Huachuca City town council

Gerald Hursh is sworn in as the new Animal Control Officer for the town of Huachuca City at Thursday's council meeting. 

HUACHUCA CITY — At Thursday’s regularly scheduled Huachuca City town council meeting, a resolution to authorize an intergovernmental agreement extension with Whetstone Fire District for fire and emergency medical services was approved by council.

The intergovernmental agreement was one of six new business items the council addressed.

“We are currently under an existing extension, as our contract with Whetstone Fire expired on Dec. 31 last year,” explained Mayor Johann Wallace. “We had previously approved an extension through the end of this month … and we are working with the Whetstone board president to revamp the contract. This (extension) gives staff time to work through the agreement.”

Council approved the extension for an additional six months, or until contract agreement between the town and Whetstone Fire District is reached, whichever comes first.

The town has a new animal control officer in Gerald Hursh, who was sworn into office by Huachuca City Police Chief Jim Thies.

The first reading of a zoning change for a 143.55 acre property from Residential District, or R-1 to Heavy Industrial or C-3, was heard.

“This is our first reading, so there will be no action taken at this time,” Wallace said. “There will be a second reading at our next council meeting.”

The property, which is owned by Hayhook LLC of Willcox, includes tax parcels 106-52-005C and 106-52-001B, located west of State Route 90 and South of Mustang Road. The zoning change will allow Hayhook to mine sand and gravel out of that location.

“As the zoning administrator and building officer, I have no objection to this rezoning,” said Jim Johnson, the official who oversees the town’s code and zoning.

Through an interview prior to the council meeting, Johnson said sand and gravel mining has been going on in those locations for decades. The previous owners ran the operation under nonconforming use permits, dating back to the 1980s.

Johnson said that, per town code, the sand and gravel operations were allowed to continue under the nonconforming use. However, in the event that a nonconforming use is discontinued for six consecutive months or longer, further use of the property must conform with the town’s zoning regulations. The sand and gravel mining operations have been shut down longer than six months, the reason for the zoning change.

“Since sand and gravel operations currently require a C-3 zoning, the rezoning became necessary in order for the new owner (Hayhook LLC) of the properties to open a new sand and gravel operation,” Johnson said.

There were no objections to the zoning change first reading Thursday evening. The second reading is scheduled for the next council meeting on June 24, Wallace said. At that time, council members will vote on the zoning request.

The Huachuca City Police department will be going through an accreditation offered through the Arizona Law Enforcement Accreditation Program.

The program allows chiefs of police from departments throughout the state to collaborate about policies and procedures that are “conceptually sound and operationally effective.” It is designed to provide law enforcement agencies with “an avenue for demonstrating that they meet commonly accepted best practices and industry standards for efficient, effective, productive and quality operations,” according to the accreditation website.

In addition, law enforcement officers are given discounted rates to pursue bachelor’s degrees by taking these courses, Wallace said.

“This is something that I think could be really, really beneficial for our police department,” added Wallace, who said the accreditation opportunity gives the department validation when it comes to policies and procedures through an independent entity.

“It’s an added assurance for our chief that he is doing what he needs to do with the police department and the officers.”

The next Huachuca City town council meeting is June 24 at 6 p.m. Those interested in attending council meetings are reminded of the time change from 7 to 6 p.m.