(Posted July 25, 2021)
Several community organizations have applied to the Tohono O’odham Nation for grants from the tribe's gambling revenues.
Authorization for applying was given during Monday night's City Council meeting.
(Click on name for details of request)
• Against Abuse, Inc -- $24,542.70 for air cleaners and security system.
• The Boys and Girls Club of the Sun Corridor -- $50,000 for the Out of School program.
• Casa Grande Alliance -- $7,500 for Thrive program.
• CG Valley Historical Society dba The Museum of Casa Grande -- $2,120 for painting of Cruz Trading Post.
• The Rest Stop -- $2,161.08 for Help for the Homeless storage and supplies.
• United Way of Pinal County -- $80,000 for Path to Success program.
City of Casa Grande projects:
• Arts and Humanities Commission -- $10,000 for partnership funding program.
• Casa Grande Fire Department -- $40,933.62 for emergency equipment.
• Casa Grande Police Department -- $86,424.93 for laser scanner for forensic scene equipment.
• Casa Grande Police Department -- $30,000 for team policing.
• Casa Grande Community Development Division -- $40,000 for emergency housing repair and accessibility assistance program.
Although the line is depicted on the north side of the wash the trail is actually going to be constructed on the south side.
(Posted July 11, 2021)
NOTE: FINAL APPROVAL WAS GIVEN DURING MONDAY NIGHT'S CITY COUNCIL MEETING, July 19
Video of the session is HERE Click on Item 1
The staff report is HERE
The visual presentation is HERE
The construction proposal is HERE
The city trails master plan is HERE
Initial approval was given Tuesday night by the City Council for another link in what is known as the Casa Grande Community Trail.
Final approval for the trail link, from Trekell to Peart roads along the south side of the Santa Cruz Wash, is expected during the next council session.
No timeline was given for construction, which is a part of general improvements to Rotary Park on 2220 N. Trekell where the trailhead will be located.
Up to $398,584 is authorized for the project.
Steve Hardesty, the city's Community Services director, told the council during Tuesday night's study session that, "This is part of the strategic plan in the area of infrastructure. The goal is to increase the trail system 5 percent annually over five years."
Getting this far on the Rotary Park trail project has been a complicated process.
"It was a capital improvements plan project approved in last year's budget," Hardesty said. "We did discuss this project with Transwestern Pipeline. Transwestern does have a gas line in that same area, on the north side of the wash and this project will be on the south side of the wash. They gave us approval to proceed.
"In February, we did an aerial survey. Construction in a floodway has some special considerations that we have to follow and so typically that would be remove and replace anything that we do. So, we can't build it up higher or build it down lower. We're trying to keep it at grade. That permit was approved in May of this year.
"The final proposal was sent to us in June, which leads us to this meeting here tonight."
Hardesty showed several renderings during the session, adding comments.
"Our contractor titled this the Rotary Park Trail, we're going to be calling it the Casa Grande Community Trail," Hardesty said. "This view is going onto the trail from Trekell Road and there would also be signage at east end of the trail. You see up there a little farther there's some way-finding signs that would have information about the trail and mileage and things like that."
Mayor Craig McFarland asked if brush and other growth would be cleaned up for better views of the park areas on the north side of the wash.
"Yeah, that's kind of a different project that's going to run concurrent," Hardesty replied. "The trailhead will be across the wash. Rotary Park is getting a new playground, which was previously approved. In August, I believe, we're going to be doing a bunch of tree trimming. There'll be some ADA parking and sidewalks to connect the trail to the trailhead."
This trail will be similar to others already constructed in the city, Hardesty said.
"If you've been over to Carr McNatt Park we have a 14-foot wide stabilized granite trail," he continued. "Those pictures are shown on the bottom right. It is bordered in concrete at Carr McNatt Park. At the Recreation Center we have a 8-foot walking trail that leads west from the Recreation Center over to Colorado Street. It is also a stabilized granite surface but it doesn't have a border on it."
"This rendering shows the Rotary Park trail further to the east," Hardesty said.
"The trail will meander somewhat, it won't be just a straight line," he continued. "We'll use the existing trees and vegetation and topography to try to give us some interest and some unique flavoring."
However, Hardesty continued, "we will not have any electrical, lighting, irrigation or major landscaping. We'll probably have a few benches and things like that, but no major landscaping along the trail."
Views from the council
Mayor McFarland said he has been talking with officials from a mining operation that is being worked on just to the northwest of the trail area.
"They're going to put a path, probably about a two-mile path, around their mine next to a 40-foot berm," he said. "It would probably behoove us to use the same material so it all looks like it's all a part. They're interested in actually extending that pathway, so there may be some communication we need to have with them to connect it to some of these future connecting points, like Dave White or Ed Hooper Park."
Hardesty said his office is working with Planning and Development Director Paul Tice on overall trail planning.
"There's other trail opportunities up to the north, so I'll have to get with Paul and see how that connects and extends," he said.
City Councilman Bob Huddleston pointed out that just to the north of the Rotary Park trail area there is "a somewhat parallel wash" between Trekell and Peart about halfway to Rodeo Road and asked if there are any plans for that area, adding that "it would sure make a nice loop."
Hardesty replied, "I'd have to refer back to the master plan and whether the city owns that property. The nice thing about this first mile of trail, we own 100 percent of the property. That was, for lack of a better term, the low-hanging fruit, we own all the property and have everything we need in that area, but we'll definitely review any area that has potential."
Councilwoman Donna McBride noted the lack of lighting along the proposed Rotary Park trail.
"My only concern is safety in that area," she said. "I know some of our parks are closed, they have hours that you're supposed to not be there. Will this be included in the language on the signage and stuff?"
Yes, Hardesty responded.
"The typical hours would close at 11 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m.," he said. "I think we have some solar lighting right now at Rotary Park. We could easily add a couple of solar lights at the beginning of the trail right there at Rotary Park and Trekell Road."
Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons asked, "Have you gotten with the Police Department to talk about monitoring that area at all, or are we pretty safe there?"
Hardesty replied that, "We haven't gotten specifically with the Police Department on any issues. Rotary Park will become more highly used when we get it all finished. There's a lot of little smaller projects that are running concurrently with this, including an upgraded parking lot, tree trimming and shrubs, taking out low hanging shrubs, a new playground, a new ramada, another little shade structure, so I think you're going to a see a lot more high visibility there, which will obviously improve usage from our patrons."
Councilman Dick Powell said flood water generally runs west to the area past Frito Lay "and actually creates riparian areas out there that are constantly wet. "Equestrians, they kind of like openness and getting out and enjoying it and you need a trail that was not concrete, a softer material," he said. "That would be fun for them to be able to leave the Rodeo Grounds and make a trip out quite a ways."
"This would be the extent of the trail over the next few years if we can continue the funding and continue the project," Hardesty told the council. "Mission Valley has an existing mile of trail that's concrete path. We would need to connect along the gas pipeline to get to Peart Road and then the red would be what we're constructing in this project. The little red line for the Rec Center trail is already done and then the blue lines would be future trails that we could do to extend the trail from Mission Valley all the way out to Dave White Park, if we're successful."
(Posted June 26, 2021)
The full staff report is HERE
When Casa Grande officials were putting together last year's city budget in the middle of the financial uncertainty of the COVID pandemic they opted for cutting department funds by about 5 percent.
They also decided that organizations getting funding through community partnerships would have 5 percent cuts.
That reduced those grants by:
• Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce -- $2,104.
• Casa Grande Main Street -- $1,958.
• Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth -- $1,252.
• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority -- $1,000.
• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society -- $1,700.
• Boys and Girls Club of Casa Grande -- $7,000.
During Monday night's City Council meeting an agenda item noted that, "In August 2020, the mayor and City Council approved Resolution 5253 adopting the City of Casa Grande Relief Plan. The approved plan proposed allocating funding in the "City Enhanced Response and Stabilization Element" to restore these non-profit organizations to an amount requested during the application process."
The council approved Monday night, restoring the grants to these original request totals:
• Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce -- $43,500.
• Casa Grande Main Street -- $39,150.
• Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth -- $25,000.
• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority -- $20,000.
• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society -- $34,000.
• Boys and Girls Club of Casa Grande -- $140,000.
(Posted June 22, 2021)
Video of the May 17 City Council body cams full presentation is HERE. Click on Item 2.
Video of the June 21 City Council body cams short presentation is HERE (Click on Item I-2)
May 17 full City Council PowerPoint presentation about body cams is HERE.
Staff report from June 21 City Council meeting is HERE
The body cams contract is HERE
Initial approval of purchasing 95 body-worn cameras for Casa Grande police officers was given Monday night by the City Council.
Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.
Details are in the staff report (above).
The council was told that the cameras should operational in two to three months, after purchase, arrival and installation.
(Posted June 22, 2021)
Approval was given Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council for local agencies to apply for Ak-Chin Indian Community grants.
You'll find full details of the funding requests and projects by clicking on the organization name below.
In brief, they are:
• Casa Grande Alliance -- $22,000 for Pinal County Reentry Project.
• Pinal Hispanic Council -- $5,000 for Cesar Chavez scholarship program.
• The Opportunity Tree -- $15,000 for Healthy Habits program.
• The Museum of Casa Grande -- $5,000 for Weaver Cemetery and xeriscape garden.
• Seeds of Hope -- $77,331 for Mondo Anaya Community Center solar panel installation.
City of Casa Grande projects:
• Casa Grande Arts and Humanities -- $70,000 for post COVID-return to family outdoor activity by Experiencing Art Through Play.
• Casa Grande Community Development Division -- $40,000 for emergency housing repair and accessibility assistance.
• Casa Grande Police Department -- $30,000 for team policing.
Under Proposition 202, Arizona tribes agreed to share a portion of their casino revenues, with 12 percent made available to cities, towns or counties for benefiting the general public.
According to the staff report accompanying the agenda item, "The city of Casa Grande would be responsible for the pass-through of these funds. We anticipate this would take approximately 10 hours of staff resources with an approximate cost of less than $500."
(Posted June 12, 2021)
The request for qualifications, with work details, is HERE
Initial approval was given by the city council Monday night for a $200,000 contract to continue building plans review for phase two of the Lucid electric vehicle plant being built on the west side of Casa Grande.
The city Planning and Development Department normally does its own reviews of building plans, but as the staff report accompanying the agenda items notes, this is a situation where the city needs consultants with experience in the design, plan review or construction of electric vehicle facilities.
The contract, with final approval expected during the next council meeting, will go to Shums Coda Associates, a California company that has an Arizona office in Goodyear.
"Shums Coda currently is under contract to provide similar services for the phase one development that is now wrapped up and are currently assisting us with the design-build process for the phase two work," Planning and Development Director Paul Tice told the council.
"That contract is set to expire at the end of this month. This new contract would allows Shums Coda to continue that work through fiscal year 2022," which begins July 1.
The city's earlier request for statements of qualifications said, "It is anticipated that the Phase 2 Lucid facility will entail the construction of a 2.4 million square foot facility ..."
That building is expected to include:
• Body in White expansion.
• Stamping plant.
• General assembly.
• Powertrain plant.
• General warehousing.
• Supporting and auxiliary structures.
The council's initial approval was unanimous.
(Posted June 10, 2021)
Video of the budget presentation is HERE. Click on Item K3
Budget highlights are HERE
The complete tentative budget is HERE
How your city tax bill compares to your total for all county taxing agencies is HERE
Casa Grande's tentative $281,496,256 budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 lowers the primary city property tax rate but more than doubles the secondary property tax rate used to pay off municipal bonds.
Doubling the rate was not something the city wanted to do. It stems from a state law saying excess taxpayer funds cannot be held in a special fund.
If secondary tax collection during a year came to more than needed for bond payments, Casa Grande would put the excess in a fund to be applied at the end of the bonds term. The state said no.
When the preliminary budget was being discussed during Monday night's City Council meeting, Councilman Dick Powell brought up the doubling of the secondary rate from 27.52 cents per hundred dollars of assessed valuation to 57.2 cents.
"The secondary property tax has doubled going into next year," Powell said. "Why is that?"
City Manager Larry Rains offered an explanation.
"The council may recall that approximately two fiscal years ago there was a new (state) statute that essentially established the amount of money that can be retained in our fund balance," he said. "We essentially had a very healthy fund balance in debt service and we had to actually buy that down.
"And so what transpired is that we did not have to levy the full amount of debt payments because we were able to use the fund balances (as mandated by the state), so that drove the tax rate down (to 27.52).
"So now we're essentially levying for the amount of debt service that we would have for our general obligation bonds that were issued in 2006."
Powell responded, "The secondary taxes, I've never seen them jump like that before. That's unique. I don't understand still why.
"And then the total is $1.2 million higher. And I think the people are going to holler and yell about the taxes going up that amount of money."
Rains pointed out that in past years the secondary rate has been higher than the 27.52 cents during the previous two budgets.
A check of past budgets shows that during FY16 and FY17 the rate was 63.08 cents, as it had been when city budgets were considered in 2012 and 2014. During the 2018 fiscal year the rate was 60.10.
Because of the state mandate that excess funds could not be held, the city used that money in the fund to lower the secondary rate during the past two budget years.
"We're now essentially having to levy an amount sufficient to pay the annual debt service in fiscal year 22, driving back up that rate," Rains said.
"I understand the concern. When the new law came into place and we ended up actually utilizing the fund balance versus collecting that, it actually drove that down and now we're seeing the spike.
"But if you looked at prior years you would see that the average was higher than the 27 cents that was levied the last two fiscal years."
Councilman Matt Herman commented, "So you're saying because state law changed we got punished for having too much fund balance."
Rains responded that, "I don't necessarily know that we would use the word punished. Typically what we would do is hold that fund balance until the end of the amortization schedule on that debt and would essentially drive that amount down at one time, but because of the change in the statutes, we ultimately had to drive it down and utilize that fund balance.
"Overall, over the amortization life of a bond, the taxpayers are essentially going to pay the same amount. It's just that we had to recognize it midstream versus the end of the term."
Rains said more information about previous years could be provided to the council, a suggestion Powell seconded.
Rains continued that, "What we'll do is provide more data over the longer period of time. I think it will be a better explanation. But essentially what's driving the reduction the last two years was the use of fund balance that we were ultimately using based on the statutory change in the law to comply with that versus at the end where we would normally drive down the tax rate at the very end by using any of the fund balance to service the debt."
The information is needed, Powell said, adding that, "The tar and feathers is getting heated up out there because it jumped that much. That's a big jump."
The vote for the preliminary budget, which can be lowered but not increased, was 6-1, with Powell objecting.
"I vote against at this point in time 'til we figure out the property tax levy," he said.
(Posted June 9, 2021)
The ordinance is HERE
Other City Court information is HERE
Arizona Supreme Court reports on Fair Justice for All are HERE
Initial approval to changing a City Court assessment policy against those who cannot pay their fines immediately was given Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.
Final approval of the ordinance is expected during the new council session.
