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A $1.3 million condominium development for airplanes and airplane-related business at Cottonwood Airport won final plat approval by unanimous vote of the Cottonwood City Council on July 6, but questions were raised about the fairness of the deal.

Developer Bob Backus received final plat approval for a set of five already-constructed airplane hanger condominiums located on Airpark Road and connected to the Cottonwood Municipal Airport at the City Council meeting on July 6.The five-plex airplane hangar, which the law treats as a condominium because it consists of five walled-off sections within a single, 10,000-square-foot building, must form a nonprofit association and record bylaws to begin operation, City Attorney Steve Horton told council.

Tenants are expected to consist of people who own their own airplanes and aviation-related businesses, developer Bob Backus told council.

The expansive hangar was constructed more than 20 years after the developer leased city-owned property along the runway at Cottonwood Airport for a 100-year term starting in December 1983.

The developer pays a minimal annual lease payment to the city to occupy the land, but spent $1.3 million during the last two years to build the hangar complex, Backus said.

During public discussion, Cottonwood resident Bob Oliphant urged Backus to agree to modify his development company’s 100-year lease to include a $13,000 annual ground lease payment the city could use to create jobs and other economic development.

“I would ask Mr. Backus to agree to rewrite the lease so the citizens of Cottonwood can get a fair return,” Oliphant said.

Oliphant argued Backus holds what amounts to ownership of the property but pays virtually nothing for it.

Community Development Director George Gehlert reported some have urged the city to require its property be used to support economic development, but this was not contemplated when the lease was first signed in 1983.

Backus told council he believes the hangars will attract financially secure people who will invest in the local economy. Backus Family Investments’ development of the land already provided many local jobs, he said.

“We certainly want to see the property be used to create jobs and I believe that it will, but I can tell you one thing that’s not going to happen,” Backus said. “We’re not going to pay $13,000 a year.”

Under the final plat, council has the right to review the qualifications of subtenants wanting to lease the hangars.

Russ Martin will be the next town manager of Camp Verde, having accepted the job offer last week.

Martin, the manager of Hayden, Colo., a small town of about 2,000 residents, submitted his letter of resignation from that job Friday, July 9.

“I am excited for the opportunities that are there and look forward to working closely with the community of Camp Verde, its mayor, council and staff,” Hayden wrote. “Again my wife, Ann, and two kids are very appreciative of all Hayden has given us and we are looking forward to what Camp Verde will bring.”

In his application for the job, Hayden wrote he had experience from work in Colorado that would be beneficial in Camp Verde, noting a recent code revision he oversaw, one similar to what Camp Verde is going through now.

“My attraction to Camp Verde is very similar to why we moved to Hayden, a community that prides itself in its history and rural values,” Martin wrote. “While being so close to a tourist destination, that brings its benefits as well as its unique issues.”

Martin has served as town manager in Hayden since March 2004. While there, in addition to overseeing the code revision, he saw the town through two critical tax issues and helped deal with what he described as difficult human resources issues.

Prior to working in Hayden, Martin worked as a planner in Miniturn, Colo., and as a regional planner in Richfield, Utah.
Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in city and regional planning from New Mexico State University and a master’s degree in human resource management from Utah State University.

The Camp Verde Town Council wanted a town manager to live in the community, giving the candidate a “reasonable amount of time” to become a resident.

Martin was actually the council’s second choice. The council initially offered the job to Kelly Udall, the town manager of Pinetop-Lakeside, but Udall declined the offer after talking with his family.

Still, Martin was one of three finalists Mayor Bob Burnside said were all well-qualified.

“Russ Martin was always my first choice,” said Councilwoman Carol German, who served on the committee which recommended the finalists to council.

Councilwoman Robin Whatley said she didn’t want to be locked into choosing from the two remaining finalists, who were picked from a pool of nearly 90 initial applicants. The council paid the League of Arizona Cities and Towns to lead the search process. Interim Town Manager Dave Smith said if the council didn’t pick Martin or other finalist Lawrence Dobrosky, the council would have to start the entire process over again from scratch.

Council unanimously voted to offer Martin the job. He starts Monday, Aug. 9, two days after his resignation in Hayden takes effect. While details of any salary offers were not available, the previous manager made more than $100,000 a year.

Michael Scannell resigned earlier this year to take a job in Chino Valley.

Investigators are looking for vandals who smashed windows and spray-painted a streetlight at a Rimrock church and school sometime after midnight Monday, July 12, according to Dwight D’Evelyn, public information officer with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office.

Vandals did an estimated $500 damage to property at Beaver Creek  Baptist Church, located in the 3700 block of Beaver Creek Road,  according to YCSO.Vandals did an estimated $500 damage to property at Beaver Creek Baptist Church, located in the 3700 block of Beaver Creek Road, according to YCSO. The church provides space to Rimrock Public High School.

An Internet dish situated on an outside wall of the church was torn from its mounting pole and the pole was ripped from the roof.

Vandals spray painted the words “Boy” and “Nero” on the base of a streetlight in the church parking lot.

