Star Valley Officials Ponder Best Use Of Funds

Community block grant money gives town $136,000 for enhancing project

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Star Valley has more than $136,000 of grant money to use on a community-enhancing project.

The funding comes from the state's Community Development Block Grant program, which is aimed at helping low to moderate-income communities.

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Star Valley Executive Assistant Stephanie Jones admires the new plaque adorning the town hall building. The Star Valley Council dedicated the town hall building to the memory of Diane McDaniel, who was instrumental in the town's incorporation process and who served as the first town clerk.

While the Town of Star Valley does not fall under the low-to-moderate income level as a whole, there are still a number of projects to which town officials could dedicate the money.

Low-to-moderate income is defined as less than $15,000 of income per year for a single person and less than $45,000 for a family of eight, Joseph Harris, CDBG manager said.

Harris posed a question to the council, "If I had an extra $136,000 laying around, how would I use it to help the low-income members of my community?"

The town council held a work-study meeting on Tuesday to discuss appropriate projects for the money, which can be applied in the next year.

Harris said the town already has the $136,854, as long as officials find a project for it.

Examples of projects that other communities have used the funding for include parks and street repair in low-income neighborhoods, Harris said.

Town Manager Vito Tedeschi suggested the continuation of the Meals on Wheels program, on which the town has used previous CDBG funding.

Councilor Bill Heath asked if the town's flooding problem would be an appropriate way to use the funds.

Harris suggested that the funding wouldn't go very far in that project and was not the right "vehicle" for the flooding problem.

The funding must also be used on a public right of way and not on private lands, which may be an issue with the rising washes.

The council will likely have a resolution on its next meeting agenda about which project it will fund.

Harris said he would give the council a month to decide on a project.

Future addition to town fleet

When Star Valley begins providing its own law enforcement services, it will already have its first official police vehicle, thanks to help from Gila County.

At the regular council meeting on Tuesday, the council unanimously approved a motion to authorize the mayor to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Town of Payson and Gila County that will eventually lead to the town receiving a $25,000 police vehicle.

For now, the Payson Police Department will be given the new vehicle as a result of a contract for law enforcement services with Star Valley.

That contract expires in June 2009, at which time the vehicle will be given to Star Valley.

Tedeschi said the vehicle will likely have 60,000 miles on it by the time Star Valley gets it, but "it's a start."

Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores is able to purchase the vehicle from the DEA Federal Asset Sharing Account.

Payson Mayor Bob Edwards has already signed the agreement.

In other news, the council voted unanimously to accept a financial report and audit for the last fiscal year conducted by the accounting firm Cronstrom and Osuch.

The council also unanimously approved a resolution setting compensation levels for the next elected council in the next fiscal year.

Councilors will receive $200 a month and the mayor $400. The level of compensation was based on average for similarly populated towns in Arizona. The compensation is pro-rated for attendance.

"It isn't considered a salary," Tedeschi said. "It's really a reimbursement for your expenses."

Councilors Mary Ann Kotelnicki and Art Lloyd were not present at the meeting.

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