|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Wednesday, 11 July 2007 13:30|
Every city and town in Northern Arizona has a wish list, but there never seems to be enough money to go around.
So think of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments as a municipal Santa Claus, or at the very least, Santa’s little helper.
Camp Verde is just one of dozens of regional communities reorganizing its list of community priorities it the hopes that NACOG can use its influence to funnel grant money into key local improvements from housing to public works.
Projects competing for attention on Camp Verde’s list this year include funding for improvements to the senior center, a public works complex and the extension of sidewalks along Main Street.
NACOG is a non-profit organization governed by members appointed by all participating town, city and county governments in Apache, Coconino, Navajo and Yavapai counties, and it’s that cooperation that gives the organization its strength, said Michia Casebier, a grant writer who has worked on behalf of several governments and organizations in the region.
“They’re vital,” Casebier said, “ … they have a voice that state departments listen to. As a united voice of all the communities of Northern Arizona it has more power.”
It’s the power of collective bargaining and shared expertise that lets NACOG know where to find the money, be it in Phoenix or elsewhere, she said.
“It’s serious business,” said Norma Garrison, town councilwoman and, Camp Verde’s representative to NACOG. “It’s a very important resource for all our cities and towns.”
Northern Arizona communities make a list of things they’d like to see funded and give each one a priority number.
Of course, not every project is going to get funded.
“Sometimes it a matter of the squeaky wheel getting the grease,” Casebier said. “It often depends on the size of the community or several other factors.”
Vice Mayor Brenda Hauser, wants improvements to the
Mayor Tony Gioia wants a revolving loan fund, library construction and city sidewalks.
Garrison wants to see funding for a youth center raised from the lowest priority to the highest, citing surveys that put that at the top of what people in Camp Verde want.
No matter what grants end up coming down the pike, Garrison said she feels NACOG is going to give Camp Verde a better chance to see some cash.
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