01
Mon, May

Looking to build a community park full of ball fields, Camp Verde Town Council has been seesawing over how large a slice of a U.S. Forest Service land it wants and how large a slice it can afford.

A few weeks ago, council received a welcome new estimate of the worth of the almost 230 acres off Hwy. 260 that it originally wanted, as well as a 40-acre “carve out.”

The 40 acres would have been well within the town’s budget, which includes $1.2 million immediately available in its park fund, according to Finance Director Dane Bullard.

But in a May 30 budget meeting, the council voted for a bigger helping.
After hearing from Bullard that more than $4.3 million would be within their grasp if they floated an excise revenue bond, council members voted to fund the bond, putting the entire 230-acre pie within the town’s reach.
Councilman Ron Smith was the only “no” vote at the meeting. Councilman Mike Parry was absent.

“We can’t afford all of the land because we need to improve the land that we do purchase,” Smith said. “If we encumber all of our resources, or the majority of them, in land purchases, we can’t do what we need to do for the public.”

Smith said that, by contrast, the largest park in Flagstaff is 47 acres.

More than a half-million dollars in park improvement money was granted to the town years ago. That grant has been renewed multiple times and will be lost if work does not start on a park by this fall.

That may be a big “if,” considering that, in the past, the town and the Forest Service have been far apart on their assessments and may be no closer this time, regardless of the latest lower assessment.

The town must also wait for the Forest Service’s own assessment and negotiate with it — a process that can take up to a year.

In a long and unusually impassioned Camp Verde Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, Camp Verde’s swine and its Town Code got a first chance for some real reconciliation.

Starting with a draft that Chairman Rob Witt had characterized as draconian with regard to 4-H and Future Farmers of America agriculture projects, the commission moved toward a more accommodating stance.

The commission is leaning toward requiring a “use permit” for a breeding program, seemingly in response to the sometimes large number of 4-H pigs on Greg and Karen Terry’s Buffalo Trail property.

“A breeding project is an ongoing type of project, and that it’s truly in the nature of a commercial operation,” Commissioner Joe Butner said. “And that’s exactly the kind of thing that requires a use permit — in any kind of a context, whether it be livestock or if they were working on cars.”

A use permit would require residents to individually apply to the commission for permission to use their property in the manner requested and to pay a fee.

Butner proposed that each child involved in 4-H or FFA be permitted to have one breeding project on an annual basis.

Greg Terry’s three sons as well as other Camp Verde kids had filled a large table to overflowing with recently won ribbons and trophies for their prize swine.

Jace Terry, 10, presented a 43-signature petition he had taken around his neighborhood to convince the commission that Buffalo Trail didn’t hate his hogs.

But among Terrys’ next-door neighbors, Eric Schweizer and Leonard Krautbauer both told the commission that the Terrys’ pigs — which swelled to more than three dozen on two slightly-more-than-an-acre properties at the height of the breeding season — were more than a nuisance.

Schweizer bemoaned what he said was an overpowering miasma coming from the Terry’s pigs, and Krautbauer said the proximity and number of pigs created a potential health problem.

The commission heard that Code Enforcement Officer Dallas Taylor had visited the Terry’s property pursuant to nuisance complaints from the neighborhood but had not smelled or seen anything amiss.

Greg Terry repeatedly told the commission that he hoped they would not single out swine among the plethora of livestock in town and that there was no expert testimony that showed any particular health or safety issues peculiar to pigs.

Camp Verde High School’s director of career and technical education, Bob Weir, raised a number of concerns.

“Both of my children were in 4-H this year, and they both raised a pig,” Weir said. “I moved to Camp Verde for several reasons: one is I love the small community — it’s gonna grow gradually, but we’re not Phoenix. If you look at the town emblem and everything else, we’re promoting rural, country life. When you take away one animal, who’s to say the horses won’t be gone? Now the cattle are gone, now the chickens, now the dogs.

“We’re increasin’ our FFA to two teachers because the number of interested students have grown enormously in the last two years. We’re runnin’ right now at 110 students in FFA, and most of those — about 80 — showed an animal of some sort.”

