Print Camp Verde wants to reorganize priorities
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Wednesday, 24 November 2010 00:00

In the past, the Camp Verde Town Council has been ambitious about what it would like to see accomplished.

Developing existing and new town parks and other capital improvement projects will likely be a bottom priority for Town Manager Russ Martin after a discussion with Town Council members Nov. 17 directed him toward focusing on economic development.But then the money ran out in the midst of an ill-performing economy, a particularly hard blow to a town that is almost entirely dependent on sales tax.

The town tried to push a sales tax increase to help with balancing budgets and continuing to provide a certain level of service, but voters gave the proposal a resounding “no” on the Nov. 2 ballot.

After talking with members of the council, Town Manager Russ Martin said the elected leaders all seemed to be on the same page about at least one thing: The town should prioritize those things it can accomplish for little cost while putting more expensive projects on the back burner.

That could mean that big projects like park land development, working toward purchasing a water company and building remodeling may have to hold off for a while.

Martin went before the council last week to ask for further direction on how to set the town’s priority list and to share some of his thoughts on the matter.

Martin also said he feels it’s critical to obtain public input on what the residents of Camp Verde want from their government.
“We might be able to have an opportunity to ask [the public] what they want their money spent on,” Martin said.

One possibility that Vice Mayor Bob Kovacovich said he liked last week was the idea of holding an open-house type event for the public.

The town could also look into starting a public process after the beginning of the year, possibly to get input on the future of the town’s public improvement plan.

“Capital needs are high on the list,” Martin said. “But that’s a money requirement.”

Regardless, Martin said that there are lots of smart people with good ideas in Camp Verde, people he’d like to see get together to provide their input.

In the meantime, Martin said the town could focus on issues that require less funding but could take some time to see results.
That would include continuing to look at town code revisions and ways to streamline policies to make them more efficient. Martin brought up the number of agreements the town has with the Camp Verde Unified School District for facilities use. For example, the school district uses the town gym, while the town takes advantage of some school property. There’s a separate agreement for each instance when one group uses the other’s property; combining everything into one agreement would make it more efficient and save resources, Martin said.

Martin said he’d also like to see policies brought together in one place, like a book, that could be used as a quick reference so all parties involved would know what to expect from dealing with the town, a move that could eliminate confusion.

Martin said he hoped to have some of these ideas ready to come before the council, possibly as soon as January.