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Town drops Fort Verde Days
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Friday, 10 April 2009 12:19

If Camp Verde wants to continue celebrating major events like the Pecan and Wine Festival, Cornfest and Fort Verde Days — the town’s signature event — then the community is going to have to step up and organize them.

After years of losing money sponsoring and underwriting special events, the Camp Verde Town Council voted last week to stop spending money on them until the economy perhaps improves in the future.

It was a tough decision forced on the council by a tougher economy in a town that relies almost entirely on sales tax revenue.

The decision mirrored the recommendation of town Parks and Recreation Director Lynda Moore, who said that without funding an additional employee to help o rganize the events, the department would find it difficult to focus on other activities for residents of Camp Verde.

Moore pointed to the long schedule of various recreational events on the calendar, from virtual bowling for senior citizens to Easter egg hunts for local children.

Mayor Tony Gioia was the only member of the council to vote against this move, arguing that it was premature.

“We need to look for people willing to take these [events] on before we drop anything,” Gioia said.

Councilwoman Norma Garrison said she was fairly confident, at least in the case of Fort Verde Days, that the community would keep the half-century old event running.

Moore pointed out that for most of Fort Verde Days’ history, the event was organized by the community; it wasn’t until 1999 that the town started to put money into the event.

“I don’t know why it couldn’t be [a community event] again,” Moore said.
As for other events, Moore said her department would be willing to help out with equipment, or any other way that doesn’t cost the town, if a group ends up trying to continue any of these events.

Councilman Ron Smith and Council-woman Norma Garrison batted around the idea that perhaps the members of the town’s own Parks and Recreation Commission could offer additional assistance in keeping these events going.
The public wasn’t permitted an opportunity to speak about the matter before the council; according to Gioia when Garrison “called for the question” for a vote, she invoked a procedural rule that forced an end to all discussion.

Town Manager Michael Scannell said that in a perfect world, the town would love to fund all these events.

“But with the state budget … Camp Verde can’t be everything it used to be,” Scannell said.

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