Weir said his new hires would be taken aback to find out that swine were being particularly censured.

Kristi Mulcaire, of 4-H, presented a detailed explanation to the commission of the economics and advantages for children in choosing swine as a project.

In the end, the commission decided to revisit the contentious issue once more before recommending changes to the Town Code for the Town Council, and it seemed to be moving with less deliberate speed against Camp Verde’s swine.

 

The Camp Verde Journal asked Camp Verde Town Council candidates these two questions regarding housing and regionalism.

1. Are you in favor of Community Land Trust houses on the
“Cliffs” site or of the town being involved with affordable housing?

2. What do you suggest to foster coordination with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and with other towns in the region?

These are their answers.

Norma Garrison

1. “Five or six houses at the Cliffs is even more than what we can hope for.
“There’s been a great big misunderstanding about this 5 acres. The Housing Commission right now, all we’re doin’ is lookin’ at every direction that that 5 acres could possibly be used to get the most money out of it that we possibly can.

“All we do is gather up all the facts and take it back to town council; they make the decisions. We’re looking at land trust — we don’t even know if that’s a possibility for us, ’cause we have to get a developer to come alongside and be willing to work with us with the land trust.

“All this right now is a big ‘What if?’
“The dream situation right now would be if we could get two or three houses out of it.

“A developer will buy that land, put in 40 houses. We’re just trying to get 20 to 25 houses on there, so the density isn’t as great as it’s zoned for.

“And then if we could get two or three houses, they will look the same.

The only difference is, it’s gonna be workforce housing. The land will not be sold, only the house that sits on the land. That’s what makes it affordable, but the house will look the same.

“And then we’re gonna look at, the very last thing is just outright selling it. And then if a developer buys it, they’ll put the 40 units on it, because that’s what it’s zoned for. And they won’t have to ask anybody their opinion. They will just do it.

“I know the neighborhood would like to leave that open space, but that’s not an option. It has to generate funds for the library, one way or another. And that’s not our decision — that was Mr. [Scott] Simonton’s and Town Council’s decision.”

2. “Until we clean up our political mess, no one’s gonna trust us.
“You can’t even handle your own household, how are you gonna get involved in somebody else’s?

“We have not always done what we said — that’s with the Native Americans and with other towns.

“We’ve gotta back up. We’ve gotta look at our town codes, our code of ethics, and live up to them.

“We have to fix our town codes and quit just adding things to them, which just makes things worse. But we have to absolutely start somewhere with dealing with the problem when we find it, instead of saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a problem,’ and then we walk away from it, and we don’t do anything with it.”

Jackie Baker

1. “I’m totally supportive of a land trust and have really tried to, as much as I could, be knowledgeable on that.

“As I’ve said many times, affordable housing certainly is a national issue. I think this is our opportunity, and council has taken those steps by pursuing what we need to do to set up a land trust.

“If the housing can be built there on that donated land, and we can create a land trust there for four, five houses in a group, absolutely I’m supportive of that — whether we are able to do that there and/or another location — because there is such a need for this all over.

“I would like to see us promote a regional aim or goal for affordable housing.

“With any kind of smart growth, you really need to address higher-density housing in your main part of your town where you can do infill.

“That helps with your infrastructure because much of it is already there or can be easily expanded. That also helps you to avoid sprawl, and you don’t want that. Then in your outlying areas, you can have your larger lots.

“Down in the main part that’s where your little shop was, your stables or your general store and that kind of thing. So as we expand out in that downtown redevelopment as time goes along, maybe that could be a mixed use in those blocks around Main Street, so that you could have some residential and small business. Maybe your retail shop in the bottom and living quarters above — like it used to be in old-time days.”

2. “Now, granted, the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation moves on some different time frames.

“For the longest time, they’ve been working on getting their trust land, and then they have housing to build, so they really have been busy with so many things, but they have always extended a hand, been willing to cooperate with most anything.

“Both councils would like to have periodic work sessions together. They are wonderful citizens, and I look for that cooperation to continue from now on. I have nothing but thanks to give the Nation and appreciation for what they do.

“I think transportation needs to be a goal for the entire Verde Valley — Cottonwood and Sedona have partnered to address that.

