editor: fred miller April 27, 2021 Wire #8/April 2021
Hello, Budget hearings have begun. For the curious or uninitiated, budget hearings are where there is some public input into the spending priorities of the city administration. It is a best guess about the future revenues that pay for the proposed spending. By state law a city may not spend more money than the approved budget; they can spend less, they can shift money around, but not more. There are four meetings this week to discuss the draft budget submitted by the treasurer and the CM. Go to here to tune in: http://www.bisbeeaz.gov/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=283. There are several areas to scrutinize and I hope you do. There wasn't an opportunity for the public to comment in the initial session. I hope they do open it up or at least have a couple sessions where citizens can comment and/or make budget suggestions. The initial meeting Monday talked about the General Fund. In introductory remarks, new-for the third time-CM, Steve Pauken, talked about refinancing the Public Safety Pension debt through bonds or other mechanisms. He and the attorney will be looking at options to do so. The unfunded liability of the city is $22,000,000. There was no talk about real reform which is what is what is needed but has to happen at the State level. There are two pension systems while only one is needed. While protecting retirees, the poorly managed, scandal tainted PSPRS needs to fade away. A total reform would do this. Existing and new hires chould be funneled into the the Arizona State Retirement System (ASRS). That would be needed cash into that system just as a batch of older state workers are set to retire in the next few years. Existing PSPRS could be funded by a dedicated increase in the gas tax which will, long term, then decrease by attrition over the years. One small way to decrease PSPRS is to insist that any Stonegarden grants include retirement money also or not accept the grant. At least some of the pension debt for Bisbee has come because the city has applied for and gotten many Stonegarden grants in the past 15 years. Those grants paid for overtime for police and that then boosted their income on which pensions are calculated. Over the past many years, it has to be a substantial sum that the city has had to pay into the pension fund just because of those grants. The city has never insisted that those grants include paying for retirement benefits or refused a grant because they didn't. Time to start. Besides public safety another area to keep an eye on is the Transient Room Tax or Bed tax-basically this is the tourism budget. Unfortunately the city has refused to name it as such. This budget has $50,000 for advertising, $40,000 for contract services, and $37,000 for salaries and $0 for part time salary. TBD...Who is going to be a 'tourism director' at $37k? Where is the part time position for the visitor information office at the museum? When will the VIO open? Will Ilona pop up once again? As the 20 year war in Iraq nears an end, look for a whole bunch of military equipment given or sold to police departments around the country. Oh boy, more guns.... Many Bisbee businesses need part and full time workers. A couple of restaurants have closed for varying lengths of time because they don't have workers.It's not just here either, there is a shortage of workers in many fields including construction, retail, tourism, hospitality, healthcare, truck drivers, and more. On the surface the demand is greater than the supply. However it is not necessarily expanded unemployment bennies, although that is a kneejerk response, for why there is are problems. Many workers have health and safety concerns or continue to be needed at home. Many businesses are aggressively recruiting workers with higher pay and that impacts lower paying jobs. And with some many people idled for the past year, there are considerations about what kind of job and what they want to do with their lives. All this doesn't help owners and managers who often are filling in for those absent workers. Encourage those you know that may be looking for work to check out Bisbee businesses. fred
BISBEE EVENTS, BISBEE MENTIONS, BISBEE SALES,BISBEE MUSINGS
....Time Dependent Events....
May 1....FILL THOSE EMPTY BOWLS! 11 am - 1 pm
Cochise College Empty Bowls will be held on May 1, 2021 in parking lot J on the Sierra Vista campus. Handmade bowls can be purchased for $20 each and includes soup and bread. Proceeds to benefit the Cochise Cupboard food pantry.
fmi: Jenn Wantz firstname.lastname@example.org
MAY 4...SHARED USE PATH FEASIBILITY STUDY 5:30 Join us LIVE via Zoom. Please subscribe to receive the invitation link at www.copperqueenlibrary.com for the VIRTUAL PROGRAM. Provide your comments on the Conceptual Alternatives: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/bisbeeSUP.
