editor: fred miller November 28, 2020 #22 November 2020Hello,
I missed it; the community dinner at St. Johns. I have been one of several people who gathered every Thanksgiving morning to assemble the chairs, tables, and food for the past 17 years. I, along with Darrell and Zub, have carved the turkeys provided by the parishioners. Several others in the kitchen were puttin up huge pots of mashed potatoes and gravy, and the rest of the fixins. A steady stream of people dropped their special dishes by and were arranged on long tables; vegan stuffing, gluten free things, no dairy desserts. I always went home with a satisfying feeling. Hopefully next year at this time we'll do it again.
I made a mistake in the last Wire. I thought all contracts over $5k had to be put out for an RFP. The city manager wrote me to explain a city code that allowed for procurement without an RFP.
City Code 3.5.8 Other Types of Procurement, E. Contracts for legal services, medical and dental services, appraisal services and other similar services from licensed or certified professionals may be solicited on the basis of a request for a statement of qualifications and an expression of interest. If prices for work are included in the proposals, any such contract shall be awarded on the basis of the best interests of the City and not solely on the basis of price.
The FBAS got a short reprieve of 30 days by the council to continue with the shelter. However since then the CM has put out an RFP almost the same as the previous. Sigh! I dunno what she is doing with this, but it ain't beneficial. I think Ms Coleman has been doing a good job in difficult circumstances in a very difficult town, but there is little to like in her obstinate stance on animal control services.
And some unsolicited advice about the current Bisbee budget situation... Il Duce has been sitting on CARES money for several months, more than $1 billion. It is for cities, but he is holding onto it and doling it out as he sees fit, sort of like a slush fund. How bout a delegation of Mayor Budge, a business person (Rob Page?), CQCH CEO, and CM Theresa Coleman going to Phoenix and demanding/pleading for a million bucks ($1,000,000) for our city budget and healthcare problems. Accompanied by some noise in the form of a petition signed by thousands of residents begging il Duce for the bread, a few op-eds, some support from legislative allies and a few other cities. Whatchathink?
I have been learning to use talk to write Word software so you may find many more typos than usual in this very wordy Wire.
And Tuesday, 12/1 is Giving Tuesday— the global initiative to encourage philanthropy across the globe. One of many good non-profits to dump some dough is Gretchen Baer's Studio Mariposa (art for the young masses!). Go here to lighten your load: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1872773822860720/.
COPPER CITY INN FOR SALE
Anita and I are selling Copper City Inn. It has been a good 15 year run but it's time to let it go. The business is for sale, the property is not. We are in the first year of a six year lease. Price is $85,000, cashed out and will not carry. The Inn has made money for us the past 10 years and the past two years have been very good. 63% year around occupancy. We’ll provide tax returns and complete historical data for anyone seriously interested. We hope someone locally will buy it but if not sold in the next two months we likely will list it with a hotel broker at a higher price. Contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com with name phone number and pertinent info.
These are some specs.
Property Address: 99 Main Street;
Website: coppercityinn.com for viewing all rooms;
We do not own the property. It is a split ownership building. You are buying the business;
Six year lease with five years remaining;
Owner lives in Olympia Washington and visits 2-4 times a year. They have an apartment next door and have been coming to Bisbee for years and have other property in town;
Will be sold turnkey… website domain name, phone number, customer list w/reservation date/contact info, reservation system, all furniture, linens, towels, appliances, and whatever stock on hand;
Three rooms, all with balconies; rates are $125 for two rooms on second floor, $150 for one room with full kitchen on first floor, All in room baths;
Back deck with table, chairs, umbrella;
Large storage room (was a garage) on street level. Storage shed on deck also has washer dryer. Main washer dryer in closet on second floor;
Tesla charger for guests only
Ten years as #1 in Bisbee on Trip Advisor
Voted Best Lodging in Bisbee 2020, 2017
Closure of City Hall Due to electrical issues City Hall will be CLOSED through the Thanksgiving Holiday. All payments can be made online or can be dropped off at one of the two locations. ............ The library will be postponing the City Manager Office Hour until next year due to the complications of the move to a new City Hall. ............ City Employment...openings for an EMT, dispatcher, police officer all have been open for a long time. (note: no job posting for an animal control officer.) ............ SEAGO SURVEY In partnership with Cochise, Graham, Greenlee and Santa Cruz Counties, the SouthEastern Arizona Governments Organization (SEAGO) requests your assistance in providing information on the impact COVID-19 has had on your business or organization. Your responses will be analyzed and used to identify needs and develop tools to assist businesses like yours in becoming more self-sustaining and prepared for future economic shocks when they occur. No individual organization will be identified, and all data will be analyzed in the aggregate. Begin the five minute survey here: https://nau.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_b9qqCwEzJz3CPZ3 ............ Cochise College Center for Lifelong Learning Wanna learn how to spot birds while knitting a lasagna and constructing an excel spreadsheet listening to a history buff give Spanish lessons? This is the place to do it https://registration.xenegrade.com/cochise/search.cfm ............
