It’s going to be a contest.
Two open seats on the Camp Verde Sanitary District Board for the November election looked to be sewn up when only two candidates had put their names in the race: Chairman Gregg Freeman and Chip Norton, a volunteer who has worked closely with the district.
It was at the last minute last week when two challengers joined the race as write-in candidates: Bob Burnside, a plumber and husband of former District Chairman Suzy Burnside; and Mike Garrison, a pastor and husband of town Councilwoman Norma Garrison, former liaison to the district.
Both men said they were motivated to run so that the citizens in the sewer district would have the opportunity to vote.
“My biggest concern was to get the people the opportunity to pick and choose who they wanted to represent them,” Burnside said. “Until I read the articles in The [Camp Verde] Journal, I was unaware that people weren’t going to have that opportunity.”
While the district has advertised the cutoff date for pulling packets to run for elections in the past, Freeman said that had been a courtesy to the public, and with the district facing a tight budget in the face of a sewer expansion project, the board decided not to spend taxpayer’s money this time around.
Advertising that information isn’t a requirement, according to the Yavapai County Elections Department.
While Burnside was married to the woman who was chairman of the district for eight years, he said he didn’t discuss sewer issues with her unless there was a major issue.
Nevertheless, Burnside inevitably picked up a good deal of information about the operations of the district over the years, and he hopes to bring his knowledge to the table.
Garrison said he was inspired to run in part from the words of an old pastor who told him that if a person was concerned about a situation, then they should step up and do something about it.
The biggest motivating factor in Garrison’s decision to run was the people with fixed incomes having to carry the burden of increased sewer taxes charged to fund the sewer expansion project.
“There are a lot of people financially impacted by decisions made by the board,” Garrison said.
While Garrison said it’s too late to undo what’s already been done, he hopes to at
least give those people most severely impacted a louder voice.
As write-in candidates, their names will not be on the ballot.
The election is set for Tuesday, November 4.
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