Mon, March 30

Clarkdale to consider utility financial assistance
Council also will discuss sidewalk cafe permit fees

CLARKDALE - The Town Council will consider a contract with Catholic Charities of Cottonwood to manage a financial assistance program for water utility customers struggling to keep their water turned on. The council also will discuss and give direction to staff about proposed sidewalk café fees.

The council will meet in regular session March 27 at 3 p.m.

Councilman Curt Bohall sponsors the water utility financial assistance agenda item. Ellen Yates, administrative supervisor of the utilities department, prepared a staff report.

"Due to the economic downturn many of our residents are having difficulty paying their bills and are struggling to keep from having their water shut off," Yates stated. She explained that Catholic Charities, St. Vincent DePaul and the Salvation Army, all of who currently assist Clarkdale residents, are over-burdened, limiting the number of Clarkdale families they can help.

Yates' report states that Clarkdale residents get assistance at this time through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, administered through Catholic Charities. A family can receive assistance through this program only once each year. This program helped nine Clarkdale families in 2011.

The staff report points out that, in order to help these charitable organizations, the town could contract with Catholic Charities of Cottonwood to manage a financial assistance program funded by Clarkdale.

Using a comparable system as Cottonwood, in which the City of Cottonwood contributes $10,000 per year, Clarkdale would contribute $3,500 to provide $4,000 per year in assistance through Catholic Charities.

The sidewalk café agenda item asks the council to give direction to staff on proceeding with proposed sidewalk café fees. The council adopted the Sidewalk Café Ordinance Feb. 14 and directed staff to research possible fee scenarios.

The staff researched such fee structures in other jurisdictions from New York City to San Francisco. Flagstaff has no fee at this time. Sedona has an annual right-of-way fee of $100, and Cottonwood has a one-time fee for a fence permit of $37.50.

A staff report prepared by Enalo Lockard and Beth Escobar gives the council information on sizing a sidewalk café.

"Based on the 32-foot width of the smaller lots on Main Street today, the occupancy load for an approximately 300-square-foot sidewalk café, per the International Building Code, would be 18 people. Approximately four tables and 16 chairs fit comfortably in a 300-square-foot area."

The council will move this meeting from the Clark Memorial Clubhouse to the Administration Building Community Room at 39 N. Ninth St.

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