Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. presented Council Member Rudy “Popo” Quinonez with the Local Elected Official Distinguished Service Award for his 20 years of service to the Douglas community at the Douglas City Council meeting Sept. 12.
Douglas' Mayor Danny Ortega Jr. presents Ward 6 Councilman Rudy "Popo" Quinonez with the Local Elected Official Distinguished Service Award for his 20 years of service to the Douglas community at the Sept. 12 Douglas City Council meeting. Trisha Maldonado/Douglas Dispatch
“I would like to thank the city and my constituents for allowing me to represent them,” Quinonez said after receiving the award.
Chief Executive Officer for Southeast Arizona Medical Center, Brian Bickel, gave a presentation to mayor and council on Safety Net Care Pool.
SNCP was established in 2011 and approved by Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) in 2012, to reimburse participating hospitals for uncompensated care cost provided to AHCCS members and the uninsured.
Eligible hospitals must receive disproportionate share payments and have a local governmental entity sponsor.
SAMC is asking the City of Douglas to be that governmental entity sponsor and also provide them with $300,000. All funds are paid directly to AHCCCS then matched by the federal government and distributed to the hospital quarterly. SAMC has until Sept. 30 to have this agreement signed and returned to AHCCCS for processing if they would like to take part in the SNCP.
Exercise Specialist, Lee Itule with the Cochise County Health and Social Services gave a presentation with the overall focus on a healthy community; she emphasized partnerships to enhance the quality of life and economic growth of the region.
City Manager Carlos De La Torre provided a map and listing of all city owned property and facilities, in an effort to discuss the best and full utilization of such facilities.
The focus of this discussion was to solicit input and to obtain general policy direction from the mayor and council as to how to move forward with the future utilization, lease, sale, or exchange of city owned property and facilities.
De La Torre will be working with a realtor to assess the value of the properties in order for the mayor and council to strategically move forward.
Council and mayor approved a bid proposal from Felix Construction for the equipping of Well 17 on Sulphur Springs road in the amount of $524,900.
Second reading of ordinance No. 12-1012, amending the Rules of Conduct for City Council meeting was accepted by mayor and council.
All were in favor of the second reading of ordinance No.12-1013, establishing bus fares for the city transit system. The city will be taking over management of the transit program from Catholic Community Services, effective Oct. 1.
Also approved was the authorization of a six month lease agreement with Elaine Baker for the office space located at 1116 G Ave., suite 5. The Douglas rides transit administrative services our currently operated by Catholic Community Services. In order to provide a smooth transition of the transit services, staff recommends leasing the current office space for a period of six months, beginning the first of next month. During the six months research will be conducted to select a city owned building which can be used for administrative services and bus storage.
Mayor and council approved on the lease agreement with Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA) for the use of four vehicles by the City of Douglas Transit system.
The City of Douglas will be leasing four buses from YCIPTA at $1.00 per year/per vehicle. This will save the city approximately $11,200 this fiscal year.
Approved was the authorizing De la Torre to execute a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Douglas and the Douglas Regional Economic Development.
The purpose of this MOU is to develop a cooperative and mutual understanding between all parties that would allow for the positioning, advocacy and strategic planning required for the development and construction of a new commercial port of entry in the Douglas area.
The port of entry represents the major economic drive for the community. The primary source of income for the City of Douglas is the sales tax generated by retail activates in the community. It is estimated the some 60 to 70 percent of all retail sales are conducted by Mexican visitors.
The city had been working for the past several years on a more traditional funding course to modernize the pot. General Services Administration (GSA) estimated the cost to be approximately $120 million to modernize the POE.
Due to budget cutbacks by the U.S. Federal government the funding for port of entry projects were dramatically reduced through FY 2011 and then zeroed out in 2012 and 2013.
With this in mind, the city has decided that in the best interest of the community and to move forward they will go through the Public-Private Partnership project delivery methodology to either build a new POE or modernize the current one.
The city will be working with the Douglas Regional Economic Development Corporation (DREDC). They will provide strategic a advisor to advance the new Douglas commercial POE as well as find ways to improve the border crossing experience for both north and south bound traffic. This is an effort to promote the long term growth and economic development for the city and the entire region.
DREDC will also make an initial site assessment and positioning phase that will focus on a variety of initiatives at the local and regional level which are crucial before continuing with the ensuing phases of the project that consists of the development of conceptual plans, feasibility and financial studies and implementation plans.
Mayor and council feel that the MOU is the first step of the project development process.
The estimated total development costs will be $600,000 and the estimated design and construction costs for both sides of the border are at $25-$30 million.
The city will pay DREDC to expand their relationship and allow DREDC to provide additional professional services in the amount not to exceed $130,000 to formulate an initial phase of the POE development project as part of a capital improvement for the city.
The $130,000 will be funded out of the capital improvement program as budgeted in the FY2012/2013 budget.
Mayor’s report: Mayor Ortega, Councilman, Mitch Lindemann and De la Torre attended the North American Development (NAD) Bank meeting Sept. 7 in San Antonio Texas.
They were able to discuss the development of the port with NAD representative. The NAD is the bank that helped build the San Luis POE.
The city representatives were told of a grant available to border communities specifically to Douglas of up to $350,000, which can help with some of the environment studies that will need to be done in order to build a new POE.
“We will apply for this grant once we have all our ducks in a row,” Ortega said.
Lindemann and Quinonez both took a few minutes to say a few words about former Council Member Ramon H. Jordan.
“He was a true leader a visionary and a true servant as his long history or involvement in the community attest to,” Lindemann said. “I will also remember and thank Mr. Jordan for his friendship and mentorship.”
“Ramon was very instrumental in helping me get involved in both youth sports and city government,” Quinonez said. “He loved the city of Douglas, always had the city on his mind.”
The next City Council meeting will be held on Oct. 10 at City Hall.