Damage to the church was estimated at $300, according to YCSO.

All the windows of a Rimrock Public High School bus were opened and the bus’ swing-out stop sign was also damaged.An American flag and a Christian flag were taken from the church’s flagpole. The flag was recovered in the school bus.

The school bus parked at the church was damaged when vandals reportedly pried loose a lock and hasp which secured the back door of the bus.

All the bus windows were opened and the bus’ swing-out stop sign was also damaged.

A fire extinguisher was missing from the bus and the Christian flag from the church was draped over the driver’s seat, according to YCSO.

Damage to the bus was estimated at $200.

Those with information about the incident are encouraged to call YCSO at (928) 771-3232 and refer to case 10-026113 or Yavapai Silent Witness at (800) 932-3232 or text message information to “Busted” at 411247. Callers remain anonymous and become eligible for a reward if an arrest results.

Every month, the Town of Camp Verde issues a report that serves as a snapshot of sorts, providing insight into what local government does on a daily basis.

Camp Verde Marshal's OfficeThe Camp Verde Marshal’s Office was slightly busier in April, compared to the same month last year, according to numbers released last month as part of the Camp Verde’s monthly report.

Much of the office’s activity was a result of dealing with traffic offenses, with 314 recorded in April and 2,069 reported in the fiscal year, which started July 2009. Deputies also responded to 118 calls to assist other law enforcement and emergency response agencies in the area.

Both categories saw a significant increase over April 2009.

Deputies investigated 70 reports of suspicious activity in April, and 740 such reports for the fiscal year.

The end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 also brought 174 reported thefts and 50 reported assaults, nine of which were felonies.

The marshal’s office also investigated 59 burglaries, 36 at residences and 23 at businesses. The marshal’s office recorded 176 alarm activations through April.

There were 132 reports of domestic violence, 97 reports of disorderly conduct, 179 traffic accidents, 34 weapons offenses and 94 noise complaints.

The fiscal year through April saw the marshal’s office respond to 11 reported suicides.

April brought six DUI reports, making 47 such incidents from July through April, and there were 54 incidences of abandoned vehicles. Animal control reported responding to 906 calls through April. Numbers for the month of May from the marshal’s office were not available.

The marshal’s office was far from the only busy department in the town.

The clerk’s office issued 12 new business licenses in May and issued 41 renewals.

The building and planning department fielded 634 phone calls and assisted 204 customers.

At the Camp Verde Municipal Court, there are 705 outstanding traffic warrants, including 112 DUIs. The court also has 553 outstanding misdemeanor criminal warrants. In May, the court handled 81 misdemeanor matters, issued four harassment injunctions and five protection orders.

Camp_Verde_Town_Seal_frontThe town’s public works department also stayed busy in May.

The streets division finished up the year’s crack seal program, but the project was smaller than in recent years because of budget cuts. The town also tried to replace street signs, but once again the budget crunch placed some constraints on what could be done. Several signs that have been stolen will have to wait to be replaced.

The Parks and Recreation Department opened the town’s swimming pool at the end of May, and prepared for the summer’s offering of recreation programs.

Crews replaced a generator on Squaw Peak used for the town’s 9-1-1 system, some culverts were repaired and seasonal property maintenance carried on.

Business was booming in May at the Camp Verde Library, where 5,926 items were in circulation. The library saw 2,180 people walk through the doors in town, and 439 visitors to the Beaver Creek location. The library hosted eight special programs and, thanks to donations, was able to put up three outdoor benches for people to use while they access the library’s new wireless Internet connection.

Numbers for June across all departments are expected to be released later this month.

Camp Verde is still looking for a new town manager after the Camp Verde Town Council’s No. 1 pick turned down the job last week.

After narrowing the field down to three finalists from a pool of 89 applicants, the council voted unanimously June 29 to offer the job to Kelly Udall, the current town manager of Pinetop-Lakeside.

After using a committee made up of local and regional officials to interview finalists, the top three were Udall; Russell Martin, the current town manager of Hayden, Colo.; and Lawrence Dobrosky, a former assistant town manager in the Town of Sahuarita, south of Tucson.

Council members said Udall had far and away impressed them the most.

“He stood out,” Councilwoman Robin Whatley said, adding she was impressed with Udall’s grasp of several of the issues facing Camp Verde.

Mayor Bob Burnside said he was impressed by the clear-cut manner Udall used to help carry out polices in Pinetop-Lakeside by setting out a clear vision that anyone can look at and understand what direction the town wants to go in.

But Udall said last week he had to turn the offer of employment down.

“I talked it over with my family,” Udall said. “I’ve decided that I’m going to have to go in another direction.”

Udall’s decision has forced the council to hold another special meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, to determine which of the other two finalists to make an offer to.

Burnside said last week all of the finalists had been “wonderful applicants.”

Dobrosky has 22 years of experience in local government.

He has most recently worked as a consultant to municipal governments. Prior to that, he served two and a half years as assistant manager in Sahuarita, 10 years as revenue manager for the city of Peoria, and nearly 10 years in various positions with the city of Glendale.

