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15 Eloy students inducted into National Junior Honor Society
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ELOY — The newest members of the National Junior Honor Society were inducted into the Eloy Chapter on Tuesday evening at the Eloy Junior High School gymnasium.

On hand for the ceremony were members of the National Honor Society from Santa Cruz Valley Union High School and the guest speaker was SCVUHS football coach Rishard Davis.

Maria Vasquez/PinalCentral  

Santa Cruz Valley football coach Rishard Davis was the guest speaker at the National Junior Honor Society induction ceremony of the Eloy Chapter on Tuesday evening at the Eloy Junior High School gymnasium.

Davis provided the 15 inductees with some words of wisdom and reminders that will lead them to have continued success.

“I’m going to start off with practice what you preach, do as you say, walk the talk and actions speak louder than words,” Davis said. “… Let me make this one real clear, what you do is who you are. If there is ever any discrepancy between what someone does and what someone says focus on their actions.”

Davis added that a person’s behavior defines their real message and that a person’s behavior is what they believe to be true about oneself.

In true math teacher fashion, Davis provided the example that words are what you say, and actions are what you do, but when those two come together you either get results or perceptions.

“Results are everything and if you are not pleased with your results and if the perception you have created is not the one that you find desirous then you better get to work on making sure that your behavior is in harmony with your words,” he said. “There is no other way to close this perception gap.”

The rest of the ceremony included the current members of the NJHS lighting candles for each of the five cornerstones and explaining what each one means: scholarship, citizenship, leadership, service and character.

The 15 members inducted into the NJHS were: Mionette Banda, Esperanza Becerra, Emilee Brown, Layla Brown, Anita Cardenas, Aulie Ana Galloway, Gabriel Gomez, Nevaeh Moore, Gabriel Quinonez Galaviz, Julissa Quinonez, Daniel Contreras, Blake Ibarra, Xavier Meza, Jesus Luna Martinez and Ivan Reyes.

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Eloy considers leasing, selling its old landfill
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ELOY — For the past two years the city of Eloy has been struggling to come up with a solution for the future of its landfill, which is one of the oldest still operating in the state.

In April 2019, Alta Arizona presented the council with a report that stated that the city’s rates and fees funding the landfill were not adequate to support the operating costs, future expansion costs and ultimate closure costs of the landfill.

The report highlighted different options for the city to consider such as fill and close, mothball and operate as a transfer station, expand the landfill and partner with a private organization.

On April 12 the council authorized staff to request proposals for privatizing the landfill, which is near Toltec Highway and Alsdorf Road.

“Rarely do you have any more small landfills,” City Manager Harvey Krauss said. “They’re just not economically feasible. We have a huge cost in trying to pay for the closure and post-closure costs of a landfill and that’s something we do not have money for, but we have to reflect it in our audit. It’s a liability for the city. We could limp along for another several years just the way we’re going but some day in the future, it may not be five years from now or 10 years from now, but it’s going to hit the citizens where they have to close the landfill and it’s going to be very, very costly because we don’t have a fund set up for that.”

The city landfill has been operating since the late 1940s and currently serves Eloy’s citizens and surrounding Pinal County residents.

Public Works Director and City Engineer Keith Brown told the council that the landfill receives approximately 5,800 tons of waste annually but there was an increase in the past year after contracting with Arizona City Sanitation.

“That number is awfully small to operate a landfill,” Brown said. “A typical landfill is over 100,000 tons annually as opposed to our 5,000 to 10,000 tons annually. It just gives you some perspective; many other cities, counties and agencies have shut down a landfill because when you operate at that low of tonnage it’s just not efficient to pay for the staff and the equipment and all the costs associated with a landfill.”

The city is looking for an operator that will assume all costs associated with the future operations of the landfill: permitting, environmental issues, equipment purchases, maintenance and any other costs and responsibilities associated with the landfill after closure.

Brown told the council that the operator must provide a plan to provide the current three-member staff opportunities to continue working at the landfill, but that the individuals will also have the option to remain with the city and can transfer to a different position.