The Draft Plan and how to comment on it:
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OtOoLplER1ZK6PuG2AVNMrfNsQUdS0wJ/view?fbclid=IwAR2hMOnQk0pgPgKgNcpiMwEihQzf7v3vo0bWBoZaQikS1R9diLqJp37PiTQ May 8....SHED IT/SHRED IT 9:00 to noon at the Ace Hardware parking lot in Bisbee at 1220 S. Naco Highway The Bisbee Community Chorus bi-annual fundraiser-by-doing-good event is here again.Your opportunity to get rid of your personal documents such as old tax returns, bank statements, checkbook registers, credit card statements and medical records, out-of-date and unwanted medications which will be turned over to law enforcement for disposal. (They suggest you pour all pills into a baggie and eliminate the prescription bottles.) They also will collect old eyeglasses for the Lions Club program and samples of toiletry items, toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. to pass on to local shelters.
MAIN STREET GETS A NOD AS ONE OF ARIZONA'S BEST
.................. LOCAL FIRST GRANT HELP The Arizona Economic Recovery Center aims to enable more qualified Arizona cities, towns, counties, and nonprofits to win competitive federal, state, and foundation grants. Qualifying communities:
Do not have a dedicated staff for development
Are interested in applying for work that supports a regional or local strategic plan
Have a proposed application that includes at least 3 partnering organizations
Have an idea that can be initiated before 2023
More Info here: https://localfirstaz.com/economic-recovery-centerFMI: .................... WARM HANDS FOUND A HOME! Would you please help me get the word out that Warm Hands Therapeutics is open at 55 West Highway 92 in Bisbee, right next door to the Bisbee Hair Connection, in the same building, just 2 miles for the previous location. .................... BROWNFIELD ASSESSMENT FOR BISBEE COMMERCIAL PROPERTIES A brownfield is defined as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” Cochise County has a grant application to have your site looked at and mitigation efforts suggested. The old high school has had an assessment. No penalties or actions will come from the assessment and could lead to redevelopment. Go here for more info: https://choosecochise.com/brownfield-sites .................... Musings...Will there be evictions in Bisbee once the federal prohibition on evictions expires has ended June 30? https://www.azmirror.com/2021/04/15/theres-an-avalanche-of-evictions-coming-no-one-knows-how-big-it-will-be/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=e08386f9-5e68-42cd-af1a-6907fd5c879c
According to the treasurers monthly report for March, overall tax revenue is about 72%, $87,000, less than expected. Charges for services, primarily ambulance fees, are down about $400,000. (One of the things to look at in the draft budget is whether the estimate of $635,000 is a realistic figure given this dismal year.) Her summary is that spending is less than expected, revenues are down leaving a negative net revenue over expenses of abour $76,000. This is less than February and means the use of the reserve fund balance is not as great as expected. SOLD!
Schoolhouse Inn...Sara Bernard, a former county resident, has bought it. She will be starting up in June. Looking for a housekeeper and cook. If interested PM her on her FB page. Hitching Post in Warren sold to owners of Getsum Burgers
HOUSES SOLD Inventory for previously owned houses continues to be low while sale prices are rising. With mortgage rates about 2.97%, according to Freddie Mac, and demand outpacing supply, the number of available houses nationally is now almost 30% lower than last year. The number of realtors (1.4 million) outnumber available houses for sale (1.01 million). Many other factors are playing into higher prices. There has been a 300% rise in lumber prices, nails have increased 40%, workers are less plentiful, and generally the pandemic effects have interrupted supply chains. With that in mind, it is easier to understand what is happening in Bisbee. Sales have rebounded back to double digits after falling for one month in January. Noted below is a house on O'Hara St. selling for $315k-$17k above the asking price. Eleven houses sold in March at $2,125,400 with OB getting the bulk of the sales (7). There were two additional sales outside of Bisbee totaling about $900,000. For the past couple of years, with a few exceptions, more than $2,000,000 worth of houses have been sold each month. Several questions that would be nice to have answered from realtors and/or sellers:
Where are buyers hearing/reading about Bisbee?
Where are buyers coming from?
Are they buying for moving in permanently? second home? transient rental?
Where are the peeps that have sold, going?
Why are peeps moving?