He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Arizona State University.

Martin has served as the town manager of Hayden, Colo., since 2004. His earlier experience includes working as a planner in the towns of Minturn, Colo., and Richfield, Utah. He holds a master’s degree in human resource management from Utah State University.

Hayden wrote he was attracted to the way Camp Verde “prides itself on its history and rural values.”

The council stressed they want a manager who will relocate to Camp Verde, preferably within six months to a year after accepting the job.

Burnside said he’d like to see the town give the manager either a car or some sort of transportation allowance, but it wasn’t immediately clear if there was room in the town’s tight budget for such an allowance, common in many municipalities.

Salary negotiations would be kept in closed-door meetings until a candidate accepts the job, but previous managers have been paid more than $100,000 a year.

The duties of the town manager have been carried out by Interim Town Manager, Human Resources Director and Town Marshal Dave Smith. Former Town Manager Michael Scannell resigned from the job in March after serving two-and-a-half years. Scannell went on to accept the town manager’s job in Chino Valley.

??A kidnapping attempt that started in Phoenix was foiled by the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office last week.

Camp Verde Marshal's OfficeA 29-year-old man was charged with unlawful imprisonment June 26 after trying to forcibly take his 23-year-old ex-girlfriend to his home in Oklahoma.

Authorities were alerted after a witness saw the suspect carrying the unwilling woman to his car at the Sunset Point rest area on I-17.

The woman, who had been taken from the Phoenix area, tried to escape and hide at the rest area after making the excuse that she needed to use the bathroom, said Robin Bruno, with the Camp Verde Marshal’s Office.

Her attempt failed, but did clue the reporting witness in to the fact that something wasn’t right.

From what investigators were able to determine, the woman was moving on with her life while the suspect apparently wasn’t willing to let her go.

Deputies in Camp Verde intercepted the suspect’s vehicle near Milepost 295 on I-17, and conducted a high-risk traffic stop.

A high-risk traffic stop means deputies wait for backup, treat the suspect as armed and dangerous, and approach the vehicle with guns drawn, Bruno said. The suspect and the victim are from Myanmar, and neither one speaks much English, Bruno said.

Aside from confusion that can result from someone with a gun giving commands in a language the suspect doesn’t understand, the suspect was cooperative with deputies, Bruno said.

The suspect was arrested and booked into the Yavapai County Detention Center in Camp Verde.

A firefighter exits the burned mobile home in Verde Villages 1 covered in insulation and soot Monday, July 5.A mobile home to a family of four burned in a residential fire, which began at approximately 1:45 p.m. on Monday, July 5.

The owner, right, of a home which suffered a total loss in a house fire in Verde Villages 1 is comforted by a neighbor Monday, July 5.The home was located on Emerald Court, in Verde Village 1.

Area firefighters finish extinguishing a residential fire which burned through the above-head crawlspace of a mobile home in Verde Villages 1 on Monday, July 5.Firefighters from Verde Valley Fire District and Cottonwood Fire Department arrived on scene to find smoke pouring out the eaves and roof vents of the affected house.

All the members of the family escaped the fire and were uninjured. The house is likely a complete loss, according to VVFD Assistant Chief Mike Flummer.

VVFD fire investigator Dave McIlroy, said firefighters found evidence the fire began outside the house on a deck at the front door.

After speaking with the homeowner, investigators concluded the smoldering fire in the attic began when embers from an improperly extinguished cigarette blew up into eaves of the home, causing a smoky burn in the attic which quickly spread to both ends of the mobile home.

A Verde Valley Fire District firefighter, covered with soggy insulation, removes his respirator after battling a fire in a mobile home on Emerald Court in Verde Villages 1 on Monday, July 5.Neighbors comforted the couple who owned the home as firefighters put out the fire.

"They are the nicest people," next-door neighbor Ed Blauvelt said. "They were always willing to help anybody."

Firefighters pull   hose into a burning mobile home on Emerald Court in Verde Villages 1  on  Monday, July 5.Trauma Intervention Volunteers came to offer assistance to the family after firefighters were finished on-scene. Verde Valley Ambulance Co. arrived to evaluate the physical condition of firefighters who worked inside the smoky structure.

The 67-year-old man accused of shooting 46-year-old Vonda Adams in Cornville in April was again arrested and charged with her murder Friday, July 2.

Yavapai County Sheriff's OfficeCriminal Investigations Bureau detectives from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office made the arrest. The alleged homicide occurred in the 2600 block of Kadomoto Drive at the suspect's Cornville home.

He was originally arrested on April 28 following a preliminary investigation. He was released a short time later resulting from the need to further investigate the circumstances, according to YCSO.

Adams was a friend to one of the suspect's acquaintances and had disputes with him in the past, according to YCSO.

On July 2, a Yavapai County Grand Jury returned an indictment for one count of murder based on additional evidence presented by YCSO detectives. The suspect was booked at the Yavapai County Detention Center in Camp Verde and was due in court Saturday, July 3, for his initial appearance.

Further details regarding the investigation have not been released.

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