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2020 AT 7:00 PM Due to Covid 19 this meeting will be conducted electronically by Zoom and Facebook. The public can join, listen and view the meeting as follows:
City’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/COB118Arizona/). A Facebook account is not necessary.
Zoom by calling in at 1-346-248-7799 or by the following link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86041623484 the meeting/webinar ID is 860 4162 3484.
The public can submit comments that will be read at the dais by a staff member to firstname.lastname@example.org. Citizens can also be recognized to speak during the meeting only if they sign up ahead of time at the email address above. Please indicate if you are signing up to speak under Call to the Public or a specific item number.
Background here: http://.bisbeeaz.gov/agendacenter
Of Interest: #1...If you would like to see what the city spends money on check out the report for the last two weeks in November. Included in every background for every regular council meeting. #3...incoming mayor and council members are sat.Upon taking his seat new mayor Ken Budge's shoulders will slump 2" and two new wrinkles will appear. #6...a presentation on how the library is coping with trump virus #9...results of voting. Interesting to note in 85603 that there were 3728 registered voters of which 3029 votes were cast; 81.25%. There were 2767 early votes cast and 203 on day of 11/3. 101 blank ballots. So some speculation...could the city save money by going to all mail voting if 91.35% of ballots cast were early? Not all those ballots would be mail, because a small number of early votes would be in person at the recorder, but the vast majority would be mail. A cost analysis would be helpful. AGENDA INVOCATION: A Moment of Silence PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE MAYOR’S PROCLAMATIONS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
Wreaths Across America Proclamation
CALL TO THE PUBLIC GENERAL BUSINESS: 1. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE: Subject to availability of funds 2. Approval of the Consent Agenda Approval of the Appointment of William Higgins to the Bisbee Arts Commission effective December 3, 2020. NEW BUSINESS 3. Changing of Outgoing and Incoming Council. Seating of Newly Elected Council Members Mayor Ken Budge
Introduction of Newly Elected Council Members to the Community
4. Notice of the Appointment of Anna Cline as Mayor Pro Tempore. 5. Employee Longevity Recognition. Joelle Landers, Personnel Director 6. Presentation from the Copper Queen Library on their response to Covid-19. Jason Macoviak, Library Manager 7. Discussion and Possible Approval of a Public Auction for the Transfer of Certain City Property located adjacent to 123 Star Ave, and the Establishment of a Minimum Bid Price. Joe Ward, Zoning Administrator 8. Discussion and Possible Approval of a Public Auction for the Transfer of Certain City Property located adjacent to 348 Williams Avenue, and the Establishment of a Minimum Bid Price. Joe Ward, Zoning Administrator 9. Discussion and Possible Approval of Resolution R-20-27; Declaring and Adopting the Results of the General Election held on November 3, 2020 and Ordering the recordation of the Resolution. Ashlee Coronado, City Clerk 10. City Manager's Report:
Update on Garbage and Recycling in Old Bisbee
Update of the move to Lowell
Other Current events (No Discussion)
COUNCIL COMMENTS OR FUTURE AGENDA ITEM SUGGESTIONS:
Councilmember Giacomino would like to welcome the new Mayor
For budget watchers, the trump virus continues to make economic predictions dicey as tax revenue fluctuates. But clearly over the past months there has not a virus increase/sales decrease or vice versa direct correlation. Bisbee seems to be doing ok, but systemic problems remain, the largest being the Public Safety Pension Retirement System. Some uninformed people think that disbanding the police dept and task policing to the sheriff’s department (they are not interested) would make a budget difference. Perhaps a bit, but the PSPRS obligation would continue for the city. There is no way, unless a radical reform of the system by folding PSPRS into the ASRS, that Bisbee can shed the $1.4 million obligation. The conundrum is that the city is declining/not growing, but the demand for services continues strong, as the revenue to pay for them decreases. If there was a concerted effort to attract new residents, from retirees to electronic workers from home, there is substantial evidence that the character of Bisbee will change as newcomers arrive (only only has to check the uninformed and frequently funny posts on Facebook about what the city should do.). But, in my view, suck it up! this is the real world and the city has to grow or it will continue to slowly decline. There is no magic source of revenue.
