Star Valley Plans To Pave Streets

Fears of pot shots and lawsuits also roil council, while lack of sewer system limits business

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‘We are paying you for a job that you are not responsible for. This is written by you, for you and only for you’ George Binney Star Valley councilor

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Andy Towle/Roundup - atowle@payson.com

‘It’s very uncontrolled back there. It’s a free-for-all’ Stephanie Whetten Star Valley councilor

After years of dealing with bumps, ruts and dust, homeowners in Star Valley will soon find themselves gliding down paved roads more suited for Cadillacs than Jeeps.

On Tuesday night, the council approved a nearly $500,000 plan to slap asphalt on more than a dozen streets throughout town.

From Starlight Drive to Sunbeam Drive and 17 other streets in between, a two-inch layer of asphalt will smooth over years of chip sealing.

The council awarded Payson-based State Constructors, Inc. the $445,900 contract to begin work on the project immediately. State Constructors said they anticipate completing the project within 15 to 20 working days, but hasn’t yet set a start date.

State Constructors was the lowest bidder out of three other contractors.

Before awarding State Constructors the contract, the the council debated whether to splurge on asphalt or continue chip sealing.

While chip sealing is cheaper, (State Constructors offered to do it for $156,000), it does not last as long and shows wear quicker.

Councilor Barbara Hartwell asked what the life expectancy and maintenance of each was.

Buddy Randall, owner of State Constructors explained asphalt should be maintenance free for two to three years, but chip sealing would require upkeep sooner, depending on wear.

Street crew member Duke Wilbanks said since many roads receive heavy traffic from trash trucks and the fire department, he would prefer to see asphalt.

With asphalt, the roads would be brought up to around two-and-three-quarter inches high while with chip sealing roads would be around an inch-and-a-half.

Randall also pointed out that oil prices are currently low, so this is a good time to asphalt.

“There is a window to get a better value,” he said.

After completion of the project, State Constructors offered to pave any homeowner’s driveway for a fair price.

Rural Addressing

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the council discussed entering into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Gila County’s office of Rural Addressing.

Under the IGA, the town would pay the county $5,000 to keep records of addresses and assign new addresses for homes or businesses this year.

Rural Addressing also gives 911 GPS coordinates of homes so emergency responders can find addresses quicker.

Initially, the council seemed inclined to approve the resolution, since Rural Addressing provided services before the town incorporated and the council had adopted the county’s street naming and property numbering ordinance earlier in the meeting.

However, after thinking it over, the council tabled the issue, fearing the town could be sued for any faulty work.

Councilor George Binney said he did not feel comfortable passing the motion with an indemnification clause that he said would hold the county harmless from any lawsuits.

Binney said such contracts “irritated him to no end.”

“We are paying you to do a job that you are not responsible for,” he said to Larry Dorame, from Rural Addressing. “This is written by you, for you and only for you.”

Town Attorney Tim Grier said he interpreted the paragraph to mean that if the town were negligent, it would be held accountable.

“It is not saying that if they are negligent we are defending a lawsuit,” Grier said.

Binney said he still felt the paragraph was misleading and felt both the town and the county should have some liability.

Binney asked what would happen if someone called 911 and responders could not find a home because of faulty work by Rural Addressing.

Grier said it was a good point and should be looked into.

Councilor Vern Leis agreed with Binney saying the clause does not give the town any assurance that the county will be held responsible for unsound work.

Grier said it was obvious the council was not comfortable passing the resolution, so he would speak with the county’s attorney.

The council tabled the issue until the Nov. 3 council meeting.

In other council action

• Pamela Johnson of the Spur Bar was granted a liquor license. Johnson said she plans to reopen the bar in several weeks.

Hartwell said she was excited to see it open with the addition of pool tables.

Mayor Bill Rappaport said he would like to see the bar serve food.

Johnson said she would like to, but she would need a sewer to connect into.

• The council endorsed resident Brad Jones’ letter to the Forest Service supporting the idea that the area around Monument Peak be designated a congested area and closed to target shooting. The closure would not apply to hunting.

Although the town has no official jurisdiction over the area, the council felt a letter would let the Forest Service know its position.

“It is letting them know we are aware of the problem,” Rappaport said, adding that his home has been struck by several wayward bullets.

Councilor Stephanie Whetten said it is scary to walk in that area because people often shot with no specific target.

“It is very uncontrolled back there,” she said, “it is a free-for-all.”

• The council announced the March 2010 election where the mayor’s seat and three council chairs are up for contention. Candidate forms can be picked up at Star Valley Town Hall beginning Oct. 15.

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