As it stands now, if a person is sentenced and tells the court he cannot immediately pay the fine or fines because he does not have the money, a $20 court security fee can be imposed on the entire case.
The proposed change, which could bring in an additional $20,000 a year to the court security fund, would allow that fee to be imposed on each charge involved.
City Judge Dyani Juarez appeared before the council to explain her request.
"Currently, the fee is assessed when a person is sentenced to pay a fine, they're not able to pay that fine and they go onto a payment plan," Juarez told the council.
"So, we have an individual saying I can't afford to pay my fine, I need payments, and at that time we're assessing an additional fee, where if an individual comes in and they are able to pay their fine at the time it's imposed, then they are not assessed the additional fee.
"Since that ordinance was passed many years ago," Juarez continued, "the courts have taken a hard look at the way we do and how we process things and you hear me preaching about Fair Justice for All and when you look at this ordinance it really doesn't look like it is fair justice for all because we're only assessing the fee when a person comes to us and tells us that they are indigent.
"We are requesting that the fee be assessed to each charge, which essentially means if a person has three charges in one case they could potentially be assessed the fee three times.
"And you might ask, well, how's that fair? Before they would have paid the fee one time, now they are required to pay the fee three times.
"But just keep in mind, under Fair Justice for All we have different tools in the toolbox now, including fine mitigation, so if a person does come and say, hey, you're charging me this fee three times (or how many times), I'm indigent, I really don't have the ability to pay they can always come back and ask the court for fine mitigation and we can take a look at their financial situation and what the fees are that we are assessing and then make a decision as to whether we can reduce some of those fees or waive them altogether."
The council vote for initial approval was unanimous.
(Posted June 1, 2021)
Casa Grande issued this press release today:
City Proclamation Rescinds Mask Mandate
for Vaccinated Residents
New Mandate Takes Effect Today, June 1
(The full proclamation is HERE)
Casa Grande, AZ – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted people worldwide and remains the worst public health crisis faced in the United States in over a century. More than 33 million Americans contracted COVID-19 with 879,000 cases landing in Arizona. Over 590,000 Americans have lost their lives including 17,500 Arizonans. Nearly 900 of them were Pinal County residents. A trending decrease in virus caseload has finally taken ahold nationally along with an upward tick of local vaccinations.
In turn, City of Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland has introduced a Proclamation that rescinds the mask mandate as of today, June 1, 2021.
According to McFarland, City efforts introduced through the expiring mandate and local community resolve helped to curb COVID-19 community spread.
“I am very proud of how Casa Grande residents came together to create a significant decline in the number of cases,” said McFarland. “As more citizens get vaccinated, we will get even closer to achieving responsible herd immunity.”
Studies show that full vaccination affords greater than 90% effectiveness at preventing both mild and severe COVID infection – which has helped spark a decline in the number and rate of cases. In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing except where required by federal, state, local, tribal or territorial laws, rules and regulations including local business and workplace guidance.
While this Order rescinds the requirement for face coverings in City-owned facilities, the City Court remains subject to the direction of the Arizona Supreme Court and Superior Court of Pinal County and may continue requiring face coverings on and in its premises. Nothing in this new order affects requirements for wearing face coverings in public transportation or as otherwise currently required by federal law or regulation.
Restaurants can resume full-capacity dining without restrictions and events are no longer limited to size or mitigation measures for approval. City libraries, parks and recreation center will return to normal business hours. Residents may resume in-person attendance at City Council, Boards and Commission meetings and make public comment at those meetings. The temporary moratorium has also expired on late fees for unpaid utility billings and shutoffs, as well as the extension of pet or business licenses.
Nothing in this latest Proclamation prevents a business from setting its own stricter standards for masking and social distancing or from refusing access to anyone not in compliance with those private standards. Folks that have yet to receive vaccination are still urged to wear face coverings and physically distance according to current CDC guidelines.
“I urge all citizens to continue to practice good hygiene,” said McFarland, “and to remain socially aware and conscious of the continued presence of the virus in our community. It’s up to all of us to make sure we continue to succeed.”
(Posted May 25, 2021)
Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland has briefly outlined the June 1 relaxing of COVID restrictions in the city.
He said a Facebook Live conference will be held Tuesday, June 1, during which additional discussion will take place.
"I will outline the following, it will take effect June 1:" McFarland said in email today to CG News.
• Masks will no longer be required inside city facilities if you have been vaccinated (we will not ask for proof of vaccination, just your honesty).
• Capacities will go back to normal (City Council Chambers, Community Rec Center, all sports facilities and libraries).
• City Council meeting “Call to the Public” will be reinstated effective at our June 7 meeting.
• Recreation Center classes will go back to full capacity (some of the “full class capacity” may be delayed due to a lack of staff).
• City sports facility capacity restriction and spacing requirements will be lifted.
• COVID is still here so we are asking that those who have not been vaccinated wear a mask while inside a city facility.
• If you have not been vaccinated, please do so as soon as possible.
"Stay tuned for more details on June 1," the mayor added.
"I do want to thank staff and our community for being patient and understanding. This has been a very difficult time for everyone. I’m glad we can see the light at the end of the tunnel."
(Posted May 22, 2021)
Video of the mayor's remarks is at https://casagrandeaz.swagit.com/play/05172021-1214. Click on Item N, beginning at 7:48 minutes.
Pinal County has this list of locations for COVID vaccinations: https://www.pinalcountyaz.gov/publichealth/CoronaVirus/Pages/vaccinelocations.aspx
Casa Grande will loosen its COVID restrictions on June 1, Mayor Craig McFarland said during this week's City Council meeting.
"We are going to loosen up our mask requirements in City Hall if you are vaccinated," he said during the reports section at the end of the session.
"June 1 is when we are changing all of our hours on our libraries and our gym, our community rec center, so that will change as well.
"We should be able to increase some of our capacities as long as you are vaccinated and we will increase the capacities here in City Hall for the next City Council meeting on the 7th of June. We will again allow public comment section, so it'll be back on the agenda and we will also have larger capacity in here, as well."
The city has not yet released details about the changes.
"The CDC has changed their guidelines," McFarland said. "If you haven't watched the news broadcasts you wouldn't know, but the CDC did change their guidelines. If you are vaccinated you can go maskless indoors and in groups and spacing has been rescinded."
The easing of Casa Grande mask requirements is for those who are vaccinated, McFarland stressed.
"If you're not vaccinated, we ask that you wear a mask in our public places," he said. "That should be an incentive to go get vaccinated."
Vaccinations are no longer available at the Dorothy Powell Senior Adult Center, McFarland said.
"Sun Life has pulled all the vaccinations back to their health center," he continued, "but you can get vaccinations pretty much everywhere else. You can get it at Walgreens, you can go to CVS and go to your doctor, I think in some cases they have the vaccine. So, don't not go because they closed the Dorothy Powell vaccination site. Get out there, get the vaccine. If you haven't got the second shot, get the second shot."
McFarland again reminded that, "If you aren't vaccinated you need to wear a mask. That's the rule. Now, we're going to leave that up to you to be the police but again we have to do that for public safety and the safety of those including yourself if you haven't been vaccinated, as well."
In Casa Grande, McFarland said, "The COVID numbers are down, they look really good. The city of Casa Grande actually is for the first time under 40 infections per 100,000. We're at 36, lower than the county and it's lower than the state. So, good numbers, keep up the good work, get vaccinated. It's still not too early or too late to get vaccinated.
"Our numbers are coming down as the direct result of the vaccinations, so please, please go get vaccinated."
(Posted Nov. 25, 2020)
Video of the study session is HERE
The PowerPoint presentation is HERE
The DDACTS presentation from 2016 is HERE
Four years ago, the Casa Grande Police Department began a program known as DDACTS, short for Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety.
It was announced as "a policing crime model used to effectively and efficiently reduce crime, vehicle crashes and social harm in communities, with a strong emphasis on improving the quality of life in the city of Casa Grande.
“The goal is to achieve long term change that encourages law enforcement leaders (and local leaders) to take a data driven approach to the deployment of personnel and resources to reduce crime and crashes.”
Now, the department wants to go deeper, expanding the concept and calling on ideas from officers who patrol the beats, also reaching out to the community. It’s planned to be a way for officers to build their experience.
As Chief Mark McCrory told the City Council during its last meeting, "DDACTS met with success, but what we looked at as a department was trying to drill down into different areas of the community in the five districts that are patrolled regularly.
"Currently we do shift change every six months and what we're going to start doing after this next one is do it yearly and that way, number one, it makes it a little easier for everybody and, number two, it gives officers a solid year to work in one district and the plan that they come up with for this beat team will allow around the clock dealing with certain problems in certain districts in the city."
As the department's Lt. Chris Palmer told the council, "At the end of 2018, going into 2019, we started to reevaluate some of the stuff we were doing, with our major motivation being we believe community policing is a philosophy that should be embedded throughout the entire department versus a handful of programs that are intermittently facilitated and then the cops just go out and do their jobs.
"In an effort to do this and to figure out what would be the best way for us to go, we looked at existing programs like DDACT, for our existing behaviors, academic research, community policing, beat teams.
"Routine activity theory states that three elements must be present for crime to occur, which is motivated offenders, suitable targets and the absence of capable guardians, which is the cornerstone of what we're always dealing with, trying to insure that the community develops their guardianship skills and the offenders are deterred and that that opportunity is suppressed."
Under the proposal, officers would be assigned to individual beat teams.
"This helps to generate communication between that group that isn't always happening right now because of the time differentials in their weekly schedules," Palmer said. "They all work a certain squad and they have a squad cohesion, but we're trying to take that squad cohesion and put it in the beats for beat cohesion.
"The beat teams will help acculturate the community policing philosophy as a grassroots effort throughout the department."
The department has outreach programs such as Coffee With a Cop and the volunteers program, Palmer pointed out, "but we want to take that and say this is your beat, you're the beat team, in your beat at the micro level you will now facilitate your program but you will also build a partnership with your stakeholders ...
"Where we've been doing DDACTS at a city wide level, where we have a hot spot in the city and we instruct officers to work within the district to filter in and out of this hot spot when they can, we realize it would be better if we have hot spots in each district and we had a team in each district that was responsible for their geographical area and that hot spot and they would have a little more ownership and it would be a little more narrowed and so you would have five districts with DDACTS zones instead of one city doing one big DDACS zone.
The goal, Palmer said, is that, “The beat teams will eliminate obstacles which undermine officers’ ability to think outside the box. We’re going to empower these officers where they see a problem to come up with a plan to solve it and then to reach out to community resources both in the city and outside the city that they think may help to achieve that …
"It's going to enhance and bring consistency to internal and external communications through the meetings we will have bimonthly. These groups will invite community members and stakeholders in that geographical area to come to these meetings.
"The first part of the meeting will be open to the public, they'll exchange information, they'll answer questions, they'll get feedback from people there and then the second half of the meeting will be for officers to privately share intelligence, to wrap their heads around what they've learned from the community members and it will be like this real time communication that's just happening.
“These teams will establish greater line-level autonomy, generating more flexible and response service delivery. The autonomy is good for problem solving, for internal development and generating ownership and it builds leaders within the department, which is also crucial for us right now.”
Look to the future
New leaders will be needed, Chief McCrory told the council, because of impending retirements.
“In the next four years,” he continued, “we're going to lose seven supervisors and we only have 15. We're going to lose additional in the year following that.
“So part of the idea there is to give officers a chance to problem solve and kind of step up amongst their peers to come up with different ideas and hopefully through all that process rise to the occasion and fill our supervisory ranks, because we are going to be missing a lot of talent and a lot of experience … so we need something to fill that void and we thought this would be a benefit for everybody.”
Palmer told the council that research shows that some departments fail at community policing because they talk about the programs but don’t put them into deeper action on the streets, “do just standard routine police work.”
In Casa Grande, he continued, “our guys do a great job, but this is going to take us to another level, because the problem solving and having a partnership with the community is what I think we're missing, where we do invite community members to get involved, when we go out and we actually solicit them for problem solving and we're meeting in their neighborhoods, in their communities bimonthly with them and they have that input.
“There's also a social media model to this where we market the program. We're working with the web designer currently for an interactive map on-line so they can go to the city website, they can click on their district, they can either type in their address to find out what district they're in, what beat, or they can click on the district and it’ll open up. It'll be the sergeant and the squad members that are assigned to the beat team, it’ll have emails and phone numbers, we'll share information on upcoming meetings and where they will be held and things like that. There may be some challenging going into the first part of the year as we slow roll this out with COVID, we may be looking at some more on-line meetings.”
The overall target, Palmer said, “obviously, is the police administration, line level supervisors, the officers, our civilian personnel and our volunteers, and we're already introducing this to them, external partners, citizens, city partners.
“This could be a city department director or it could also be just a private business owner, business community partners, social service stakeholders and clergy. And these will be key members invited to our meetings.
Introduction meetings with command supervisors and line level personnel, this is happening now, we're actually at the point where we're going to start having meetings going into December with the squads and we're going to start establishing some of the profiles and things like that. The team members are going to change come February when we have another shift bid, and then we'll have kind of a dry run through June.”
City Council views
Councilman Dick Powell
“I thought this was such a great idea when I saw it,” Powell said. “If you look at the Fire Department, they have crews and they have guys there that work together and they have a sense of pride and a sense of accomplishment as a crew. If you had a football team and you just keep sending new people in there, keep changing, they're not going to win any games.
“I think this is like community policing on steroids, breaking it into groups and then making those connections in the different areas that you're working in, it's a great, great idea.
Powell said that when an organization has a team, “you get informal leaders on that team and those are the ones you may want to pick out and promote or to move up. The chief talks about the department might be missing some people. I think the team idea is just really good.”
Councilwoman Mary Kortsen
Kortsen asked how dependent the department will be on grants for the program.
Palmer replied that, “It's dependent on grant funding, but we don't think it's going to cost so much that if grant funding is limited, we can't offset it or work around it. We do believe we're going to incur overtime, with grant funding or without we're going to incur, but we have some wiggle room and then we have the flexibility of scheduling and how we schedule it. We could move from a bimonthly to a quarterly meeting temporarily, depending on grant availability. But right now it looks very positive. Our grants, we've never had an issue requiring them, we have several on the books right now that we're using for this training in our rollout. We have one we just acquired. It's sitting there waiting as we do our dry run. And we believe that most of that's going to take care of a lot of those issues.”
Kortsen responded that, “I would hate to see this take steps backward just because of the lack of funding. Reading that multi-page report that I had and everything else, this is so important to our community that I love the idea. Let's do as many grants as possible. But I would not like to see us take a step back because of lack of funding.”
Councilwoman Donna McBride
McBride said, “First of all, I think it's a great idea for retention effort because we've got to start looking at how we can keep these officers that we have and move them up and the best way to do that is to intertwine them in leadership. So I love that concept.”
She asked if thought had been given to how the Police Advisory Board could fit into the program.
Chief McCrory responded, “Obviously, I think they would play a part in it. They're looking for ways to get involved. They're looking for ways to get the word out.
