BISBEE — Newly sworn in Mayor Ken Budge and Councilman Frank Davis joined the City Council for their first meeting Dec. 1.
Incumbents Louis Pawlik and Joan Hansen were sworn in on Nov. 30.
Budge made it clear from the start he wanted to end the bickering on social media and stated, “Our town wins by bringing people along with the city, not shutting them out. It’s time to stop picking fights, instead let’s bring this city together rather than pushing it apart.”
He asked the residents to “continue to fight the relentless transmission of this COVID–19 virus. I am asking residents to continue adhering with all guidelines so conditions don’t deteriorate. We all can work together for a bright and shared future in a city that we all have pride in and that we call home. A community where regardless of what is happening across the nation and the world, we take care of each other.
“My commitment is to remember I serve you and will always try to do the most good for the most people. Because many issues are complex and sometimes emotionally charged, I commit to being open to you with all information. We will move through any uncertainty slowly, studying the issues and disseminating the information, to make the best decision we can as your elected officials.
“Also, I will be willing to change course if mistakes are made and things don’t go as planned. Working towards this vision is going to take a lot of listening, learning and patience, both on my part, and everyone who shows up to be a part of the conversation. This is not just the seven of us, but everybody who will share their expertise and feelings with us. I know that we as a council show up because we love this city and I hope you will do the same. Despite the challenges before us, there’s also plenty of opportunity. I’m excited to serve this city, and I’m looking forward to these next two years.”
Davis thanked outgoing Mayor David Smith and Councilman Bill Higgins for their service.
Pawlik and Hansen thanked the communities for their continued support.
Comments on animal shelter continue
Failure to pass a new 1 percent sales tax in the General Election was suggested by resident Vicky Bartz to be the reason City Manager Theresa Coleman, Mayor David Smith and some members of the council chose to revisit the contract with Friends of the Bisbee Animal Shelter, though the decision to go from an annual contract to a monthly contract was decided in June.
She has worked in government and noted, “I have never created budgets based upon money maybes.”
In a public comment read to the council, Bartz thanked the council members who support FBAS and pointed out the city approved an $85,000 annual contract with the nonprofit to manage the shelter, but then changed the contract to a monthly agreement.
She, Janet Gray and Fred Miller all found fault with the second request for proposal, as it maintains care of animals to be held to three to five days and only included animals turned in by the animal control officer, law enforcement and emergency personnel.
Miller wrote, “The RFP is not consistent with what the community wants. It ignores it.”
CQ library helps patrons
Jason Macoviak, Copper Queen Library manager, and Alison Williams, library grant coordinator, gave an overview on how the library and the Melody Lane Branch were doing in the COVID-19 shutdown.
In the Herald/Review’s Best of Bisbee, the library took best attraction and best customer service, with the Friends of the Copper Queen Library taking best event for the annual chocolate tasting and best charity, Macoviak said.
Though the libraries are closed to the public, both provide “curbside pickup” of books and movies in a no-contact setting on the main library balcony, he said. Wi-Fi and newly installed electrical outlets, compliments of Step Up Bisbee Naco, are available to residents also on the main library’s balcony. People can use their own laptops or borrow a Chromebook to access the Internet.
The library started the pickup in May and has grown from 553 checkouts to 2,420 in October, Macoviak said.
He pointed out all materials that come back to the library are quarantined for 72 hours and are disinfected to ensure no spread of the virus.
Thanks to county library director Amadee Ricketts and eight other libraries in the state, the offerings for E-content has grown to 140,000 titles and over 3,700 periodicals, he said.
Williams said the Summer Reading Program was able to continue via mail thanks to funding from Freeport McMoRan Inc., Friends of the Bisbee Library. The 80 participants received a packet each week for the eight-week program.