BISBEE — Construction of the new Bisbee city hall was again delayed Tuesday, as the city council decided to table approval of an agreement with Albert Hopper for architectural and engineering services.
Councilmembers Louis Pawlick, Joni Giacomino, Bill Higgins, Leslie Johns, Joan Hansen and Anna Cline voted to table the agenda item. Mayor David Smith voted against it.
Pawlick said he had questions he wanted to ask the city attorney, who was not present at Tuesday’s regular meeting, and moved to table the decision until his questions were answered.
The councilmembers made no other comments before voting.
In the plans for the two–story design with no basement, there was no space allotted for the Public Works Department in the 9,270–sqaure foot building. A note stated it was “assumed Public Works will be housed elsewhere.”
The $2.8 million estimated budget included demolition of the remaining structure, furniture, an exterior west porch, civic plaza and more.
During the Call to the Public, several people spoke on the closing of the Hillcrest Apartments earlier in the day.
An unpaid sewage bill of $87,221 and no confidence the owner Jose Olivar, who lives in California, would pay up after numerous attempts to collect over several years, led the city to decide to cut off sewer service which in turn led to the shutoff of water by the Arizona Water Company to prevent any back flow. Power was also disconnected.
Ron Freeman, manager and maintenance man, explained only five or six of the tenants on subsidized rent found other housing.
Nine or 10 other tenants, including a child, were left with nowhere to go. Some had paid December rent, some had not.
Though Olivar was informed of the disconnect in September, the tenants were only notified 12 days ago, which left little time to find housing, he added.
A main concern was that the belongings people had to leave behind would be at risk of theft and vandalism, he noted.
Others disliked the timing of the disconnects, near Christmas and in cold weather.
Dan Maldonado, who was not a resident, said he understood the reasons behind the disconnection, but asked on humanitarian concerns the city consider allowing tenants more time to come up with deposits and first month’s rents.
Though the mayor and council are not permitted to discuss or take any action on subjects residents bring up during Call to the Public, Smith pointed out the tenants were told “sometime ago” and were provided with information on the homeless shelter. Anyone with a child is admitted there.