“Plus, I also think that on the flip side of that, the more interactions that we have with different pockets of the city (the better), because there will be interactions on this. It may not be standing room only, you know, but they'll be more than we're doing right now outside the concept of, like, Coffee With a Cop. These will actually be areas and meetings where we're actually talking to people about the issues in their neighborhood, not just glad-handing, how are you doing and all that.”
Palmer added, “We would invite (the advisory board) to the meetings and propose that with the seven members, they just maybe designate one member or two members to go to a certain meeting and they all spread out and then they come back together and they can talk about what they learned.
“The idea behind this is to really get the squads or the officers to come together and share their information and their needs and their issues within the beats, but also doing this with the people that live in those communities so that instead of being reactive, they're being more proactive to the problem solving and it's going to generate some openness, communication.
Councilwoman Lisa Fitzgibbons
“I’m happy to see that you're trying something new, of course, with everything going on in the country with police officers,” Fitzgibbons said. “I’m happy to see that you're trying something new to be transparent and open the communication levels in the community. So I'm really excited about it. I think it's going to be great.
“But, of course, you know what? I was looking at the pros and cons. I just wanted to make sure, you know, first of all, is there buy-in? How does the department feel about doing it? I really hope that they're seeing this as something positive, but I was curious about that.
“And, then, how are you going to determine those teams?”
There’s a process for selection, Palmer responded.
“In the meetings we've had up to this point with the supervisors and some of the initial meetings with the squads,” he said, “we have an officer group that represents all of the squads, where there's a representation from every squad. The supervisor group, officer group right now completely on board, very supportive, no main major issues. They had some questions, but they understood it. They liked the idea.
“And as we start rolling it out to the actual line level, I believe we're going to have the same response. I've spoken to a lot of them one on one and shared it with them. We've been talking about this for a year, so it's not new to them. We've been going through the stages to roll it out.
“On selection, officers go to a squad, they bid for their squad based on seniority.”
Councilman Matt Herman
“What I liken it to is the DDACTS program seemed to work very well,” Herman said. “We got one big area, but this is going to have its own like little districts now. The people in those districts are going to know what the problems are and who the problems are. And I really appreciate that you said the bi monthly meetings, but they're going to meet.
“Chief, you've always been really good with this in the last couple of years keeping us up to date on your plans, moving forward with personnel. You're to be commended, all of you, for using this program to help help us bring them up through the ranks as well. So I'm a really big fan of that. So I just hope you get good buy-in. And I think it's a great plan.
Councilman Bob Huddleston
Huddleston, a former Casa Grande police chief, said, “Chris, I applaud you guys for taking this on and pushing in that direction. I also appreciate you mentioning that community policing has been around for a long time. It takes different forms and different titles and there's been successes and failures across the country.
“The issues at hand generally are building strong partnerships with the community. Sometimes it's tough to get people involved. I mean, nobody wants crime in their neighborhood, but sometimes attending a meeting and sticking with it is difficult for people. So no doubt partnerships and communications are key in the program.
“I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but I also wrote down how do we measure success? And I don't know if there's a solid answer to that, but I understand getting the buy-in from the officers that are actually going to be out there performing these duties.
“And that's very good. But I think we need to stick with them as far as measuring success and ask them six months down the road, a year down the road, is this working? And if not working, what are our challenges? What are we missing?
“It's still difficult to keep five shift officers communicating and focused on the same problem within their district. There'll be some that that will jump all over that and be gung-ho and want to make that work on a daily basis and there may be others that don't really buy into it.
“So, I as I said, I applaud you guys for taking it on. I do think this is the future of policing. I think it's important and I think it's important for our community. I just encourage you to stick with it and keep pounding it out. I think it'll work if given the right direction.”
Palmer responded that, “One of the things is we have something built into the program, which is quarterly evaluations. So quarterly we'll look at qualitative and quantitative data in the form of interviews with the officers and surveys and also with the citizens who will participate to garner that information and determine its success or failures so we can change the profiles if need be.
“And this is something that the beat teams will do. The officers will do this. They will be gathering this information. We will at a certain level for a command perspective also be looking at the crime rate reduction, things like that from the bird's eye view.
“But they're going to be dealing with that to gather information from their communities to find out, hey, do we need to adjust the beat profile going forward? Do we need to change our focus here, do we need to re-evaluate? “You know, that kind of thing. So that's part of that to help us deal with those issues you just mentioned.”
(Posted Oct. 24, 2020)
The Casa Grande Fire Department posted these notices today:
Casa Grande Fire Department will be participating in 2 spooktackular DRIVE-THRU events.
On Friday, Oct. 30, we will be partnering with local businesses and Casa Grande Police Department at AZ New Horizon Realty Homes, 3860 N. Pinal Ave., from 3-6 p.m.
On Saturday, Oct. 31, we will be partnering with CGPD at the Casa Grande Union High School for their Halloween drive-thru from 5:30-7:30 p.m.
All covid safety measures will be in place.
(Posted Sept. 1, 2020)
The city posted this announcement today:
Companies have faced challenging circumstances throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have struggled to maneuver through continuously evolving impediments to economic viability and sustainability. Achieving a sense of normality has been a moving target.
In mid-August, Casa Grande launched CG CARES to extend financial assistance to qualifying businesses and federally recognized nonprofits for a one-time reimbursement up to $10,000.
Although reviews have begun, applications are still being accepted through Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.
Thus far, $104,927 of the $500,000 program allotment has been awarded to local businesses and nonprofits.
Sixty-two applications have been received, 23 reviewed and 19 awarded funding. However, 18 have yet to meet eligibility because their applications lack full documentation.
As the city works to acquire more information, it has an important reminder to those seeking assistance that only fully completed and documented applications will potentially qualify for available funding. Applications are reviewed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. Companies must demonstrate a loss of 25 percent revenue or more. Nonprofits must also explain how new or modified programming has benefited the community during and in dealing with the COVID-19 incident.
Applicable small businesses and non-profits are reimbursed with rent, mortgage, utilities and/or the purchase of personal protective equipment from March-April-May 2020 or April-May-June 2020.
Companies that have received prior federal assistance are eligible for CG CARES funding consideration on a pro-rated basis.
To apply, visit CasaGrandeAZ.gov/cgCares or obtain a physical application from the City Clerk’s Office at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd. Applicants may also contact program coordinator Mackenzie Letcher at 421-8600, ext 1251. Additional small business resources and COVID-19 community assistance remains available online.
(Posted Aug. 12, 2020)
The city made this announcement today:
The COVID-19 global pandemic has waged a devastating battle against life and livelihood for many. National and local economies have endured serious blows to progress made in recent years. The virus has unfortunately forced many to fight on multiple fronts at once.
The city of Casa Grande has worked hard to provide the community with vital COVID-19 resources and small business assistance.
Today, the city is launching Casa Grande CARES to financially assist qualifying local businesses and federally recognized non-profits with a one-time reimbursement up to $10,000.
The city encourages local companies and organizations to apply for this program if they have been negatively impacted by Arizona’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order issued by Gov. Doug Ducey to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
It reimburses applicable small business and non-profit rent, mortgage, utilities expenses and/or the purchase of personal protective equipment from March-April-May 2020 or April-May-June 2020.
Applications will be accepted now through Sept. 11 at 5 p.m.
Funding will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
Qualified applicants must be located at a physical, commercial address within city boundaries. Individual Arizona franchised businesses cannot be owned by a national chain or out-of-state corporation. Companies are ineligible if they have received prior federal assistance.
Apply early at www.casagrandeaz.gov/cgcares or pick up an application from the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall.
Please contact Mackenzie Letcher at Mackenzie_Letcher@casagrandeaz.gov or 421-8600, ext. 1251, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
(Posted July 1, 2020)
Casa Grande city government posted this announcement this afternoon about 4th of July fireworks display:
City of Casa Grande Moves Forward with Drive-In Fourth of July
The city of Casa Grande will move forward with the original plan for the Fourth of July -- a drive-in style fireworks display on Saturday, July 4, at Ed Hooper Park located at 2525 N. Pinal Ave.
The parking lot will open at 7 p.m. with fireworks beginning at 9 p.m.
In taking this moment to celebrate our great nation, please remember that COVID-19 is still a rising threat to the health and well-being of our community. We must all do our part to ensure the health and safety of everyone in attendance by following strict physical distancing guidelines.
Parking spaces will be outlined to allow for proper physical distancing. It is imperative that families stay within their provided space to enjoy the show, no congregating at other sites.
The community is asked to attend the event only with members of their household. If you are unable to safely distance yourself from others outside of your household, a face covering is required.
Concessions will not be available onsite.
Restroom facilities and hand-washing stations will be located throughout the parking lot.
At the conclusion of the fireworks display, attendees will need to exit the lot immediately, no congregating will be allowed.
The fireworks display will be streamed live on the city of Casa Grande's Facebook page: Facebook.com/cityofcg.
For more information on this year's Fourth of July Drive-In Celebration, follow Casa Grande Parks and Recreation on social media or call (520) 421-8677.
(Posted June 29, 2020)
Casa Grande issued this announcement early this evening:
City Pools, Recreation Center and Some Library Services Set to Close Tonight, 8pm
Today, Gov. Doug Ducey issued a new executive order to address the rising spread of COVID-19 throughout Arizona.
The new mandate prohibits large gatherings, ceases the issuance of new special event licenses and pauses the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals.
This pause takes effect tonight at 8 p.m. for one month.
In response, the city of Casa Grande is set to close its public pools, splash pad, recreation center and internal library services. Library curbside and online services will remain available.
In adherence to public events of less than 50 people, the city will still host the Fourth of July celebration but will not allow for public gathering on the grounds or drive-up participation as originally planned. Residents are encouraged to take in the spectacular show from the comfort of their homes and yards.
Additional details surrounding the Fourth of July will be shared with the public in the coming days.
(Posted June 15, 2020)
Casa Grande made these announcements today:
Palm Island Family Aquatic Park
Opens June 15
Casa Grande is following CDC guidelines and taking a cautious, measured approach to opening every facility. In keeping the safety of our citizens at the forefront and with physical distancing recommendations still in place, the Palm Island Family Aquatic Park will open on Monday, June 15, with structured programming for both youth and adults:
Youth Swim Team
Youth ages 5-17 will learn various swim strokes in a team environment. This will be practices only, no meets will be held. Register HERE
Monday through Friday in one-hour increments from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The cost is $1 per person and limited to one hour. Lap swim is drop-in on a first come, first serve basis. You must be 16+ to participate.
This class is designed for those who would like a good cardio and conditioning workout with less stress on the knees, ankles and legs. Register HERE
Lap swim and Aqua Fitness are included in your Community Recreation Center membership. Please call 520-421-8677 to have your membership reinstated prior to heading over to the pool.
Open noon-4 p.m, closed from 3-4 p.m. for cleaning
The splash pad at Carr McNatt Park is now open with some temporary guidelines in place. A temporary fence was installed at the park to allow our staff to limit the capacity and safely monitor the number of patrons allowed in the area while allowing for physical distancing. Families will be limited to 30 minutes of play at a time. Staff will blow a whistle to indicate when your session has ended and the next group will enter the area.
Youth Sports & Field Rentals
At this time, practices with groups of 10 or less are allowed in our parks system. Teams and coaches should look to maintain physical distancing at all times. Parents or coaches that have specific questions regarding youth sports practices should refer to the governor’s guidance for organized youth activities HERE.
Casa Grande’s Parks and Recreation office is not taking reservations for field rentals at this time; however O’Neil Park and Kiwanis Field have ball fields that can be used on a first-come basis for baseball and softball. Multi-purpose fields for soccer, football or general sports are also available at Carr McNatt, Dave White Park and other open spaces throughout the parks system. The open space at Villago Park is closed, however, for turf renovation. Learn more HERE
Community Recreation Center Expands Hours
Starting Monday, June 15, we will be expanding our hours and reservations will no longer be required to work out.
Monday - Thursday: 6:00 am - 8:00 pm and Friday: 6:00 am - 5:00 pm
Gymnasium reservations required due to limited space
Beginning June 22
Group Fitness Classes will resume with limited capacity
(Announcement and schedule are HERE)
We understand that your families look forward to our summer activities each year. With the community's health and safety in mind, we have made the tough decision to switch from in-person summer programming to virtual activities. Registration will include all supplies for the activity and a personalized link to connect with the instructor. Registration is now open:
Fun science experiments for kids ages 5-12
Virtual Cheer Camp
Children ages 5-10 will be taught a variety of dance moves
Little Picassos & Art Daze
Kids ages 4-12 will experiment with various art mediums
(Posted May 29. 2020)
Casa Grande city government posted this today:
Casa Grande residents and businesses are still experiencing hardship in their lives and livelihoods resulting from the ripple effects of COVID-19. While the pace varies for individual recovery, Casa Grande is committed to helping the community Come Back S.M.A.R.T. and stronger than before.
This week, the City learned it is eligible to receive $6,731,338 in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act relief and recovery funding from the state to support local businesses affected by the pandemic and 501(c)(3) nonprofits that provide food and aid to individuals impacted.
Currently, the city is establishing the process and requirements by which local organizations can apply to receive this funding.
Mayor Craig McFarland and the City Council want to hear from residents, as well as non-profits and businesses on how they think money should be spent.
"We are providing an avenue for the community to voice their ideas on what is impactful to their recovery," explained McFarland. "Public recommendations will be considered for inclusion in the city's final plan."
The following are examples of how these dollars could be utilized:
• Expenses to provide economic support for the COVID-19 public health emergency.
• Local small business grants and loans to reimburse businesses for rent, lease and utility expenses incurred during the COVID-19 emergency.
• Payroll shortfalls, taxes and related support programs.
• Reimbursement for business costs related to the purchasing of personal protection equipment (PPE) and other materials that help adhere to recommended COVID-19 health practices (i.e., one-use wipeable menus, PPE for employees and customers).
• Unemployment insurance, if this cost is not reimbursed by the federal government through the CARES Act or otherwise.
• Expenses to facilitate compliance with COVID-19 related public health measures.
• Costs for food pantries and food delivery to residents, including senior citizens and other vulnerable populations.
• Temporary housing for individuals/families, along with rent and utility assistance.
• Day care costs.
• Expenses for the purchase of PPE for at-risk individuals.
The public may email suggestions to the city Public Information Office by close of business on Wednesday, June 3.
(Posted May 27, 2020)
Pinal County issued this statement today:
The Pinal County Board of Supervisors has today dropped its lawsuit against the federal government, after Gov. Doug Ducey announced distribution of CARES Act funds to the Arizona counties, cities and towns which had yet to receive funding.
CARES is short for Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security.
Gov. Ducey announced a $441 million distribution, of which Pinal County will receive $27,170,006.
