down as $179,175 for the work and $8,960 for a 5 percent contingency fee for additional work if needed.

“We’re looking at an interim solution,” Louis told the council. “This is a Band-Aid solution, not an ultimate solution, but it’ll get us to the point where once we finish our detailed study of that area and come up with our future recommendations for the sewer lines in that part of the city to serve both the southeast and the east portions of the city, it’ll get us to that point where we can then look at removal and replacement of that section.”

Louis said Achen-Gardner had done a demonstration project of the ultraviolet method about a year and a half ago.

“We picked one of the nastiest sections of pipe that we have — we call it Restaurant Row — and it runs just on the south side of Florence right in front of City Hall,” he said.

“They did about a 250-foot section, we were able to get all of our engineers out there and our inspectors to watch this process and we’re very impressed with not only the product but the technique that they use, so we feel very comfortable with the scope of this project that they’ll be able to get us to the finish line.

“They basically insert this material, inflate it and then use an ultraviolet system that cures it in place.”

Under the contract, Achen-Gardner will bypass sewage from the line, connecting on the other side of Pinal.

“A complicated process, but it’s much better than digging up the intersection,” Louis said.

He said he had not taken a close look at impact on traffic during the project, “but the contractor’s in charge of applying for that permit through ADOT and I guarantee you if that traffic is going to be challenged they won’t issue a permit, so I think we’re going to be able to manage traffic through that intersection without too much impact.

“And we’ll work very closely with the grade school district, as their bus barn is right there and that’s their main in and out road, so we’ll make sure we take into all those considerations.”

According to the request documents, the project is to be completed within 30 days. No start date was given.


New lighting for Little League field gets initial OK

UPDATE: Final approval was given during the Jan.3 City Council meeting


(Posted Dec. 23, 2016)


2017 Little League registration now open  HERE




Initial approval has been given to spend $584,900 to replace the 30-year-old lighting at the Little League field on Amarillo Street between Evergreen Elementary School and Food City.

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item during the last City Council meeting, “The cost includes demolition and removal of the old light system, supply and installation of Musco's Light­Structure Green, underground wiring and conduit, service entrance panel, controls installed by a licensed contractor, delivery and warranty. 

“The Musco Sport Field Lighting frame comes with an unmatched product assurance and warranty program that includes materials and on­site labor, eliminating 100 percent of the city of Casa Grande maintenance costs for 10 years.”

Answering a question from Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons on why the lights are being replaced, Interim Community Services Director Jim Burke said, “It’s just really old lights and the standard and the field level lighting is no longer being able to hold the condition that the kids are expecting to play for.

“These new lights will have two benefits: the light across the field will be really smooth so you won’t see the difference between the infield and outfield when you’re playing and the cutoff at the property line will be excellent, so the neighborhood will see darker lighting, less lighting, actually, a darker sky. And they’ll be much more efficient electricity use for us long term.”

Councilman Matt Herman asked how much electricity would be saved.

Burke responded that, “They expect this will pay back in 10 years time. I don’t have the exact number and the utility costs by hour of service, but we expect to see quite a significant savings.”

The vote for initial approval was unanimous. Final approval is expected during the Jan. 3 council meeting.


Video of the 7 p.m. meeting is HERE

Video of the 6 p.m. study session is HERE

Switch to LED streetlights begins next Monday

(Posted Dec. 12, 2016)


The schedule for weeks two and three is HERE


Scroll down in SPECIAL ARCHIVE for comprehensive story about the entire program



Casa Grande will begin changing 3,867 of its street lights to light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures on Monday, Dec. 19, the city announced today.  

The area is bounded by Villago Parkway, McCartney Road, Thornton Road and Summer Lane. 

“There are many benefits resulting from the conversion to LED fixtures, such as lower energy use, decreased energy costs, and significantly less maintenance,” the announcement said. 

“The new fixtures are expected to last almost 24 years and are anticipated to reduce energy consumption by almost 70 percent and utility costs by 40 percent.

“The potential savings over 20 years is over $3 million, with a majority of those savings coming from maintenance. The total cost of the project is $1,689,249. 

“Casa Grande is following the recommendations of the International Dark Sky Association and the American Medical Association in using LED fixtures with a warmer color temperature of lighting (3000k). The end result is a reduction in light pollution and a better overall quality of light.”

In order to minimize traffic disruptions, crews will be installing the fixtures in residential areas during the day, and high traffic areas during the night. 


Craig McFarland, upper right, is sworn in as Casa Grande's new mayor during Monday night's City Council meeting. Administering the oath is City Magistrate Christopher O'Neil. Below, council members Lisa Fitzgibbons, Mary Kortsen and Donna McBride are sworn in. Councilman Ralph Varela was selected as mayor pro tem.
(City of Casa Grande photos)


Mayor's Committee on Disability Issues dissolved

(Posted Dec. 6, 2016)


The video of the discussion is HERE


It was a case of lack of interest and lack of participation.

Ending the Mayor’s Committee on Disability Issues was approved by the Casa Grande City Council during Monday night’s meeting.

“It’s been a committee we’ve had for a number of years, always had trouble staffing it and getting them to attend the meetings,” outgoing Mayor Bob Jackson told the council.

“About a year and a half ago, we invited them into a strategic planning retreat because we thought maybe that would help focus them a little bit, identify what items they wanted to do. We had less than half of them go to the strategic planning session, even though we tried to coordinate that weekend for everybody to go to.

“And since then, we continue to struggle having any kind of quorum. Sometimes we have nobody show up for the meetings.

“It’s been that way for probably six or seven years and so the feeling was, if we can’t get a quorum, we can’t get members, it’s a committee that has to be dissolved by a council action. So that’s where we are.”

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, the committee was formed in 1987 to be a clearing house for groups working to end the unemployment and underemployment of handicapped persons. Three years later, the federal Americans with Disabilities Act was passed, taking over the reasons the committee was formed.

“Over the years the scope of this committee has changed until the past several years when they met only to help coordinate two events — the Halloween Dance and Disability Awareness Day,” the staff report says. “The Halloween Dance is overseen by the Community Services Department and the school district has taken the lead on Disability Awareness Day. 

“The Mayor's Committee on Disability Issues has not met in nearly a year and the few remaining members can still be involved by working as a volunteer for the two events with which they have stayed active. Should the need arise, the committee could be formed again in the future.”

The vote to dissolve the committee was unanimous, with Councilman Dick Powell on excused absence.


Work continues on Florence Boulevard east of I-10

(Posted Dec. 2, 2016)


The Arizona Department of Transportation made this announcement today:


State Route 287 (Florence Boulevard) east of Interstate 10 in Casa Grande continues to have restrictions for a construction improvement project on a 10-mile stretch of road that extends from I-10 to State Route 87 (Arizona Boulevard) at La Palma Road. 

The $2.2 million construction project includes milling and replacing existing asphalt concrete, applying a double chip seal coat, crack sealing shoulders and replacing pavement markings.

The work will occur as follows:

SR 287 will be narrowed to one lane in both directions between SR 87 and La Palma Road from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, through Friday, Dec. 9, for paving. A pilot vehicle will escort drivers through the work zone.

Sidewalk restrictions are in place around the clock along Florence Boulevard from Promenade Way to Mission Parkway through Friday, Dec. 9, to allow crews to work on the sidewalk ramps.


When posted, you can watch video of the meetings on-line at 

Electric car company coming to Casa Grande

(Posted Nov. 29, 2016)


Video of the announcement in Casa Grande is HERE


A story from the  Phoenix Business Journal is HERE


A video of the ceremony at the state Capitol is HERE 

There were difficulties in getting the video to stream, causing a black-screen delay. The ceremony starts at 9:25 minutes. Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson’s statement is at 28.40 minutes.


The company announcement is HERE


The governor’s announcement is HERE



Lucid Motors, a California company that has transitioned itself from a battery maker to electric car manufacturer, announced Tuesday that is is building a car manufacturing facility on 500 acres near Peters and Thornton roads on the west side of Casa Grande.

The announcement was made at both that state Capitol in the morning and at Casa Grande City Hall in the afternoon.

The facility, projected to cost $700 million, will break ground in the first half of 2017, the company said, with initial hiring of about 400 people, starting a training process involving Central Arizona College and technical and community colleges in Maricopa and Pinal counties. 

Lucid said that by 2022 it hopes to have more than 2,000 full-time employees.

The first cars should be in production toward the end of 2018, the company said.

Casa Grande Mayor Bob Jackson was one of the speakers at the announcement in Phoenix.

“This is truly an exciting moment,” he said, “exciting for our state, exciting for the region, and particularly exciting for the city of Casa Grande.

“I feel enormously proud to stand here on behalf of Casa Grande and express how pleased we are welcome Lucid Motors to our community.”

Jackson said the announcement “comes as a result of a strong, collaborative partnership among Lucid Motors, the office of Gov. Doug Ducey, Arizona’s federal delegation, the Arizona Commerce Authority, Pinal County and the city of Casa Grande.

“Countless days and hours have been invested by our state, county and local stakeholders to see this exciting prospect come to fruition.

“Poised with vital infrastructure, talented workforce and key proximity to the regional supply chain, Casa Grande has proven to be the ideal site for the future success of Lucid Motors.”

Jackson said the $700-million capital investment and eventually hiring of more than 2,000 workers will be a significant impact felt in Casa Grande, the region and the state.

“In the past five years, Casa Grande has worked diligently to attract companies that can serve as economic drivers for our entire region,” he said.

“This strategic investment to Lucid Motors continues to demonstrate the many attributes that define Casa Grande as a promising area for longterm growth and success in economic development.

“I look forward to seeing the arrival of Lucid Motors impermeably change the landscape of Casa Grande and to see it propel us forward to the regional leader for technology and innovation and distinguish us as a premiere place for manufacturing and distribution.

“On behalf of the Casa Grande City Council and our entire community, we welcome you and look forward to sharing in your success.”


