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Minutes of the work session held June 7, 2004 at 6:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

 

Members Present                                 

Mayor Ronald Drake and Council Members                                         Jason Earp

                                                                                                            Raymond Shuey

                                                                                                            Chuck Wolf

                                                                                                            Albert Carroll, Jr.

                                                                                                            Betty Lynch

                                                                                                           

ALSO PRESENT                                           

Todd Hileman, City Manager

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney

 

Absent/excused

Marie Lopez Rogers

 

3)         UPDATE ON PREPARATIONS FOR THE 2005 BASE REALIGNMENT AND CLOSURE COMMISSION BY O’BRIEN AND ASSOCIATES

Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRACC) preparations by the west valley jurisdictions through the Washington, D.C. representatives of  O’Brien & Associates, federal lobbyist on Luke issues for west valley cities and Maricopa County, to preserve the mission of Luke Air Force Base.

 

Todd Hileman, City Manager, stated that Mr. O’Brien was present to update the Council and answer questions regarding the BRAC process.

 

David O’Brien, O’Brien and Associates, thanked Vice Mayor Lynch for her involvement with Luke and staying on top of the issues, and Mayor Drake for his leadership in the City and across the west valley.

 

Shannon Scott, O’Brien and Associates, stated that O’Brien and Associates had been retained since June, the previous year, right before the middle of the appropriations effort for the $14.3 million for the Luke Southern corridor.  She stated that the base was in trouble at that time and Luke’s image in Washington was of a poster child for encroachment in a very fractured community.  She stated that a lot of that was, unfortunately, due to an expansive amount of coverage through the Arizona Republic.  She stated that O’Brien and Associates worked very hard over the past year to change that perspective.


Ms. Scott stated that she wanted to thank the State of Arizona and local communities for what had been done to pull together and change that perception.  She stated that the change was phenomenal in going from the poster child of encroachment to what Washington was saying should be the model for the country and how issues surrounding a base should be addressed. She stated that the perception was tremendous, that a lot of people in Washington were envious of the position the base was in, and she wanted to continue the momentum moving forward.

 

Ms. Scott stated that encroachment still remained the main problem and there were a lot of things going on, including the announcement of the land easement that would be helpful to preserve the mission of Luke.  She stated that the storage area and land easements were underway at that time and the first offers had gone out for the land easements in the southern and northern departure corridor.  She stated that the storage area was well on its way in terms of first agreements.  She stated that was very critical because the money that was fought for the previous year, $14.3 million, was still vulnerable with the war efforts and a lot of different focus within the military. 

 

Ms. Scott stated that the job did not end with achieving that appropriation and O’Brien was trying to get the initial money spent to show the funds were obligated and protect them from being taken.

 

She stated that she was very pleased to hear that by the end of June, in mid-July at the latest, the first acquisition would be in place to show the money was being obligated.  She stated that the land swap initiative was something that everyone was interested in, the groups working on the initiatives had their own representation in Washington, and O’Brien was letting them do their strategy to get it to go through.

 

Ms. Scott stated that several delegation members called routinely and O’Brien continued to let them know it was a very positive thing for Luke Air Force Base and if it was to go through, it would be wonderful in the future.  She stated that O’Brien had to be very careful with the message that was sent, in terms of not letting them assume it was the end all of Luke Air Force Base.  She stated that there was a potential that it could not go through and would leave it vulnerable as the BRACC came through. 

 

Ms. Scott stated that in regard to the Fiscal Year ‘05 funding, there was some concern that the FY-03 and FY-04 successes, along with the national notoriety, that there would be hesitancy to get further funding to Luke.  She stated that thankfully, O’Brien had been working with the delegation and was able to secure in the authorization process, $10 million for the dormitory and $7.9 million in the house.  She stated that the house added $7.9 million for the Litchfield Road and entry point replacement.

 

Ms. Scotts stated that those were positive in going into BRAC because it showed a continued interest to invest in Luke.  She stated that a strong message was being sent regarding the joint strike fighter and why it belonged at Luke.  She stated that it was something that would help with BRAC and continuing the mission at Luke as the F-16s were phased out.

 

Ms. Scott stated that a lot of the work that was being done was based on, not only a strategy to address moving off the BRAC list, but in responding to issues such as El Paso Gas.  She stated that O’Brien was taking a broader look at how the base scored in BRAC 1995 and how the west valley had changed since then.  She stated that one thing that some may perceive as a negative was the great growth of Phoenix and the west valley.  She stated that if it could be shown that encroachment was taken care of, the growth of the City was a positive.