Additionally, cities and towns in Pinal County (population in parens) will receive the following:
• Casa Grande (58,632) $6,731,338
• Apache Junction** (42,236) $4,848,970
• Coolidge (13,130) $1,507,410
• Eloy (19,625) $2,253,079
• Florence (27,422) $3,148,226
• Kearny (2,168) $248,901
• Mammoth (1,687) $193,679
• Maricopa (52,127) $5,984,522
• Queen Creek** (5,922) $679,884
• Superior (3,178) $364,855
• Winkelman** (3) $344
**These cities and towns cross county borders, figures represent portion in Pinal County.
(Posted May 27, 2020)
The Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Department posted this today:
Remaining Park amenities will reopen on Monday, June 1, including the splash pad at Carr McNatt Park.
A temporary fence was installed at the park to allow our staff to limit the capacity and safely monitor the number of patrons allowed in the area while allowing for physical distancing.
Families will be limited to 30 minutes of play at a time. Staff will blow a whistle to indicate when your session has ended and the next group will enter the area.
The splash pad will close daily from 3-4 p.m. for cleaning.
(Posted May 19, 2020)
Some Casa Grande city services have reopened and others will be soon, Mayor Craig McFarland told the City Council at the end of Monday night's meeting.
In his words:
As of May 8, the dog park is open, the gun range is open, North Mountain Park is open for hiking, the ramadas remain closed.
Park amenities opened on May 11, so that's the pickleball and tennis courts.
And then May 16 we opened the basketball and volleyball courts and the skate park.
We will look at opening on May 26 most of the remaining park amenities, which would be the ramadas, but no reservations will be taken yet. We're not going to allow large crowds. But we're going to open the ramadas so people can sit there are have lunch or picnic or whatever. But again, not in large numbers, because right now the number for congregating is still 10.
The playgrounds will open, also.
So, May 26, the day after Memorial Day, the ramada, playgrounds, splash pad opened on limited hours. We will have supervision there and we'll have limited participation.
Non-gated sports fields also will open. Again, we're not taking any reservations, no leagues, no games, that sort of thing, but the fields will be open so people can throw the ball around.
As far as special events, the primary one coming up is obviously Fourth of July. I'm working with City Manager Larry Rains and staff, we're also working with Community Services Director Steve Hardesty to kind of figure out what we can and can't do with regards to Fourth of July. We might might even have a little more information this Wednesday when we have our (City Council budget) retreat.
Again, no group gatherings planned until further notice.
We're looking at opening it on June 1. Again, limited activities.
Programming will be dependent on lifeguard training and availability, so there's still some 'what if' in there. Adult programs under supervision and then limited participation such as lap swim, water aerobics and water zumba.
Youth programming at the aquatics center will include such things as team swims, so the swim teams will probably come back around June 1. So keep an eye out for that.
All this information we will have available probably by midweek on the (city) website. (https:/casagrandeaz.gov/)
Len Colla is also going to open and we're actually looking at a partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs, more information to come. I know Larry's going to give a little bit of an update when we do the Community Services Department (at the retreat).
Still some work that's being worked out in terms of what that looks like, but the Boys and Girls Club is actually going to help us to open the Len Colla Center sooner. Otherwise it probably have been delayed in terms of its opening. Again, more information to come.
The Dorothy Powell Senior Center, we continue to do the home delivery meal programs that are currently offered, We'll continue drive-up congregate meals, so people can drive up to pick up congregate meals. Transportation program is suspended indefinitely right now. In-house programming is also suspended indefinitely right now.
Obviously, our seniors are our most vulnerable, so we're being very cautious with regards to opening that back up.
Dave White golf course will continue operating under the new recommended social distancing. We call it a touchless golf experience basically, which means nobody touches the flag pole, there's little doilies down in the hole so when the ball goes down it just drops just so far. There's no rakes, so if you get in the sand, sorry.
Also offering single-riding carts.
That's the way they've been operating.
Again, no shotgun, no large groups, no gatherings, that sort of thing.
The Community Recreation Center, we are looking to reopen on May 26.
When it opens, it will be on a limited basis.
There will be two three-hour blocks. There's a morning three-hour block and an evening three-hour block. There will be cleaning in between those blocks.
Again, limited hours, limited service.
The walking track will be open, fitness and individual fitness will be open. We'll probably have them every other one open to keep people six feet apart.
Strict limits on participants in the building. No group fitness at this point in time.
If you are a member, we suspended the tracking of that membership when we closed the Community Rec Center down. So now if you go back on May 26 and you scan your number in, then you will get credit from the times we closed to the time you start to go back.
If you don't feel comfortable and you don't go back for another 30 days, it doesn't start until you go back in and you scan.
We think that's pretty fair and I think it's a good idea.
On June 15, the Rec Center will then resume standard hours, which is 5:15 to 8 p.m. There'll be a regular thorough cleaning schedule throughout the day.
The walking track, fitness lofts and individual fitnesses obviously will be operating and then we'll look at limited group fitness classes.
That schedule again to be determined. Depends on the size and what type of limitations we still have come June 15.
The library services will reopen, the main library, on May 19. It will entail curbside pickup, limited hours, walk-in pickup offered. You have to reserve on-line, e-mail or phone.
Full service, walk-in type operation, the computers will probably be every other one, there'll be the six-foot limitation. Looks like we'll start that June 15.
The Vista Grande location is still to be determined. It's probably going to coincide with what the school does. So that one will remain closed for now.
(Posted May 5, 2020)
The Police Department summary of the grant request and its uses is HERE
The list of Arizona entities getting grants is HERE
Simple ways to make face masks are found HERE
The agenda item at Monday night's Casa Grande City Council meeting was for accepting a U.S. Department of Justice grant of $64,568 for coronavirus emergency supplemental funding for first responders.
The Police Department had requested the money, part of which will be shared with the Fire Department.
The request was approved, but most of the discussion was about whether Casa Grande is doing enough anti virus efforts for regular citizens.
"What are we doing for our community?" Councilman Dick Powell asked. "I know we need to make sure that Fire and Police have the uniforms and equipment to do their jobs and we appreciate what they do.
"What I'm wondering, I know where in the summertime we had police carrying water and water available from different people around town.
"I also saw over the weekend that Casa Grande is the hotbed for covid-19 in Pinal County and that's not a good thing, but I guess we deal with it."
Powell continued, "I would like to see some of this money, a little bit of it, going to buy face masks and gloves that Police and Fire could hand out when necessary to people, like we do on the water.
"I went to Walgreens today and I bought the last package they had of face masks. The public's unable, in large part, to find out where to get face masks. And also the gloves are not available. I got the last one, 50 pieces for $30, on the face masks. It was the last one they had.
"So, how are people going to be safe? I know it's great for the people that work for the city to be safe, but it's also good for people that live in the city to be safe.
"And I don't think we're reaching out enough to our community to make sure that we have face masks available and that we have gloves available. I mentioned this once before because so many people don't know that and put themselves in danger when not able to mask up like they're supposed to."
Powell said he would like to see the grant acceptance resolution amended "to maybe take a thousand dollars or whatever out of that and use for the community's benefit."
That's not possible, Police Chief Mark McCrory responded.
"That grant specifically limits to how the money from that grant can be used and it can be used for police overtime or police equipment only," he said. "It doesn't allow for us, our first responders, to hand those out."
Powell then said, "So, it doesn't do anything for the community. It does protect our officers, which is very important.
"But I go back to what I said in the beginning. I do not think we are handling the community properly in Casa Grande and if it's not being able to be done by that (grant), then I would like to see us provide some money to come up. You could have these things at fire departments or police cars or whatever.
"I understand, chief, that budgets are budgets, so the money has to be spent as provided for but I just think in the community we're not doing a good job on reaching out and protecting the people in our community."
Police Lt. Christopher Palmer answered that, "Purchases of certain PPE (personal protection equipment) gear has been restricted by the federal government and the World Health Organization from community members intentionally because of the inability for public safety and hospitals to acquire it for their staff, who are the front lines.
"So there's a reason why citizens can't just go on Amazon and purchase this equipment. It's been blocked off, it's been locked out. Unless you are a registered public safety organization or a hospital you can't purchase that equipment, because it's limited.
"This grant was designed specifically for us and Chief McCrory allocated $20,000 of this grant to the Fire Department, as well, for all of us to be able to purchase the needed PPE for the officers and firefighters."
Powell said he supported that 100 percent.
City Manager Larry Rains said, "As the chief and Lt. Palmer have outlined in their response, this particular grant is funding that has to be used for specific uses.
"But based on what I'm hearing from the council this evening, what I will do, and I know the mayor is part of the conversation we have three times a week with the county, is we will make inquiries about whether or not, number one, there's any available funds through the federal government that could be available for these types of personal protective equipment items. Second, if there's not any funding that can be found then ultimately we will do some research from a city perspective."
Rains pointed out that, "I know that there are a number of local residents that are making face masks. They are not, as Lt. Palmer has pointed out, the M-95 masks but I know that the CDC and the surgeon general at the federal level have encouraged individuals that cannot obtain one of these higher-quality masks to begin to wear really practically anything that they can manufacture. And there are some YouTube videos that show how to make a personal mask. (See above linker examples)
"But ultimately I do think that the community has been very supportive through a number of people making masks that we could begin to identify some sources, as well."
Mayor Craig McFarland said, "We have been very active in this area with the county and there are masks out there available. I'm going to ask (city public information officer Latonya Jordan-Smith) if she will please follow up tomorrow and we'll put on our website, covid-19 website, locations that people can go to buy this product."
Powell interjected, "Mayor, you're my hero tonight."
The mayor continued, "It's starting to come in and I know a pharmacy in town that has access to a lot of it. We'll put that under covid-19 on our website, www.casagrandeaz.gov/covid19, and we'll have all the locations around the county so they can find this product. Will that help?"
Powell responded, "Oh, yeah, mayor. Thank you so much. Give it our best effort and I think that's what you're setting up to do and I trust that you'll be successful at that.
"I also want to go back to all of the first responders, you guys are our heroes and so we definitely want to make sure that you're protected and have access to the money and the things you need as you do your job."
Councilwoman Mary Kortsen had suggested that the council schedule a time to discuss assistance to the community.
McFarland said, "We can have a further conversation on the public assistance grants, which we are not getting from the federal government. Unlike Mesa which got $90 million, we have received nothing. So I want to make sure that's clear."
Powell asked, "Does it look like we'll get any, mayor, or is it that we're totally ignored?"
The mayor responded, "At this point in time, we're being ignored, but it's not a deadend. We can talk a little more about that later."
Because it was not an agenda item, the issue could not be discussed Monday night.
(Posted April 14, 2020)
Pinal County issued this announcement today:
Review COVID-19 Data with Caution
On April 12, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) updated its COVID-19 dashboard to provide additional information, which includes the case counts broken down by zip code (scroll down to next item).
Pinal County is providing the link on our pinalcountyaz.gov/coronavirus website.
As people view and interpret the data, the Pinal County Public Health Services District (PCPHSD) would like to highlight the following important points:
The data provided only reflects individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Actual numbers of COVID-19 cases are likely much larger than the positive cases reflected by current testing.
For every confirmed case on the map, there are likely dozens of people who have not been tested but have the virus across Pinal County.
The map reflects the home address of COVID-19 cases, and does not indicate where individual contracted COVID-19 or where they have travelled to once infectious. Therefore, the map does not necessarily indicate where the risk of coming in contact with the virus is highest.
Zip code counts include anyone in that zip code who has tested positive, whether the infection has resolved or is currently active. Therefore, new data may not represent the current risk in a community.
Although physical distancing guidelines are in place, people do not always remain within their own zip code when conducting essential business.
Testing has shown that COVID-19 is widespread throughout all of Pinal County. Recent evidence shows that people can transmit COVID-19 even when they do not have symptoms and that the testing only shows a fraction of active COVID-19 cases in Pinal County.
Any Pinal County resident who is not practicing preventative measures increases their chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Continuing these measures and our commitment, is essential to keeping ourselves and each other safe. These preventative measures include washing hands for at least 20 seconds, not touching one’s face, practicing physical distancing, and wearing a face covering when in public settings.
In conclusion, PCPHSD agrees with Dr. Cara Christ, director of ADHS, stating zip code data is informative, but it should not be used to determine whether or not residents of particular zip codes are or are not at risk of COVID-19.
Additional information is available on the Arizona Department of Health Services website.
(Posted April 14, 2020)
Pinal County posted this today:
Pinal County Launches "Pinal Works" for the Business and Workforce Community Impacted by COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to impact multiple industries and create record-high unemployment throughout thenNation, Pinal County has launched "Pinal Works," a one-stop-shop resource library for businesses and citizens who experience economic hardship during this very challenging time.
To visit Pinal Works, go to pinalcountyaz.gov/pinal-works.
For individuals, the site provides access to services offered by ARIZONA@WORK Pinal County. These include:
• Unemployment insurance assistance.
• Education and training opportunities.
• Other re-employment assistance services.
For our business community, Pinal Works offers access to organizations that are helping business owners navigate through the numerous programs and resources available at this time, such as:
• U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
• U.S. Small Business Administration.
• Arizona Commerce Authority.
• Gov. Ducey's site Arizona Together.
(Posted April 9, 2020)
The city announced this today:
Casa Grande park restrictions will be in place this Easter weekend -- Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12 -- to help contain the spread of COVID-19.
The following will be closed and prohibited to use in Casa Grande parks:
• Park ramadas
• Pop-up tents and canopies
• Public grills
• Portable grills
All other restrictions will remain in effect until further notice.
All trails, paths, and open spaces will be open. Physical distancing guidelines recommended by the CDC apply in these areas.
(Posted April 7, 2020)
Coronavirus information and guides for businesses may be found at:
Monday night's Casa Grande City Council meeting had only Mayor Craig McFarland at the dais. The other six council members were participating by telephone, another action the city is taking to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
It was a meeting covering views of the mayor and council on the situation and words of praise for doctors, nurses, first responders and city employees.
Questions were raised and information was given.
Several avenues of help are available, Fitzgibbons said.
"CAHRA (Community Action Human Resources Agency) has a program where they are helping," she continued. "United Way is still helping with the income taxes, even though that was extended until July 15, to provide a program for those in need.
"There's a lot of mental health issues and I hope people do reach out to those services that are available. There's even a help line for mental health, which is 480-983-0065."
Fitzgibbons said she hopes everyone in the community follows Gov. Doug Ducey's coronavirus executive order and stays inside as much as possible.
"The numbers are growing in Arizona, 117 in Pinal County," she said, "and of course we don't know how many of those are in Casa Grande. I appreciate the mayor and the mayors of Pinal County pushing to try to get our numbers, but at this point we just have to act like we are surrounded by people who may have this virus and do what we can to protect ourselves and our community.
"We're praying for everyone and their families and appreciate the health care workers and the small businesses that are keeping their doors open, those supplying the groceries and products that are needed.
"There's so many people doing great things and we have such a great community and I just pray for everyone to be safe and healthy."
"I want to thank all the people who show up every day to support us in the utilities, groceries, health care, education, government," Kortsen said. "Be kind and thank them for showing up and serving you in all ways.
"Also, if you have the chance to tip a person, tip them double or more, it means so much financially and emotionally."