City seeking bids for annual pavement work

(Posted Nov. 28, 2016)


Casa Grande spends big bucks each year on pavement maintenance, between $1.3 million to $1.5 million.

Bids are being sought for next year’s work.

According to the request, “The city typically alternates the classifications of streets receiving surface preservation treatments each year. One year arterial and collector streets will be completed while the next year residential streets will be completed.

“Arterial and collector streets are typically maintained by the application of microsurfacing or rubber chip sealing. Optionally, the city may specific the use of a rejuvenator treatment using emulsified asphalt fog seal.

“Other surface treatments that may be specified in any given task assignment include double chip seal of unimproved (native dirt) roads and cape seal, a combination of the chip seal and slurry seal (sometimes microsurfacing) applications.

“The task assignments will include restriping to replace existing traffic control striping and markings that are obliterated by the new surface treatments.” 

Bids will be opened on Dec. 20.


City confirms that study sessions will be televised

(Posted Nov. 22, 2016)


It was confirmed today by Casa Grande that City Council study sessions will be aired on the city’s Cox cable channel 11 starting with the Dec. 5 meeting.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen had posted on Facebook on Oct. 21 that the sessions would be broadcast, but there was no official announcement.

While Casa Grande City Council meetings have been televised for a long time, study sessions have not.

The study sessions are held to hear details about various situations, such as the community recreation center proposals, Grande Sports World financial problems, etc.

The council cannot take action during study sessions. 

The study sessions, which are usually held just before the regular City Council meetings, will be on the city’s Cox cable channel 11, as will the regular session.

They will be simultaneously streamed on the city’s website, http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/citymanager/pio/channel11/.

The regular council meetings may also been seen at that link.

The city announcement said the study sessions will be rebroadcast on channel 11 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at noon and 8 p.m. 

City Council meetings will be rebroadcast on channel 11 on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

The announcement added that the agendas for each council study session and meeting can be found the Thursday prior to each meeting at http://casagrandeaz.gov/council/agenda/.


(CG NEWS note: The agendas are also posted on this website under NEWS.)


Monday night's CG City Council actions

           You can watch video of the meeting on-line at 

(Posted Nov. 21, 2016)


The Casa Grande City Council took these actions during Monday night’s meeting:


Approved an agreement with nFlux Energy Products to provide 300 acre feet (97-plus million gallons) of reclaimed sewer plant effluent, rated a A+ quality, for nFlux’s proposed energy greenhouse facility near Burris and Rodeo roads.

According to the staff report, the facility would “produce low cost clean energy, increase food crop yields by up to 40 percent and with 10 percent of the water usage. They plan to use a CO2 fertilization process and heat from a generator, along with water from the water from the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

In turn, nFlux would sell electricity generated from the facility’s combined heat and power facility to the city for use at the sewage plant.

Under that agreement, also approved Monday night, nFlux would sell up to 7.5 gigawatt hours of electricity at a price of 5.25 cents per kilowatt hour, almost half the present market rate of 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour.

In other actions:

• Delayed consideration of a contract for repairing the 18-inch sewer line at Pinal Avenue and Kortsen Road.

• Delayed a public hearing and zoning ordinance regarding changes in terminology for the Evergreen Historic District and other historic designations.

• Appointed Allison Catalina to the Police Advisory Board and Terry Emig to the Airport Advisory Board.

• Approved a contract for technical support for heart monitors used by the Fire Department, with a cost of $13,235 for the first year.

• Certified the general election voting showing incumbent Councilwoman Mary Kortsen, with 7,059 votes, and Donna McBride, at 6,509 votes, as winners of the two open seats. Runners-up were Bob Huddleston at 5,620 and David Snider at 4,232.


(AMENDED) Casa Grande City Council agenda, Nov. 21
You can watch the 7 p.m. meeting on-line at 
     Or watch it on the city’s Cox channel 11.
     The city does not yet televise study sessions.

CG advertising for replacement city clerk
   Background and information  HERE

Council creates judicial selection committee

(Posted Nov. 7, 2016)


The City Charter section relating to City Court is HERE


City Court website with court information and links is HERE



The City Council has created a judicial selection committee to recommend a magistrate for City Court.

It is not a move to oust present Magistrate Christopher O’Neil, appointed in July 2013.

A section of the City Charter mandates that the magistrate’s term of office is the same as that of the mayor, requiring appointment or reappointment each time a mayor is elected or reelected.

Acting during Monday night’s meeting, the council appointed David Fitzgibbons as selection committee chairman and Carmen Auza, Dennis Dugan, Robert Tapia and Debby Yost as members.

Mayor Bob Jackson said those names came from mayor-elect Craig McFarland.

“I asked him about a month ago to give me the names that he wanted,” Jackson said, “so even though I’m identified as the person that made the appointments, they’re actually Craig’s.

“I only offer that up so that you don’t think we are doing something that is unethical or illegal or something.”

The committee will recommend two candidates to the council, acting within 30 days. Once the council makes a selection, the committee will be disbanded.

The appointments were made under an emergency clause, meaning they go into effect immediately, but City Attorney Brett Wallace told the council that, “we normally did two readings at two separate meetings, so it’s my recommendation that even though we are doing it with an emergency clause, the effective date will actually be the next meeting on (Nov. 21).

The council appointed O’Neil as interim judge, effective Dec. 5, the date the new mayor and council are sworn in.

“Since there is a time lag between the swearing in of the mayor and the time necessary for the judicial selection committee to do its work,” the staff report says, “it is recommended you appoint the incumbent judge as interim city judge for this time period. This would eliminate any question regarding the status of the judge or his legal standing.

“… he shall remain interim city judge until such time council selects the next city judge, at which point this appointment shall terminate, but in no event shall the appointment exceed 90 days.”


In other action Monday night, the council:

• Gave initial approval to a $74,040 contract for construction administration of the reconstruction of Thornton Road from Gila Bend Highway to Cottonwood Lane.

• Gave initial approval to purchase of a 4,000-gallon water truck for $159,594.

• Gave initial approval for changing zoning to general industrial generally south of Cottonwood Lane west of Lewis Street.


You can watch video of the 7 p.m. meeting on-line at 

The city will begin televising study sessions on Dec. 5

Tell ADOT your priorities for Arizona highways

(Posted Oct. 26, 2016)


The Arizona Department of Transportation issued this announcement today:



Interactive online survey available until Nov. 11 lets you rank what’s most important.

Got five minutes? That’s all it takes to get involved and help shape the future of transportation in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is in the process of updating our Long-Range Transportation Plan, also known as “What Moves You Arizona.” This allows us to look ahead 25 years and plan for transportation needs throughout our state. It also helps us determine how we distribute funding to balance the many needs of our state highway system.


MetroQuest survey

That’s where you come in. We’ve created an easy and engaging interactive online survey, so you can tell us what’s most important to you when it comes to how we travel to get to work, school, appointments, activities and so much more.

The survey is available at whatmovesyouarizona.metroquest.com. It can be completed on a computer, smartphone or tablet. A Spanish-language version of the survey is also available via the link.

The survey gives you the opportunity to rank six transportation priorities: preservation, expansion, safety, technology, accessibility, and maintenance and operations. You get a budget and determine how much of it you’d allocate for each priority. Then you’ll decide tradeoff scenarios that further define your priorities. It’s that simple.

Take the survey today and then share the link with your friends, neighbors, and colleagues. 

ADOT will summarize and share the results of the survey and will have an updated plan in place in early 2017.

ADOT’s Long-Range Plan is updated every five years and is not project-specific. It’s up to the public, policymakers and communities to tell ADOT what’s important to them throughout the long-range planning process and to prioritize projects and funding.

For more information, visit our project website at azdot.gov/whatmovesyouarizona.


The city has its own household bills to pay

(Posted Oct. 24, 2016)


The complete payments list is HERE



As with your own household, Casa Grande has its bills for utilities, insurance, retirement and loans.

What you don’t have, though, are payments to the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to house city prisoners in the jail.

The list of billings payments for Sept. 28-30 and Oct. 3, 5 and 6 approved during the last City Council meeting includes:

• $76,016.26 to the sheriff for jailed prisoners from Casa Grande, broken down as $33,770.70 for July and $42,245.56 for August.

• $73,944.21 for electricity, with $64,611.85 to Arizona Public Service, 6,357.38 to Electrical District 2, $2,643.62 to ED 3, $331.36 to San Carlos and $160.56 to Hohokam.

• $29,949.49 to Arizona Water Co.

• $653.52 to Southwest Gas Co.

• $15,601.11 for wireless and landline phones.

• $50,583.95 for employee retirement accounts.

• $124,821.87 for solar panels loan.

• $881,076.36 for sewer expansion loan.

• $367,437.11 for employee health, life, dental and disability insurance.

• $20,940 to renew 500 Microsoft Office 365 licenses for one year.


City sewage treatment plant filters being repaired

(Posted Oct. 22. 2016)


Casa Grande is spending $134,968 for repairs to the tertiary filtration system at the city’s sewage treatment plant.

The work will not affect services to residents and businesses.

“This is a normal repair-and-replacement,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the City Council during Monday night’s meeting.

In brief, tertiary filters are for filtering the liquid effluent from a secondary wastewater treatment system, removing additional solids and chemicals.

“As part of our plant design, we currently produce A+ water,” Louis said. “One of the key components to that is our tertiary filter system.

“The system is starting to see signs of failure in almost each one of the components that are being replaced through this purchase.”

The filters, a proprietary design, are being purchased from Aqua­Aerobic Systems, Inc., the equipment manufacturer.

“The best way to explain it is you wouldn’t want someone who specializes in Volkswagens working on a Mercedes,” Louis said. “This is their system, they’ve come up with new design for the equipment we need to replace, which are valves and the actuators for the backwash system.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons said, “When you say each valve has experienced failures, it just got me a little nervous. Is there like a backup? If one’s failing, is there something that’s helping it, it’s not affecting the system at all, is that right?”