Additionally, the city will ask the operator to provide special consideration to Eloy residents with possible reduced rates or a different way for the city to continue to benefit.

“Also, to consider the amount of projected revenue the city can anticipate through privatizing,” Brown said. “Those items will vary from one RFP to another and there will be some negotiations to establish what revenue we might receive through that. We’re not specifying to them exactly what that is but they’ll present to us and all these factors we will take into account when we come back to recommend an option and a company.”

Brown added that there are state-mandated limitations for cities and town to dispose of real property, which could affect the city’s decision on selling the property. An appraisal of the landfill would be needed in order to determine the value if the council wants to sell the property instead of leasing it. If the property value exceeds $1.5 million, it cannot be sold unless the sale is authorized by a special election.

“The advantage of sale is that it removes us completely from that liability of potential future costs, potential hazardous issues, we would no longer be the property owner of that,” Brown said. “We would get some amount of money for that. With leasing it, that’s the simpler approach and they would just pay us a certain amount of revenue from the tonnage, but they would still be required to take over the costs of operation and closure. There is more risk to the city with that as we would still be the ongoing property owner and then we have to ensure that there are financial securities in place.”

For the city to continue covering the costs, the rates would need to increase to $75 per ton. Eloy residents can currently use the landfill for free.

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Eloy council hears funding requests from different organizations
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ELOY — As part of figuring out the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the City Council heard requests for funding from outside agencies and organizations for approximately $68,500.

After the annual Eloy Fiestas Patrias was canceled last year due to COVID-19, Corazon de Latinos Unidos requested $10,000.

Usually, CDLU requests $5,000 but after since the event did not take place last year, the organization and council previously agreed to combine the $5,000 from last year with the $5,000 it would have requested this year.

According to CDLU vice president Grace Lopez, the funding from the city would go towards booking the main headliner for the second day of the two-day event.

Vice Mayor Andrew Rodriguez was named the president of CDLU and stated that the organization is looking at make this year’s event “bigger and better” after not having it last year.

Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth

The Pinal Alliance for Economic Growth also requested $10,000. Pinal Alliance proposes to provide many benefits and services to the city that are not permissible by the public sector.

The agency recently launched the Achieve Pinal’s Career Expo app which provides customized information about careers in Pinal County. It also offers college readiness information, educational opportunities, and scholarships.

Pinal Alliance is also looking to expand the AARP Experience Corps Pinal-Casa Grande program which is a volunteer-based tutoring program that connects older adults to their community by engaging with younger students and helping them become better readers.

The reading program is entering its second year and the goal is to expand it to other school districts in the county in the third year.

Eloy Chamber of Commerce

The Eloy Chamber of Commerce requested $28,000 and is looking at having live events in May.

CEO Mark Benner told the council that depending on when a location is available, the chamber will hold its annual awards banquet. Originally the plan was to hold the awards banquet virtually but due to logistics it was not possible.

Benner added that the chamber plans to hold its usual business mixers and business luncheons. He added that there is a possibility of holding an Eloy festival in November, but that idea is still being worked on.

Sunland Visitor Center

The Sunland Visitor Center requested $18,000 to continue pushing its marketing efforts.

Director of Operations Cynthia Yates told the council that during the pandemic the visitors center began using the Google360 virtual tour to tour the old Toltec School.

Yates added that it has become very popular, and people have begun engaging with the visitor’s center asking questions about the school and the museum.

With the passing of Eloy historian and museum director Dick Myers, Yates state that the South West Archeological Team has offered its availability to be a source of information when it comes to the museum.

According to Yates the center is open four hours on a day on weekends as a soft re-opening and is planning to change the hours over to mornings on weekdays in May as more of the staff is getting vaccinated. Once the center is open during weekdays, it will be closed on the weekends.

Pinal Hispanic Council and Eloy Veterans Center

The Pinal Hispanic Council and the Eloy Veterans Center requested at total of $2,500 for the Veteran’s Day Celebration and the Wreaths Across America event.

The bulk of the funding will go towards the Veterans Day celebration which features a parade, food and drink. The agencies requested $2,000 to purchase 200 wreaths which are placed at the cemetery in December.