Kortsen said the deadline to apply for the Payroll Protection Program is June 30.
"I don't want that date to get lost as people go apply for this," she continued. "I want to make sure, particularly our very small businesses realize there is that deadline.
"Other than that, I thank everyone for helping in these difficult times."
"I echo what everybody has already said," McBride said.
"A special thanks to the city staff and the leadership of City Manager Larry Rains and Deputy City Manager Steven Weaver. I know these are difficult times for our staff and we have people still working, even though they wanted to be home with their own families and children.
"As one of those essential workers (at McBride's job with Pinal County) I understand their fear and their commitment, so I just want to say thank you to them.
"And then also Mayor McFarland, thank you for your leadership."
"I appreciate every comment that's been made and I appreciate you for what's going on to work together," Powell said.
"I think one of the things that's come out of this, which hasn't really been something that's happened, is right now we actually have in Washington the House and the Senate working together bipartisan to get things done that need to be done for our country. I appreciate the leadership and all the ones that serve in Washington and Congress and I thank our governor, our president, are absolutely at the top of the list, our mayor has done an excellent job keeping us informed.
"But I think what is really, we're helping each other now. We've kind of stepped back to a time when people helped each other normally and I know a lot of people are helping out. The restaurants, they can't have people coming in but they're opening there (for take out) and they're doing tips when they pick up prepared meals. Walmart right now, you have to wait, they'll only let so many in.
"The discipline required I think has really been adopted in the city of Casa Grande. I'm very proud of our citizens and of our leaders.
"And we will get through this."
"It's so important, the mental health resources out there for people," Herman said. "Lisa hit on that, I appreciate it.
"Also, the chamber website really gives you resources (link above).
"There's a lawsuit filed by Pinal County to demand those local (coronavirus) numbers, so that might be helping us out.
"And I just also want to thank the local entertainers that are doing (Facebook Live) and entertainment like that to help everybody get through these times.
"And, mayor, I know you didn't sign up for this type of deal but you're doing a great job, I think we all are sticking together. I appreciate you, appreciate our city staff.
"We're strong here and we will get through this together -- six feet apart."
Thank you very much for your leadership, and Larry Rains, during this time," Huddleston said. "I feel like you two have done a great job of keeping us all up to date and informed. And I do thank all of the city staff for being on the front lines and keeping our community running smoothly and safely.
"I would echo everything that has already been said."
"I received in the last couple of days some concerns from local citizens ... about people being careful out in the community, just some observations they've been making," McFarland said.
"And I want to overemphasize how important it is to follow the governor's stay home, stay healthy, stay connected.
"So just to reiterate that, only go out and shop for essentials like food and medicines, practice social and physical distancing by maintaining that six-foot distance, washing your hands frequently, wearing protective face wear or masks and not touching your face. Avoid close contact with seniors and others with compromised immune systems and stay home if you feel ill, stay home if your children are ill.
"That's really his order and we need to really try and stick with that, at least 'til the end of the month. I know it's hard, we are social creatures by nature and it's very hard to not want to go out and talk to people. So I just want to reiterate that. It's so, so important right now."
McFarland continued, "We'll continue to work with our retailers and make sure they're trying to manage that social distancing requirement, as well. We will continue to have police officers remind people where necessary. "I just want to make sure everybody knows that this is not a communist state, so we're trying to be very judicious in terms of how we implement these rules, these executive orders.
"So please bear with us while we work through this. I know we'll all make it through, I just want to make sure that I overemphasize those parts."
McFarland also reminded that the chamber of commerce has small-business information on its website (link above).
"We've suspended public hearings until we get through this, so the next meeting will not have any public hearings," McBride said. "We've had to do some public hearings with the Planning and Zoning Commission just because of timing issues, but just know that we want to obviously have our meetings open, we want to have them open to the public, that's your right to be there and I just want to make sure that everybody understands that we have done our best."
Residents who are not computer literate or don't have a computer have another way of getting information, McFarland pointed out.
"You can call 211, it also is a live operator Monday through Friday, regular business hours," he said. "You can talk to somebody, you can ask questions, you can get information. If you're having trouble getting information, call 211, they will help you out."
McFarland also touted a small-business event to be held on Thursday (April 9).
"It's going to be a one-hour live Facebook Live," he said, "and it will have four panelists on it, being Mr. Rains, myself, Renée Louzon-Benn from the chamber and we'll also have Terry Strain from Western State Bank as the banker on there.
"The purpose of it is to talk about small-business, talk about what it out there and available for you, all of the programs that the government has in place, they can be very confusing.
"We want to make sure that we clearly go through them, so we'll try and take as little time as possible going over the details of the plan and then allow people to ask questions. It'll be a live-streamed event, you can get on, you can type in your question and we'll answer them in the order we receive them. We'll try and group them if they're multiple combinations, but hopefully we'll have an opportunity to answer some questions and get people some information.
"Again, Terry Strain, one of the executive vice presidents for the Western State Bank here in Casa Grande will be one of our panelists, so he is well versed in the process we're talking about here.
"There are about four major processes that small businesses need to know about and we're going to be here to talk about it."
Councilwoman Kortsen asked how residents get on Facebook to participate.
McFarland responded that, "If you're on Facebook just type in City of Casa Grande and then you'll find it.
Councilman Powell asked if there are masks available in Casa Grande if everyone is supposed to wear one. The same would apply to hand sanitizer, he continued.
It would be nice, he said, "If there was somebody that could answer questions that you can get them here, you can get them there. I do foresee if we go to masks that Casa Grande's going to be very very short of masks unless we take some actions."
McFarland said there are two types of masks in question. One is the N95, designated for hospital personnel and first responders.
The second, he said, "is a cloth mask, which is what CDC is recommending people use when you're out in public, and a cloth mask can be made from a bandana, it can be made from any material you have around your house and they're easily made with just standard material that you can buy at JOANN Fabric or you could probably find in your closet an old shirt or something that you haven't worn in while."
Regardless, Powell said, it would be nice if there were answers.
"If we could as a city and maybe the chamber of commerce, if we could come up with somebody that would be able to answer questions in our community about where you can get this or that, because I can imagine me trying to sew a mask out of fabric, or a lot of people, but we would like to see if we're required to go to that to be able to buy a dozen of them or whatever more."
(Posted April 7, 2020)
Banner Casa Grande hospital will be erecting two triage tents at the Florence Boulevard location, Mayor Craig McFarland said during Monday night's City Council meeting.
"They're going to be putting up two tents, two areas for tents," McFarland said. "Those tents are not testing tents, they are for triage. Everyone who goes into the hospital, before they can enter, has to go through a triage check, temperature check, feelings check, wellness check, whatever you want to call it, before they allow them into the hospital.
"So when you see those tents go up -- they were authorized today by the governor and the health department -- in the next day or two, don't be alarmed, they're there for safety for all the people in the hospital."
McFarland also said he will be meeting with the Banner CEO today (Tuesday) to do a public service announcement about coronavirus.
"Be assured that the hospital is well prepared," he continued. "I'm not saying that if things go crazy that they won't have a problem, but right now they are well prepared.
"They have doubled the number of beds in their facility in the last two weeks, so they've done a tremendous job and we're fortunate to have Banner Casa Grande here in Casa Grande."
(Posted April 4, 2020)
The city made this announcement today:
City Park Amenities Set to Close Today at Noon
Spas, Salons No Longer Deemed Essential Services
Gov. Doug Ducey has released additional guidance on what is now deemed non-essential services and recreational activities. Businesses like nail and hair salons, tanning, spas and tattoo parlors have until 5 p.m. today to cease operations.
The city of Casa Grande is set to close its remaining park amenities today at noon. This includes public courts (basketball, tennis, pickleball, etc.), splash pads, playgrounds and restrooms. Parks remain accessible as long as the public continues to practice social/physical distancing, adheres to crowds less than 10 persons and follows CDC recommended guidelines. This, too, is subject to change.
A fire hose of constant information flow from multiple directions has made it difficult for some residents to find the help they need. The city continues to streamline useful information through COVID-19 City Response and Small Business Assistance sites to help the community maneuver through current challenges. Residents are also encouraged to follow city social media for more frequent information share (Facebook, Twitter, NextDoor and YouTube). These resources help provide links to business loans, job searches, mortgage and senior assistance, food banks, health and unemployment insurance and more.
To learn more about how to reduce COVID-19 spread, please visit Arizona Department of Health Services or Pinal County Public Health.
Additional City Updates:
City Hall Passport Office is closed to the public in compliance with U.S. Department of State. Passport or renewal applications submitted prior to 3/19/2020 will be processed; however, routine service may be delayed.
The city is temporarily suspending assessment of late fees. Residents are encouraged to access one of six ways to pay: phone or online bill pay, auto-draft automatic deduction, personal online banking, USPS mail or payment drop box. The City Finance lobby is open for public access but restrooms are now closed. New guidelines now limit the lobby to no more than two customers at any time. Sidewalk lines have been created to help provide 6-feet separation between customers.
Although the City Court lobby is closed to the public, the court is still available to provide the community with access to services for protective order, victims, civil traffic citation, fine payment, continuance/extension/motion, warrants, motion/document, or additional forms.
City libraries remain closed until further notice. Due date for all materials checked has been extended to May 1. Please maintain items until libraries reopen. No fines will be assessed for materials during this time. Library cards currently allow residents access to hundreds of free online resources, 24/7, including e-books, e-magazines, downloadable videos, music, audio books, databases and more.
The governor's executive order regards parks as an essential service. In adherence, outdoor city parks remain available to the public. Allowed activities include outdoor exercise such as walking, hiking, running, biking or golfing; but only if appropriate social/physical distancing practices are used. All public playgrounds, courts, splash pads, bathrooms and ramadas are now closed until further notice.
Paul Mason Sports Complex and Little League baseball/softball fields are closed. All programming, leagues, practices and games have been cancelled or postponed. No activity reservations are being taken at this time. Additional closed facilities include Len Colla, the Recreation Center and Dorothy Powell Senior Center. The home delivered meal program remains operational, but meals are available on a pick-up or home-delivery basis only.
(Posted March 24, 2020)
Pinal County announced this today:
Pinal County Announces Six Further COVID-19 Cases
The total number of cases in the County now stands at 22
Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm six further cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County.
• A female in her 20s.
• A male in his 30s.
• A female in her 40s.
• A male in his 40s.
• A male in his 50s.
• A female in her 70s
All five cases, not related to each other or any previous cases, are in isolation at home and recovering. County Health Department staff are investigating all cases to identify close contacts.
Pinal County's total cases of COVID-19 now stand at 22, with only one case, a female in her 80s, hospitalized.
On Monday afternoon, Pinal County received its allocation of the Strategic National Stockpile from the CDC through Arizona Department of Health Services.
Utilizing the established SNS Plan in place, county staff along with twenty volunteers from Maricopa CERT and Florence CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) were able to inventory and process all of the personal protective equipment and repackage to be distributed to our public safety and healthcare partners.
Staff and volunteers were able to begin delivery of those supplies to two of our county healthcare providers and one of the tribes. Fifteen additional deliveries are scheduled for today.
(Posted March 20, 2020)
City coronavirus page:
City coronavirus answers page:
Help for small businesses:
Casa Grande emergency proclamation is HERE
Pinal County emergency declaration:
The city issued this press release today:
City Introduces Resources to Help Guide Businesses and Community through COVID-19 Response
Today, City Manager Larry Rains received notice that Pinal County Board of Supervisors just declared a state of emergency in response to novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). There are now 13 confirmed cases of the virus in Pinal County and one death in Arizona. It is anticipated that the number will increase as more testing takes place.
Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland and the City Council approved a resolution earlier this week declaring an emergency. McFarland issued a proclamation outlining current specifications related to the outbreak.
According to McFarland, this action allows the city to act rapidly in the deployment of resources and establish any necessary regulations to combat the spread of the flu-like contagion.
"Public health is paramount," expressed McFarland. "The proclamation gives us the ability to do what is necessary to preserve public peace, health, safety and the general welfare of our community."
Gov. Ducey has issued an executive order closing bars, movie theaters, indoor gyms and fitness centers throughout the state, as well as, ordering restaurants to move to drive-thru or take-out business only. This measure helps to ensure food access, increase hospital capacity, provide updated guidance and some flexibility for businesses and waive Arizona Department of Transportation requirements for seniors and commercial drivers. The executive order becomes effective today.
Ducey has also submitted an application requesting a disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration. Once the application is approved, business owners should apply online (see link above) in the Disaster Loan Application Portal. They will need to register to complete the application, which will be screened by the Disaster Processing Center.
City Economic Development Director Richard Wilkie, said the city is researching and soliciting federal and state assistance for local businesses.
"Our businesses are comprised of everyday people that stand ready to serve their neighbors and friends, daily," said Wilkie. "We're working hard to help connect them to the resources and financial assistance needed to help keep their doors open."
To support local businesses, the City is collaborating with vendors to accommodate drive-up/pick-up options for customers in response to a decrease in foot traffic. Businesses can use orange cones provided by the City to help customers identify these safe zones while ensuring safe and efficient traffic flows. This assistance is free-of-charge to area businesses. To learn more about this option, contact Chris Lawson at 421-8625.
For the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and what you can do to reduce your risk, visit the Center for Disease Control at www.CoronaVirus.gov.
(Posted March 19, 2020)
Pinal County issued this statement today:
Public Health Confirms Two Further Positive Cases of COVID-19 in Pinal County
Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm two further cases have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Pinal County. Both are household contacts of separate cases reported yesterday.
The first is a male in his 30s, a household contact of a female in her 30s reported yesterday, who is isolated at home and recovering.
The second is also a male in his 30s, a household contact of a female in her 30s reported yesterday, who is isolated at home and recovering.
This brings the total number of cases in Pinal County to 10.
MARCH 18 UPDATE:
This city posted this today:
The city is following CDC guidelines to limit public meetings to 10 people, with six feet of separation.
We are encouraging residents to view tonight's (March 18) 6 p.m. City Council meeting from the comfort of their homes on Cox Channel 11 or City Facebook Live.
Thank you for helping to reduce risk.
(Posted March 17, 2020)
The Casa Grande City Council meets in special session Wednesday night (March 18) to consider an emergency declaration about the coronavirus threat.
The meeting, open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall, 510 E. Florence Blvd.
The full resolution declaring an emergency is HERE.
It does not list specific restrictions for Casa Grande, saying only that the mayor may, “by proclamation, impose all necessary regulations to preserve the public peace, health, safety and general welfare of the city.”
A statement issued by the city Monday night said, “The city is also actively evaluating a declaration of emergency to help in the fight of the spread of COVID-19. This measure would further assist in protecting public health by allowing access to federal emergency funds and making it possible for individuals and businesses to receive federal financial assistance.”
(Posted March 16, 2020)
Casa Grande officials released this official coronavirus statement Monday night. A version of it was read by Mayor Craig McFarland at the end of Monday night’s City Council meeting:
We Can Make a Difference In the Next 15 Days!