The system was built to have redundant processes, Louis answered.

“We are currently sitting with the capability of doing 12 million gallons a day,” he continued. “We’re currently processing just over six million gallons a day, so we have over half of our units that we’re not using.

“Even if we had all 12 million going through that plant, we still have redundant pieces of equipment. So as we see those failures what we do is we go in and we take one of those 42 filtration modules out of service and do the repairs. 

“But what we’ve found now is the manufacturer will no longer support the components from the original construction, so we’re upgrading those parts of that piece of equipment.”

Louis said he did not have an exact timeline for the repairs.

“It’ll probably take us six to 12 months to go through the entire system,” he said.

Initial approval of the purchase was unanimous, with Councilman Matt Herman on excused absence.

Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.


City will begin televising council study sessions

(Posted Oct. 21, 2016)


Councilwoman Mary Kortsen posted this today on Facebook. 


While Casa Grande City Council meetings have been televised for a long time, study sessions have not.

The study sessions are held to hear details about various situations, such as the community recreation center proposals, Grande Sports World financial problems, etc.

The council cannot take action during study sessions. 

The study sessions, which are usually held just before the regular City Council meetings, will be on the city’s Cox cable channel 11.

They will be simultaneously streamed on the city’s website, http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/citymanager/pio/channel11/.


City saving $192,000 by rebuilding problem grader

(Posted Oct. 18, 2016)


Casa Grande is saving $192,000 by having a Caterpillar grader rebuilt rather than purchasing a new model.

As Public Works Director Kevin Louis explained to the City Council during Monday night’s meeting, the grader, purchased in 2007, has logged more than 9,200 hours of operation and has been having mechanical problems. He said $14,000 has been spent on repairs and the grader has been out of services for 13 days.

Louis said the department first looked at replacing the grader under Caterpillar’s recommendation of 10,000 hours of useful life,

That would have cost $340,000 versus the rebuild by Empire Southwest for an estimated $147,835.

Public Works had budgeted for the full replacement, Louis said, adding that after considering the cost, “we just saw the benefit of taking this grader — which is still in pretty good shape structurally, we’re just starting to have some mechanical problems with it — and have the rebuild,.

“They’ll go through and replace the entire power train, hydraulics, cab so it’ll be a certified power train-plus rebuild for this second useful life.”

According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, the certified rebuild is projected to provide an additional 10,000 hours of operation, coming with a one-year warranty.

The staff report adds that, “The actual cost of the certified rebuild will not be determined until Empire Southwest disassembles the grader and assesses what parts can be reused for the rebuild.

“The requested expenditure authority (up to $147,835) includes a 10 percent contingency to cover costs in the event the majority of parts need replacement. The request also includes a two-month rental fee for a replacement grader to use while the city’s unit is being rebuilt. Empire Southwest has agreed to cover any rental cost beyond the two-month period if needed.”

The report adds that the Caterpillar 140H grader is a primary piece of equipment used by the Street Division for maintaining 64 lane miles of unpaved roads, roadside drainage maintenance, street construction projects, grading of city owned properties and maintaining the Rodeo grounds for special events.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said, “I want to compliment you on making the decision. You were sitting there and saying, hey, I have $340,000 to spend … and you made a decision to go ahead and do the repair instead.”

Initial approval of the request was unanimous, with Councilman Matt Herman on excused absence.

Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.


Dirt is dirt, right? When it for the landfill, not quite

(Posted Oct. 18, 2016)


Dirt is dirt, right?

Not quite.

When it comes to the Casa Grande city landfill, just any old dirt won’t do.

The question came up during Monday night’s City Council meeting as Public Works Director Kevin Louis was explaining a request for authorization for the city to buy up to 43,000 tons of cover dirt, at a maximum price of $167,270.

Why go out and buy dirt?

As the staff report accompanying the agenda item explains, “State and federal law requires that all waste in a municipal landfill be buried with a minimum of six inches of soil at the end of each operating day. The Casa Grande landfill has a limited soil reserve and must import off­site soil on an annual basis to meet cover material requirements.”

This year, Age General Engineering Co. bid $3.89 per ton The last contract, just expired, was $4.22 per ton.

Councilman Karl Montoya had the only questions about buying dirt.

“Just how unique is the dirt that’s coming in?” he asked. “I mean, what kind of specifications?”

The main specification, Louis answered is “as long as we can put it down and it doesn’t blow away, so it does have to have some moisture content so that we can keep it on the site.

“It needs to have nothing over a certain aggregate size. There can’t be any other contaminants, so there can’t be any construction debris or anything like that. If somebody was to scrape a construction site we would look at that load and say we’re not accepting that load. That’s really the only qualifications.”

Montoya asked if Public Works has ever looked at using soil from projects such as cleaning out washes for flood control.

“Right now, through our other efforts we can typically get about one-eight of our total supply that we need through other avenues at no cost to us,” Louis responded. “We do find opportunities to take advantage of folks that will bring us dirt, their topsoil. We do accept soil that meets our specifications at no charge to anyone in the city.

“As a matter of fact, (Planning and Development Director) Paul Tice is working on a plan right now to encourage when people get permits to bring their topsoil out to the landfill.

“We also use our solids from the wastewater plant, that sludge. We are able to use a one-third mix to topsoil, which also extends the useful life of the amount of topsoil that we bring onsite.”

Initial approval of the purchase was unanimous, with Councilman Matt Herman on an excused absence. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.


All items on the 7 p.m. agenda were approved.
You can watch video of the meeting on-line at 
The city does not television study sessions.

City clerk taking job in Pinetop-Lakeside

(Posted Oct. 12, 2016)


Casa Grande City Clerk Remy Miller is leaving to take a job as town clerk of Pinetop-Lakeside, it was  announced today.

Miller, who became city clerk in 2012, has worked for Casa Grande for 19 years, the announcement by City Manager Larry Rains said.

The announcement said Miller’s last day with the city is Nov. 11. The city will appoint an interim clerk and will conduct a search for a replacement.

"During her career, Remy has demonstrated a strong commitment to the community of Casa Grande," the announcement quotes Rains as saying. "While her knowledge and experience will be missed, her contributions will continue to benefit our community and organization. We wish her the absolute best in this new endeavor."

The announcement quotes Miller as saying, “It has been a pleasure working for the city of Casa Grande. There are so many highlights of my career and I'm very proud to have been part of our growing community.

“I am also thankful for the confidence that the City Council, city manager and all of the directors have placed in me to serve as the city clerk. I had the pleasure of working with several mayors, numerous council members, multiple city managers and various department directors. I'm sad to leave but proud to have served the city for 19 years."

According to the announcement, the city clerk position is responsible for “performing the technical, legal and administrative duties in managing the official records of the city, maintaining the required historical municipal data, and conducting municipal elections.”


Caliche sign before Board of Adjustment
    Staff report, recommendations are HERE

The only action item on Monday night’s (Oct. 3) City Council agenda, a public hearing and ordinance on a request for changes in the land use plans for the Casa Grande Regional Shopping Center Planned Area Development north of the present Promenade mall and south of Kortsen Road, was tabled until a study session is held to gather more information for the council.

City Council agenda, Monday, Oct. 3

You can watch video of the meeting on-line at 
The city does not television study sessions.

City Council study session agenda, Oct. 3
   

Morris named permanent city finance director

(Posted Sept. 12, 2016)


Interim Casa Grande Finance Director Celina Morris has been appointed to the job permanently, the city announced today.

"Celina possesses the perfect combination of financial acumen and leadership skills that are essential for filling this critical position," the announcement quoted City Manager Larry Rains, who made the appointment. "Her qualifications, combined with the strong relationships she has already established with City staff and leadership, will prove to be extremely valuable as we move forward to serve our residents."

Morris will oversee the city's financial reporting and budgeting functions, which include monitoring the analysis of budget and financial variables, revenue cycles, and financial planning activities. She will also serve as the principal advisor to the city on information technology programs.

"It is truly an honor to serve Casa Grande in this capacity" the announcement quoted Morris as saying. "The city is in such a strong financial position to succeed and I am excited for the opportunity to complete the many initiatives currently underway and guide us into a successful, fiscally responsible future."

The announcement said her tenure with the city began in 2014 when she was hired as a budget analyst and later became the accounting manager. She has been serving as the interim finance director since May when Doug Sandstrom resigned to accept a position in Goodyear. 

Morris has more 25 years of finance and accounting experience in the public and private sectors, 10 of which include positions with state and local governmental entities and financial institutions. 

She holds a bachelor of business administration, accounting from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and is currently enrolled in a masters of accountancy program from Saint Joseph's College of Maine.


Lack of quorum cancels parks and rec meeting

(Posted Sept. 7, 2016)


Because only three members -- one less than the required quorum -- showed up, Wednesday night's Parks and Recreation Board meeting was canceled. The main item on the agenda (HERE) was an update on the community recreation center. That is expected to go before the City Council on Sept. 19. The previously scheduled meeting of the parks board, with a rec center update on the agenda, was also canceled because there was no quorum.


City Council actions, Monday, Sept. 6

You can watch video of the meeting, item by item, at 

http://casagrandeaz.swagit.com/play/09062016-2348.

Because of technical difficulties, the first 17 minutes are missing.