Real Estate In October 20 houses sold totaling $2,914,100, the most houses sold for the most money since I’ve been tracking sales in late 2015. Four houses sold for less than $100k in Warren including one for $32k on Clawson. However there were a couple houses in Warren that sold for more than $250k. OB houses sold for $128k-$250k. Rachael’s Sky’s salon/tattoo shop building at 24 Brewery, sold for $275k, seller/buyer unknown. As in September sales were primarily in OB (11) and Warren (7) with 2 in SJ. (There was a house listed with a Bisbee address however it was on Wolf Run off Hwy 92/almost Palaminos or Hereford, but had a Bisbee address, that sold for $650k. I removed it from the total because it was far outside the usual parameters for sale. ) September had 12 sales for $1,979,800. An OB home sold for $375k-on the market for 120 days. A Saginaw house sold for $22.5k-on the market for 3 days. Sales were 5 in OB, 4 in Warren, 1 in SJ and a couple in other areas. For the past five years the number of sales in September has been about the same but the dollar amount has steadily risen about $100,000 a year. Building Permits There were 27 October residential permits with the cost of work $310,567. October traditionally is a busy month for remodeling as roof, furnaces, and plumbing all get checked. (I had a small plumbing problem-the dang refrigerator cut off valve-and although I was able to get some to do the work, most of the six plumbers I called didn’t have appointments till mid December.) Of note in October was one commercial permit for $4.3 million for the new administrative building at Copper Queen Hospital. They are replacing all modular buildings on the campus. Other than that commercial work tends to be fix-it and nothing substantial. The number of September building permits has steadily increased the past five years as has the dollar amount; 14/2015….17/2016 …19/2017…21/2018… 29/2019…. 33/2020. Some types of work that are done needing building permits are; painting, bath remodels, flooring, reconfigure interior walls, solar installations, electrical upgrades, shower installs, water/gas/electrical installations, concrete work, re-roofing, foundations. Sales (As always with sales reported in September and October, were for actual sales two months ago in July and August.) October reporting saw increases in every sales category over September. And September sales decreased in most categories as the trump virus infections increased. Compared to 2019 revenues are down as follows; bed tax and hotel taxes 25%, restaurant bar 31%. However retail and grocery sales are up 30%.
