If Public Works Gets Any Worse It Will Cause A State Of Emergency For The City

Mayor Stephen Schmidt

The Shape We’re In

In some sense this is an apology to the Residents of Tombstone for I have never before been called a Dictator. If that is the way I am being perceived then I am sorry for that is not my intent. I hope that the Editorial did not accomplish what it’s intent was which is to draw attention from the issues and place the attention on me. Since stumbling into Office (as I have been told) it has been my intent to work for a better Tombstone.
The infrastructure of the City has been one of my priorities and that is what I have been working on. The City is toward the backside of a Budget year and money is tight. In the 10 months of this year’s budget the City has spent $1,984.713.86 dollars. In the first 10 months of the previous budget the City spent $1,437.661.29. In this year’s budget the City has spent $547,052.57 more than they did for the same time period of the previous budget. It is hard to blame a Half Million Dollars on the fire at the springs when the State granted Fifty Thousand Dollars in Emergency Funding.
With this being said it is really hard to point fingers at council people who do not wish to spend money. There are several city employees that deserve to be given raises but it was my feeling that $10.50 for someone who would be a useful piece in fixing the water distribution system was an insult. The Council did opt to give $2.00 an hour more but apparently that was not enough for I was given a verbal two-week notice the next day and a written one on the following Monday. The reason given for the resignation by Jack Jackson was “I have made this decision based on the unfortunate circumstances that I have endured for the past several months including: hourly pay rate not acceptable for the scope of work performed, no supervisors, no transportation that locks, and no tools.”
This does not make me happy, but I understand every ones point of view in the decisions on both sides, and the city will have to make the best out of this situation.
There is really only one thing to be said about the Temporary Full Time Crew at the springs, and that is litigation. All the Lawyers say that to lay them off would be detrimental to the City’s lawsuit against the Forestry Service. Even though I do not feel pushing wheelbarrows around in a canyon is very productive. I have been told that the crew has been done at the springs since April 6th, but still the City must bear the burden of their wages because of litigation. It seems the City is stuck in this situation due to the potential of the Crew as eyewitnesses for our lawsuit against the Forestry Service. A lot of people at the last Council Meeting were wondering what happened after the Executive Session, and that can be explained in the fact that the agenda item was opened for discussion only so there was no action taken, not that there would have been anyway.
I am glad that we are moving ahead with putting Home Rule on the Ballot. Anyone that was involved with City Government during the budgetary constraints of 2007 knows how hard that year was with all the in-house cuts and spending limits. Of course maybe a watchful eye on spending might not hurt considering the numbers in the first paragraph.
Hopefully with the new budget coming, the City can put some money into road repair, the Senior Center, the Food Bank and other things that might benefit the residents of Tombstone. It seems to me that with all the publicity given to the lawsuit that Public Works Department and the Residents are getting the short end of the stick.
I do believe in an Open Door Policy, and as such I do try to listen to complaints as well as questions. One of the questions that keeps coming up is “ What is the Ex-Mayor doing at the Little Green Club House?” This is a project that Jack Henderson was on the ground floor of when he lost the Recall Election. There are certain companies that are looking around the area; Benson, Douglas, and Tombstone in the hopes of establishing a training school for unmanned aerial surveillance vehicles. These are small planes that could be used for many different applications from watching the border to flying over fires to look for hot spots. Being a school there would be a constant turn over of students that would mean for the Town, hotel rooms to be rented, meals to be bought, and tourist with money to be spent. There is actually a committee on this, which includes Jack Henderson, Don Aiton, Billy Cloud and several others from the Tombstone School and the City. If this works out it would be a good deal for the Town and the Residents because Sales Tax would go up and the City would have more money for services. I applaud Jack for hanging with this project.
As I stated earlier my priorities have been to work on the infrastructure. Public works has no direction at all and those that work in Public Works are doing a great job getting by with the limited supervision they have had for the last month and a half. There are some on the Council that would try to push me down a road I will not go. For this reason I will put Phil Korte on the agenda again. I do not believe Public Works needs a paper pusher. Everyone I have talked to in Public Works is highly in favor of Phil Korte. They have even approached me to ask if the City Employees could put the Public Works Director to a vote by them. If Public Works gets any worse it will cause a state of emergency for the City.