Collaborative approach benefits taxpayers, local communities


The County’s collaborative approach to meeting the best needs of local taxpayers will continue through new agreements with the Cities of Willcox and Bisbee.

At its regular meeting on August 13, the Board of Supervisors approved Intergovernmental Agreements with the City of Willcox for the operation of its animal shelter and to assist in its community development needs.

The animal shelter will continue to be run by the City of Willcox, with the County contributing $77,570 annually for up to three years.

“It is in the best interests of both parties to continue to operate this facility and to conduct these activities jointly to maximize the public benefits than can result from the cooperative use of the resources available to each,” said Sharon Gilman, Associate County Administrator.

The County will also begin providing services for planning and zoning, subdivision development, GIS mapping, park design, and other long-range planning services for Willcox.

Development Services Director Dan Coxworth explained it is often challenging for the region’s smaller communities to hire planning staff, but the County has the ability to step up and offer its services.

The five-year agreement will be operated on a project by project basis and the City of Willcox will pay $75 per hour for assistance provided by County personnel.

“Any time we have extra capacity, let’s offer it to the other communities,” said Supervisor Ann English. “We are all better off.”

The Board also approved a Municipal Effluent Option Agreement providing the County the right to purchase a minimum of 200-acre feet of effluent from the City of Bisbee for $35,000 for five years. The Nature Conservancy has indicated it will pay $10,000 toward this cost.

The County would use the effluent to support a large-scale recharge project to support the San Pedro River and its riparian habitat. The City of Bisbee operates the San Jose Water Treatment Facility, which currently discharges around 360-acre feet of effluent annually.

“The City can thus pledge the minimum 200-acre feet of effluent for use in the Bisbee Effluent Project, thereby ensuring beneficial use of a renewable water resource for watershed enhancement purposes while reducing demand for non-renewable water supplies,” said County Administrator Ed Gilligan.