New road signs follow state lawBy Shar Porier
Wick News Service
BISBEE — If you have seen new road signs in Cochise County with white printing on a blue background and wondered why the change, it is because of new state regulations on street signage.
During Tuesday’s meeting of the county Board of Supervisors, Senior Planner Keith Dennis, with the Planning and Zoning Department, explained that new state regulations specified that the color red would be eliminated from street signs. To comply with the new state guidelines, an ordinance needed to be approved to reflect the change.
Dennis said the blue signs will designate non-county maintained roads, while green signs denote county-maintained roads. He told the supervisors that some signs had already been changed by county employees.
Karen Riggs, interim Community Development Department director, told Supervisors Ann English, Richard Searle and Pat Call that as signs are damaged or new streets are named, the signs will be changed out. This lessens the financial impact of immediately complying with new guidelines.
When asked by Searle how much the change-out will cost the county, County Administrator Mike Ortega stated he did not have a figure, but would provide a cost estimate after the first of the year.
The supervisors also approved a consent agenda item request from court administration to disburse $356,028 in “set-aside” funds as follows: $204,253 to the court; $76,937 to the county attorney; $73,092 to indigent defense; and $1,744 to the state.
In an interview prior to the meeting, Regan Appelo, with Court Administration, explained that the state allows criminal justice entities to collect 5 percent of the revenues from court fines that exceeded a baseline number established in 1998 of $2.1 million. Known as the “Fill the Gap” program, it provides funding to move cases through court within the required timelines. The program is particularly important since the state has eliminated funds to court systems in counties with populations under 500,000.
“Counties may use the funds for any purpose that improves criminal case flow,” she added.
In another legal matter on the consent agenda, the supervisors approved a contract with Candance Lamoree to act as a hearing officer for the Community Development Department (CDD) at the rate of $50 per hour, with a not-to-exceed amount of $5,000 annually.
The CDD requires the services of a hearing officer to make determinations on violations of zoning regulations, according to documentation provided. Lamoree will function in the capacity of an administrative law judge to determine whether a respondent has committed a violation of the county zoning regulations or county building code. She will set hearings in a timely manner, unless there are unique circumstances, conduct these hearings, make determinations and prepare findings of fact and conclusion of law in support of her decisions. She can also impose civil penalties on those in violation of regulations or codes as well as hear appeals.
In other business, Cochise County Supervisors:
• Approved an agreement between the Sheriff’s Office and the US Forest Service Coronado National Forest in the amount of $13,111.
• Approved an agreement between the county and Douglas to provide state-required testing and monitoring of the water supply system at Bisbee-Douglas International (BDI) Airport for $11,316 for the next two years.
• Approved the contract renewal with Ascent Aviation Group, Inc. for general aviation gasoline and jet fuel at BDI at an estimated cost of $300,000.