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Ceiling collapse at St. Vincent de Paul leads to setback
  • Updated

SIERRA VISTA — During the weekend of June 4, the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Myer Drive experienced a ceiling collapse where a portion of the southern end of the store caved in. There was no sign of water damage and the cause for the ceiling collapse is still unknown.

President Pauline Fredericks said four contractors have stopped by to assess the damage.

“Their facial expressions were perfect because no one could figure out how it happened except that it happened,” she said.

St. Vincent de Paul is working with its insurance company and prospective contractors to obtain price points for a restoration project of the ceiling.

“Everything is a waiting game,” Fredericks said. “People came right to our need, to assess it and replying with a solid contract in accordance with what the adjuster claims is the deal.”

St. Vincent de Paul thrift store currently is closed. The store consists of furniture, clothing and miscellaneous accessories for households. The organization often provides vouchers for residents in the community as a way of providing assistance to those that are in need. Although the organization relies on donations, the closure of the store has led to a significant impact on operations.

“The thrift store is the bread and butter of St. Vincent de Paul,” Fredericks said.

Fredericks said the building tested negative for asbestos. The building was constructed in 1980 and has been home to St. Vincent de Paul ever since.

“We are so thankful no one was in the building,” she said.

The organization is coming up with possible solutions to continue operations while the physical store remains indefinitely closed. There will be a parking lot sale Saturday, June 25, from 9 a.m.-noon at the Myer Drive property.

St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift store is not accepting any item donations at this time.

“One-hundred percent of the sales stay within the community,” Fredericks said.

Time plays a factor in regards to repairs and which bid will be accepted.

Once a contractor is selected, Fredericks hopes the project can be completed in a couple of weeks. As a contractor is chosen, a bid is submitted to the insurance adjuster. Once the claim is reviewed, the adjuster has to choose to agree to the scope of the work.

“I’m learning stuff that I never wanted to learn in my life,” Fredericks said.

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County adds additional PSPRS payment
  • Updated

BISBEE — Moving forward on paying off the county’s $36.7 million unfunded liability to the state Public Safety Personnel Retirement System, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors decided to make a second payment of $2.5 million in the 2021–22 fiscal year.

County Budget Manager Daniel Duchon said the supervisors adopted a four-year plan in October to pay down an additional $2.5 million per year to reduce the liability. The county has already paid the $2.5 million for the 2021–22 fiscal year.

However, he expressed concern the expenditure limit could be reduced again next year. It was reduced this year by $755,000 due to the population loss from the 2020 Census. The General Fund was impacted, which pays for employees, retirement payments, employee health insurance, fleet expenses, capital projects, building enhancement, travel, training, computers and software.

The money will come from the General Fund Contingency leaving about $15 million in the contingency fund.

Supervisors Peggy Judd, Ann English and Tom Crosby approved the payment.

Mosquito surveillance

Just in time for the monsoon, the supervisors approved spending $73,859 for mosquito surveillance with Arbo Scientific for the surveillance services, as requested by Cochise County Health & Social Services Directors Alicia Thompson. The service is critical to CHSS’s ability to notify communities of potential adverse health effects from mosquito bites. Trapping locations will be in Sierra Vista, Bisbee, Naco, Douglas, Pirtleville, Willcox, Benson, St. David, Elfrida and Sunsites from July 1 through Oct. 31.

“Cochise County will be provided with viral testing results weekly,” Thompson said. “When positive viral test results are received, extensive public health communications will be targeted to the problem areas using social media, press releases and public service announcements.”

She said there were 1,693 confirmed or probable cases of West Nile Virus in Arizona which resulted in 121 deaths. Cochise County had one probable case.

“However, Pima County, our close neighbor had 99 cases,” Thompson said. “Identifying whether mosquitos are testing positive is critical to our ability to warn community members to take precautions to prevent illness and death.”

Mosquito females can carry the pathogens for Zika, chikungunya, dengue fever, West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services. They can lay eggs in or near water and some species need only small amounts of water in potted plants, buckets, bird baths and toys.

AZDHS recommends to prevent breeding, toss and scrub items that can hold water, keep yards clear of debris and clean out gutters. People can protect themselves by using an Environmental Protection Act recommended insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

CCSO business

The Naco School District will get its school resource officer for the 2022-23 fiscal year through a $75,100 grant from the Arizona Department of Education’s School Safety Program with the approval of the supervisors.

Lt. Sean Gijanto of the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said the grant will cover the majority of the salary and employee-related expenses for the SRO. Any cost over $75,100 will be absorbed by the Sheriff’s Office and is estimated to be less than $20,000 annually.

On another CSO matter, the supervisors approved an interfund transfer of up to $250,000 from the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs Border Pilot Program Jail Fund to the General Fund for Sheriff’s Office jail expenses for border crimes.

Duchon said the $1.4 million grant was approved after the current fiscal year began and was placed in a CCSO special fund for jail personnel expenses. The funds need to be moved to the jail expense budget line item. The exact total to be transferred will not be known until the 2021-22 fiscal year that ends on June 30.

County treasurer business

County Treasurer Catherine Traywick received approval to abate property taxes and interest on 38 parcels removed due to the condition of the mobile homes or other structures on the property.

“After a diligent search by this office and the Sheriff’s Department, we have determined that the property that was subject to the taxes was removed, destroyed and no longer has any real value that would warrant collection,” she noted.

Medical examiner

The supervisors approved a new intergovernmental agreement between the county and Pima County medical examiner services as requested by Thompson.

The contract will run from June 30, 2022, to June 30, 2027. Base rate was raised from $87,500 to $93,750 per quarter, a $6,250 increase.

Thompson explained the services are required for accident victims, homicides and suicides. It is cheaper for the county to contract out the services rather than have a full-time medical examiner.