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11:21 AM Sat, Jan. 19th

$25K bid for Hotshot buggies up for review by Prescott council

Moratorium on sign ordinance could go into effect for 2017 city election season

A Los Angeles-area museum has bid $25,000 for the two buggies that transported the fallen Granite Mountain Hotshots to their firefighting assignments.

This week, the Prescott City Council will consider whether to approve the sale, putting the two buggies under the ownership of the County of Los Angeles Fire Museum in Bellflower, California.

Under the terms of the bid, one of the buggies would go to the Fire Museum to be put on display, and the other would stay in Prescott.

The council has four meetings planned for Tuesday, May 23 — two closed-door executive sessions (9:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m.), a 1 p.m. study session, and a 3 p.m. voting session. All four meetings will take place at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez St.

Consideration of the sale of the Hotshot buggies will take place during the 3 p.m. voting session.

Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar noted that the city earlier asked for bids for the buggies, and received just one response — from the Los Angeles County Fire Museum.

The buggies were among the “surplus properties” that the City Council considered for sale earlier this year as a way of paying down Prescott’s more than $78 million in unfunded liabilities with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS).

A city memo states: “The property was deemed excess and was no longer needed by the fire department to fill its current operational needs.”

In its bid, the museum states: “Fallen Granite Mountain Hotshot Kevin Woyjeck spent countless hours while growing up at this museum. Rest assured if we (County of Los Angeles Fire Museum) are the winning bidder we will make sure these rigs are treated with the respect that they deserve for decades to come.”

Also on the 3 p.m. agenda will be the possible sale of another surplus property — the mostly vacant EZ Street lot behind the Sixth Street Station 7, where the Granite Mountain Hotshots were based before 19 crew members died fighting the Yarnell Hill Fire in 2013.

The property in question does not include the fire-station parcel, which Lamar said is expected to be listed for sale separately in the next several weeks.

The EZ Street property was valued at $125,000, and the high bid from BOSHCAS Revocable Trust is for $228,000.

The proceeds from the sale would go into the city’s general fund, and from there, Lamar said the money likely would go toward paying down the PSPRS shortfall, although he said the details of that payment would be up to the City Council. Between the two sales (the buggies and the EZ Street land), the city would generate $253,000.

A number of other excess properties were also identified for possible sale, and are in various stages of the listing/bidding process.

In other action, the council will:

• Consider temporarily suspending the enforcement of the city code regarding temporary signs on nonresidential property, and declare a moratorium on the collection of permit fees for temporary signs on nonresidential properties.

Lamar said the city has faced “community consternation” over the rules that the council earlier approved for signs on commercial property.

The city currently requires that temporary signs on private property be limited to one temporary sign of up to 24 square feet per business, and that a $75 permit be acquired.

If the council adopts the proposed resolution this week, the city would stop collecting fees for temporary sign permits and would refund all permit fees paid from Jan. 1, 2017.

Lamar said the temporary suspension would allow the city to “back up and punt” on the matter through the ongoing 2017 city election season. The moratorium would acknowledge that the sign code that the city approved this past year resulted in “more than anybody bargained for, and we need to fix it.”

The moratorium would not affect the city’s ban on signs in the public rights-of-way, Lamar said.

• Conduct two executive sessions — one to interview finalists for the city clerk position, and another to get legal advice on possible pending litigation over construction contracts on the Alarcon, Marina and Willis/Cortez intersection projects.