Board taking second look at library annex lease in Kingman

Supervisor Gary Watson

Supervisor Gary Watson

The issue over renting space for the Mohave County Library in Kingman is back on the Board of Supervisors agenda.

The item was tabled in November after a group of residents raised questions about the ownership of the 2,000-square-foot office in a building on East Gordon Drive in Kingman. The building is owned by ORB Investments.

According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, three couples - Beverly and Robert Brooks, Yvonne and Kevin Orr and Tamera and Taylor Ross - own ORB Investments.

Beverly Brooks is an administrative assistant in the County Attorney's Office and Yvonne Orr is an assistant to County Manager Ron Walker.

According to Board of Supervisors meeting minutes, the Board first leased the space in 2007.

The space is used to house the library's community library staff, which takes care of the bookmobile and delivers books to the more far-flung areas of the county, such as Beaver Dam and Colorado City in the Arizona Strip.

Supervisor Gary Watson tabled the item during the Board's November meeting and asked staff to seek a further reduction in the rent for the space.

If approved, the lease would last one year and cost the county $1,920 a month. It would include an option for the county to renew the lease for three additional years with an increase of about 3 percent a year in rent.

The Board will also consider approving a renewal of Deputy County Manager of Management Services John Timko's contract for another 18 months. Timko officially retired from the county in February and then signed a contract with the county through an employee-leasing program.

According to information provided to the Board, this saved the county nearly $25,000 last year because it didn't have to pay medical or retirement benefits or paid holidays.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Buster Johnson is also requesting the Board consider drafting a letter or resolution opposing a state plan to convert a 30-mile segment of Interstate 15 in the Arizona Strip area into a toll road.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced plans to study turning the interstate into a toll road last year. The project would test the viability of creating other toll roads throughout the state.

Supervisor Gary Watson expressed concern that turning the interstate into a toll road would be a hardship on residents of the area, since it is a main thoroughfare.

Johnson is also asking the Board to consider what action it wants to take on the sale of Planet Ranch to Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold, Inc.

Planet Ranch is located in the northern part of LaPaz County and stretches into the southern part of Mohave County. It includes parts of the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge.

According to a recent story in the Arizona Republic, Freeport bought the property from the city of Scottsdale for $10.15 million and 50,000 acre-feet of water from the Salt River Project on Dec. 14. The company will lease portions of the ranch's more than 8,000 acres and its water rights to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation for the lower Colorado River conservation program.

Scottsdale bought the ranch in the 1980s in an attempt to secure water for the city. The city attempted to have the water transferred into the Central Arizona Project aqueduct, but that violated the Colorado River Compact.

The city then attempted to transfer the property to the federal government in exchange for water rights from the San Carlos Apache Tribe. That effort also failed.

In the meantime, the city was losing more than $250,000 a year on maintaining the property in order to hold onto the water rights.

Johnson has previously expressed concern over Mohave County losing groundwater.

Staff will also present possible guidelines for future interaction between the county and the Mohave County Fair Association. The Board requested the guidelines during its November meeting.

The Board will also consider a request from staff to cancel a contract with Lewis Equipment Services to demolish the Arnold Plaza building and award the contract to NCM Demolition and Remediation of Brea, Calif.

According to information provided to the Board, a bid protest was filed with the Procurement Department shortly after the Board approved the contract with Lewis in November. During the investigation, the department found that Lewis didn't have the necessary license to complete the work.

The total cost of the project is not to exceed $491,476.

The Board will also consider awarding a contract to Point and Pay of Troy, Mich., to handle e-check and credit and debit card transactions for the county. There is no cost to the county, however, customers using the service will pay a processing fee.

The Board meets at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St. The meeting was moved to Tuesday in order to allow some of the Supervisors to attend the opening day of the Arizona legislative session on Monday.