Kingman Board discusses pay for pro tem judges

Butch Meriwether/Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson shares a laugh with a member of county staff at the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

Butch Meriwether/Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson shares a laugh with a member of county staff at the Board of Supervisors meeting Monday.<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 --><br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->

KINGMAN - Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson had plenty of questions for staff on a variety of topics Monday.

Johnson grilled staff from the Superior Court thoroughly on the pay for four pro tempore judges and how many outstanding warrants the system has.

Mohave County Superior Court Administrator Kip Anderson said his department had delivered a pay range to Board on Friday and was working on getting the exact numbers for each judge.

How hard could it be to figure out how much these people are paid, Johnson asked. It should be as easy as looking at a time card, without that information he wasn't inclined to vote for the appointments, he said. It has nothing to do with the people being appointed.

Anderson explained that these types of judges fill in when a Superior Court or Limited Jurisdiction judge is out sick, on vacation or out for training, he explained. The general salary of the judges is available on the county's website, but Anderson said he would have to do more research in order to get how many hours each was paid for and when. He was hoping the Board would approve the appointments, because the next training session for the judges was in January.

Johnson asked that the item be continued to the next Board meeting in January.

Sockwell asked the item be approved and allow the judges to attend the training contingent on the Board getting the information from Anderson. The Board unanimously approved Sockwell's motion.

The Board then took up the question of a report from the County Constables regarding the county's outstanding warrants.

Valerie Winters, the Mohave County Limited Jurisdiction Court's administrator, explained that the court's record system wasn't designed to compile that type of information. The court certainly had the information on who owed the court money for various fines, but that information was kept on a case-by-case basis. The office would have to go through each case to determine how many people had outstanding warrants. It would take about two months to retrieve the information and get it to the Board, she said.

The state was supposed to update the system in 2010 to allow counties to search for that type of information, however, that upgrade has been pushed back to 2013, Winters said.

There are enforcement measures in place, she said. The system is connected with the Arizona Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Division and anyone not paying their fines has their driver's license suspended. Also any tax refunds a scofflaw might have coming to them from the state are intercepted to help pay down the fines.

Johnson asked for an educated guess on the amount of unpaid fines the courts might have.

Winters guessed about $1 million. Unlike most businesses, the courts don't write off unpaid debts. Those debts stay on a person's record until they are paid, she said. Also some people with fines don't have a lot of income and can only make small payments over time.

Johnson asked if that estimate wasn't a little low.

Winters said the estimate was reasonable for the Cerbat Justice Court. She also pointed out that many of the fines are mandated by the state, and the county would probably only get about 40 percent of the money it collected.

The Board continued the item until the courts finish researching the matter.

Johnson questioned staff about extensions of time for two zoning use permits. The permits were for a small 1.5-megawatt solar facility and a 190-foot AM radio tower.

Johnson asked why the items were coming before the Board now, when the time to request such extensions had long since passed.

Zoning use permit holders have 120-days after the expiration of their permit to ask for an extension.

Johnson immediately made a motion to deny the extension for the first item, the solar project, and the Board approved the denial, before the project's representative, Kathy Tackett-Hicks, could file a request to speak before the Board.

According to information provided to the County Planning and Zoning Commission last month, the solar plant was still negotiating with UniSource Energy.

Joe Hart, the owner of the radio tower had better luck, he put in his request to speak at the start of the meeting. He told the Board he had run into some problems gaining rights-of-way on the property and the project would have to be completed before the end of next year. The Board granted his request for an extension.

Johnson then questioned staff on a $300,000 contract from the Arizona Department of Housing for housing rehabilitation.

David Wolf from the County's Housing and Community Revitalization program explained that the funds were a grant and would be used to rehabilitate approximately 13 homes across the county. Seven of the homes qualified for the county's emergency repairs program. Repairs needed include fixing health and safety issues, such as no heating or holes in the roof. Six of the homes needed moderate repairs.

The program is designed to help low income, disabled or elderly home owners who may not have the funds to fix the problems and may be in violation of the county's health or building codes, Wolf said.

The department requires homeowners to meet certain qualifications before they are eligible for the assistance, he said. The county currently has a two-year waiting list for assistance.

The Board unanimously approved the contract.

The Board also approved transferring $129,500 from the contingency fund to help repair the Mohave County Animal Shelter in Kingman. The repairs include replacing several steel doors and door frames, upgrading the electrical system and installing a water system to control the corrosion.

The Board also approved:

• Criminal Justice Services' request to allow Child Protective Services to use an office in the county's multi-use facility in Colorado City.

• An agreement between Mohave County Airport Authority, Inc. and Black Mesa Pipeline, Inc. to decommission and abandon the easement for a section of the old coal slurry line that fed the Mohave Generating Station, which runs under the Bullhead/Laughlin International Airport.

• A request from Hospital District No. 1 of Mohave County to hold an election for three board members in March. The three members whose terms expire in 2012 are Daniel Wynkoop, Dr. John Lingenfelter and Donna Pederson.

• An amendment to a vehicle purchase agreement awarding the contract for 16 vehicles to Martin Swanty Chrysler Dodge in Kingman. The cost is $94,818.

• An increase in fees at the Cerbat Landfill. Most fees will increase by less than a dollar per ton of refuse. The minimum charge to dump loads of 300 pounds or less will increase from around $6.23 to $6.35.