Happenings in Cochise County

Happenings in Cochise County
Cochise County logo (Source: Cochise County)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - What’s been happening in and around Cochise County...

Board of Supervisors approve changes to improve 911 dispatch operations

Amendments to an intergovernmental agreement between Cochise County and the City of Sierra Vista regarding emergency service communications have been approved by the Board of Supervisors.

The changes will move all human resources and financial management responsibilities for the Southeastern Arizona Communications Center (SEACOM) to the City of Sierra Vista, allowing for more stability and consistency for the facility’s workforce, said County Administrator Ed Gilligan.

SEACOM manages the 911 emergency dispatch services for the County and the City of Sierra Vista. Under the current model, the County oversees the finances, as well HR duties for its staff, while City of Sierra Vista employees are managed under the City’s system.

“Facilitating a transition to a single employer will have numerous operational benefits,” Gilligan told the Board of Supervisors at its regular meeting on October 23.

This includes bringing all SEACOM staff under the same policies and procedures, as well as providing them with the same benefits.

“There will be absolute consistency and stability for SEACOM’s key component – its workforce,” added Gilligan.

Supervisor Ann English said, “The goal for SEACOM has not changed, and that’s to serve the public and have a better 911 system. Sometimes you have to make changes to the process. We figured some things were not working so well and we are fixing them.”

The amendments will now go to the City of Sierra Vista Council for final approval.

The Board also adopted a resolution to appoint Sheriff Mark Dannels as the County’s representative on the SEACOM board of directors. Dannels will replace Gilligan as the County’s representative.

“We recognized that Sheriff Dannels is the most appropriate person to best represent the County,” Gilligan said. “Up to this point, the Sheriff’s Office has managed our dispatch center efficiently, managing the budget and any issues. The Sheriff has been involved in this program and the operations committee and this change presents the best option in meeting the needs of his officers and the County.”

New County highway established by Board of Supervisors

The Board of Supervisors has declared Robbs Road in the heart of Willcox wine country as a County highway to allow improvement work to move ahead.

Earlier this year the County received a $475,000 grant from the Arizona Commerce Authority to pave three miles of Robbs Road, which serves as a main route for the region’s vineyards and other agricultural businesses.

Currently a dirt road maintained by the Highway & Floodplain Department, the road must be established as a County highway before the economic development grant can be implemented, explained County Engineer Jackie Watkins.

The County will spend around $200,000 of its own funds to complete the project, which stretches between Kansas Settlement Road and Wayward Winds Road. Engineering and design work is expected to take place early 2019, and paving will be carried out in the fall.

The project is expected to provide a significant boost to area vineyards, who say the current condition of Robbs Road deters wine tasters, causes vehicle damage, and produces too much dust. Many of the vineyards have indicated they will be expanding and building new tasting rooms and event centers when the road is paved, resulting in more visitors and new jobs.

The Board of Supervisors officially declared Robbs Road as a County highway at its regular meeting on October 23.

“This is a wonderful thing,” said chairman Peggy Judd, whose district includes the wine region. “I’m excited that we are able to get this off the ground. This is one of the positive economic things taking place in the area.”

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