(Posted Sept. 6, 2016)

These actions were taken by the City Council during Monday night's meeting:
• Granted a time extension for the final plat for Santa Cruz Crossing at Trekell and Rodeo roads.
    The staff report is HERE       The new phasing is HERE
• Appointed Jim Sommers to the Historic Preservation Commission and Danielle R. Delsi to the Board of Appeals.
• Approved renewing membership in the League of Arizona Cities and Towns at a cost of $28,230.
• Approved purchase of a monitor/defibrillator system for the Fire Department at a cost of $34,815.
• Approved purchase of streets crack sealing material at a cost of $100,000.
• Approved purchase of two dump trucks at a cost of $309,945.
• Approved purchase of a pickup truck with body installation at a cost of $31,097.
• Approved refurbishing of a collection rolloff truck at a cost of $81,496.
• Gave final approval to changing zoning at the intersection of Rodeo Road and Pottebaum Avenue to general business.
• Delayed until more information is available a zone change to general industrial south of Cottonwood Lane, west of Lewis Street.
• Gave initial approval to changing zoning to community services and multifamily residential south of Cottonwood Lane, west of Lewis Street.
• Approved the route and street closures for the Veterans Day Parade.
    The route map is HERE         The closures list is HERE

Sept. 6 Casa Grande City Council agenda
    You can watch the 7 p.m. meeting on-line at 
    Or watch it on the city’s Cox channel 11

Comments sought on block grant improvements

(Posted Sept. 1, 2016)


A copy of the report is HERE

The announcement, with comment information, is HERE


Casa Grande is asking residents to review and comment on its 2015 community development block grants accomplishments and spending.

Comments and suggestions will be taken through Sept. 15.

The City Council will hold a public hearing on the report during its Sept. 19 meeting.


Contractor sought to repair Kortsen sewer line

(Posted Aug. 29, 2016)


The full request, with technical details, is HERE


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6stvvqacD53M2ZVRk9SZTA0T0E/view



Casa Grande is seeking a qualified contractor to replace 530 feet of deteriorated sewer line on Kortsen Road east and west of Pinal Avenue.

The deadline for submittals is Sept. 20. 

According to the request, if the contract is approved by the City Council in November, work could being Dec. 8, with 30 days allowed for completion.

According to the request, the work will require permits from the Arizona Department of Transportation for work within its Pinal Avenue right of way and a permit from Arizona Water Co. for any use of water hydrants.

Permits will also be required for after-hours noise and closing of any lanes for work.

A traffic control plan approved by ADOT and by the city will also be required.


Shopping center addition, Tanger before P&Z
                 Center staff report       Tanger staff report
          Thursday, Sept. 1, update: All items were approved

You can watch video of the 7 p.m. regular meeting on-line HERE
The city does not television study sessions.

City investments report on study agenda
                               The report is HERE

Major reconstruction of Thornton Road set

(Posted Aug. 5, 2016)



The initial OK has been given for reconstruction of Thornton Road between Gila Bend Highway and Cottonwood Lane, upgrading the major truck route.

Final approval is expected during the Aug. 15 City Council meeting.

The staff report puts it plainly:

“This segment of roadway has significant heavy truck traffic primarily to and from the distribution facilities and other industrial businesses in the area. The street has been steadily deteriorating over the past few years.  Consequently, we are continually repairing pot holes and soon the entire road could turn into more of a dirt road than paved.”

The project will reconstruct the road to the existing width, improve the grade for better drainage and remove and replace the pavement and curb sections.

The contract is for a base cost of $1,129,475, with a 20 percent contingency if needed, for a total of $1,355,370. Contingency funds are routinely added to contracts to cover any unforeseen problems.

Work is expected to begin in mid to late September, with the contractor estimating completion in less than three months.

Thornton Road as a detour route was discussed several years ago when the Walmart Distribution Center opened. The fear was that heavy trucks coming from the north would go down Pinal Avenue into downtown and then down Chuichu Road to Peters Road, turning west to where the center is located. During the following years, more industry has located in the western industrial area.

The reconstruction project was originally designed to be done in two sections — north from Gila Bend to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and then from the tracks to Cottonwood Lane. It was a matter of available money.

The Public Works Department staff then made some design changes to lower the projected cost.

“Based on the bids that we received for both sections, which we did as a bid alternate, we’re able to put it all underneath the spending authority that we have in this fiscal year,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the council.

The reconstruction work will cause traffic problems.

Councilman Matt Herman asked, “While we’re doing this, are we going to have a good detour set up or at least let these businesses know to have their trucks go down the I-8 and come up Thornton that way. I can see a lot of trucks going around and coming the other way down Gila Bend and possibly getting stuck under our favorite underpass, so I think we should be proactive on that.”

City Traffic Engineer Duane Eitel responded that, “We’re going to build it under traffic, so there’ll be times when it will be just one lane going one direction. There’ll be flagging, pilot cars, those kind of things.

“We already have visited with all the businesses telling them about the project, so we’ll want to encourage Walmart and the distribution centers to go down to I-8.

“There’s no other real good detour, there’s something wrong with every other way to go — the underpass on Florence (just west of the Holiday Inn), Peters Road pavement isn’t that good — so they decided to build it under traffic. I’ve talked to the contractor, they don’t feel that there’s any real issue with doing that.

“And I hope that when it gets to one lane, in time the trucks will go somewhere else.”

Councilman Karl Montoya asked if the project could be completed quicker by shutting down the entire road.

Eitel responded, “There’s no doubt that it would, but we couldn’t figure out a reasonable detour. You can’t go down Florence Boulevard because of the underpass there is too low. There just isn’t another really good detour that we were comfortable with.”

Herman also asked if something will be done about the roughness when crossing over the UP rail tracks.

“I’ve honestly had a lot of complaints about the transition over the railroad tracks there,” he said. “Will that be addressed? Can we make that better, smoother? I know that we’re dealing a lot with UP and everything there but is it possible?”

Councilman Dick Powell added, “I’ve had different industries call me that are concerned about the crossings and what it does to the loads that are coming in and can’t we do anything about it.”

Eitel said Union Pacific has approved an agreement to do reconstruction work right up to the tracks, crossing into railroad right of way.

“I don’t have the final official agreement of that,” he said, “but we are going to try to improve the asphalt all the way up to the tracks.”


Corps of Engineers gets Villago expansion request
                Sketches of work areas are on the last pages

Board of Adjustment hearing on PhoenixMart signs
              The Aug. 9 agenda and staff report

City property tax rates will remain the same

(Posted Aug. 1, 2016)


The taxes chart is HERE


The taxes ordinance is HERE



Casa Grande’s primary and secondary property tax rates will remain the same this fiscal year, the City Council decided Monday night.

The primary tax is 99.99 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The secondary rate is 63.08 cents per hundred.

The estimated amount to be raised by the primary tax is $3,446,500, used for general government operations.

The secondary tax will bring $2,110,300, used for paying principal and interest on general obligation bonds.


You can watch video of the 7 p.m. meeting on-line HERE
The city does not television study sessions.

Studying ways to relieve the Kortsen sewer lines

(Posted July 24, 2016)


The staff report is HERE


The scope of work is HERE



The first thing to be clear on is that this sewer proposal is not the projected large line running east to the area of future site of PhoenixMart.

This concerns the lines down Kortsen Road and how that system is nearing capacity.

The only way PhoenixMart ties in is if nothing is done about Kortsen, the future flow coming from PhoenixMart and linking to Kortsen will cause major problems.

That’s why, perhaps belatedly, the city is paying an engineering company $499,700 to figure out what would be the best alignment for one of the three reliever line routes studied. 

Initial approval was given during the last City Council meeting, with final approval expected at the next meeting.

“Currently, the existing sewer lines within Kortsen serve approximately half of the city’s wastewater service area,” Deputy Public Works Director Terry McKeon told the council.

“The capacity available in those lines, it’s getting close to full, is the simple way to put it. We need to put together a plan for providing relief for those sewers to be able to continue to serve and develop within the area.”

The evaluation by Sunrise Engineering will determine which of three corridors would be best for a replacement sewer, McKeon added, “where here can we get the most bang for our buck, what can we afford to build that provides us the most capacity we can afford without having a ridiculously large sewer.”

McKeon said the city has worked with Sunrise to do that evaluation and provide a conceptual design.

“Not full design plans,” he added, “but conceptual vertical and horizontal alignment to identify constraints, challenges and, most importantly, cost estimating. At the end of the day we need a reliable cost estimate that we can then carry forward and budget and be able to find the money and build it.”

Councilman Matt Herman, calling the project “very unglamorous, but very necessary,” asked how long it might be before the Kortsen system is full.

“I know it is a bit of a moving target, but what are you anticipating?” he asked. “Are we going to have to be ready for this next year or five years?”

McKeon replied that, “Unfortunately, we haven’t budgeted crystal balls yet. A lot of it, really, obviously all depends on development.

“When this project was conceptualized, if you will, or put into the budget process, we were in the process of determining the needs for the PhoenixMart development and adjacent area.

“The short answer is essentially when and if the first phase of PhoenixMart is built, that is probably going to take up every drop we have available in the existing system.

“So in some ways we might be a little bit behind the ball on this one, but we need to get this project ready to roll forward and make it shovel-ready for whenever that time comes.”

Herman said he wanted to make clear that this is not the PhoenixMart sewer line project itself.

“No, it is not,” McKeon replied. “This is not just to accommodate PhoenixMart. It would be almost as complicated as this, but it would be kind of pointless. We’re looking for much more than that, to be able to support much more future development that simply PhoenixMart or even the east area.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked if it is common that sewer lines need to be expanded, adding, “How are we here?”

McKeon said, “Well, I think the nature of development is, you can master plan, we have a number of master plans, we’ve had many over the years that show you ultimately this is what you need. But you’re a small community, you can’t afford a 60-inch diameter, 12-mile-long sewer that’s going to sit there for 40, 50 years, so you develop interim solutions, sizing that fits the need.”

City Manager Jim Thompson said that about 10 years ago, before the TransWestern gas line came through the community, the city talked about putting a sewer line along the north branch of the Santa Cruz to help service the area, plus talked about going to Rodeo Road to catch everything from the north.

“Eventually, they all ended up on Kortsen, because that’s where the (treatment) plant’s located,” Thompson continued.

That plant would eventually handled 50 million gallons of sewage a day, Thompson said, noting the city has acquired additional land for expansion.

“We know eventually Kortsen’s going to have to service a lot or we have to come from different directions,” he continued.

