DOUGLAS — The search for a new permanent city manager has been reduced to three candidates who are going to be invited for in-person interviews.
The announcement was made by Douglas Mayor Donald Huish at a April 14 special city council meeting that was held prior to the regularly scheduled meeting.
Neither the mayor nor interim city manager Luis Pedroza would announce who the three candidates are, saying they need to confirm in writing with each of them they are still interested in the position before releasing their names to the public. They also need to inform the other candidates who applied for the position they are not among the three finalists.
At the regular meeting the mayor and council approved the second reading of the property tax ordinance keeping the property tax rate for this year at 1.1591, a slight increase of $3,958 due to new construction. The city’s portion of the property tax levy on $100,000 assessed value would remain the same as last year at $115.91 per year. On the average home valuation of $70,000 it would be $81.14 per year. The primary property tax levy is used to pay for the general operations expenses of the city government.
Huish advised the council there is a current policy that is being debated at the state level that will reduce state-shared revenue.
“If that happens, unfortunately, we would probably have to look at increasing the property tax in the future to be able to compensate for that,” he said.
The city council received a presentation from Mike James, the consultant project manager for the Douglas Transit Site Selection and Environmental Analysis Study.
The purpose of the study was to identify a preferred site or sites that will accommodate the Transit administrative office with customer service functions, serve as a centralized transfer facility or transit center and also be an area for secured vehicle storage. The project is seeking environmental clearance work necessary to be eligible for federal assistance for construction.
The preferred site being recommended for the administrative office is the corner lot on Ninth Street and G Avenue that is privately owned and has an assessed property value of $86,656. The proposed vehicle storage sites being considered are located at First Street and F Avenue or Sulphur Springs Street and Lawrence Avenue, both of which are city-owned property.
James said that by having the transit office on G Avenue it would contribute to downtown activation and activity, be supported by local business outreach and be located in a high activity area near service destinations.
“I’m not convinced we need this downtown,” Huish stated following the presentation. “I have a bigger vision of money-making tax revenue coming through on a corner as critical as Ninth and G. I’ve asked Mr. Pedroza to get with the transit people and try to break down what exactly our clientele is and what and hopefully mesh those together.”
Huish said the proposed plan is going to be posted on the city’s website so people can see and hopefully ask questions.
The mayor and council unanimously approved the acceptance of a used vehicle donation from Southwest Gas Corp. to the Douglas Fire Department. The vehicle is a decommissioned service truck, a 2008 Ford F-350 Super Crew Cab, 4x2, with 66,350 miles and a 6.4 diesel motor.
It will be utilized as a Technical Rescue Response Vehicle for vehicle extrication, high and low angle rope rescue, water rescue, trench rescue and fire/EMS response.
“It’s very nice of Southwest Gas to give us this donation,” councilman Mitch Lindemann said.