Q: We've been having problems in the Pine area with utility companies digging up holes in the road and leaving them for months. They usually say, "We don't think that's our hole." Who has oversight over the utility companies in this kind of situation?
A: For Gila County, that would be the Engineering Department. "Gila County has a right-of-way ordinance that covers any citizen, contractor or utility company," says Steve Sanders, Engineering Department manager.
"They're required to get a permit through our department. Then there are set guidelines they follow that are strictly enforced, including making repairs promptly."
The only exception is an emergency situation, and then a permit must be obtained within 24 hours or the next business day. A temporary cold mix patch is also allowed until the asphalt plant is running.
"Right now our problem is that we don't have people out there watching," Sanders said. He invites citizens to call the Engineering Department any time they see somebody working in the right-of-way to see if a permit has been obtained.
If you live within town limits, Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett is your man. The Payson Town Council recently passed a new street-cut ordinance that requires an inspector be present to make sure cuts are done and repaired "in accordance with what we want done so we don't have to go back out there and fix it," Garrett said.
Whoever does the digging has to post a $2,000 bond, backfill with slurry to avoid settling, maintain the cut until it is paved (which must be completed within 10 days of when it is cut), and provide the town with a two-year warranty.
Q: On Sunday, Oct. 7, around 8 a.m. I was driving south on Highway 87 from Pine to Payson. A Payson police car passed me heading north way north of the Verde River crossing. Aren't Payson police limited to town limits?
A: "In Arizona, every police officer certified through the state is authorized to enforce all state laws throughout the state," says Payson Police Chief Gordon Gartner. "We can travel wherever we need to go in Arizona to do our job."