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Water park sign violation notice upsets owner
A painted sign at the new water park is the subject of a dispute between a county official and the park owner.
Brice Zeller, owner of Z Fun Factory and the soon-to-open Waylon's Water World, appeared before the Yuma County Board of Supervisors last week to protest a notice of violation charging that the Coca Cola sign is a billboard requiring a permit.
During the call to the public, Zeller said Paul Melcher, planning and zoning director, had called the sign, which is located on a wall in the water park, a billboard because it's visible from over a mile away on Highway 95.
“I got a little upset,” Zeller noted. “I call it a mural and I call it art work because we have murals all over the water park.”
He noted that he is selling pirate-themed murals on the walls of the park to corporate sponsors. The large Coca Cola sign, painted in red and white, faces the highway.
However, he added, the sign has limited visibility from the road. “To really read it you have to stop in a certain distance of an area.”
The sign is also reportedly visible from Avenue 5E, but Zeller noted there is nothing on the dirt road except farmland.
“I do not think this is right. I don't think I should get a violation. I don't think I should get a variance,” Zeller said, adding that the intent was not to advertise outside the park.
Board members did not respond as they may not discuss items that are not on the agenda. However, Administrator Robert Pickels said he was aware of the issue and in the process of reviewing it with staff.
The park, at a cost of $8 million, is expected to open June 29. It features 15 slides, an 800-foot lazy river, splash pools and a rain forest area.
It is designed to accommodate 3,500 people a day. Zeller will employ 36 people per shift with two shifts per day.
In other action, supervisors approved a contract with the Arizona Department of Economic Security for the disbursement of funds pertaining to the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 in Yuma County.
The contract reflects new allocations for 2012/13 totaling $5.5 million. The funds are included in the Yuma Private Industry Council budget for 2012-2013.
Supervisors also reappointed several members of the Yuma County Workforce Investment Board. Nancy Alter, Allen Hagedorn, Diane Hansberger, Dave McDowell, Steve Miller, Jesus Quintana, Rick Rohrick, Patricia Romant and Tom Tyree were appointed for three-year terms.
Acting as the Housing Board, supervisors agreed to write-off $3,390 in past due and uncollectible accounts under the Low Rent Program.
Housing director Gloria Mallek explained the write-off amount consists of maintenance and rent charges to tenants who are no longer living in Yuma County Housing projects. These accounts are now more than six months past due and have been turned over to a contracted collection agency.
The accounts have also been posted on a website that tracks down former public housing recipients owing money to a public housing authority. Collection efforts on these accounts will continue even after written off, Mallek said.
Supervisors also approved the Yuma County Employee Benefits Trust Medical Plan along with changes and rates for 2013. According to Felicia Medina, human resources director, the plan includes a new $30 buy-up option for employees only and an incentive wellness program that requires participants to obtain a finger stick biometric test, complete a health risk assessment and receive an annual preventative wellness exam.
Participating members would be eligible for a $15 per month incentive that could be used to reduce their premium costs or deposited in a Flexible Spending Account or in their Health Saving Account.
Also added is a high-deductible health plan option with a Health Savings Account as a third option for employees. Medina noted that this program has a zero-cost effect. She pointed out that statistics show having a HSA reduces plan costs as the member has a larger deductible to meet.
Medina also notified the supervisors that the consulting firm Segal conducted an analysis of the rate structure and revealed a “re-balance” in the levels of contributions per tier is needed.
Staff reported in May that the re-balance would cause “no increase or change” in the budget. After discussion with the budget review team and Segal, staff has been advised that there could potentially be a cost impact to the budget of $237,423 for all funds.
Currently, 1,206 employees are active on the plan, but the budget reflects the total number of potential employees, about 1,400, at the highest medical rate (employee and family coverage).
In other business, the supervisors declared the official newspaper of the county to be The Yuma Sun. The newspaper will be used for all advertising, publications and printing required by the county government through June 30, 2013.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (928) 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.