CLARKDALE - Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church began construction in 2011 on its new worship facility at 330 Scenic Drive in Clarkdale. The new church was finished ahead of schedule and was dedicated in January 2012.
But the church is still waiting for its wastewater connection. And that is creating some annoying problems for church members and town officials.
John Diets, church president and the chair of the building committee, said the church is spending about $200 per month to have a wastewater holding tank pumped out. In addition, the church is hooked up to a temporary water source.
"I keep asking when this is going to take place," Diets said.
He said the town staff keeps telling him they are getting close. At one point, he explains, everyone was waiting for Arizona Public Service to hook power up to the lift station.
"But that was done in the summer of 2012," he said. "I really don't have any information as to what the hold up is."
He said the church has a temporary certificate of occupancy. He explained that the county gave the church a temporary permit to use a holding tank for its wastewater. The church is responsible for monitoring the tank.
"It holds about 300 gallons," Diets said. "So we have to be very conservative."
The church is also paying about $100 every two weeks to have the tank pumped out.
After the church's hospitality period between services, someone takes the cups and utensils home to wash them.
"We have to be very conservative with the use of the restrooms," he said.
He said no one has given him any kind of schedule or target date for when this will all be resolved. He said they tell him that he knows as much as they do.
The Crossroads at Mingus Subdivision basically surrounds the church property on three sides. The church is expecting to be connected to the subdivision's wastewater infrastructure when it is finished.
Diets said that if the church doesn't get hooked up to the subdivision's sewer infrastructure, the only other option is to build a septic system that is expected to cost about $50,000.
He said that if the subdivision goes bankrupt the Spirit of Joy Church is "up the creek."
Earlier this week, Town Manager Gayle Mabery responded to an email complaint about the situation. Her response explains the situation basically from all sides.
She said that when construction on the church began in 2011 all parties thought the approvals for the necessary water and wastewater infrastructure would be in place by spring 2012.
Mabery explained that the subdivision's waterline had not yet been approved for use by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
"PTM Enterprises voluntarily funded the cost to extend a waterline from the town's existing water system to the church, so that the church could be supplied," Mabery explained.
"For the past five years, the Town of Clarkdale, and many other municipalities across Arizona, have been faced with development issues that are unprecedented in Arizona's history," Mabery said. "PTM Enterprises has worked diligently to keep the Crossroads at Mingus Subdivision out of bankruptcy and moving forward through this time."
Mabery said the developer expected to have the water and sewer infrastructure in place a year ago. She said that the developer is making concerted efforts to remedy the issues that have slowed the process down.
"Our hope is that the sewer infrastructure associated with the Crossroads at Mingus Subdivision will be fully certified by all required regulatory agencies in the near future," Mabery said, "but I currently have no estimated completion date to share with you."