The Town of Camp Verde needs some advice from its residents, and the town’s staff finally nailed down how they are going to do it.
The town is sending out thousands of surveys and leaving several more around at a few different locations. The town’s elected leaders want input from the public on what people think should be the top priorities when it comes to spending their tax money as the town prepares to put together a capital improvement plan, or CIP.
The survey is also available online and will be in both English and Spanish, said Melissa Preston, Camp Verde economic development director.
The CIP is a road map of sorts, a guide to look at where the town should focus its resources over the next five years.
It’s been 10 years since the public was polled on how money should be spent, and this most recent effort is long overdue, Mayor Bob Burnside said.
A survey was also one of the least expensive ways the town believed it could gauge public opinion.
The survey addresses many potential public projects. There are questions as to how important it is to upgrade or build new parks, how to provide upkeep on the town-owned swimming pool, and how important it is to build a new library and a new animal shelter.
There are also questions about maintaining town-owned vehicles and improving and maintaining roads and drainage control. Even the possibility of building an equestrian center somewhere in town is raised. A space is also given for residents to write in their own suggestions about what the town should be doing.
Of course, having a wish list is one thing. Being able to pay for it, particularly in an uncertain economy with a local government that depends on sales taxes, is quite another.
For each category of potential improvements, participants can mark how they’d most like to see a particular project funded.
The options include implementing a tax on power bills, increasing the sales tax by a percentage or two, using the $2 million or so in reserves the town already has in the bank, financing or bonds and even the implementation of a property tax where none currently exists in Camp Verde.
Town Manager Russ Martin said that public participation in government is important and that filling out a survey is a great opportunity for town residents to do just that.
“If you’ve ever said ‘why doesn’t the town do this?’ … just fill out a survey.” Martin said.
The information will be collected, reviewed and taken into consideration by the Camp Verde Town Council, whose members will ultimately have the final say in what the town wants to do and how much money to spend.
The more people who participate, the more accurately town staff believes the surveys will reflect local opinion.
Preston estimates that the survey will take no longer than 20 minutes to complete.
The survey will be included as a special insert in next week’s Wednesday, Dec. 7, edition of The Camp Verde Journal. Physical copies of the survey can be picked up at Town Hall, 473 S. Main St., Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or at the Camp Verde Community Library, 130 Black Bridge Loop Road, Tuesdays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Once completed, they can also be dropped off at the library in person or mailed to the Town of Camp Verde at Town Hall.
The deadline for completed surveys is Saturday, Dec. 31.
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