BISBEE — Cochise County’s Public Works department’s request to purchase new heavy equipment at a cost of $1.455 million was approved by the Board of Supervisors during Tuesday’s meeting.

Public Works Director Marty Haverty received unanimous approval from Supervisors Ann English, Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby to spend the money during budget talks earlier this year to replace existing equipment that has reached the end of useful life. The county needs $832,586 to purchase new equipment to replace the county’s 2012 compactor with 16,000 hours on the hour meter. The life expectancy is 10,000 hours.

A new 908 loader at the Sierra Vista transfer station will run $138,000 to replace the 2010 model.

“The unit to be replaced has 14,500 hours on the hour meter, which is well beyond the projected useful life of 10,000 hours. We will then auction the unit current in use,” Haverty said.

Another $141,864 will be used to purchase a replacement transport truck to pick up containers at the transfer stations and keep the current truck as a backup if needed, Haverty said.

“We will also replace two tractor mowers for the Highway Division at a cost of $171,517 each or $343,033 total,” he said.

It brought the total outlay for solid waste equipment replacements to $1,112,450 and the expenditures for the highways equipment replacement to $343,033.

A second expenditure of $523,641 for replacement of vehicles with high milage in the county’s light fleet division was also approved. Haverty said the vehicles will be paid for out of a special fund set up to provide money for capital projects.

“Each department within the county contributes to the replacement fund on a per-mile cost basis, which differs depending upon the type and cost of the vehicle to be replaced,” said Haverty. “The program is set up and administered to ensure that we always have the available replacement funds in a timely manner. The proposed replacement vehicles have been budgeted in this year’s budget, which was already approved by the supervisors.”

The purchases of a new van for the Library District, four new patrol vehicles for the Sheriff’s Office and seven additional vehicles for Public Works were approved.

During the 2020 budget talks, it was decided the Board of Supervisors would forego the annual disbursement of $100,000 from Highway User Revenue Funds to each supervisor for community enhancement funds. The supervisors’ funds were halted last year as they were unsure if the county would have the HURF money available for the planned road projects due to the COVID–19 pandemic, said county Budget Manager Daniel Duchon.

HURF money can only be used for specific road-related maintenance projects and the budget had already been approved for those projects, Duchon said. In a review of the county’s financial situation, Duchon determined at least some of that money could be re-established through the use of the county’s $17.9 million in contingency funds and offered the board a smaller allocation of $150,000, with $50,000 for each district.

Community enhancement funds are used for certain projects within each district like neighborhood cleanups, right of way acquisition, sidewalks, drainage, signag and road repairs, explained Duchon.

English said the money could only be used if the supervisors approved the expenditure.

County Deputy Lt. Sean Gijanto received approval in a 2-to-1 vote for an intergovernmental agreement between the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the Fry Fire District to provide paramedics in certain SWAT situations upon request. Crosby voted no.

This allows the CCSO to train specific paramedics so they can provide medical services onsite when needed. Standard EMS services will not enter an area that had not been deemed safe. The IGA includes required monthly training in tactical operations. The CCSO will reimburse the Fry Fire District for the overtime or regular wages necessary to provide the paramedics.

The IGA calls for the county to provide at its own expense equipment necessary for members of its SWAT team, including equipment for the district’s SWAT paramedics as necessary or funds required to participate, train and respond with the county’s SWAT team.

On another CCSO matter, English and Judd approved a grant award from the Arizona Department of Homeland Security under Operation Stonegarden. Under the agreement, the CCSO was awarded $142,919 to purchase three, mobile density X-ray machines that will give CCSO the ability to detect human and drug smuggling through the county.

CCSO Deputy Lt. Ken Foster explained the mobile x-ray unit will allow deputies to see through vehicle walls detect, deter and/or arrest subjects who traffic humans and/or drugs illegally into the country.

“The trafficking of humans and illegal drugs into Cochise County has a clear and compelling detrimental impact to the safety of the citizens of the county,” said Foster. “This award will allow the CCSO to purchase equipment that will aid in our ability to detect and arrest subjects who traffic humans and/or drugs illegally into the country.”

Crosby voted no.

Judd said, “We need to support this in our county. We’re in a highly volatile situation on the border. We need to support the sheriff.”

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