Lake Havasu City could have a new organization leading transportation planning for the city and the immediate area ready for its new role by Oct. 1.
That’s what Gary Parsons, the city’s Operations Department director said Monday as the City Council is slated tonight to vote on a resolution accepting nearly $104,200 in start-up funds for the Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization.
Formation of a so-called Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is federally required of cities and, more specifically, metropolitan areas that are larger than 50,000 in population. Lake Havasu City met the 50,000 threshold after the U.S. Census numbers were released in 2010.
Funding for the new Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization largely is covered by the federal government with the city providing office space, utilities, and human resources and finance services to the new group.
“This is not another layer of government,” Parsons said to clarify the new group’s role. “It has no taxing authority.” The organization will apply for grants and have technical advisory committees to direct projects through to completion, he added.
Tuesday, if the council agrees to the resolution having the city working together with the Arizona Department of Transportation Multimodal Planning Division (which helps direct federal funds and formation of the organization), the first move will lead to a board of directors.
A board of directors would include five members — three members appointed by the City Council, one by the Mohave County Board of Supervisors and one by the Arizona Department of Transportation, Parsons said.
Once the board is convened it would hire with the help of the city’s human resources department the planning organization’s executive director, Parsons said. From there, the executive director will hire an administrative specialist with the help of the city’s human resources department, he added.
“Technically, (the two Lake Havasu Metropolitan Planning Organization officials) will be city employees,” Parsons said. But federal funds administered through the state covers their work and salaries, he said. Federal funds will cover about 95 percent of the MPO, he added.
In other business, council members will vote on continuing a water leak detection program with help from a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
The total project cost is more than $64,400 with the rest of the expenses covering city workers time and labor on the project.
If council members approve, between 160 and 170 miles of water pipes will be surveyed, including an area above Acoma Boulevard and around Lake Havasu High School, beginning in November or December and concluding in March, said Doyle Wilson, the city’s water resources coordinator.
Last year, 153 miles of the city’s water distribution system was surveyed and 47 water leaks were detected which totaled 169 acre feet of water lost per year, according to a city staff report.
It’s not typical that the city finds that much water leakage as it did this past year, Wilson said. A six-year average of water leak survey work reveals about 41 acre feet of water leaks per year, he added.
The water leak survey work is important for two key reasons, Wilson said.
“We want to be as efficient as we can obviously (with the water),” Wilson said.
Also, the city loses revenue if the water it pumps out and treats ends up leaking into the ground, he said. “We’re not seeing the payback on it.”
Also, in other business the council will vote on adopting the 10-year Community Investment Program and adopting the tentative fiscal year 2013-2014 budget.
With two budget work sessions held and one CIP work session, Mayor Mark Nexsen said it’s likely city staff will review some of the changes council members informally agreed to make during the sessions and there will be little discussion otherwise.
A final budget could be approved at the June 25 meeting.
The City Council meets at 6 p.m. today at the Police Facility, 2360 N. McCulloch Blvd.
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