“We’ve looked at different alternatives but we’ve never sat down and done a master plan to really give us all the numbers and all the information. We’ve talked about alternative lines, we’ve talked about picking some additional up south of it down on Casa Grande Avenue and other locations and bringing it closer to the plant, then putting it back into Kortsen, but we’ve never sat down and talked about the final portion on this side of the interstate.”

On the east side of Interstate 10, Thompson said, “we’ve designed the entire system through the master plan and then in relationship with our partnership with PhoenixMart where they’re going to pay for that portion of the engineering — which they have done.

“But on this west side we know that we needed some additional alternatives.

“So I think right now the biggest issue for us over the history of it is to find out what of those alternatives is the best.”

A major challenge for upsizing the Kortsen lines, Thompson said, “is that Kortsen is so heavily used and we have multiple schools now located off that roadway and when you put a major sewer line into Kortsen you start tearing up the road. 

“That’s why we looked at the north branch of the Santa Cruz back then, but that was somewhat inefficient and then when TransWestern came in and took some of that area that we would have otherwise used, we talked about concerns over if we do have a large (flood) event how much of the soil is going to be scoured away, will it expose pipes? There’s other concerns. So then we started talking about Rodeo. We pick up almost everything from the north if we we put a larger lateral down Rodeo and then drop into the plant that way, as well.

“That’s where we kind of gravitated towards over the years, but now we want to really know what’s the best alternative, what the costs are associated with that. But we have been talking about it for 10 years, so it isn’t something that we’ve ignored, it’s just a matter of this is a sewer project, so whenever we go to spend money it impacts rates. And we know our concerns over the rates over the rates over the years, we’ve tried to have been as frugal as we can, and as Terry’s mentioned we found other ways to divert flows, to do other things, but now we’re to the point that we need to start doing something and move the project forward, so that’s why we’re here this evening.”

Mayor Bob Jackson said the situation is similar to the southwest area of the city, where the Burris Road sewer line was upgraded to handle more flow from the industrial area.

Councilwoman Mary Kortsen said, “I like the timing on this because my concern has been that we have that Kortsen interchange (on I-10) coming up, we’re trying to encourage Arizona Department of Transportation to come in and expand and add those lanes in there. I’d like to have this in place and done before they come in to do it because I think it’s going to be cheaper than them putting everything in and then us trying to dig under. So the timing, I believe, is just critical in that area in addition to capacity.”

McKeon replied, “Just to note, as Jim mentioned, the city’s east area sewer expansion project, which is currently under design and that PhoenixMart is actually paying for, goes from the west side of I-10 all the way over toward PhoenixMart. That project actually accommodates the footprint of that overpass.”


Deputy city manager job opening posted
               The announcement        City jobs link

Council approves updated CDBG action plan
            The staff report is HERE     The plan is HERE

You can watch video of the regular meeting on-line HERE

A brief update about PhoenixMart construction 

(Posted July 15, 2016)


A brief update on progress with PhoenixMart was given during Thursday night’s meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

“They are currently installing under-slab utilities — plumbing, electrical that goes underneath before they pour the slab,” Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said. “That, of course, has to be in place.”

Tice added that, “My building inspector tells me that they tell him they’re going to start pouring slab in about 30 days or so. It’s essentially a 35-acre slab and it will take awhile for that concrete to flow, quite awhile.

“And then they’ll at some point start going vertical with the walls.”

Tice said he was contacted Thursday by the development CEO “regarding a proposal to file a condominium plat for the building itself. They are preparing a condominium plat that will allow them to sell vendor suites as condos, versus lease them. 

“That will be before you probably in your September meeting.” 


School building use, zoning request acted upon

(Posted July 15, 2016)


The staff reports on both requests are HERE


A conditional use permit for PPEP TEC charter high school to use a building near the southwest corner of Pinal Avenue and McMurray Boulevard was approved Thursday night by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The commission sent a favorable recommendation to the City Council on a request to change zoning to general business on a half-acre parcel on the south side of Rodeo Road, generally south of where Pottebaum Avenue ends.

If the council approves, the developers must come back before P&Z with a request for a major site plan outlining any project in detail.


You can watch the regular meeting on-line at

http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/citymanager/pio/channel11/

or on the city's Cox channel 11


Modified approval for car wash variances

(Posted July 12, 2016)


Scroll down to original story for other details and link to the staff report


A request for zoning variances to turn a boarded up former gas station/convenience store at the southwest corner of Pinal Avenue and Cottonwood Lane into an automated car wash was approved Tuesday night by the Casa Grande Board of Adjustment, but with a modified condition.

As a rule, variances go with the land, meaning they are legal any time in the future not matter what kind of project. In this case, however, board member Mark Zeibak asked that the variances approval be only for the car wash proposal. If that falls through, the zoning reverts to its original status.

Approval was 5-1, with Chuck Wright voting against the modified approval. Member Debra Shaw-Rhodes was absent.

Board of Adjustment approval of the variances does not mean the project will start immediately.

The proposed development, to be known as Trejo Express Car Wash, would require a major site plan and conditional use permit to be reviewed by city staff and considered for approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission.  in accordance with development within the B-2 zone district.A traffic impact analysis, drainage study, and water and wastewater reports will be required as part of that submittal.


Variances would allow for automated car wash

(Posted July 9, 2016)


The staff report is HERE


A request for zoning variances to turn a boarded up former gas station/convenience store at the southwest corner of Pinal Avenue and Cottonwood Lane into an automated car wash is the only agenda item when the Casa Grande Board of Adjustment meets Tuesday night.

The meeting, open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.

At issue is that under revised city codes, the property does not provide the required right of way along both Cottonwood and Pinal.

If that right of way is dedicated as part of the project, the city says, the property would not meet present zoning requirements for the property. The city recommends that the variances be granted, which would allow the widening of the streets.

According to the staff report, “As a minor arterial road classification, Cottonwood Lane is to be 55 feet from its centerline to the property. Presently, 42-foot of right of way exists. As part of the development process, the applicant will be required to prepare a map of dedication that would dedicate an additional 13 feet.

“Similarly, the Arizona Department of Transportation is requiring an additional five feet of right of way for Pinal Avenue. 

“If these right of way dedications were not required as part of redevelopment, the proposed site layout would meet the Business 2 zoning setbacks. 

“The existing lot width is shy of the required 200 feet for corner lots. The right of way dedication, however, will reduce the lot width even further; thus necessitating a variance to corner lot width as well. As it is, the currently developed parcel is comprised of five platted lots, and does not conform to the 200 feet corner lot width requirement. The additional feet to be dedicated for right of way makes the parcel even less compliant.” 

Opposition to the requests came from the owner of a nearby car wash at 332 E. Cottonwood Lane.

According to the staff report, “The concern was that development closer to the property line than which is ordinarily allowed could be a visibility hindrance and public safety threat. 

(The opposition email is included in the staff report, linked above.)

“Staff and the applicant contend that the additional right of way for Cottonwood and Pinal will, conversely, increase safety because new development will ensure the roadway will be at its fullest required width to allow any improvements necessary for traffic both related and not related to this development.”

As part of the proposed project, the present building and canopy would be demolished.


City budget, revised fee schedule approved
     Action taken during Tuesday night's City Council meeting

              The budget            Fee schedule

City getting paving machine for larger projects

(Posted July 4, 2016)


UPDATE: Unanimous final approval was given Tuesday night


A paving machine that will allow the Public Works Department to do larger projects is up for final approval when the City Council meets Tuesday night, a day later than normal because of the July 4 holiday.

The $145,627 machine received initial OK during the last council meeting, but not without questions.

According to the staff report from Streets Supervisor Pedro Apodaca, the paver the department now has “is a small entry level paver that was used to pave many of the city-owned parking lots in the past but it is undersized and underpowered for our current needs. 

“The replacement unit is a midsize paver that has the ability to do parking lots as well as larger street paving projects. It has a larger paving path, a self ­feeding hopper and it is able to push a loaded truck for continuous paving operation producing smoother finished pavement surface. 

“Used in conjunction with our new milling machine, this paver will increase the division’s ability, efficiency and performance, allowing them to replace larger road sections with new asphalt.”

Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the council that, “The paver that we’re going to be purchasing is mid sized paver and it will really allow staff to take advantage of doing some larger projects. In the past, we’ve done smaller projects, parking lots. We’ll be doing large projects in conjunction with the purchase of our asphalt zipper, which is is our milling machine that we were currently doing projects with.”

Louis said the present paver, a 1998 model with 914 hours of use on it, will be traded in on the new purchase.

Only 914 hours is what brought questions.

“It says 914 hours on it, on an 18-year-old machine,” Councilman Matt Herman said. “We’re using it about an hour a week, then?”

Louis responded that paving is not done every day.

“Our paving operations are very limited,” he continued, “and that piece of equipment gets used for about 10 minutes and then you wait for the truck to come. It’s a very slow operation. The hours are not tied to how many hours we actually had that piece of equipment on projects. It’s one of those pieces of equipment that sits around 90 percent of the time doing nothing until we actually need it.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked, “But now this new equipment has the capability of doing other things, so you’ll probably use it a little more, is that correct?”

That is the plan, Louis said, adding that, “As long as we have funding to pay for the materials we’re definitely going to use it as much as we can.”

Councilman Karl Montoya asked if the department has a budget for materials for the paver.

“Yes,” Louis responded. “Each year we program materials into our operation budget. I believe this year it’s $165,000 was identified for maintenance materials. So that’s what is used to cover the cost of the asphalt to supply this piece of equipment.”

If the paver is used only for a small amount of time, would it be better to hire projects done? Herman asked.

“I mean, what justifies us owning this paver if we’re only using 10 percent of the time?” he continued. “I understand how pavers work, you just use it for a little bit and you have to wait for it to fill up.”

It comes down to the size of the project and whether it makes financial sense to hire it out, Louis responded.

