Council moves forward with annexation efforts

Councilmembers Ray Shelton and Margaret Morales recognized local businesses Elizabeth K. Phagan Insurance Agency and Two Flags Computer Center LLC who recently celebrated anniversaries. Pictured above are Councilman Shelton, Buddy Williams representing Phagan Insurance, Councilwoman Morales and Lawana Diffie of Two Flags Computer Center LLC.

The Douglas City Council is moving forward with its annexation efforts for Bay Acres.

At the Aug. 14 City Council meeting, Cochise County Planner Christine McLachlan updated the council on the efforts to bring Bay Acres inside the city limits in addition to what she described as three other small areas of land that are owned by the county throughout the city.

Bay Acres currently has 707 parcels, six of which are owned by the city. There are 615 property owners in that area and the land has a total assessed value of $24,350,170. McLachlan said for annexation to occur, 309 property owners totaling $12,175,086 are needed. She also identified some flood hazard areas, the Sunnyside Fire District, 830 acres of small parcels, and 193 rentals/investments.

She said the plan going forward is to continue to provide the council with updates, distribute brochures to those living in in those areas as well as hold community meetings, neighborhood meetings, distribute a city newsletter/email, and take advantage of social media using also the city website.

Following the presentation, the council then passed a resolution that establishes an annexation policy for the City of Douglas that will serve to establish guidelines and provide the process required for future annexation in the areas identified.

In other action at the meeting, the council granted the request from city staff to submit the five-year consolidation plan for fiscal years 2019-2023 and the annual action plan for fiscal year 2019 to the State of Arizona department of Housing for CDBG Funds totaling $173,759.

The money would be used for the following at the Aquatic Center: to install a dehumidifying system, LED lighting for the city basketball courts in that area, poles for those lights, a new pump system, and a roof over that system.

The project is estimated to cost $134,741. The remaining funds would be used to cover administrative costs.

The mayor and council also approved the final City of Douglas Municipal Airport (DMA) Master Plan update which would allow them to put some of those recommendations into effect, one of which is the reconstruction of a new runway while another option was to utilize the vacant land in the Airport for other uses such as leasing to a third party for economic development purposes.

The council then agreed to enter into a lease agreement with Southwest Valley Constructors (SVC) for use of some of that land at the DMA. The city will be paid rent of $15,000 on the property. Southwest Valley Constructors are coming here to extend the border wall east of Douglas. It is estimated SVC will bring up to 400 people to Douglas who will reside here for anywhere from a year to 18 months, contributing to the local economy, stated City Finance Director Luis Pedroza.

Pedroza then added SVC will come in and grade and clear 15 acres of land they need for space; install a new gate at the Airport for access that will keep them off the runway, pay half of the waterline connection costs as well as pay up to $20,000 towards sewer connections. Pedroza estimated this move will bring in $270,000 to the city providing the 18-month lease is fulfilled not counting the revenue potentially raised by the SVC staff living, eating, and shopping in Douglas.

The council also granted the Douglas Merchants Association permission to block off Ninth to 12th Street on Saturday, Oct. 12 so they may hold their Second Annual Douglas Merchants Fall Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more on what happened with the remaining items on the council agenda visit the city website at https://www.douglasaz.gov/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2.

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