City remains informed, engaged and prepared to do its part
The unique quality that makes the city of Casa Grande so special, strong and resilient is its sense of community. Over the years, residents have shown an extraordinary capacity to care for and help meet the needs of their fellow neighbors and friends. These same traits are shared by city workers who strive to serve residents, each and every day. It is why city leadership and its community partners remain informed, engaged and prepared to help meet the evolving challenges resulting from the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
According to Casa Grande Mayor Craig McFarland, access to accurate information is important for residents to respond in a measured and thoughtful way.
"An informed community is an empowered one," explained McFarland, "and is capable of processing facts carefully, engaging available resources appropriately while also helping others that may need assistance. After all, we're in this together."
The city is already taking steps to follow recent guidelines issued by the CDC, Arizona Department of Health Services and Pinal County Health and remains ready to adjust quickly if circumstances change.
In accordance with federal guidelines to limit or postpone large gatherings of 10 persons or more, the city has cancelled all in-person, city-sponsored events until further notice. The public is welcome to continue checking the city online calendar for updates.
The city is taking proactive measures to help protect high-risk populations and reduce risk for spread of the virus. The city has cancelled all programs, events and gatherings at its recreational facilities including Len Colla, the Recreation Center, Dorothy Powell Senior Center and both public libraries. The home-delivered Meal program is continuing but meals remain on a take-out or home-delivery basis only.
(This sentence is included in the official statement: “Parks will remain open along with the golf course, but the public will have limited access to the clubhouse.” However, McFarland’s address at the meeting said the closings include, “All of our parks, and that includes the ramada reservations, for the next two weeks. So, no large gatherings at the ramadas.”
(McFarland also added this:
“Also, I was notified this evening that the Boys & Girls Clubs is also going to close. They will not remain open, and that will start tomorrow. That’s going to be a big burden on a lot of our community, as they rely on the club, and I know that’s going to be a problem. So please try to deal with it as best you can.”)
Police and fire response
The Police and Fire departments are maintaining a normal business schedule. All first responders are provided information received from the health department, as it relates to the virus. They also carry masks and gloves as a matter of practice. The Fire Department is working closely with the Pinal County Office of Emergency Management to monitor the situation and is following stringent infectious disease protocols, already in place. The ability to provide emergency services to the community has not been impacted, and the city does not anticipate any delay or interruption to services.
Local health centers and schools
The city is working collaboratively and closely with local schools and health centers as they continue to prepare, plan and modify protocols, accordingly. Please visit them directly to stay informed.
Declaration of emergency
The city is also actively evaluating a declaration of emergency to help in the fight of the spread of COVID-19. This measure would further assist in protecting public health by allowing access to federal emergency funds and making it possible for individuals and businesses to receive federal financial assistance.
City Manager Larry Rains is asking the community to remain flexible and work together.
"This is an exceptional city," said Rains. "Times of uncertainty or anxiety is when our community really shows how big of a family we actually are."
For the most up-to-date information on the outbreak and what you can do to reduce your risk, please visit the CDC at www.CoronaVirus.gov.
What is COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), signs and symptoms resemble the common cold or flu and may include a runny nose, cough, sore throat and fever. Most people (about 80 percent) have a mild presentation and recover from the disease without needing special treatment. People can catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from an affected person, even if asymptomatic.
Help stop the spread of COVID-19
Today, President Trump released new federal guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Even if you are young or otherwise healthy, you are still at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that everyone does his/her part to stop the spread of the coronavirus:
Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
If you work in a critical infrastructure industry as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employees should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
Avoid eating or drinking in bars, restaurants and food courts. Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options.
Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
Do not visit nursing homes, retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
Practice good hygiene:
Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
Avoid touching your face.
Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces, as much as possible.
(Posted March 16, 2020)
This announcement by the Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Department was posted today:
Following precautionary measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state leaders, and other health experts, the following city facilities will be closed beginning Tuesday, March 17, until further notice:
• Casa Grande Community Recreation Center
• City of Casa Grande Public Library (both locations)
• Dorothy Powell Senior Center
• Len Colla Recreation Center
All classes, programs, leagues and meetings will be postponed until further notice.
The Community Recreation Center will work to credit members for the period of time the centers are closed.
Private rentals scheduled to take place during the closure are canceled and will be fully refunded. For rental questions or to reschedule your event for a later date, please email CommunityServices@CasaGrandeAZ.gov
Our administrative offices will continue to be available by phone only Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. by calling 421-8677. There will be no public access to these facilities.
For up-to-date information, visit www.casagrandeaz.gov or follow us on social media.
(Posted March 13, 2020)
The city issued this announcement today:
Dorothy Powell Senior Center Will Temporarily Reduce Hours Starting March 16
Effective Monday, March 16, the City of Casa Grande will temporarily reduce hours at the Dorothy Powell Senior Center and suspend non-essential activities until further notice.
This decision is a proactive measure designed to help protect a high-risk population during this serious public health challenge. By temporarily making these changes, the most vulnerable members of our community will have reduced chances of community spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The City of Casa Grande is striving to continue to offer essential services while significantly lowering health risk.
The changes at Dorothy Powell Senior Center are:
• The senior center will only be open for congregate meals from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning March 16. The office will be open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. but will have no public access.
• All activities and programs at the senior center will be suspended.
• The Home Delivered Meal program will continue, but will begin using single use trays and enact other procedures to limit contact between employees, volunteers and participants.
• Transportation will continue but be restricted to only essential trips to and from the center for congregate meals.
For questions or additional information, call 421-8760 between the hours of 8 a.m.-4:00 pm.
The city of Casa Grande will continue to evaluate the Dorothy Powell Senior Center as this rapidly evolving health situation changes daily.
Dino Deluca, left
(Posted March 13, 2020)
The CG Fire Department posted this today:
As public safety dispatchers, we are trained to provide potentially life saving services by instructing callers with step by step instructions.
It’s not very often we have to utilize that training firsthand, but that’s just what one of our off-duty dispatchers did.
Public Safety Dispatcher Dino “D.J.” Deluca had just finished his 10-hour shift and was making his way home when he received an alert on his phone. A report of an unresponsive person nearby.
As it turns out, he was in the right place at the right time. D.J. quickly went in to see if he could assist.
Having been trained in compression-only CPR, D.J. was able to assist in the life-saving technique until fire and medical personnel could arrive on scene to take over.
We would like to commend D.J. on his quick response and willingness to do this out of the kindness of his heart and dedication to his city.
(Posted March 11, 2020)
Pinal County issued this coronavirus statement today:
Cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Pinal County
The total of five Pinal County cases are all from the same household
Pinal County Public Health Department can confirm that two further Pinal County residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Both cases are over sixty years old and from the same household as the three current Pinal County cases (Queen Creek). They are recovering at home.
Pinal County Public Health officials are continuing to investigate the cases.
For the latest information about COVID-19, its symptoms, and advice on ways to prevent infection, please visit azhealth.gov/COVID19 or pinal.gov/publichealth
Scroll down for earlier stories about same family
(Posted March 8, 2020)
State health officials issued this statement this evening:
Public Health Confirms Previously Identified Case of COVID-19
is Member of Arizona School Community
School Administration Implementing Public Health Recommendations
PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Health Services announced that state and local health officials have been working with the administration of American Leadership Academy, Ironwood K-12 campus (in Queen Creek) regarding a member of their school community who was one of the two individuals identified as having a presumptive positive test for COVID-19 (coronavirus) on Saturday, March 7.
This individual did not have severe illness and has fully recovered from the virus.
Because the individual was not on campus while ill, Public Health believes the risk to others, outside of close contacts, of getting COVID-19 from this person is low.
As the school recently started spring break, administrators will have time to fully implement public health recommendations before school is back in session.
The school administration has proactively taken steps to ensure the safety of the families and staff, including cleaning all areas of the campus, establishing enhanced daily cleaning of high-touch surfaces, adding hand sanitizing stations to hallways, and incorporating routine hand hygiene practices throughout the day when students return.
State and local public health are actively investigating to identify any close contacts that may have been exposed. Identified individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms. Any members of this community who are sick with fever, shortness of breath and cough should call their health care provider who can help determine if COVID-19 testing is needed. Families and staff will receive a letter from the school with information on what they need to know and how they can prevent the spread of COVID-19.
(EARLIER STORIES BELOW)
(Posted March 6, 2020)
Pinal County issued this statement this evening:
Presumptive Positive Case of COVID-19 Identified in Pinal County
The case may signal community spread in Arizona
FLORENCE, ARIZ. (March 6, 2020) – Pinal County Public Health Department confirmed a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, bringing the total COVID-19 case count in Arizona to three. The case, a healthcare worker in her 40s, lives in Pinal County and is currently in stable condition in a Maricopa County hospital. She is not a known contact of any confirmed COVID-19 cases and has not traveled to any areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely. For this reason, Public Health is treating this case as its first instance of community spread.
“Community spread refers to the spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. Just like during flu season, if you get symptoms, you need to stay home and take care of yourself,” said Dr. Shauna McIsaac, director of Pinal County Public Health Department. “Similar to the flu, most people will only have mild symptoms that do not require a visit to a healthcare provider or hospital. Individuals who are older or have underlying health conditions like chronic lung disease are at higher risk of more severe illness. Occasionally, a young, healthy person will have severe disease. Unfortunately, this woman is one of those people,” she added.
“We are moving into a public health strategy that is just like seasonal flu. We know that healthcare workers are exposed to people with flu and other infectious diseases all the time and therefore are at higher risk, which is why they wear personal protective equipment,” said Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, medical director for disease control at Maricopa County Department of Public Health. Now that there is community spread of COVID-19, just like during flu season, it is important for everyone, especially healthcare workers, to stay home when they are sick to avoid exposing others. “We are no longer recommending quarantine of exposed healthcare workers who don’t show any symptoms because we need our healthcare workforce during this response,” Dr. Sunenshine added.
COVID-19 is a respiratory infection with symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The vast majority of people with the disease have mild symptoms and will not require medical intervention.
COVID-19 is believed to spread mostly through respiratory droplets produced when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment, but treatments are being studied and a vaccine is currently under development. Individuals with COVID-19 should be provided with supportive care including fluids or fever-reducing medication.
Since receiving the presumptive positive test result, Pinal County and Maricopa County have been working together to interview close contacts of the case and recommend symptom monitoring.
Overall recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases spread through respiratory droplets are:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces like door knobs, light switches, and electronic devices using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Public health encourages concerned individuals to follow credible sites for information about COVID-19. For up-to-date facts, please visit www.pinal.gov/publichealth and http://www.Maricopa.gov/Coronavirus. For statewide case counts and information about testing at the Arizona State Public Health Lab, please visit www.azhealth.gov/COVID-19.
(Posted Feb. 25, 2020)
The video of the discussion is item I2 HERE
The SmartWorks Plus website is HERE
The ASRS retirement work rules are HERE
The council staff report is HERE
The ordinance is HERE
The SmartWorks agreement is HERE
The compensation agreement is HERE
Casa Grande City Manager Larry Rains is eligible to retire under the Arizona State Retirement System.
He’s also maxed out any benefits from ASRS, so staying on is no real benefit to him.
The City Council wants him to stay on the job, guiding Casa Grande through various projects and calling upon his 18 years as finance director, assistant city manager and city manager.
The catch was that if he retired and then was kept on at his ASRS-covered job, he would lose ASRS retirement benefits for the first year.
The solution was for the City Council to approve Rains joining a company known as SmartWorks, which under an agreement with the state provides such newly-retired employees for various municipal positions.
The council approval was unanimous.
(The background of SmartWorks is in the council staff report, above.)
As a private employee, Rains will be able to continue to work for the city on a one-year contract while still drawing his state retirement benefits.
Under the agreement, Rains will retire March 20, coming back to the city March 30 as a SmartWorks employee and paid $151,352.66 annually, or $582.126 a day. His present salary is $195,484.
The city will pay the new salary and related costs directly to SmartWorks, which will receive 4 percent for handling the employment.
The agreement will provide some financial savings for the city, Human Resources Director Scott Barber told the council.
“Social Security, unemployment, those things, are a part of the deal (handled by SmartWorks),” Barber said.
Rains will pay for his own health insurance.
Another savings is that the city’s contribution to ASRS for an employee, due to rise to 10.21 percent on July 1, would now be 1.7 percent less.
Overall savings for the city will be about $75,000 a year, Barber said.
As it now stands, the agreement covers only Rains, not other city employees.
Fitzgibbons asked for clarification.
“I guess I’m a little confused on the ordinance, because I didn’t find it that clear,” she said. “This is something I’ve been concerned with.
“Keeping our current city manager is really important for us and I understand the situation he’s in but it concerns me because I do feel that it’s good to have new people come within our organization.
“Are we opening the door and creating a precedent for this happening to all employees and we get no one new?”
City Attorney Brett Wallace responded that the ordinance, as written, covers only Rains as city manager. Retirees under ASRS from other cities could be considered for other city positions, such as current recruitment for a finance director.
Barber had earlier said that the situation could change in the future if the council wanted to expand the program.
Wallace continued that, “If it’s the desire of council that we do so, then we can bring back maybe a proposal for when that would work, but at this point it’s only doing one employee from the city of Casa Grande because the council has the ability to make that.
“This is a very unique situation, obviously a very unique employee in the city that council had the opportunity to review.
“We just feel at this point, given some of those concerns, we wanted to make a recommendation and I think the ordinance, hopefully, is clear that it’s only for those two classes and the contract cannot exceed the authorization as given in the ordinance.”
Wallace told the council to “‘keep in mind that this is a very narrow piece. We can have whoever we want and any ASRS retiree could come to work for us tomorrow, but there’s just no incentive for them to do that because they would forfeit and then have to return their retirement benefits.
“But they really only have that restriction for the first year. Once they’ve been retired for 365 days, they no longer have that.
“So it’s a very narrow piece. As Mr. Barber said it’s to capture someone who might be in that unique position.”
As Powell sees it, “I think that we’ve made a lot of progress in the last six to eight years. A lot of industry coming in, a lot of growth, housing market is back to a healthy status.
“And we have somebody that’s leading us, our leader, who’s very unique.
“He’s such a key to what we do and how we do it that it’s like shutting off the engine before you get to the end of the road. And we’re not to the end of the road, we’re trying to climb a hill. And we need someone that’s really, really good to do that and we have that kind of faith in Larry and that’s why we want to not make him have to suffer financially, which he would have to, under certain circumstances, but that he would be able to come back or stay here and work with us and lead us into the future.
“There’ll come a time when Larry will probably want to say goodbye to everybody but that’s not that time right now and we certainly don’t want to say goodbye to him.”
“I want to echo everything that Mr. Powell said” Huddleston told the council. “I totally agree with all of that.
“This ordinance, which is what Scott Barber said, is another tool in our toolbox. And I think it’s one that’s reserved for special needs. It’s almost a break glass when needed type thing. And I think we found ourselves in a position where we needed to break the glass and this solves the problem and saves us money at the same time. So I’m all for it.”