 

Ms. Scott stated that O’Brien was trying to show that with encroachment contained, the growth increased the quality of life for the military.  She stated that those were the tie breakers in BRAC and very important aspects.  She stated that if there was a tie with another air force base, the next step was looking at and what the community had done for the troops and that would be the tie breaker.  She stated that it had improved and gone from red to green in so many areas and that message was definitely being sent to Washington.

 

Ms. Scott stated that a west valley delegation of officials was being organized to go to Washington and receive a formal briefing from the Air Force.  She stated that O’Brien would be working with the governor’s task force who was also organizing a broader state group to go to Washington but it was very important that Luke came out separately and have focus.

 

Mr. O’Brien stated that September was selected because it was in the final decision making process on some of the funding.  He stated that if more funding was needed for land purchases, there may be some lobbying to move funds at that point or to lobby for the $10 million and the addition for Litchfield Road.

 

Council Member Shuey asked what effect, if any, the Change of Command at Luke would have on the process, if the Council should be concerned about it, and if so, what it should be doing.

 

Mr. O’Brien stated that General Breedlove had been superb for the base in taking some leadership thereHe stated that in terms of appropriations and assistance, General Breedlove was wonderful and he would hope his replacement would be able to see what had worked in the valley and read the editorial that called Breedlove a hero.  He stated that hopefully, the replacement would be like him.

 

Vice Mayor Lynch stated that she first wanted to thank Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Scott for what they did in Washington.  She stated that when something happened, the emails came out so that the Council could respond quickly.  She stated that the same was done with the delegation and that made a big difference.  She stated that the Council could only do so much but Mr. O’Brien and Ms. Scott were right there with them.  Vice Mayor Lynch stated that the things she wanted to have explained to the Council was why the west valley did not want a two year delay and information about the joint strike fighter.  She stated that she knew the fighter would not be there until 2010 or 2015 but wanted Council to hear how positive it was, as opposed to the rumors. 

Mr. O’Brien stated that in terms of the two year delay, the full house voted to retain the delay.  He stated that the vast majority were supporting a two year delay based on the briefings.  He stated that Congressman Franks decided to vote for the delay and the vote was 49 to 47 to retain the BRAC 2005.  He stated that Senators McCain and Kyle voted to retain the 2005 and the house was split.  He stated that moving in 2005 would be right thing for Luke.

 

Mr. O’Brien stated that it was easier to get approvals under the NEPA process and it was also better for the individual services because they could get funding out of the BRAC process to do some of the things they needed to do in the joint strike fighter basing.

 

Mr. O’Brien stated that with regard to the joint strike fighter, it was discussed with the base and General Breedlove and the belief was that the noise contours at Luke would be able to sustain the joint strike fighter.  He stated that it was a louder aircraft with two engines but it would fit.

 

Mr. O’Brien stated that the base could do the joint mission of the F-16 and the joint strike fighter that would be a ramp up process on the joint strike fighter and a ramping down for the F-16.  He stated that there would be a period of time when there would be extraordinary activity there hosting both platforms but he had been assured that the base could take that and he was certainly advocating that in Washington.

 

Vice Mayor Lynch stated that she had been involved since 1997 in the process and she thought very highly of General Breedlove.  She stated that she agreed with Mr. O’Brien, she did not think the next person would dare do any less because if he did, there were a bunch of people who would be on his case.

 

2)         INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT – NEW RIVER AGUA FRIA UNDERGROUND STORAGE PROJECT (NAUSP) DISCUSSION

IGA participation in the New River Agua Fria Underground Storage Project (NAUSP) with Salt River Project, the City of Chandler and the City of Glendale.

 

Rob Emmett, Utilities Director, stated that he was present to discuss the New River Agua Fria Underground Storage Project (NAUSP).  He stated that originally it was to be located at the confluence of the New River and Agua Fria River but that property was not able to be acquired and a new site was located to the north.  He stated that the project consisted of six basins located on approximately 150 acres on the east side of the New River at the Bethany Home Alignment. 