“We’re a relatively small land area, but we’re figuring approximately 70,000 people in the Verde Valley, and we have all these tourist spots people want to come to, not to mention serving our workers, the elderly that need to be able to get to doctors and hospitals.

“So we really need to have a regional, solid transit system that serves at least our three main communities, and, that way, I think it could also serve some of the ones along the way.

“It will probably be, I’m sure, a money-losing proposition.”

Harry Duke

1. “The land trust idea — I think it needs to be explored further.

“I think that town staff is working hard in that area, and I think that they need to be commended for their effort.

“As to the site in the Cliffs, I’m not convinced that that’s the place to start the land trust, but I remain open.

“I stand behind anything that we can do to acquire the funds that will help the library.

“From what I understand, the land trust idea is a feasible one — whether it gets done there or anywhere else, I’m not sure.

“The real problem being that land at $100,000 an acre or more is just not affordable housing land.

“I mean, you have to have some density, I think, when you start talkin’ affordable housing land.

“We definitely need the money from the proceeds for the library because I think it’s gonna be quite some time before impact fees raise anywhere near the money that they’re gonna have to have to start a library project.

“Maybe I’m just an old-fashioned kind of a guy, like I am on taxes. I kinda think that the more government gets involved, the bigger screw-up we have.

“We definitely need some affordable housing in town.

2. “Communication and trust — and I’ll tell ya what, we have not fostered the trust at Town Hall. With the things that are goin’ on down at Town Hall. It does not foster communication. It does not foster trust.

“They look at us like, ‘You can’t even take care of your own matters — what do we want to deal with you?’

“We’ve tried to shaft the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation several times on different issues. On that [Yavapai-Apache Sand and Rock] issue quite a few years ago, we were in a lawsuit with them, and they don’t trust us one bit. And so they look back and say, ‘Hey, we’ll do what we want to do.’ And, believe me, they’ve got the power, the money and the wherewithal to do it. And they’re gonna have the land, along Hwy. 260, out there past the jail, to do it with.

“If we don’t get movin’, we’re gonna be in the same situation as when Prescott gave Wal-Mart and Home Depot so much grief. Where’d they go? To the Indian reservation. The tribe has all that property out there on the highway. Believe me, we need to work with the tribe, because, as far as economic development, it’s gonna benefit them, it’s gonna benefit us and it’s vitally important that we tie in with them — they’ve got a sewer system out there we could tie into.

“We are kind of a divided community right now, and I don’t think it does us any good when do we do business with anybody, ’cause they’re not sure who has the upper hand at the time they’re talkin’ to us.

“Actually, what we wind up doin’ is shootin’ ourselves in the foot, and the other communities are takin’ advantage of it.

Mike Parry
1. “I’m not sure new housing is the way to go.
“As I’ve mentioned in the past, I think we have a two-fold opportunity to explore the Verde Lakes area as a potential of being one of the most beautiful portions of our town.

“We, the town, should invest in individual properties, one at a time, or as finances will permit, clean them up and place workforce families in them with low- or no-interest loans.

“A regular review of the homes with respect to maintenance and improvements will beautify and stabilize the area.

“I think it’s a win-win situation — we put families in housing that will appreciate in value in the area and appreciate in beauty in the area.

“The other method that I’m hearing about, which is good and fine and dandy, tends to really have the people’s investment stall or not keep pace with the rest of the market.

“This situation will still work in the town core, too.

“My point of it is that people are helpin’ themselves right out of the gate, and we’re just getting ’em started, and otherwise they fly on their own. And they make money on their own, and they do well on their own.
“So in five years, they could step up and buy another house, ’cause they’ve not made $5,000 — they might have made $40,000 or $50,000.

“What bothers me is the mindset of everybody that has to have new. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a new home until I built it, and I was 45 years old when I did it.

“We’re tellin’ people that we need to recycle, but our society is throwin’ away everything. We have to build new homes, we have to have new cars. Everything’s gotta be new, new, new.

“I don’t want these folks to have to be hooked onto some government agency — we want ‘em to fly on their own and be successful on their own.”

