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Councilman 'Woody' resigns

WILLCOX — A familiar face to the Willcox City Council has announced his resignation.

On Thursday’s Willcox City Council meeting, Elwood “Woody” Johnson stood before the council and those attending and formally stepped down from his seat.

“I have been proud to represent the City of Willcox over the past 15 years. It has been an honor to serve our constituents, and it has been an opportunity that I would choose to repeat, given the chance,” Johnson said. “My wife and I have decided to move closer to our daughter and her fiance in Washington, and that is the basis on which I have founded my decision to leave the community we have called home for more than 25 years.”

The City Council presented Johnson with a plaque, thanking him for his service to the community. Johnson’s resignation will go into effect July 19.

“Woody, I thank you. I think you were the first one I came and talked to when I first thought of running for City Council. I talked to you quite a bit, and you told me to just do it. I did it, and here we are. Thank you for your 15 years,” Vice Mayor Tim Bowlby said.

Johnson was the mayor of Willcox from 2016 to 2018 and served on the council for 15 years from July 2004 to July 2019.

Johnson was credited with overseeing the reconstruction of Railroad Avenue, revitalization and reconstruction of the Community Center, and having overseen 15 Willcox city budgets.

Locals express disgust over litter-riddled city

WILLCOX — Locals took to the stand Thursday to express their dissatisfaction over the lack of enforcement of the city’s litter laws.

“I’ve made numerous trips to the prior city manager — not the current (city manager) — and have expressed my concern and the lack of enforcement with several city councilmen over the years. I always got the excuse from Mr. Stoddard, who was taking care of it at that time, that it had to do with something legally, that the lawyer had to change this or that. It was always something legal,” Steve Denny said.

“So, therefore, if we don’t have a lawyer who can take care of all these little legal deals, and we continue to have our city go downhill in its appearance, I think you better do something about the attorney. I don’t know who that is, and I’m sorry if I step on their toes, but I’m tired of hearing excuses.”

“It would be nice for them to pass the code and allow the things to take place. I have a hoarder behind me, I spray my lot. In order to clean up my neighbor, I kill six feet on the other side of my fence because he only weed-whacks once a year. That means it grows in the summer. I would appreciate it, as well as this gentleman right here, if you do something about it,” Gary Taylor said.

After hearing the statements of two Willcox residents, the Range News contacted Willcox City Manager Caleb Blaschke, who said the city has not brought residents in violation of the health and sanitation codes to court because Willcox does not employ an attorney. However, Blaschke said the City of Willcox is looking to hire an attorney, and the city has already budgeted for a code enforcement officer.

“We don’t want to go through an enforcement process and have it thrown out by the judge (for improper procedure),” Blaschke said. “We’re going to have a kickoff campaign and a cleanup campaign, and we’ll send out notices in the mail about what’s coming down the pipe, the consequences and what resources are available to help them clean their properties.

“It’s just that people in Willcox have gotten under the impression over the years that they can have as many vehicles as they want on their property and that they can leave trash on their property. But they can’t do that because it’s a health and safety issue, and obviously it’s an aesthetic issue, a wildfire issue, and it’s a pest and sanitation issue.”