 

Mr. Emmett stated that there were two phases and the reason for that was to add connectivity to the original site which was in the river to the new site.  He stated that would allow them to continue to work off of the original underground storage facility permit that was issued for that site.  He stated that the property would be purchased by all of the partners and ownership would be retained by SRP and the City would have rights under the intergovernmental agreement.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that phase two was the second portion that was not really included in the IGA at that time.  He stated that it would have a surface area of 80 acres and easements from the Flood Control District and City of Glendale would be required to move that forward.  He stated that the reason the NAUSP was moving forward was because of rising water tables, increased well capacity, reduction in ground water, nitrates, reduction in pumping cost and reduction of land subsidence.  He stated that more than anything else, it provided a location to recharge water which was very important to the state.  He stated that it allowed the fluctuation and flow to be dealt with that were associated with the renewable resource.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the advantages of that site were that the infrastructure was currently in place and it was located at the terminal point of the SRP grand canal.  He stated that the wells were there to pull the water back out and there were water resource options that would allow CAP water, SRP water, both the annual storage and recovery from the subcontract and other conservation water that may become available that can be identified and reclaimed water.  He stated that it would provide room in the Avondale wetlands and recharge facilities.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that one of the reasons Avondale should participate in the NAUSP was that currently, it was utilizing the surface water entitlements to provide for a way of recovering that water.  He stated that the water was brought to the wetlands and the recharge basin and it was recharged and the wells pulled the water back out.  He stated that the City had the ability to do 10,000 acre feet in terms of ability to recharge and it was time to be looking at options.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that two options currently being looked at were to expand the permit for the wetland recharge.  He stated that it was initially at 10,000 acre feet but designed for 15,000 acre feet.  He stated that application was in to ADWR and in working with SRP and other partners, there had been another 7,500 acre feet at NAUSP for a total of 22,500.  He stated that it would also allow the use of reclaimed water.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that if the City purchased into the NAUSP and found that it did not need to be used, it could be sold or leased to another entity.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the purchase of the property was scheduled to occur on June 15th and an offer had been made to two property owners and the escrow was to close.  He stated that the amendment to the USF permit should be completed by November of that year, the Aquifer Protection Permit should be acquired by January, and the recharging of water in phase one should begin in February or March the following year.  He stated that the second portion that dealt with the 401 and 404 permits dealt with phase two and that was being contemplated at that time. 

 

Mr. Emmett stated that there were a few things that were a challenge to the NAUSP project and the first was the issuance of the permits and that had not happened.  He stated that if the permits were not acquired by July 2005, the partners had the option of backing away and liquidating the project. 

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the second one dealt with the recharged storage capacity and currently, the project was slated to be able to recharge 75,000 acre feet of water on an annual basis.  He stated that some concerns were raised that the site could not handle that much recharge capacity and an off ramp was included in the IGA which stated that if it did not make 50,000 acre feet, the project was a no go.  He stated that the second one is that it needed to be able to provide for the multiple water sources and if there was not the ability to recharge the SRP, CAP and reclaimed water, there would be another cause for termination.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the incremental construction cost had been set at $200 per acre foot.  He stated that the reason for doing that was that projects of a similar nature had ranged from $125 per acre foot to $200 per acre foot.  He stated that there was a concern that if it was going in a direction that did not let the project become cost effective, there would be an ability to back away from the project.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the cost for the NAUSP overall was that the land was just above $6.7 million and there were preagreement costs.  He stated that SRP had been incurring costs over the last two years to move the project along including the hydrogeologic studies, the permit work, and work dealing with the acquisition of property.  He stated that there had been a turnout structure that had already been constructed.  He stated that if the project moved forward, the City would be repaying SRP for that work.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that there would be additional construction that would range from under $200,000 to over $5.5 million.  He stated that dealt with the removal of top soil.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the range for the project would be over $10 million to under $13.7 million.  He stated that there was an application into the Bureau of Reclamation for a grant up to $2 million and the partners had not heard whether it would go anywhere.  He stated that was a potential to reduce the cost further to the partnership.  He stated that Avondale’s cost would be as a 10% owner.  He stated that out of the 75,000 acre feet, Avondale would have 7,500 acre feet on an annual basis for recharge capacity which was about ¾ of the recharge capacity there was at the existing wetlands.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that the capital cost was approximately under $1.4 million and which did not consider the Bureau of Reclamation grant.  He stated that the reoccurring operating and maintenance cost after the construction was complete would be approximately $33,000 per year.

 

Council Member Shuey stated that he had a series of questions and some of which may be for SRP.  He stated that it was mentioned that reclaimed water would not be used and recharged in the facility by Avondale.  He asked if the City of Glendale’s western area water reclamation facilitywould be using the area to recharge with reclaimed water.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that they were working in partnership to bring reclaimed water into that facility.  He stated that they would be on their own in terms of some of the improvements that would be required including a new head gate to turn the water into the facility as well as a pipeline to the facility.  He stated that reclaimed water would be used.

 

Mayor Drake asked if Council Member Shuey had a conflict of interest.