2. “Let me first address the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation — it’s a tough question.

“From time to time we do discuss some infrastructure things with them.
“They donate funds to our educational and our economic concerns, such as the high school programs and social events. They’re very, very generous people.

“Yet I feel they’re a separate nation, and this may be a barrier between us because of their past years of their oppression.

“And I feel strongly that we still need to earn their trust. I don’t believe we have it. I truly don’t believe we have it.

“So, I want to get over these hurdles. It goes pretty deep. We have not been a trustworthy society with them for a long time, and I think a lot of the elders still feel that way.

“And I really hate going to the Yavapai-Apaches with our hand out — I’m at the end of my rope with that. I’d like to go take somethin’ to them. We tried to, and we do from time to time, but it’s minuscule compared to what they do for us.

“And I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like a good neighbor when I do that. To be interested in your neighbor, you should get to know ’em, and with all the functions I’ve been at, I still don’t feel I do.

“We do work with our other municipalities — I just went to a meeting with the new mayor of Cottonwood.

“I think the biggest nut I’d like to crack is I’d love to see our neighbors sit down with us and tell us what they think. I think our channels of communication are open and they’re getting better.”

The Camp Verde Journal asked Camp Verde Town Council candidates these two questions regarding housing and regionalism.

1. Are you in favor of Community Land Trust houses on the
“Cliffs” site or of the town being involved with affordable housing?

2. What do you suggest to foster coordination with the Yavapai-Apache Nation and with other towns in the region?
These are their answers.

Norma Garrison
1. “Five or six houses at the Cliffs is even more than what we can hope for.
“There’s been a great big misunderstanding about this 5 acres. The Housing Commission right now, all we’re doin’ is lookin’ at every direction that that 5 acres could possibly be used to get the most money out of it that we possibly can.

“All we do is gather up all the facts and take it back to town council; they make the decisions. We’re looking at land trust — we don’t even know if that’s a possibility for us, ’cause we have to get a developer to come alongside and be willing to work with us with the land trust.
“All this right now is a big ‘What if?’

“The dream situation right now would be if we could get two or three houses out of it.

“A developer will buy that land, put in 40 houses. We’re just trying to get 20 to 25 houses on there, so the density isn’t as great as it’s zoned for.

“And then if we could get two or three houses, they will look the same.

The only difference is, it’s gonna be workforce housing. The land will not be sold, only the house that sits on the land. That’s what makes it affordable, but the house will look the same.

“And then we’re gonna look at, the very last thing is just outright selling it. And then if a developer buys it, they’ll put the 40 units on it, because that’s what it’s zoned for. And they won’t have to ask anybody their opinion. They will just do it.

“I know the neighborhood would like to leave that open space, but that’s not an option. It has to generate funds for the library, one way or another. And that’s not our decision — that was Mr. [Scott] Simonton’s and Town Council’s decision.”

2. “Until we clean up our political mess, no one’s gonna trust us.
“You can’t even handle your own household, how are you gonna get involved in somebody else’s?

“We have not always done what we said — that’s with the Native Americans and with other towns.


“We’ve gotta back up. We’ve gotta look at our town codes, our code of ethics, and live up to them.

“We have to fix our town codes and quit just adding things to them, which just makes things worse. But we have to absolutely start somewhere with dealing with the problem when we find it, instead of saying, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s a problem,’ and then we walk away from it, and we don’t do anything with it.”

Jackie Baker

1. “I’m totally supportive of a land trust and have really tried to, as much as I could, be knowledgeable on that.

“As I’ve said many times, affordable housing certainly is a national issue. I think this is our opportunity, and council has taken those steps by pursuing what we need to do to set up a land trust.

“If the housing can be built there on that donated land, and we can create a land trust there for four, five houses in a group, absolutely I’m supportive of that — whether we are able to do that there and/or another location — because there is such a need for this all over.

“I would like to see us promote a regional aim or goal for affordable housing.

“With any kind of smart growth, you really need to address higher-density housing in your main part of your town where you can do infill.

“That helps with your infrastructure because much of it is already there or can be easily expanded. That also helps you to avoid sprawl, and you don’t want that. Then in your outlying areas, you can have your larger lots.