“We can typically do a small project for about $50,000,” he said. “If we were to contract that out, $50,000 probably wouldn’t even cover the cost of mobilizing a contractor to come out.

“So we use these pieces of equipment sparingly on smaller projects — alley paving, small sections of pavement, those types of things — not large projects.

“We still have our capital improvements projects budget that we use to do the larger projects and get that economy of scale.”


You can watch the regular meeting video on-line at

http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/citymanager/pio/channel11/


Golf course summer maintenance July 5 and 6

(Posted June 23, 2016)


The city issued this announcement today:



On July 5 and 6, the Dave White Golf Course and Falcon Golf Management maintenance staff will do aerification on the summer greens. 

On Tuesday, July 5, the work will performed on the front nine and the back nine will remain open for play. On Wednesday, July 6, the maintenance work will shift to the back nine and the front nine will be open for play. Following the treatment to the greens, the maintenance staff will perform ongoing aerification to the fairways throughout the summer months. During the fairway maintenance process, the golf course will remain open for play. 

Aerification is a common summer maintenance practice for golf courses to help facilitate healthy turf growth and prevent disease. 

During the process, holes are poked in to the soil to allow air to penetrate the roots. Within a few months of aerification, the holes are usually filled with grass roots. This proliferation of roots deep into the soil results in a much better turf condition and allows for much better water holding capacity. As a result of less water run off, the need for additional irrigation will be reduced.

The putting green playing surfaces are anticipated to be completed healing within seven to 10 days after the work is performed.

For additional information or questions, contact Golf Shop Assistant Jennifer Marsh at 836-9216.


Grant gives Fire Department a life-saving tool

(Posted June 21, 2016)


The Casa Grande Fire Department has obtained a life-saving vehicle extrication tool through a grant from the Arizona Governor’s Office of Traffic Safety, the city announced today. 

The tool, also called a RAM, allows firefighters to extend their reach to roll dashboards and remove patients from floorboard obstacles and other impediments that can cause severe delays. 

“This is particularly significant as these delays can negatively impact the patient’s critical ‘golden hour’ of trauma survivability,” the announcement said.

“As stated in grant proposal, this tool is particularly necessary in a community like Casa Grande, which contains two major highways in addition to several state routes. The high volume of highway traffic brings with it a significant potential for major accidents, especially large truck and semi-tractor trailer incidents that require a large hydraulic RAM device.”

The announcement quotes Battalion Chief Frank Ricci as saying, “This tool provides more power than any of the extrication equipment we currently have and it will surely enhance our technical rescue capabilities to allow for faster patient extrication.

“Thanks to this grant, we now have the ability to more safely and quickly remove a patient from an entrapment, and reduce the amount of morbidity and mortality in our community’s highway accidents.”

The city said residents with questions or wanting more information may reach Ricci at 421-8777, ext. 5998, or email [email protected].


$261,650 in community partnership grants

(Posted June 21, 2016)


The staff report, with links to applications from organizations, is HERE



Community partnership funding totaling $261,650 was approved Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.

The awards are:


General Fund: 

Chamber of Commerce, ­$43,500.

CG Main Street, ­$39,150.

CG Valley Historical Society, ­$34,000. 

Access Arizona, ­$25,000.

(The Access Arizona award is tentative, pending what the organization decides its future will be.)

Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority, ­$20,000.


Promotion and Tourism Fund: 

Boys & Girls Clubs, ­$100,000.


“It is anticipated that the actual impact of the services provided will far outweigh the city’s financial commitment,” the staff report says.


Final action July 5 on budget, fees, utility rates

(Posted June 20, 2016)


Changes in the fee schedule, which has been in effect for many years, may be found HERE


The utilities rates staff report is HERE


The final budget is HERE



The decision was made during Monday night’s City Council meeting to consolidate final action on budget items for the July 5 meeting rather than that night.

Those include the budget of $174,235,700 for the fiscal year beginning July 1, the updated list of city fees and charges, the property tax rates and the sewer and trash fees.

The city’s primary property tax will remain at 99.99 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation, with the secondary rate at 63.08 cents. The 99.99 cents is below the allowable rate of $1.15.

The residential sewer rate will be increased $1.25 monthly to $33.70. The trash collection rate goes up $1.15 a month to $23.15. The combined rate will be $56.85, an increase of $2.40, beginning Aug. 1.

A tentative study session was set for July 5 on proposed rent increases for some hangars at the city airport, the condition of some of the hangars and what plans the city has for repairs.


Video of the main discussion about the condition of the hangars and the proposed rent increases is HERE. That discussion begins at 56:30 minutes into the video. The video is L1 on the list.


Council approves Youth Commission members

(Posted June 20, 2016)


Several appointments and reappointments to the Casa Grande Youth Commission were approved Monday night by the City Council.

Appointed were:

Sheyenne Donlay, Ackela Eldridge, Nathan Harris, Gloria Holt, Shawn Johnstone, Joseph Kolaniak, Luis Medina, Alex Mejia Jr. and Michelle Ramirez.

Reappointed were:

Alexandra Chaparro, Brooklyn Johnson, Chase Salcido, Skylar Goodsell, Olivia Carter, Simarah Smith and Savannah McMahon.


I-10 widening, Maricopa overpass moving forward

(Posted June 17, 2016)


Because of additional funding available through the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the Arizona Department of Transportation will be able to move forward on a quicker timeline with two major projects that will improve key commerce corridors: widening Interstate 10 in Pinal County from State Route 87 to Picacho and from Earley Road to Interstate 8.

Also approved Friday by the State Transportation Board as part of the five-year plan is moving forward with an overpass in the city of Maricopa.

ADOT gave these descriptions:

• State Route 87 to Picacho: This $85 million project to start in FY 2018 will widen the highway to three lanes in each direction and improve traffic interchanges.

• Interstate 10: Earley Road to Interstate 8: This $40 million project in FY 2019 will widen the highway to three lanes in each direction and improve traffic interchanges south of Casa Grande.

“Once the two I-10 projects are complete, ADOT will have reached its goal of widening the entire stretch of I-10 between Casa Grande and Tucson to a six-lane divided highway,” the announcement said.

• An overpass on State Route 347 in  Maricopa thanks to a $15 million federal TIGER grant and $15 million local contribution in addition to ADOT’s $19 million commitment.

“This project will alleviate traffic backups at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing in Maricopa by replacing the existing at-grade intersection with an overpass on SR 347,” the announcement said. 

Other highlights of the five-year plan approvals are HERE

The 2017-2021 Five-Year Program will be published next week at www.azdot.gov.


Hearing Monday on proposed city fee schedule

(Posted June 15, 2016)


The proposed fee schedule is HERE



The City Council will hold a public hearing during Monday night’s meeting to allow residents to comment on the proposed Casa Grande consolidated fee schedule, a document that lists all city fees and charges.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.

“Each year, the consolidated fee schedule establishes rates and fees for city services, such as development reviews, sewer charges, copying public documents, use of city parks and recreation programs, construction permits, and many other related activities,” the announcement said.

“This is an opportunity for residents to express their opinions directly to the council regarding the proposed rates and fees for FY17. As a customer, you are encouraged to attend these public meetings and express your opinions.”

The schedule found in the link above is the proposed fees. The rates established in the final document approved by the council are considered maximums, meaning that they will not increase above that amount during the fiscal year.

The city said questions and comments may also be emailed directly to Interim Finance Director Celina Morris at [email protected]


Community Services director retires July 15

(Posted June 15, 2016)


Community Services Director Bill Schwind will retire July 15, the city announced today.

Schwind has served with the city twice, once beginning in 1984 as recreation program manager before moving five years later to a Valley city, then returning in 2012 as community services director.

“During his cumulative 11-year tenure in Casa Grande, Schwind oversaw the trail development at Casa Grande Mountain Park, the expansion and renovation of the Casa Grande Main Library, and the completion of the Carr McNatt Park Master Plan, which included turf enhancements, walking paths, and sports/court field renovations,” the city announcement said. 

The announcement quoted Schwind as, ”I am thankful to have been given the opportunity to dedicate the last years of my career to the residents of Casa Grande.

"While I will miss this rewarding work, I am confident that the city's leadership team, along with the staff of the Community Services Department, will continue to invest in enjoyable quality of life amenities for our community for years to come.”

Schwind is a certified public manager and serves on the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Casa Grande Valley.


The proposed trash, sewer rate increases
        Final adoption during June 20 City Council meeting

City Council study session agenda, June 6
Presentation and discussion on reasons for increasing trash and sewer rates. OPEN TO PUBLIC

New measles case; CG exposure areas widen

JUNE 2 UPDATE: Two more infected at prison


(Posted May 30, 2016)


The exposure sites list as of the afternoon of May 30


The state and Pinal County health departments issued this update today:


The Arizona Department of Health Services, Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Pinal County Public Health Services District have confirmed an additional case of measles stemming from the outbreak at the private detention center in Eloy, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eleven. 

The potential exposure area is being expanded because some of the identified cases may have exposed other people within Pinal and Maricopa counties.

"This is an evolving situation, and given how contagious measles is, public health will continue to update our communities on places of potential exposure," said Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. "People who have a rash and fever must call their healthcare provider or emergency department before going to let them know they may have measles. This is vital to help stop the further spread of the disease."

Symptoms appear seven to 12 days after exposure but may take up to 21 days. It begins with fever (101 F or higher), red, watery eyes, cough and runny nose and is followed by a rash that is red, raised, and blotchy. The rash begins on the face at the hairline and moves down the body. The rash may last five to six days. 



Newly identified public exposures: 


• Wednesday, May 18, 2016:

• Denny's, 1851 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 2-5:30 p.m.

• Wal-Mart Pharmacy, 1741 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 3:30-6:30 p.m.


• Thursday, May 19: 

Wal-Mart Pharmacy, 1741 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 5-8 p.m.


Daily between May 20-29: 

Circle K, 2382 N. Pinal Ave., Casa Grande from 2:30-7 p.m.