# Houses sold in March/21; addresses; asking price/sale price; ()=days on market 110 C St. $27,500 (6) 21 OK $35,000 /$36.000 (2) 111 Rand Pl $98,000 (16) 477 Park Pl $108,000/$103,500 (85) 138 Opera $131,500 (59) 54 Opera $217,900 (40) 151A OK $239,000/$235,000 (61) 22 Manulito Trail $269,000/$260,000 (49) 313 O’Hara $297,000/$315,000 (27) 139 OK $329,000//$314,000 (54) 18 Howell $389,000 (27) 151 S. Recluz Trail $606,000/$475,000 (61) 3233 W. Hwy 80 $695,000/$495,000 (217) BUILDING PERMITS I made a request to the City for a building permits report through the end of March. I received incomplete information with conflicting number of permits issues and permits tabulated. However I was sent the bulk of residential permits (with a few commercial permits mixed in). All were for remodels or upgrades. No permits for new builds. (I have a request in for updated info with commercial permits and dates issued.) The number of permits this year compared to last is a bit puzzling but speculating... could be the houses being sold are in better shape and there is less need for major remodeling/fixing. could be house flippers active doing cosmetic repairs could be the unavailability of contractors mean that larger jobs are being put off For comparison... The first three months of 2021 there were 118 permits for a total of $779,000 The first three months of 2020 there were 78 permits for a total of $1,372,997. The first three months of 2019 info was not available from the city. The first three months of 2018 there were 57 permits for a total of $729,683 The first three months of 2017 there were 63 permits for a total of $633,897 The first three months of 2016 there were 58permits for a total of $596,745 The first three months of 2015 there were 68 permits for a total of $646,299 SALES TAX (Actual sales for January two months prior) Although a bit mixed, the overall trend is more spending resulting in more taxes collected. The bed tax dropped $1,500 to $9,773 , the hotel tax bumped up a bit to $15,575, restaurant/bar doubled to $43,000, Retail bumped up about $10k to $99,065, Take home grocery bumped up a bit to $36,626, internet sales up about $1,000 to $19,051 SOCIAL MEDIA As in person visits are increasing, it is clear that social media is driving visitor research. Traditional media will continue to play a role in marketing, but the increased use of devices are capturing eyeballs. Facebook likes, looks, engagement continues strong Instagram followers have now reached 5000, an increase of 1800 over this month last year. Reach is dramatically up and visits are way up. Google analytics records site visits (discoverbisbee.com) and they are up a couple thousand in the past few months. Sessions have increased while page views have dramatically decreased-kind of contradictory. Visitors continue to stay on the site for almost 2.5 minutes Newsletter subs increase about 200 per month and are now at 7834.
WILL WANKING HELP ARIZONA REPUGNICAN LEGISLATORS?
In case you haven't been paying attention, our good tax dollars are being used to recount Maricopa County election ballots-for the fourth time. Repugnican senators voted to hire a company that is an active advocate of stolen elections to count two million ballots-in secret with media barred. Can it get any more abhorrent? Sure, the depths of Repugnican disdain for us voters seems to be limitless. Fann, the senate prez, won't say how much it costs, is soliciting private funding, and generally has tried to keep reporters off the premises. Repugnican legislators, well known for not thinking for themselves, have introduced several bills limiting voting access. The dozen or so bills mimic ones that are being used in Georgia, Texas, Florida and some other states to make it more difficult to vote in a variety of ways. Maybe some wanking will help.... Wilhelm Reich was a psychologist that among other things believe authoritarian behavior was rooted in sexual repression. The repugnican legislators show many signs of dictatorial and antidemocratic behavior. In order to help those severely repressed people, I am thinking of sending inflatable sex dolls to men and vibrators to women. Maybe starting a gofundme to pay for it. Whatcha think? Will it help? GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY/HARRIETTE! CALL 'EM, TWEET 'EM, EMAIL 'EM From Civic Engagement Beyond voting. A valuable newsletter about how the legislative process works, how it doesn't, and who is screwing the public.
