|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Thursday, 25 August 2011 14:30|
After roughly five months of public comment on four alternative maps proposed to redraw supervisor districts in Yavapai County, Yavapai County Board of Supervisors voted 2-1 in favor of a fifth map, Alternate Map A, after a public hearing Monday, Aug. 22.
District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer and District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman voted in favor of Alternative Map A. District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis, who favored Map C, voted against. The map was adopted with some minor territorial revisions as suggested by county staff.
Under Alternate Map A, reformed District 3 is 429 square miles with 43,600 people, and includes Jerome, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Verde Villages, Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.
District 2 is Alternate Map A’s 2,068-square-mile district with 41,300 people, which sweeps in Page Springs, Cornville and Camp Verde, communities currently represented by Davis in District 3.
The new District 2 also includes a large section of Prescott Valley along with communities in the far southeastern parts of the county, including Black Canyon City, Crown King and Mayer.
In discussion prior to the vote, Davis accused Thurman and Springer of ignoring public comment accumulated in favor of Map C.
“You’re going to take that information, throw it out and do what you wanted to do in the first place,” Davis said. “You’re not following what the majority of folks in Yavapai County want.”
Of the 32 speakers who spoke to the board during the Aug. 22 meeting, 27 favored Map C and five favored Map A. None spoke in favor of Alternative Map A.
County residents appeared before the board in Prescott, where supervisors met, and in Cottonwood via video-streaming.
Dorothy O’Brien, Dave Norton and Carolyn Fish of Big Park Regional Coordinating Council, Lake Montezuma Property Owners Association President Janet Aniol, Yavapai County Planning and Zoning Commissioner Joan McClelland, Bell Rock Plaza Association President Mark Mumaw, Clarkdale Town Councilman Bill Regner and Cottonwood Vice Mayor Karen Pfieffer, among others, spoke in favor of Map C.
“The Big Park Regional Coordinating Council unanimously, overwhelmingly supports Map C,” O’Brien said. “Please consider the next 10 years that will be your legacy.”
“The Verde Valley is unanimous for Map C,” McClelland said. “This is a big decision that’s going to affect us for the rest of our lives.”
“This is an important opportunity for you to consider as a board the needs of the entire county. It’s an opportunity to consider the needs of the Verde Valley and we’re hoping you will do that,” Regner said.
Springer personally took part in drawing Map A, which established essentially the same boundaries as Alternate Map A, drawn by Thurman. Davis said he did not take part in drawing any boundaries, preferring to work with whatever maps county staff designed without any influence from supervisors.
Of the 483 completed surveys received during the public process, 46 percent favored Map C, 21 percent favored Map A. No survey favored Alternate Map A because it didn’t exist at the time the survey was conducted.
Of the municipalities that passed resolutions in favor of one map or another, five voted in favor of Map C and four voted in favor of Map A. None voted in favor of Alternative Map A because it didn’t exist at the time the votes were taken.
Of the special interest groups, like chambers of commerce and regional councils, that took a formal position in favor of one map or another, six voted in favor of Map C, three voted in favor of Map A and two voted in favor of Map B. None voted in favor of Alternate Map A because it didn’t exist at the time the votes were taken.
After thanking them for speaking, Springer said she did not consider those who spoke publicly at the Aug. 22 meeting to be a true and accurate gauge of county opinion and accused Davis of orchestrating the turnout in favor of Map C.
She blamed Davis for causing division among county residents by publicly taking a position in favor of Map C
She defended Alternate Map A, stating it was just as effective as Map C in balancing representation on the board between eastern and western and urban and rural sections of the county.
Thurman, who drew Alternate Map A, agreed, claiming the new boundaries will make it tougher for him to get reelected than Map C would. Alternate Map A will give the Verde Valley a “fair chance” to elect two of the five supervisors on the new board.
“The only problem with Map C, folks, is representation,” Thurman said. “The chance of ever having representation is nil in Prescott Valley.”
Springer said the board was not legally required to hold public meetings to decide the new supervisory districts. Thurman complained not enough of the 211,000 residents of the county participated in the public process.
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