“Sometimes we have to take the employee itself out of the picture and look at the position,” she said. “And if we do that with Mr. Rains I don’t think we’d ever find the same replacement, or better, than where we’re at.
“As Mr. Powell said, the expertise that this position has developed over the past years has put us in a new place. And so, I don’t think that we can afford to lose that.
“And so while we’re talking about Larry — and everybody in the room knows that — I think what we’re talking about is with the position of city manager that we have right now it would be detrimental to the city to lose that expertise and I think that is really what we’re looking at.”
(Posted Nov. 1, 2019)
The city issued this announcement today:
The Casa Grande City Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Program, in partnership with the Casa Grande Elementary School District, will host the annual Children's Flower Garden Event on Friday, Nov. 8.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. at the flower garden in front of the City Hall Plaza, located at 510 E. Florence Blvd.
This year's special event is being sponsored by Artistic Land Management LLC.
The schools participating in this year's event are Cottonwood Elementary School, Desert Willow Elementary School, Evergreen Elementary School, Mesquite Elementary School and Villago Middle School, and the Casa Grande Union High School Cougar Spirit Line, Woodwind Section and Blue Notes.
Against Abuse, Inc. will join in the event this year by planting pinwheels to promote child abuse prevention. Also, the Boys & Girls Club of Casa Grande will be providing pin back buttons with inspirational quotes for the students.
The flower garden is planted every year to remember children who have been victims of abuse. Each year, millions of children and adolescents in the United States are exposed to violence. According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, almost five children die every day as a result of abuse in the U.S.
Of the children who die, 41.6 percent suffer physical abuse and 75.4 percent suffer neglect and 72 percent of the child fatalities are younger than three years old.
Their exposure to violence can have a long-lasting physical, psychological and emotional impact. They may suffer from depression, fear, anxiety, aggression, difficulty in school, frequent nightmares and visible injuries.
We need to educate children, families and the community about domestic violence and child abuse and how to recognize the signs and put an end to it.
Gardening is a wonderful way to give children an opportunity to explore and learn about nature. It teaches them self-confidence and responsibility and is a great way to acknowledge the important work they are doing to help children who have been victimized.
The City Attorney's Victim Assistance Program provides direct assistance, support, and protection to victims and their families. We also educate them about domestic violence, safety planning and the criminal justice process. To learn about important resources available, GO TO and click on Victim Assistance or call 421-8600.
(Posted Oct. 23, 2019)
The full feasibility study from 2018, including profit/loss, is HERE
The staff report is HERE
The letter from the consultants is HERE
The City Council has unanimously authorized spending $30,000 to hire a consultant to make a presentation before the Arizona Department of Health Services requesting that the city be granted a certificate of necessity to operate both basic and advanced life support ambulance services.
Spending another $500,000 for attorney fees is also projected.
The approval to hire the J. Vincent Group, which did a feasibility study for the city in 2018, was given during Monday night’s council meeting.
According to the staff report for the agenda item, “The next step is to prepare a CON application and supporting documents as required by the AZDHS. Preparation of Ambulance Cost and Recovery Report (ARCR) pro forma financial information. Provide methodology as required by the AZDHS during the administrative and substantive review process.”
The ending of the staff report adds, “During this hearing process an attorney will be representing us and utilizing our consultants, depending on the length of the process, we could see legal fees of up to $500,000.”
It could take top to six months for a decision from the state, leaving the services now offered by AMR ambulance in place.
Click on above images to enlarge
At one time, it was reported that AMR would campaign against a city certificate, but during Monday night’s meeting Fire Chief Scott Miller said that AMR is now discussing the issue.
“What I’d like to mention,” he said, “is that AMR has indicated through verbal willingness to support the application with specific models. And that model is what we’ve been trying to look at with the public-private model that we started with our memorandum of understanding back a few years ago. We’re waiting for further discussions there, but either way we still need to apply for a CON and move forward, whether we have the public-private partnership or we’re going for our own CON.”
The city at one time had an agreement with then Southwest Ambulance, the predecessor of AMR, but when Southwest was sold after bankruptcy the new owner decided not to honor it.
Benefits to the city from its own certificate, Miller said, include “It provides four dedicated ambulances, is what’s recommended for our community. We can have a single-unit response on a basic life support call. And what that does is it keeps our four-person advanced life support engine available for critical life saving calls, such as cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, stroke, broken hip, leg, trauma patients involved in motor vehicle accidents, stabbings, shootings, machinery accidents, allergic reactions, etc.
“It also will help in reducing down response times, it would increase our customer service. There is a reduction in the perception of seeing an engine on every call, because the ambulance would be able to handle the BLS by themselves. And it would increase the life expectancy of our engine companies.”
According to the feasibility study, the city would have four ambulances. One each at Station 501 downtown, State 502 at Ninth Street and Peart Road, Station 504 on McCartney Road and the fourth at Station 501 for peak load calls.
The feasibility study said among the benefits would be:
• Four ambulances 24 hours, 365 days, and one peak-load ambulance eight hours a day five days per week, 52 weeks a year.
• 90 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 10 minutes or less from
time of notification.
• 95 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 15 minutes or less.
• 99 percent of all emergency calls will be reached in 20 mins or less from time of notification.
(Further details are in the feasibility study, linked above)
“There’s been a couple of things come up in the community about private business and free market. It is not a free market right now. There’s (only) one company that can provide ambulance service to the city of Casa Grande, so we’re not providing a free market.
“This is a great example of you, chief, working with the public/private partnership to try to get this done. And we can control what we want to do in the future.
“We had an agreement with Southwest Ambulance and then when they got bought out they didn’t go along with that agreement that we liked a city, so we’re going to this point. And I’m a really a fan … with the BLS, of running our units so we don’t to run our engines all the time to medical calls.
“So I want to commend you on doing this and I think it’s a great step forward for our citizens and the services that we can provide to make sure that we can keep our citizens safe and the services they need. It’s about services to the citizens and we need to have ambulances here in order to make sure, because when it’s my family or your family or anyone’s family in town you want to have that services as soon as possible. So we want to make sure we can provide that.
“You convinced me at our last meeting that this is important and this is something we need to do.
“You’ve convinced me and the firemen have convinced me that this is something we have to do for safety.
“And, truthfully, I think economically it’ll turn out pretty well in the end, not having to replace equipment as we had before. The cost of a fire engine is pretty expensive and the gas savings. There’s a huge amount of economic savings on what we’re doing with this”
“When I first showed up on council I think one of the first meetings was a study session with the consultants or something and I had a ton of questions about this.
It’s a long road to go down, there’s lots of moving parts and I want to compliment the two chiefs, the firefighters and Mr. Rains (City Manager Larry Rains) for answering all the questions.
“I know there was a lot of them and I had a lot of concerns.
“But I’m convinced that this is the best way to go for the Fire Department, for our city government and as we’ve said, most importantly to the citizens of our community. I think you guys have done a real good job in researching this, doing all the due diligence and, as I said, I’m fully convinced this is the way to go.”
“Several years ago it was pointed out that we were not covered, our residents were not covered, by the ambulance service because the folks servicing that also services the entire county and there would be times when a city of our size would not have ambulance service.
“This way, we’re going to have a dedicated service, somebody that’s dedicated to our residents, will always be there, and then there’s that continuity of care. And I just think that this is the best thing.
“It’s not to compete with the private business. I think this is the best thing we can do for our city.
“We could talk about this all night long, but one of the things I just want to mention is the (competing with) private business issue has come up on social media and I understand what some of the comments are but the bottom line is that our community deserves to be safe and we have the staff to make that happen and I think we need to move forward.”
“This isn’t something that just came up even in the last two years. I think since I’ve been on City Council since 2011 there’s been this discussion and giving some of these companies a chance on some of these issues that we were facing and there weren’t changes.
“So you guys have been on top of this and advised us of the some of the concerns that are out there and then we had a consultant come in and do the research and present the (information) to move forward it was something that we all were really interested in and wanted to make sure we were doing the best thing for the community.
“It was a very detailed report, I think they did a great job, and I’m really looking forward to moving forward on this.
“If we choose to do a public/private partnership that’s great, but if we do something that’s just the city it’s going to provide the best service to our community.”
(Posted Oct. 18, 2019)
Highlights of the presentation are HERE
The Casa Grande Fire Department has proposed a $20 million project to relocate and upgrade three of the present four fire stations — downtown, Peart and Eighth, and at the airport.
No decision on authorizing a bond election has been reached by the City Council.
(Posted Sept. 21, 2019)
The staff report is HERE
The full report, with additional details, statistics and photos, is HERE
The City Council has approved a report to be sent to the federal government outlining how Casa Grande has used money from the Community Development Block Grant program.
The report details accomplishments and spending during the past fiscal year “to measure to what extent the jurisdictions are meeting priority needs, goals and strategies as outlined in the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan.”
Because it is federal money, a report on how the funds were used is required.
An overview of the report, present to the council by Mary Allen, the city’s grants coordinator, includes:
• Seeds of Hope’s Senior Connections program, given $15,905 to provide services to 68 seniors.
• Against Abuse’s Advocacy Services for Victims and Homeless Women and Children, $15,000 and served 53 woman and children.
• Casa Grande Police Department’s Southside Crime Prevention Education Program, $5,000 to serve approximately 200 local residents. “Thomas Anderson (the department’s public information officer) did an awesome job of reaching out to the south side neighborhoods,” Allen told the council.
• Community Action Human Resources Agency (CAHRA), for Casa Grande homeless services, $14,670.15, serving 60 clients in the city.
Housing and Public Facility Improvements
• Arizona Foundation for the Handicapped, $40,000 for improvements, serving 101 handicapped people. “They are located down on Main Street and they’ve got two buildings,” Allen said, “and they didn’t have accessible bathrooms, so $40,000 to help them fix those facilities.”
• Casa Grande Community Services Department, $50,000 for Carr McNatt Park playground equipment. “That was a carryover from the previous year,” Allen said, “but we were finally able to get to where we could install it. I kind of guesstimated a minimum of a thousand residents benefit from that playground equipment.”
• Casa Grande Community Development Division’s owner occupied housing rehabilitation program, $25,177. “We completed three owner-occupied housing rehabilitations houses and we have three more projects in progress,” Allen told the council.
Public Facility Improvements in Progress
• Casa Grande Public Works Department, Southside sidewalk project, $120,821. “That’s going to be sidewalk improvements from Nutt Park to Elliot Park,” Allen said. “I believe they’re in the process of awarding that contract.”
• Casa Grande Community Services Department, $30,000 for a shade ramada in Elliot Park. “We’re moving forward with that project now that we own it (the park),” Allen said.
As Councilwoman Donna McBride sees it, “I think that all of those projects help so many different parts of our community and different age groups, and that’s very important.”
Approval of sending the report was unanimous, with Councilwoman Mary Kortsen on an excused absence.
(Posted Sept. 16, 2019)
Terms of the agreement are HERE
Casa Grande is swapping space on the Kiwanis Field telecommunications tower in Carr McNatt Park (10th Street and Brown Avenue) for Elliot Park, now owned by Casa Grande Elementary School District.
Initial approval was given Monday night by the City Council.
As the staff report describes the two-part deal:
“The city has, for some time, been in discussions with the Casa Grande Elementary School District to acquire Elliot Park (105 S. Florence St.), which is owned by the district but has been maintained by the city as a city park.
“The mayor and City Council formally made the acquisition of Elliot Park a goal as part of the 2018 Strategic Plan and staff has been in near constant communication with the district since that time to finalize an agreement to exchange the park land for space on the city's radio tower at Kiwanis Field.
“The parties have now reached an agreement in principle to provide an easement to the top of the Kiwanis Field tower for a period of 50 years in favor of the district, with the city receiving a deed to the park.
“The easement, which would allow the district use of the tower but would also allow the city to use the tower for its own use or to lease to other parties as long as the uses do not interfere with each other, would be provided free of charge to the district in exchange for the district conveying the land (park) to the city. These uses have been acknowledged by the parties to be roughly equivalent in value, which is required to allow the district to convey the property.”
The staff report adds that, “the city has provided landscaping maintenance for Elliot Park for the several years. Once the property is acquired, as part of the council’s strategic plan, staff has planned significant improvements to the park, including new parking spaces, new playground equipment with a shade structure, as well as a new ramada and sidewalks.
“Staff hopes obtaining ownership of the park and the improvements thereto will help improve amenities to the nearby residents and serve as a beautification project for the area.”
The vote for initial approval was unanimous, with Councilwoman Mary Kortsen on excused absence. The final vote is expected during the next council meeting.
Before the vote, Councilman Dick Powell said he had looked at the park area.
“I’ve looked at Main Street, that two-block area that needs to be new road in there, Florence Street coming in needs to be repaved,” he said.
“When those kind of things get done, it’s going to really feel different down there on the south side of Casa Grande. I’m really happy that this is happening.”
(Posted Aug. 20, 2019)
The city posted this announcement today:
The City of Casa Grande is excited to offer residents a new online service request portal which will include a new mobile app.
This new system will provide citizens with a new and improved way to submit service requests, track ticket progress, and submit additional feedback directly to city departments ensuring better customer service.
Residents who see a non-emergency issue that needs to be addressed, such as a pothole, graffiti, non-working street light, uncontained trash pick-up, abandoned vehicle, illegal dumping, or other code violation can submit a request through the portal or mobile app.
Users are also able to include the pinpoint location and a photo of the request when submitting a ticket, allowing city officials to receive and resolve the request quickly and efficiently.
The city evaluated the prior system and decided it was time to upgrade to include a mobile app, allowing citizens an easier way to communicate to city staff in a timely matter.
Other benefits of this new app include a modern, simplified interface to enhance user experience, improved GPS mapping of service location, quick access to city news and social media. City staff will be able to monitor how quickly requests are being addressed and provide the customer with status updates.
Citizens can also send reports HERE.
For more information, including instructions on how to create an account or report an issue, call the Public Works Department at 421-8625.
(Posted Aug. 20, 2019)
Further information, including rehab guidelines and application form, is available on the city’s website at
Casa Grande is seeking $310,000 in state funds for the city’s owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program.
As outlined to the City Council during Monday night’s session, it’s a competitive process with other cities.
To boost the city’s chances of receiving the $310,000, Grant Coordinator Mary Allen told the council, Casa Grande will add other money available to it.
That includes $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, $15,000 from the county Human Action Human Resources Agency for weatherizing of homes, and other sources for a total, with the state funding, of $465,000.
If that total amount is available, Allen said, the city hopes to rehabilitate four to six homes during the next year.
“We have an application process, we do determine eligibility financially,” Allen continued. “Also they have to live in their home for at least a minimum of six months.
“We are actually prioritizing the elderly, the physically disabled and it definitely has to be low to moderate income.”
The council vote was unanimous to approve applying for the state grants and to accept the updated housing rehabilitation guidelines.
(Posted Aug. 19, 2019)
The current General Plan is found at:
The scope of update work is HERE
The update costs breakdown is HERE
The citizen participation plan is HERE
The citizen advisory group list is HERE
Every 10 years, Casa Grande updates its General Plan, a guide to the future.
