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Tue, May 11

City water line extension request denied by council
Councilmembers say city not in position to finance individual water projects

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — Although sympathetic to residents’ water situation, the Williams City Council denied a request to provide city water to homeowners in the Lazy E Subdivision near Elephant Rocks Golf Course at its regular meeting Jan. 9.

According to City Manager Chase Waggoner, 10 property owners in the Lazy E Subdivision approached him about extending a water line to provide city water to the residences. The residents also asked if the city would front the cost of the water line and residents would repay the loan with 3 percent interest over a 10-year period.

Waggoner said city engineers estimated the cost at $241,707 for the water line extension.

City councilmember Mike Cowen recused himself from the discussion because of a conflict of interest as a property owner of Lazy E Subdivision.

Councilmember Don Dent led the discussion of the possible water line extension. He said he had previously spoken to some of the residents and suggested they bring it before the council.

“I would love to see this project happen because the fire protection is a big deal,” Dent said. “But first of all we are opening up a can of worms here that we can never close because this is not the only location in the city that has this problem.”

Dent said he believes the subdivision was created about 50 years ago and at that time the developers did not include water and sewer infrastructure.

“It probably should have been done 50 years ago, but we didn’t have a say in it back then,” he said.

Dent and city councilman Bernie Hiemenz expressed concern about the city financing the project.

They said the city is in the process of accepting a $15 million loan for the new Dogtown Lake water line and million gallon storage tank, and said it would be inappropriate for the city itself to loan money.

“We’re not in a positon to be a bank to loan money even if there is a benefit through fire protection,” Dent said. “I don’t believe we have an extra $241,000 we should be loaning out to anyone else when we are borrowing money to do other projects that will benefit the whole city.

Hiemenz echoed the concern and said he believes the cost estimate is far below the actual cost.

“I think it could be three times that amount,” he said.

Another concern the council had was the number of vacant lots in the subdivision.

“Another suggestion is to form a homeowners association and approach a bank as a group,” Waggoner said.

Dent and Waggoner also suggested the residents look into forming a water district for their water infrastructure needs.

“I support Chase continuing to help them,” Dent said. “But if we start doing loans for infrastructure we are going to have them lined up at the door next Monday with their hands out for other projects around town. We don’t have the money. We don’t have extra money sitting around that’s not budgeted for things we need to do.”

The resolution died for a lack of a motion.

In other council news:

The council passed a resolution to support a Department of Defense request to conduct military training operations in Williams.

Moore said the request came to the city approximately three weeks ago and he was initially concerned with the potential negative effects on the tourism in Williams.

“I envisioned helicopter operations and other disruptive activities,” Moore said.

Moore said after meeting with a U.S. Army captain, he discovered the group is interested in interviewing leadership within the city, the health clinic and the police department and using it as a training opportunity for soldiers going overseas. The group will be here for about one week.

“They are interested in sitting down and talking to people and have training interactive with government officials,” said Williams City Manager Chase Wagoner. “It will be a group of four interviewers with one observer.”

The council passed the resolution.

The council approved a $450,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation for an airport master plan project with Coffman Associates, Inc. as the project consultant. Moore said this money is the typical amount the airport receives every year.

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