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9:32 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Sales tax extension back on Tuesday's Prescott council agenda

PRESCOTT - The call for a September sales-tax extension election and two police-related federal stimulus grants will be among the issues the Prescott City Council will consider this week.

The council will conduct its regular study session at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

The meeting will mark the return to the council of an issue that generated considerable discussion in late 2008 and early 2009: extending the city's existing 1-percent sales tax that currently goes for roads and open space for an additional 20 years or more beyond its current 2015 expiration date.

While the council could vote next week on setting the Sept. 1 election, City Manager Steve Norwood said polling work will occur in the meantime that could affect the ultimate decision on whether to move forward with the election.

Noting that the council has until early June to come up with the ballot language, Norwood said the polling would take place in the next two months to help the city determine the community's views on the sales tax extension.

"We're working with a company that does polling," Norwood said, explaining that the city plans to contact about 600 registered Prescott voters to "gauge their level of interest."

The polling, which will take place in late April, will cost the city between $14,000 and $15,000, Norwood said, adding that the matter does not have to get council approval, because it is below the $20,000 threshold for such consideration.

Norwood said he has the authority to call for the polling.

The city is considering the sales tax extension to allow it to borrow money long-term to pay for road improvements that are necessary now.

In other action, the council will:

• Consider applying for a federal COPS Hiring Recovery Program grant to cover the addition of four police officers over a three-year period.

Norwood said the grant is part of the federal stimulus package, and aims to allow communities to add police positions that may have been lost because of the ailing economy.

In order to receive the grant money, the city must commit to keeping the four officers on for one year beyond the three-year grant period - at a cost that the city estimates at $303,176.

• Consider applying for an $84,057 Recovery Act Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant to cover police-related costs, such as training, personnel, supplies and equipment.

The Prescott Police Department proposes using the money for a variety of purchases that it says will enhance crime prevention and criminal investigation capabilities.

Among the proposed purchases: Six mobile digital computers with modems; one automated license plate reader; five SWAT tactical vests; and one motion activated surveillance device.

• Hear a presentation by Gary Hudder of Asphalt Paving and Supply on the Side Road/Highway 89A (Granite Dells Parkway) interchange contract.

• Conduct a closed-door executive session on the Side Road (Granite Dells Parkway) interchange.