Star Valley was the subject of two items on the Dec. 15 agenda of the Gila County Board of Supervisors.
The first was a public hearing to de-annex property from the Star Valley town limits.
Star Valley, in October, submitted a letter to the Gila County Board of Supervisors requesting to de-annex the public right of way — an approximate 2.7 miles of State Highway 260 between Lion Springs Road and Preacher Canyon — located in the Town of Star Valley and return it to Gila County.
The Town of Star Valley is responsible for law enforcement on this portion of State Highway 260 in Star Valley, which begins at Lion Springs Road and continues to Preacher Canyon. If the board of supervisors determines that the public interest is served by the Town of Star Valley’s de-annexation of this public right of way and annexing by Gila County, it would take away the ambiguity that the Town of Star Valley has law enforcement responsibility for this portion of State Highway 260.
Steve Sanders, Gila County Public Works Department director, has reviewed the paperwork and has determined that the town’s proposed de-annexation will not affect the county.
The BOS agreed to the proposal and annexed the area.
The second item was termination of a contract with the town for animal control services.
The Gila County Board of Supervisors approved on July 10, 2009, an intergovernmental agreement between the Town of Star Valley and Gila County Animal Control to provide the Town of Star Valley with certain animal control services. The Gila County Sheriff’s Office has been providing law enforcement for the Town of Star Valley since 2009. Also, since 2009, the Gila County Animal Control and Gila County Sheriff’s Office have worked together to provide animal control services to the Town of Star Valley, which included sheriff’s deputies responding to after-hour calls, on weekends, and holidays.
Since 2009, there has been no service fee charged to the Town of Star Valley to respond to these calls by the Gila County Sheriff’s Office.
Between Jan. 1, 2018, to September 2020, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office handled 184 animal control calls for after-hours, weekends, and holidays.
In September, the Town of Star Valley contracted law enforcement services with the Town of Payson Police Department, ending the contract with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office. In October , the Gila County Animal Control manager was notified by the Payson Police Department that they would not be dispatching officers to after-hour, weekend, and holiday calls.
On Dec. 1, Michael O’Driscoll, Health and Emergency Management Department director, presented this item to the BOS.
In learning that the town officials had not been previously informed about canceling the contract, the board asked O’Driscoll to contact Timothy Grier, manager/attorney for the Town of Star Valley, to find out if the town officials would be interested in negotiating a new contract with different billable rates and terms or cancel the current intergovernmental agreement which is due to expire at the end of December.
O’Driscoll told the BOS having the Gila County Animal Control staff respond to all after-hour, weekend, and holiday animal control calls in the Town of Star Valley would continue to have a negative impact on the Gila County Animal Control budget. This would require additional funding to cover the added overtime and weekend coverage to provide animal control services to the Town of Star Valley. Therefore, it is the opinion of the Gila County Health & Emergency Management director that it makes good fiscal sense to cancel the current IGA with the Town of Star Valley to provide animal control services.
He said since the county doesn’t have an animal control officer in the Payson area on weekends, it would have to send one from Globe, which would take four to five hours of time.
Grier told the BOS he thought the plan was to negotiate a new agreement, not end the existing one.
County Manager James Menlove said it was Star Valley’s choice to drop its agreement with the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, which had provided it with animal control services.
“Which is not to say we don’t want to negotiate a contract,” he added.
District 3 Supervisor Woody Cline, who represents a large part of Star Valley, said he would like to see Star Valley work with animal control or the sheriff’s office and see what can be negotiated.
“If Star Valley needs time to come up with a contract that would serve it best, I have no problem with tabling this,” Cline said.
The item was tabled to the next meeting.