Friday, May 20:

• Safeway, 1449 N. Arizona Blvd., Coolidge, from 4-7 p.m.

• Golden Corral, 2064 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 8-11 p.m.

• Ross, 1004 N. Promenade Pkwy., Casa Grande, from 9 p.m.-midnight.

• Walmart, 1741 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.

• Corner Store, 2182 E. Florence Blvd., Casa Grande, from 10 p.m.-1 a.m.


• Friday, May 27, 2016: 

Cheddars, 2530 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, from 5 to 9 p.m.



Previously reported public exposure from another case includes:


• Saturday, May 21: 

Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino, 15406 North Maricopa Road in Maricopa, from approximately 6 a.m.-2 a.m. (May 22).


• Sunday, May 22: 

Arco AM/PM Store, 2245 E. Florence Blvd., in Casa Grande from 8:30-11 a.m.


• Multiple visits to the Apostolic Assembly - The Faith, 424 E. Frontier St., in Eloy on Sunday, May 15, from 1 -3 p.m.; Monday, May 16, from 6-8 p.m., and Wednesday, May 18, from 7-8:30 p.m.


• Tuesday, May 17: 

Villa Oasis High School graduation, 3740 N Toltec Road, in Toltec, from 6-9 p.m.



What to do if you think you have measles:


• If you have a healthcare provider, contact him/her by phone and let them know that you may have been exposed to measles. They will let you know when to visit their office so as not to expose others in the waiting area. 

• If you do not have a health care provider, you may need to be seen at your local hospital emergency room/urgent care center. Please call before going to let them know you may have measles. 


For more information on measles' signs and symptoms or where you may find vaccine, please check with your healthcare provider or your county health department. 


You are immune to measles if you have received two measles, mumps, and rubella [MMR] vaccines or were born before 1957 and have received one MMR vaccine.


Health care providers are required to report suspect cases of measles to their local health department. Public Health continues to investigate contacts and places of exposure for these new cases. The department will continue to provide updates and additional information on confirmed cases and potential public exposure as information becomes available. 


For information on signs and symptoms of measles, or where you can find vaccine, visit StoptheSpreadAZ.com


Medical questions should be directed to your health care provider. 


For outbreak-related questions, community members may call 602-839-2275. 


Even those trashy landfills need maintenance

(Posted May 30, 2016)


The scope of work agreement is HERE



Even landfills need maintenance — both to keep them functioning and to head off environmental problems.

In the case of Casa Grande’s operation, a stormwater collection system needs to be constructed to lead from the west area to the retention basin on the north.

Easier said than done, given that the engineering company hired to design the system will have to work with the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs and the San Carlos Irrigation Project, both of which have a canal in the area.

Sunrise Engineering from Mesa will do the design work and handle permitting from the other agencies. The contract is for $96,214, broken down as $79,538 for the base contract and $16,676 for optional services.

“We’ll only use those services if we absolutely need to once we get into this project,” Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the City Council during discussion of the contract.

“We have three cells at the landfill, west cell, east cell and then a north cell,” Louis said. “The west cell and the east cell are both permitted for a landfill and the north cell is not. We currently use that for the retention of our stormwater from that site.

“The landfill’s west cell needs to have a drainage system designed through a series of ditches and canals along the existing berms that will convey that retention to the basin located in that north cell.

The challenge is, those basins are located on the other side of the canals that are operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the San Carlos Irrigation project. so environmental challenges and permitting challenges will definitely be an issue with this project.”

Councilman Dick Powell asked if the rainwater now runs through the garbage or is it diverted beforehand.

Yes to both questions, Louis replied.

“We have stormwater that sheets off the sides and the top of it, as well as there is some water that does go down through the trash,” he said.

Powell said that he noticed in the environmental section of the proposal that contaminants and other substances might be brought to the retention ponds.

“Yes,” Louis replied. “We’ll look at all of those issues. Of course, we’ll not get a permit unless we meet all the environmental requirements.”

Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked why the project is just now being approved.

“I know it’s budgeted and everything, but is it something we’ve had to do for several years and we’re kind of coming to the point where we have to do this?” she asked.

Louis responded that, “We developed a landfill master plan and it was identified in that master plan as something that we needed to do, so we’ve been looking at each phase of that master plan and this has now come up, and of course we want to stick to that as closely as possible.”

Mayor Bob Jackson asked, “At some point, that drainage would be required as part of the closure and post closure care of the landfill, as well, would it not?”

Correct, Louis answered.

“As we get further and further out of the ground — in other words, going above the areas around that in elevation — we have to maintain that drainage,” he said.

“Otherwise we’re going to impact those (surrounding) properties negatively, and we can’t do that.”


Rezoning, charter school before P&Z Commission
            Rezoning staff report      Charter school staff report

Raggedy Ann, Andy demolition to begin June 7

(Posted May 25, 2016)


Demolition of the former Raggedy Ann and Andy day care center is scheduled to begin June 7, the city announced today.

AGE General Engineering submitted the low bid of $13,284 for clearing the building at 419 W. Second St.

Demolition of the 6,700 square feet structure should be completed by June 15, the announcement said.


NextCare appeal of off-site sign citation denied

(Posted May 24, 2016)


The staff report is HERE


Scroll down to bottom of report to see other such signs in question and signs that have been removed.



An appeal by NextCare Urgent Care of a code enforcement citation that its off-site sign along Florence Boulevard is illegal and must be removed was denied Tuesday night by the Casa Grande Board of Adjustment.

The vote was 6-1 to deny, with board member Debra Shaw Rhodes voting in favor of NextCare.

NextCare did not make a presentation during the meeting to outline reasons for its appeal.

A woman in the audience said she works for NextCare but was asked by the company to only attend the meeting and report back on whether the appeal was upheld or denied.

Planning and Development Director Paul Tice told the board that his department will work with NextCare about removing the sign.

Code enforcement officials contend that NextCare, which operates a clinic at 1683 E. Florence Blvd. at Arizola Road, placed a large sign on a vacant lot north of Florence Boulevard to the east that it rents from an investment company.

The city cites a sign code section that says permanent off-site signs are not permitted.

According to the staff report, NextCare filed an appeal based on:

• Their facility (behind Bank of America next to the 99 Cents Only store) has limited visibility for passing traffic. 

• The sign directs people who are in need of medical attention to their location. 

• Their patient clientele has expanded with the sign at this location. 

The staff report says NextCare contends that the sign is beneficial to the area because:

• It is well maintained. 

• It is attractive. 

• It does not diminish property values. 

The city contends that, among other things:

• The NextCare suite is located on the corner of the building, therefore allowing two attached signs instead of one. 

• NextCare has a sign panel within the monument sign along the frontage of Florence Boulevard, a high traffic street. 

• There are other ways of publicizing the clinic, including social media and newspaper advertising.

Tice told the board that there is enough room on the parts of the NextCare building on the east and north sides to almost double the size of the present signs.

NextCare has not taken advantage of that opportunity, he said.


Thornton Road reconstruction bids sought

(Posted May 18, 2016)


Casa Grande is seeking bids for a contractor to reconstruct the mile-long stretch of Thornton Road between Gila Bend Highway and Cottonwood Lane, including new pavement, curbs and traffic control signs and striping.

According to the bids request, the work will include:

• Remove existing pavement and miscellaneous curb sections.

• Grade the roadway for paving.

• Construct new cement treated subgrade.

• Place, install and compact aggregate base course.

• Construct new asphaltic concrete pavement,

• Construct new curb and gutter sections,

• Install new traffic control signing and striping,

• Adjust valves and manholes to finished grade,

• Other miscellaneous and contingent work needed to complete the project,

The deadline for submitting bids is June 21.


Issuing bonds for community center approved

(Posted May 16, 2016)


The bonds resolution is HERE


Bonds 20-year repayment chart is HERE



Issuing $16 million in bonds for construction of a community recreation center was authorized by the Casa Grande City Council during Monday night’s meeting.

The issuance date will be early in June, the council was told.

Issuing the bonds does not guarantee that a center will be built. It is to have money available if the council approves the final building plans, now in the process of being developed.

During the April meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, Community Services Director Bill Schwind said that possibly by the middle of this month the contractor for the proposed center would be meeting with city officials to put forth a design schedule for the project.

“We’ll hopefully have a schedule out and ready to go when it comes to the projected timeline that Haydon (the contractor) and Architekton (the architects) will be using to get us to the end road, which will get us back to council with a decision on whether or not to move forward  with building it,” he said.

“In looking at some documentation recently from Haydon and Architekton, they were thinking about a nine-month planning process. We’re hoping for maybe a five-month design process, because this isn’t the first building they’ve ever built.

“And then you’ve got a 12- to 18-month construction period. So, a couple of years away for building completion.”

The $16 million in bonds will be the last issue from the $47 million approved by the voters in November 2016.

So far, the Public Safety Facility, Len Colla Center renovation, library improvements and some golf course work have been completed.

At the time of the 2006 bond election, city officials said the recreation center would be the last project to be built.

The bond resolution approved Monday night also allows refinancing of some existing city bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates.


Uptick in permits for single-family residences

(Posted May 14, 2016)



You’ll find monthly building and code enforcement reports HERE

   (April report is not yet posted on city website)



The Casa Grande Planning and Development Department is seeing an  uptick in single-family housing permits, something that will continue to be watched.

During his report to the Planning and Zoning Commission during this month’s meeting, Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said, “The observation I’d make on the building permit data is for March we had a spike in the number of permits for new single-family homes. It’s 23.

“Over the last five or six years it’s been averaging about eight to 10 a month, so that was a pretty big spike.”

That contrast with six during January and nine for February, rising to 14 for April.

“We’re going to continue to watch that trend,” Tice said.

“DR Horton continues building in Desert Sky Ranch. They’ve had a lot of home under construction in Desert Sky. They’re building in Mission Valley.