Grocery/food sales rose $7000 in October over September to $43,079 a bit shy of levels of April and May. Internet sales dropped $4k from the past two months. Go figure. Hotel receipts were up considerably to $13,579-the most since February. and likewise Bed tax revenue also was up $9,272. Restaurant and bar sales we're up at $30,713. Retail sales regained some momentum after a slight drop in September, however retail was up about $17,000 over September of 2019. And October sales at $101,472 was second only to June in the past 2 ½ years. Tourism stats Since the visitor center is closed and the part time worker laid off by the City,social media has becomes the measure of activity around interest in visiting Bisbee. Facebook posts in September were roughly about the same. Instagram posts continue to increase. Discoverbisbee.com bumped activity with the number of users up about 1500 over August and in fact the number of sessions increased about 1500 also. Accordingly the number of page views increased by about 5000. also Time spent on the site consistently risen in the last three months to be above 2 minutes, this month it was two minutes and 17 seconds. The average age of the users of the website has not changed for months, 65 plus. The number of newsletter subscribers increases by a small number each month, currently 6498 it has an open rate of 1428, about 22% which is a bit above the norm. It would be interesting to see the click through rate. Chirichua & Coronado Chirichua visitation is down about 10,000 Sept/20-Sept/19. However September saw the biggest increase in visitors since March. Coronado National Moumument has had an increase of almost 40,000 visitors from this period last year, a 45% increase. October numbers were 66% over last October.
ANITA AND FRED UNFORTUNATELY GET CAUGHT IN THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN MISHEGAS
So I mentioned that when I came home from the hospital that our refrigerator crapped out. Our daughter in Colorado bought us a refrigerator. It took 2 1/2 days on the phone with Best Buy, Costco, Lowes, Home Depot and a few others. She literally spent hours on hold. Although many models were displayed, there were very few available for purchase that were deliverable within a two week time period.
So she finally found us a frig at Best Buy. It was supposed to be delivered on a Friday then a Tuesday and then finally a Thursday. It was delivered, our old refrigerator was taken away, the new one was plugged in and it made a weird noise-not one the tech wanted to hear. They returned a couple hours later, took it away, and gave us a loaner. They scheduled a delivery of a new refrigerator in a week.
Unbeknownst to us when the valve was shut off for the water supply to the old refrigerator the valve began leaking-for 8 days-soaking half the under-flooring of the kitchen and some of the beams in our sub-basement. Fortunately, after calling 4 plumbers we got one that came and capped the valve and promised he would be back in three days to replace the old valve with a new one (he was and he did, (G&L 520 249-2546) In the meantime the new refrigerator was delivered and hooked up except for the water and is functioning just fine.
All is cool but…
…did this happen?
I did a bit of research and this is what has happened according to some economists and supply chain analysts.
Because consumers are sheltering in place, appliances are being used more and there's been more replacements and upgrades ordered. But because of the dislocation of the trump virus in factory workers, mostly in Asia, renewed demand could not be met. There was a period of seven weeks when no company in Asia was making steel, so that created months of backlog. Likely there will continue to be higher demand for dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances as well as many other categories of products as people continue to stay home more amid virus spikes. And factories will continue to have disruption as workers, the very people who make these things, are subject to some of the harshest conditions and more likely to catch the virus.
As online shopping has increased by about 30% and will likely be higher as the virus spikes during the holiday season, there is increased pressure to move all these goods through the delivery pipeline. There is a lot of corporate scrambling to meet these new conditions.
As factories catch up with demand a ‘moving the goods’ problem has developed which may inhibit getting all the stuff into stores and/or homes. Ports on the West Coast are reporting 8-14 days of ships waiting offshore before unloading. There is a problem of rail cars getting to the right places. There is a shortage, estimated at 80,000 drivers, for large trucks. There is additional stress on ‘last mile logistics’, with the attendant problems of delivery vehicles. All of this will likely add up to a shortage of goods on the shelf and perhaps a second wave of hoarding in the next few months.
As a savvy consumer maybe wait until the Feb or March where there will be a glut of products on the market cause demand increased then decreased so rapidly. Ahhh yes! You too can reap the wonders of global capitalism…
The flip side is that demand will likely plummet in the new year as the virus worsens and more people lose jobs. Unemployment claims are increasing and savings are being depleted. Federal unemployment bennies are due to run out the end of December while many state unemployment checks have run out. Millions of people will have no safety net.
There is fat chance of getting anything out of congress because of McConnell and the do-nothing conspiracy-laden Repugnicans. Democrats show little tendency to coalesce and have resorted to the circular firing squad that they have perfected.