 

Andrew McGuire, City Attorney, stated that he did not believe there was a conflict in terms of the agreement for the NAUSP because Glendale and the City of Avondale were on the same side of the fence and did not have adverse positions. 

 

Mayor Drake stated that his concern was that Council Member Shuey was with the City of Glendale and they may be voting on it and whether Avondale’s participation would affect their decision making.

 

Council Member Shuey stated that in that case, he would recuse himself.  He stated that he personally did not believe he had a conflict of interest on the item based on his understanding of Arizona Revised Statutes but if it would make the Council feel more comfortable, he would recuse himself.

 

Mayor Drake stated that it would make him feel more comfortable since Council Member Shuey was an employee of the City of Glendale.

 

Council Member Carroll expressed his opinion that Council Member Shuey did not have a conflict.

 

Council Member Shuey stated that he agreed completely and did not believe there was a conflict.  He stated that if Mayor Drake felt there was a conflict, he would recuse himself.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he would prefer that and thought it was the best way to handle it.

 

Mr. McGuire stated that when it came for a vote the following week, since Council Member Shuey did not have a statutory conflict of interest, he would still be counted as an affirmative vote.

 

Mayor Drake stated that there would be issues with Council Member Earp as well because of his employment in the city and he would like to follow that same path.

 

Mr. McGuire stated that he wanted to make sure that it was known for the record that it was not a statutory conflict of interest but was a discomfort level. 

 

Mayor Drake asked Council Member Shuey to recuse himself.

 

Council Member Shuey left the room.

 

Council Member Wolf stated that his questions were more along a functional line.  He stated that personally, he felt it was a wonderful opportunity for Avondale.  He stated that one of the concerns he had was that he knew that the existing water was pretreated that came out of the grand canal.  He stated that he wondered if there would be any treatment requirements from an Avondale perspective for that.  He asked, because the allocation was so small, if it did not have a larger impact on what was being done as a city.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that there had not been a pretreatment requirement under the existing underground storage facility permit that had been issued.  He stated that Avondale moved forward with the pretreatment program with the wetlands to try to ensure a better quality of water being recharged with the intent that the recovered water would not have to be treated.  He stated that as he was aware at that time, that was not necessarily true but the project was moving forward without any type of pretreatment at NAUSP.

 

Council Member Wolf stated that from a timeline perspective, one of the concerns he had was that he knew the APP and USF permits took a considerable amount of time to achieve and he asked if those had been submitted yet.

 

Mr. McGuire stated that the actual permits were issued and these were the amendments to them.  He stated that the USF was submitted on March 15th and part of the reason why the intergovernmental agreement had five off ramps was because of that exact concern.  He stated that all of the member cities were concerned. 

 

Council Member Wolf stated that there was a parallel project and expressed concern that with the Agua Fria linear recharge project coming through in the same area it would negatively impact the project.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that there had not been any coordination because of seniority on the permits, NAUSP’s recharge amount had precedence over subsequent permits and that was one of the problems the City was running into in trying to get an expansion of the existing facility from 10,000 to 15,000 acre feet.  He stated that as a City, staff voiced a concern on the proposal of a linear recharge program indicating that there could be adverse impacts to NAUSP.  He stated that overtime, he was hoping to work through that.  He stated that he had met with some of the representatives to the linear recharge project and had been invited to sit on the steering committee to provide input and listen to the facts.

 

Council Member Wolf asked if Avondale was senior to them in their own rights for the recharge.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that it was for the 10,000 acre feet but not the 15,000.

 

Council Member Wolf stated that the incremental cost for development was at $200 per acre foot and asked if that was strictly related to the development of the site itself or for member cities as far as development of transmission mains and features to get to the site.

 

Mr. Emmett stated that was strictly for the site and it was the total cost of land purchase preagreement and the actual construction costs.

 

Mayor Drake stated that he was not seeing an opposition to the item.

 

Todd Hileman, City Manager, stated that staff would be bringing the IGA back to the Council on the 21st.

 

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business to come before the Council, Vice Mayor Lynch moved to adjourn.  Council Member Wolf seconded the motion.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:45 p.m.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                     Mayor Drake

 

                                                           

            Linda M. Farris, CMC

                     City Clerk

 

CERTIFICATION

 

I hereby certify that the foregoing minutes are a true and correct copy of the minutes of the work session of the City Council of the City of Avondale held on the 7th day of June, 2004.  I further certify that the meeting was duly called and held and that the quorum was present.

 

                                                           

                     City Clerk