“I called them DR Horton, but they’re rebranding here in Casa Grande under Express Homes by DR Horton, so they’re Express Homes, but they are building.

“And Meritage is building in Mission Royale.”

DR Horton has been buying and building on selected residential lots in subdivisions that were never completed.


I-10 lane restrictions begin Monday night

(Posted May 13, 2016)


The Arizona Department of Transportation issued this announcement today:


Interstate 10 will have overnight right lane and shoulder restrictions in both directions in Pinal County from Casa Blanca Road south of Chandler to Sunshine Boulevard west of Picacho (mileposts 175-208) beginning Monday, May 16, for bridge inspection work. 

The work will take place Monday-Friday from 9 p.m.-5 a.m. through late June. 

Lane restrictions will only occur at each inspection site and will vary each night.

Law enforcement will be on site and message boards will direct motorists through the closure.

For more information, please call Paki Rico at 520-388-4233, or email [email protected].


May 16 City Council regular agenda
    (clicking on an agenda item brings up staff reports and documents, if available)
May 16 City Council study session agenda

Cox cable customers may watch the 7 p.m. meeting HERE

Permit, site plan for Dunkin' Donuts approved

(Posted May 5, 2016)


The staff report is HERE


The company press information kit is HERE


The menu is HERE



A conditional use permit and site plan for a Dunkin’ Donuts at 1306 E. Florence Blvd. were approved Thursday night by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

The site, between Great Western Bank and JB’s Restaurant, is just east of Colorado Street.

The commission was told that the building plans are now in second review by the Planning and Development Department, which should be finished within 30 days.

After that, construction could begin, taking four to six months.

The operation will be open seven days a week from 4 a.m.-9 p.m., the commission was told. There will probably be about 15 to 20 employees, with five on a shift.

As presented, the building would be 1,985 square feet, with a 247-square-feet covered patio on the south side facing Florence.

There will be a drive through lane that wraps around the northwest side of the building.

As part of the requested action, that part of the Casa Grande Shopping Center will be replatted to make a separate plat for Dunkin’ Donuts of just over a third of an acre.

The staff report says the operation is projected to cause 1,802 vehicle trips per day, with 222 in the morning peak hours and 95 during the afternoon and evening.

According the the company website, “Dunkin' Donuts is the world's leading baked goods and coffee chain, serving more than three million customers per day. Dunkin' Donuts sells 52 varieties of donuts and more than a dozen coffee beverages as well as an array of bagels, breakfast sandwiches and other baked goods.”


City moving toward nitrate removal in system

UPDATE: Final approval was given during the May 16 City Council meeting



(Posted May 4, 2016)


Photos of the equipment are HERE


The nitrate warning is HERE


The notice of providing clean water is HERE



Initial approval has been given to spending $206,533 for equipment to remove nitrates from water in the small city-owned Copper Mountain Valley Water Co.

Contrary to a story in the Casa Grande Dispatch that the request was approved during Monday night’s City Council meeting, when a contract is more than $50,000 it requires an ordinance. An ordinance needs two readings (or approvals) by the council. That final approval is expected during the May 16 council meeting.

The equipments is expected resolve a longstanding problem the water company has had with nitrate levels exceeding the health levels. The city has been sanctioned by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and had entered into a consent agreement that it would install removal equipment.

Public Works Director Kevin Louis told the council that, “We’re hoping to get this completed in about three to four months. It’s going to be quite the effort but we believe we can meet the requirements of the (ADEQ) consent order.

“At this time, the plan is that the wastewater staff will perform the labor needed to install this equipment, as we started to run into some budget issues and just thought it would be better if we did that in-house to save some funds. That is what we’re going to try and do.”

Answering a question from Councilman Dick Powell, Louis said that the nitrates removes from the water will be held in a containment area until pumped out and taken for disposal.

The contract indicates that the water company, with one well, serves an estimated 690 people and has 276 connections. 

The facility near the intersection of Anderson Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway.

It is entirely separate from the private Arizona Water Co., which serves the majority of residents within Casa Grande.

The city had previously advertised for a consulting company that could determine what equipment would be needed for nitrate removal.

According to that request, "this facility includes an existing 180-gallons-per-minute well, 300,000-gallon storage tank and booster pumps. The water produced by the existing well exceeds the maximum contaminate level (10 mg/l) for nitrates. Nitrates have been observed at levels of approximately 10.5 to 12 mg/l."

The small water company was acquired years ago at about the time the ill fated Copper Mountain Ranch megaproject northwest of Pinal Avenue was being ballyhooed. The operation covers Santa Rosa Ranch, Santa Rose III and Saddleback Farms. Mayor Bob Jackson said during discussions last year that the geographical area of the city water company is "north of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway for the most part, west of Russell Road to Anderson Road, and then there's a second component that is south of Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway about half a mile south on the west side of Anderson Road."

The city has had problems with the system since the beginning.

Why, then, did the city acquire it?

Almost 11 years ago, then Mayor Chuck Walton said during a boards and commissions dinner that with the growth of the city at that time, it was decided to go into the water business to be able to have a say in water planning for the future in this area.

"To get in the water business," he told the audience, "the estimates we found would have cost $3 million to start from scratch to form a water company on the north end of Casa Grande to accommodate some of the fast growth that we were seeing at that time.

"We searched around and found a water company that was already in existence that had about 250 customers. It was literally a piece of junk; it wasn't worth 15 cents, but the purchase price was over a million dollars. 

"Now, we got a lot of criticism for that, for how come these idiots would hit taxpayers 1.2 or 1.3 million dollars for a piece of junk," Walton said.

"Well, number one, I want to remind everybody that we didn't spend taxpayers' money on that water company. We got a mediation gift from Reliant (Energy) for putting that big steamboat out on the west end of town that's known as the electric generation plant (now a SRP facility).

"They bought that water company and gave it to us and we gave it to the citizens of Casa Grande. So we literally started into the water business at the taxpayers' expense of zero dollars."

Walton added that, "we're on the verge right now of putting that water company on the market, we don't need it any more. And since we don't need to anymore, it's an asset we need to liquidate.

"We've got a minimum bid on that water company of $5 million, so anything over $5 million that water company's going to have a new owner.”

Nothing came of that.


Casa Grande collects tons of scrap metal each year

(Posted May 4 2016)


Casa Grande collects a lot of scrap metal — tons of it, in fact.

And, the city sells it to the highest bidder.

According to a notice for bids posted on the city’s website, the landfill ships approximately 226 tons of scrap metal (452,000 pounds) for recycling per year. 

Bidders are to bid on a price per ton basis and will be responsible for be removing and providing empty containers as needed to keep up with incoming scrap metal. 

“Landfill staff will support the operation by packing/compacting materials down into the containers in an effort to maximize container weights,” the bids request says. 

“An average of two containers is shipped every other week, averaging over seven tons of scrap metal per shipment.”

The last time around, the bid was $11 per ton.


Finance director taking same job in Goodyear

(Posted May 4, 2016)


Doug Sandstrom, Casa Grande’s city finance director, is resigning to take the same job with Goodyear, Ariz., the city announced today.

His last day will be May 20, at which time an interim director will be appointed by City Manager Jim Thompson, the announcement said.

It added that the city will conduct a nationwide search for a permanent replacement, considering both outside applicants and applications for present employees.

Sandstrom became city finance director in November 2013.


Three public sessions on Casa Grande budget

(Posted April 29, 2016)


PROPOSED BUDGET


PROPOSED FEES SCHEDULE



Casa Grande residents have three opportunities to learn about the city’s proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The proposed budget has not yet been made public.

The public meetings are:

• City Council study session (open to public)

May 16 at 6 p.m.

City Hall council chambers

510 E. Florence Blvd.

• City Council meeting/budget public hearing

June 6 at 7 p.m. 

council chambers at City Hall 

510 E. Florence Blvd.

• City Council meeting/budget public hearing

June 20 at 7 p.m. 

council chambers at City Hall

510 E. Florence Blvd.

“As part of the budget process,” the announcement said, “the City Council reviews changes to the city's consolidated fee schedule, which is a list of fees charged for certain services. The City Council also establishes property tax rates on a yearly basis. 

“For questions or additional information about the budget process, contact the Finance Department at 421-8600 or at http://casagrandeaz.gov/dept/finance/.”


City wants to hike sewer, water company rates

(Posted April 28, 2016)


A trash collection rate increase is also proposed  HERE


The city sewer rate increase chart and report are HERE


The Copper Mountain Ranch water increase chart and report are HERE


One of the items on Monday night’s City Council agenda is a notice that Casa Grande intends to raise its monthly rates for sewer service and for its small Copper Mountain Ranch Water Co. on the northwest side of town (not to be confused with privately-operated Arizona Water Co., which serves most of the city).


City sewer

The proposed single-family residential sewer increase is $5 monthly, going from $32.45 to $37.45.

The rate increase chart shows projected increases through 2021, ending at $43.45 monthly.

Similar increases are proposed for businesses, industry and multifamily housing.

City trash service is not at this time included in the increases.

Monday night’s action is to approve publishing a notice of intent for sewer and water increases. A public hearing is scheduled for the June 6 council meeting.

“Following the public hearing the council will be asked to adopt fee increases for both the water and wastewater systems,” the staff report says. “Council has the ability to adopt fees as presented in the written report or at any level less than presented but may not adopt fees higher than those presented.”



Copper Mountain Water

NOTE AGAIN: This is the city-owned Copper Mountain Ranch Water Co. It is not Arizona Water Co., a private business that serves most of Casa Grande.

The proposed rate increase for all basic accounts is $2.04 monthly, going from $20.35 to $22.39. 

Increases are also projected through 2021, ending at $32.77 monthly.

Another agenda item Monday is for spending $206,533 for a nitrate removal system for the company water. The company now exceeds permitted levels.

The nitrate staff report is HERE.


May 2 City Council regular meeting agenda
  (clicking on an item brings up staff reports, documents when available)
May 2 City Council study session agenda