Jeez! Can’t we see some real fight here? It’s not complicated… Two simple messages. Unite/organize with one voice (organize entertainers, sports people, ceo’s, workers, retires, etc.) around SHAME on repugnicans. Unite/organize (unions, business people, city, county, state workers) around Get Some Dough To People, Now! Sheesh
THE FLOW ACROSS THE COMPUTER SCREEN
SUPERSPREADERS OF MISINFORMATION https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/23/technology/election-misinformation-facebook-twitter.html
........................... RECYCLED PAPER
The prices paid for recycled paper have increased considerably over the past several months as the demand for cardboard delivery boxes has been rising. What’s been getting recycled has been changing: a few years ago corrugated cardboard made up 5 percent of the paper entering recycling plants, but today that’s up to a third of what’s coming into the mill. Not to mention, overall collections from residential recycling programs are up 7 percent year over year, in large part owing to recycled boxes. This higher-quality input — fibers in cardboard are longer and the mixed-paper pulp is stronger — and rising demand means that the price for a ton of mixed paper went from zero dollars at the beginning of 2020 to roughly $30 per ton this month.
FAKE PEOPLE ARE ON YOUR COMPUTER... AI is getting better. You can buy fake people on the net, difficult to tell from the real thing, Need an Asian woman or black man in your ad? how bout a fake dog or 5 year old boy? no problem.. Read about it here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/11/21/science/artificial-intelligence-fake-people-faces.html
........................ FANS OF DOONESBURY
The blood of horseshoe crabs is the natural source of limulus amebocyte lysate, which is used by pharmaceutical companies to test injected drugs — you know, like a vaccine for a coronavirus — for bacterial contamination. Normally, the companies do an estimated 70 million tests annually, and 2020 ain’t normal, so the crabs are being bled to a degree that has conservationists worried. This is with pretty good reason: taking some blood leads to an increase in death among bled crabs, with 5 to 30 percent dying after being released back into their habitat, and research suggests that those that do make a donation to science don’t produce as many eggs. In the Delaware Bay, there were 50,000 horseshoe crab eggs per square meter in the 1980s and 1990s, though today that figure stands at 8,000 horseshoe crab eggs per square meter. This has reverberations beyond the crabs, and also impacts the shorebirds that live off them: according to the biologists who study them, the population of Red Knots fell from 100,000 in the ‘90s to 12,000 today, prompting the Fish and Wildlife Service to mark them as threatened a few years ago.
So far in 2020, 278 journalists have been attacked in the U.S., 100 journalists have been arrested and 74 have had their equipment damaged, according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, a joint project of more than two dozen organizations including News Leaders Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
………………. Getting a Tax Deduction for Doing Good
One of the few bright spots in this dreadful year is a change in charitable giving. Whether you itemize or not, individuals can give up to $300 to an eligible non-profit (501.c.3) and deduct that sum from your owed tax. This is a particularly beneficial one-year change because adjustments in the tax code in 2017 removed incentives for charitable giving. The standard deduction was raised and some itemized deductions were taken away. That resulted in a substantial decrease in giving that adversely affected most grass roots non-profits. And this year those decreases will likely grow to be more significant due to COVID. Most non-profits have cancelled fund raising events so donations are critical for survival. This year due to the CARES act, for one year only, $300 may be deducted ‘above the line’, and that reduces your adjusted gross income. And that may qualify you for other credits. It is unclear whether joint filers can deduct $600 or not. Most tax advisers suggest erring on the conservative side, i.e. $300. Donations have to be cash (check or credit card) not stock, goods, or ‘in-kind by December 31, 2020 If you do choose to help out this year, be sure to get a dated receipt for your donation. One of the best places to donate is The Bisbee Foundation (bisbeefoundation.com) or other Cochise County community foundations, that tend to be familiar with local needs and have grant programs with applications already in place. While individual organizations cannot be specified, areas of interest can. There are also many deserving organizations you can make direct donations to; performing arts, healthcare, animal welfare, low income housing, and education areas that could make good use of contributions.