Final City Council approval was given Monday night to a $200,000 consultant contract with PLAN*et consultants for the latest update, going through 2030.
The council also adopted a public participation plan for the update and appointed a steering committee of residents from various business and community backgrounds.
As the current document says, the General Plan is a lengthy, comprehensive document that “includes elements that provide guidance for future growth and development” and “should be referred to when considering requests for rezoning and new development within the Casa Grande municipal limits and planning area. Each element includes goals, policies, strategies, maps and figures”s
During initial approved of the PLAN*et contract two weeks ago, Planning and Development Director Paul Tice said, “I might note that PLAN*et was involved with the last General Plan update. Leslie Dornfeld, the principal at PLAN*et, was highly involved as the project manager for our last General Plan and she has a consultant team consisting of a number of staff who were also involved with the last General Plan.
“Many of those same plan member, team members, were actually involved with the assistance team that recently visited for our downtown project, as well.”
According to the staff report, “The adopted public participation plan calls for the creation of a community-based steering forum whose role is to help steer the direction of the General Plan update process and to act as ambassadors and champions of the update to the various community groups/interests that they represent.
“Due to the large size of this group (25+) of people who are active in a number of different community affairs it is recommended that a quorum for meeting business purposes be defined as a minimum of 10. The meetings of the steering forum will be public meetings and as such staff will post notice of the meetings as well as take minutes that will be forwarded to City Council for acceptance.”
The number is actually 29 on the citizen committee.
“This formally creates this committee,” Tice told the council Monday night.
Final council approval for the items was unanimous.
(Posted Aug. 6, 2019)
The staff report is HERE
The presentation material is HERE
Video of the one hour, 19 minute discussion is item K2 at https://casagrandeaz.swagit.com/play/08052019-1123
(NOTE: An earlier version misidentified those voting no. That has been corrected.)
Action to eventually end the irrigation system within the Evergreen Historic District was put on hold Monday night by the City Council pending further discussion.
The vote was 5-2, with councilwomen Mary Kortsen and Donna McBride opposed.
No date was set for future action or appointing a city/Evergreen users committee to discuss the problems.
Before the council was a staff recommendation to refund the $1,019 assessment to users made during repairs to the system pump in 2014.
As the staff report puts it, “The city will continue to operate the Evergreen Irrigation system with the current well, current pump and current flow of water until June 30, 2020, or if the system fails, whichever comes first. At that point, the system will be discontinued. With this refund, the city agrees to operate the system with no further capital repairs to the system.”
In the 1980s, the staff report continues, there were approximately 50 users of the system. In 2014, the number of users dropped to 26. Of those, 22 customers agreed to pay the $1,019 assessment to continue as users. There are currently nine active users in the system.
The report shows that during 2018, revenue was $13,318 versus $26,507 in expenses. So far this year, the report says, revenue is $5,356 versus expenses of $22,422.
The well, originally drilled in the 1920s, has had problems and the water delivery system also needs work, the council was told.
The system now is able to deliver about 100 gallons of water a minute, far below what is needed. In some cases, the council was told, that is barely enough to reach some users, or not enough to even water some properties.
“The costs of drilling a new well range from $394,893 to $592,408 depending upon the specifications desired,” the staff report says.
“This includes the cost of drilling the well and adding a new turbine pump assembly. This is assuming that the well could be drilled upon the current location; however, there are several other potential issues at the current location based on the size of the lot and proximity to houses. Any new well drilled would have to be permitted by the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
“Public works has estimated the costs for new underground pipes to the delivery system at an additional $480,000 to $770,000, depending upon exact locations of pipe and construction methods necessary for installation.
“Under the provisions of the 1986 ordinance, if council assessed only the active users of the property, each property would need to be assessed between approximately $97,000 and $155,000, depending on the final cost of repairs to the system in order to drill a new well and upgrade the delivery system”
An alternative to closing the system, the report says, would be approving $1.4 million to completely rebuild the system, including $592,000 to drill a new well, $770,000 for a new delivery system, and $38,000 for contingency.
(Posted Aug. 5, 2019)
Banner Casa Grande Medical Center announced this today:
Banner Casa Grande Medical Center will begin work on a $10 million Emergency Department and Wound Clinic expansion this fall.
The expansion, part of an ongoing commitment to update the hospital, will add more than 3,300 square feet to the existing Emergency department, creating private triage areas and 12 more patient rooms to bring the total number of ED beds to 28.
The project will also put a second CT scanner in the ED, add more public restrooms, and expand staff storage and work space.
“As more people continue to move to our community, we want to make sure our Emergency department can handle their needs,’’ said Brian Kellar, CEO of Banner Casa Grande. “It’s our responsibility to make sure people have the best possible access to emergency medicine now and in the future.
“This expansion allows us to provide even greater access to emergency-care services.’’
The Banner Casa Grande Emergency department records more than 4,000 visits a month, making it the busiest ED in Pinal County.
The project’s first phase will move the current Wound Clinic to a more accessible space in the medical office building next to the hospital on Florence Boulevard. The second phase calls for the former clinic space to be remodeled into additional space for the Emergency department, Kellar said.
Planning and design have already begun, with construction expected to be finished by November 2020.
Emergency services will not be affected by the construction, Kellar said. Parking and ED access will remain the same.
The ED expansion is the latest phase in Banner’s updates to the Casa Grande campus, Kellar said. Since 2014, Banner Health has invested millions in facility upgrades, including opening a new Women’s and Infant Services unit and expanding the hospital’s pharmacy.
(Posted July 12, 2019)
Now that Casa Grande has terminated its recycling program (in which only about 26 percent of customers participated), the city has posted this list of places that will take some recyclable items:
• City of Casa Grande Landfill
5200 ChuiChu Road
Scrap metals, appliances, electronic-waste, paints
Monday-Saturday 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Metal Solutions
1551 N. VIP Blvd.
Aluminum cans, aluminum, electronic, metals, pallets
• Recycle Cans and Plastics
852 W. Gila Bend Highway
Cans and clear plastics only
• Timeless Recycling
401 W. Main Ave.
Aluminum cans, plastic #1, copper, brass, electrical wire, Christmas lights, batteries
• Wellington Salvage
1429 N. Grant Ave.
Aluminum cans, aluminum, electronic, metals, pallets
(Posted July 15, 2019)
A proposal for a single-story skilled nursing facility at the southeast corner of a vacant area at Trekell and Kortsen roads is a step closer with City Council initial approval of changing zoning there.
The north part of the vacant land is now zoned as general business and the south as commercial office.
City Planner James Gagliardi told the council during its July 8 meeting that the present zoning categories would not allow a nursing facility.
“It can only be accommodated in other zone districts such as the R2, which is conditionally permitted,” he said.
These are the city’s definitions of the zoning categories involved in the request:
• R-2 – MULTI-FAMILY RESIDENTIAL
The purpose of the R-2 Zone is to provide for medium density housing in multiple-family structures and directly related complementary uses. The R-2 Zone is designed to allow an economical use of land while creating an attractive, functional and safe residential environment.
• B-2 – GENERAL BUSINESS ZONE
The purpose of the B-2 Zone is to provide for low intensity, retail or service outlets which deal directly with the consumer for whom the goods or services are intended. The uses allowed in this district are to provide goods and services on a community market scale and located in areas which are served by arterial street facilities.
• COMMERCIAL OFFICE ZONE
The commercial office (CO) zoning district is established to provide for well-designed and attractive professional, administrative, and business offices of a residential scale and character on sites in appropriate locations to serve the nearby residential and commercial areas. The commercial office zoning district is characterized by low volumes of direct customer contact and is designed to provide a transition of development between residential neighborhoods and more intense land uses, districts, and heavily traveled transportation routes. The principal uses permitted in this district are professional, semi-professional, administrative, and business offices, and branch offices for banks and similar financial institutions.
Because the proposed project butts up to the Cottonwood Ranch neighborhood, several comments were received from neighbors, Gagliardi continued.
(See link above to written comments)
“People definitely did not want to see multi-family, a lot of people requested that there be a limit of height at 20 feet,” Gagliardi said. “There was concern about proximity of parking areas to the back, also some questioning in regards to type of landscaping and screens to be created between Cottonwood Ranch and this new development.”
There is now a 30-foot landscape buffer on the Cottonwood Ranch side, he continued, and the 20-foot buffer on the nursing home side would effectively create a 50-foot buffer.
There were also questions about pedestrian access and an emergency access road, Gagliardi said, things that would have to be detailed by the developer as the process moves on.
“As a result of those concerns, staff came up with a list of recommended conditions that would be imposed on the zone district that would help minimize those concerns and help make this a compatible site with the Cottonwood Ranch neighborhood,” he continued.
• Except for single-family dwellings on individual lots, a major site plan shall be required to be considered for approval by the Planning Commission prior to construction of any use on this property.
• Development is limited to single-story structures with a maximum height of 20 feet for principally permitted uses and a maximum height of 28 feet for conditionally permitted uses.
• All buildings, other than accessory, shall be setback a minimum distance of 75 feet from this property’s south and east boundary. Accessory structures shall have a minimum setback of 20 feet.
• A minimum 20 feet landscape buffer shall be provided along this property’s south and east boundaries. Quantity, minimum spacing, and varietal type of landscaping, as well as any wall design and placement, shall be determined at the time of major site plan/preliminary landscape plan consideration by the Planning Commission.
• The site design shall address the concern regarding pedestrian access between this subject site and Cottonwood Ranch Tract ‘P’.
• Four-sided architecture is required, which is to include the use of masonry; door and window detail such as pop-outs, recesses, or ledges; and wall articulation of on all sides of principle buildings.
• Prior to any development, the subject property shall be placed in its own parcel or parcels, all of which shall be completely contained within the new R-2 zone boundary.
• Vehicular, utility and emergency access easements to the property, where needed, meeting City standards shall be recorded prior to the issuance of any building permits on this property.
Almost all of the vacant land is under the same owner, Gagliardi said, so there’s no issue with access, but the city want to make sure the access easements are created before issuing a building permit.
“Should this request for zone change be approved,” he continued, “the next step for the applicant is to go forward with a major site plan and conditional use permit to build their skilled facility.”
Voting for the initial zone change approval (with final approval expected during the next meeting) were council members Mary Kortsen, Dick Powell, Matt Herman, Bob Huddleston and Lisa Fitzgibbons. Mayor Craig McFarland abstained from voting and Councilwoman Donna McBride was on an excused absence.
TOP: The new exterior, looking west. ABOVE: Proposed large meeting room. LEFT: Proposed small meeting room.
(Posted July 10, 2019)
The staff report is HERE
The construction timetable is HERE
A $765,100 expansion of Casa Grande’s Main Library at 449 N. Drylake St. was given initial approval Monday night by the City Council. Final approval is expected during the next council meeting.
The construction timeline for the project to add meeting rooms and widen a hallway show initial work beginning this month and final completion in early January of next year. The changes will be on the east and north sides of the present building.
Development impact fees of $720,000 and a $45,100 grant from Arizona State Library will pay for the work.
Steve Hardesty, community services director, told the council that, “The goals of the expansion project are several.
“It will provide additional meeting space for the public, provide additional rooms which currently are not available at the Main Library, it will provide staff with more flexibility and ability to serve public requests with more efficiency and it will invest our historical development impact fees into something that the citizens can realize.”
In showing the council sketches of the outside and interior work, Hardesty said the furniture shown will not necessarily be what is finally chosen.
“The actual furniture that will be selected has not been selected yet so the room could be configured into several different ways to utilize for the public,” he said.
Hardesty noted that there are study rooms at the Vista Grande Library “that are heavily utilized and our staff feels it would really expand our programs to have these study rooms available” at the Main Library.
Responding to a question from Councilman Matt Herman about landscaping not being in the construction contract, Hardest said, “We’re trying to value engineer the project to meet the budget, so that’s an area, landscaping, you can spend a lot of money, which our (city) staff can do utilizing their skills. It will not be less landscaping.”
(Posted July 9, 2019)
(Click on an organization name for services provided)
Community grants totaling $301,650 were approved Monday night by the Casa Grande City Council.
• Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth - $25,000.
• Boys & Girls Clubs of Arizona - $140,000.
• Casa Grande Main Street - $39,150.
• Casa Grande Valley Historical Society - $34,000.
• Greater Casa Grande Chamber of Commerce - $43,500.
• Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority - $20,000.
The staff report accompanying the agenda item points out that grants are the same as last year, except that, “The funding request for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Arizona increased by $30,000 due to an expansion of service. The Boys and Girls Clubs will oversee a Teen Program at the Community Recreation Center.”
The report adds that, “Each of these organizations provides 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.
“The city made applications available to the organizations for the upcoming fiscal year as well.
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.
“As shown in years past, the value of the impact that each of the services organizations provides greatly outweigh the monetary value, and represent a great investment to our community.
“The funding composition for this request includes $161,650 from the General Fund and $140,000 from the Youth Services - Dedicated Sales Tax Fund.”
(Posted June 12, 2019)
Pinal County made this announcement today:
We are sending this out as a courtesy to ACRL
Arizona’s Center for Rural Leadership, commonly known as Project CENTRL, distributed select awards during its annual CENTRL Celebration June 8, 2019 at the Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino in Chandler.
The 2019 Outstanding Alumni Award for Civic Impact was given to Casa Grande resident and Pinal County employee Donna McBride, who was a member of CENTRL’s Class 18 from 2005-07
More than 150 people in attendance represented leaders from across the state who are alumni of the program, graduates of Class 27, the newly selected participants in Class 28 and members of the board of directors.
The Civic Impact Award recognizes someone who has taken the skills and networks they built during CENTRL and works to improve the common good of the community. Coincidentally, this year’s winner is from one our featured classes: Class 18.
She has dedicated her professional and volunteer life to public service. She currently is the mayor pro tem of Casa Grande, serving on the city council since 2016. What started as a volunteer position in Pinal County Juvenile Court, turned into a 15-year second career working with Court Appointed Special Advocate Unit. She helped create the Casa Grande Youth Commission and has been a part of just about everything in Casa Grande from the mayor’s reading to drug prevention (Casa Grande Alliance board president) to the Parks/Recreation and Police Advisory boards. As a reflection of her efforts, she was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism.
In the words of one of her nominators: “she is a caring and generous person who is always going 100 miles per hour and works from sunup to sundown to help improve the lives of others.”
Project CENTRL is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization committed to improving the development of Arizona’s rural leaders and establishing a network of problem-solvers, decision makers and spokespersons for rural Arizona.
Each year it competitively selects 16 participants connected to rural Arizona for a 12-month, tuition-free training program delivered in Arizona’s rural communities, Sonora, Mexico, and Washington D.C. Participants build personal leadership skills, learn about the issues facing the state and connect with experts and other leaders. More than 650 people have graduated from program including six serving in Arizona’s 54th Legislature.
Visit www.centrl.org for more information.