If you missed CEBV’s introductory Letter to the Editor training, join us for a repeat session on Monday, May 3 at 5 pm. Then take a step further by registering for one of two identical advanced workshops. You'll learn to identify the target audience for your letters, craft the talking points that will move people, and hone the art of weaving your personal story into the narrative. The ultimate goal is to change the conversation in Arizona, and focus on policies that truly matter to Arizonans. The advanced presentations are Thursday, May 6 and Wednesday, May 19, both at 5 PM.
THIS WEEK TO DO'S... Call/tweet/email Gov. Ducey 602-542-4331 @dougducey The message? Keep your stanky hands off women's bodies.....Veto SB1457 a multi-pronged attack on the rights and agency of women. It would give "unborn children at every stage of development" the same rights as an actual person, and makes abortion due to any genetic abnormality, including one incompatible with life, a felony. Call/email Sen. Gowan https://www.azleg.gov/emailazleg/?legislatorId=1968 (602) 926-5154 to Vote NO on HB2309 targets anyone who, along with seven or more other people, "intends" to engage in a riot and causes property damage or injury. Call/email Rep Griffin https://www.azleg.gov/emailazleg/?legislatorId=2053 (602) 926-5895 Rep Becky Nutt https://www.azleg.gov/emailazleg/?legislatorId=2021 (602) 926-4852 Ask them to oppose these bills... SB1459 would subject the elected Corporation Commission to another administrative review process. Written by lobbyists HB2427 unnecessary to remove school boundries HB2462 would force people to take extensive training (at least 80 hours) before serving on civilian review boards. Sure, lets make it harder for people to participate in the life of their community. HB2575 echoes language in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 27-year-old federal law which has been copied by state legislatures to justify discrimination against LGBTQ+ people, women and other protected groups under the guise of religious liberty. HB2792 would make it a class 5 felony to send someone a ballot if they didn't explicitly request one. Sure lets make it harder to vote in every way possible.
(A mishearing that has, as a result, acquired a new meaning)
I've run these before, but just in case you missed it....
"Gladly, the cross-eyed bear." "Gladly The Cross I'd Bear." Traditional Hymn
Junkies in Love "Chuckies in love"
"There's a bathroom on the right." "There's a bad moon on the rise." Bad Moon Rising, Creedence Clearwater
"Excuse me while I kiss this guy." "Excuse me while I kiss the sky." Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix
"Dead ants are my friends; they're blowin' in the wind." "The answer my friend is blowin' in the wind." Blowin' In The Wind, Bob Dylan
"Midnight after you're wasted." "Midnight at the oasis." Midnight at the Oasis, Maria Muldaur
"The girl with colitis goes by." "The girl with kaleidoscope eyes." Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles
"Sleep in heavenly peas." "Sleep in heavenly peace." Silent Night, Christmas carol
"Junkies in Love." "Chuck E's in Love." Ricki Lee Jones
"She's got a chicken to ride." "She's got a ticket to ride." Ticket to Ride, The Beatles
"You and me and Leslie." "You and me endlessly..." Groovin', The Rascals
"Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble; tres bien ensemble." "Sunday monkey won't play piano song, play piano song." Michelle, The Beatles
"I'll be your xylophone waiting for you." "I'll be beside the phone waiting for you." Build Me Up Buttercup, The Foundations
"Are you going to starve an old friend?" "Are you going to Scarborough Fair?" Scarborough Fair, Simon and Garfunkel
"Baking carrot biscuits." "Taking care of business." Takin' Care Of Business, Bachman-Turner Overdrive
"Donuts make my brown eyes blue." "Don't it make my brown eyes blue." Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Crystal Gale
"Got a lot of lucky peanuts." "Got a lot of love between us." Let's Hang On. Frankie Vallee and the Four Seasons
"What a nice surprise when you're out of ice." "What a nice surprise bring your alibis." Hotel California, Eagles
"Hope the city voted for you." "Hopelessly devoted to you." Hopelessly Devoted to You, Grease
"I'm a pool hall ace." "My poor heart aches." Every Step You Take, The Police
"Just brush my teeth before you leave me, baby." "Just touch my cheek before you leave me, baby." Angel of the Morning, Juice Newton