“Down in the main part that’s where your little shop was, your stables or your general store and that kind of thing. So as we expand out in that downtown redevelopment as time goes along, maybe that could be a mixed use in those blocks around Main Street, so that you could have some residential and small business. Maybe your retail shop in the bottom and living quarters above — like it used to be in old-time days.”

2. “Now, granted, the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation moves on some different time frames.

“For the longest time, they’ve been working on getting their trust land, and then they have housing to build, so they really have been busy with so many things, but they have always extended a hand, been willing to cooperate with most anything.

“Both councils would like to have periodic work sessions together. They are wonderful citizens, and I look for that cooperation to continue from now on. I have nothing but thanks to give the Nation and appreciation for what they do.

“I think transportation needs to be a goal for the entire Verde Valley — Cottonwood and Sedona have partnered to address that.

“We’re a relatively small land area, but we’re figuring approximately 70,000 people in the Verde Valley, and we have all these tourist spots people want to come to, not to mention serving our workers, the elderly that need to be able to get to doctors and hospitals.

“So we really need to have a regional, solid transit system that serves at least our three main communities, and, that way, I think it could also serve some of the ones along the way.

“It will probably be, I’m sure, a money-losing proposition.”

Harry Duke
1. “The land trust idea — I think it needs to be explored further.

“I think that town staff is working hard in that area, and I think that they need to be commended for their effort.

“As to the site in the Cliffs, I’m not convinced that that’s the place to start the land trust, but I remain open.

“I stand behind anything that we can do to acquire the funds that will help the library.

“From what I understand, the land trust idea is a feasible one — whether it gets done there or anywhere else, I’m not sure.

“The real problem being that land at $100,000 an acre or more is just not affordable housing land.

“I mean, you have to have some density, I think, when you start talkin’ affordable housing land.

“We definitely need the money from the proceeds for the library because I think it’s gonna be quite some time before impact fees raise anywhere near the money that they’re gonna have to have to start a library project.

“Maybe I’m just an old-fashioned kind of a guy, like I am on taxes. I kinda think that the more government gets involved, the bigger screw-up we have.

“We definitely need some affordable housing in town.

2. “Communication and trust — and I’ll tell ya what, we have not fostered the trust at Town Hall. With the things that are goin’ on down at Town Hall. It does not foster communication. It does not foster trust.
“They look at us like, ‘You can’t even take care of your own matters — what do we want to deal with you?’

“We’ve tried to shaft the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation several times on different issues. On that [Yavapai-Apache Sand and Rock] issue quite a few years ago, we were in a lawsuit with them, and they don’t trust us one bit. And so they look back and say, ‘Hey, we’ll do what we want to do.’ And, believe me, they’ve got the power, the money and the wherewithal to do it. And they’re gonna have the land, along Hwy. 260, out there past the jail, to do it with.

“If we don’t get movin’, we’re gonna be in the same situation as when Prescott gave Wal-Mart and Home Depot so much grief. Where’d they go? To the Indian reservation. The tribe has all that property out there on the highway. Believe me, we need to work with the tribe, because, as far as economic development, it’s gonna benefit them, it’s gonna benefit us and it’s vitally important that we tie in with them — they’ve got a sewer system out there we could tie into.

“We are kind of a divided community right now, and I don’t think it does us any good when do we do business with anybody, ’cause they’re not sure who has the upper hand at the time they’re talkin’ to us.

“Actually, what we wind up doin’ is shootin’ ourselves in the foot, and the other communities are takin’ advantage of it.

Mike Parry
1. “I’m not sure new housing is the way to go.

“As I’ve mentioned in the past, I think we have a two-fold opportunity to explore the Verde Lakes area as a potential of being one of the most beautiful portions of our town.

“We, the town, should invest in individual properties, one at a time, or as finances will permit, clean them up and place workforce families in them with low- or no-interest loans.

“A regular review of the homes with respect to maintenance and improvements will beautify and stabilize the area.

“I think it’s a win-win situation — we put families in housing that will appreciate in value in the area and appreciate in beauty in the area.

“The other method that I’m hearing about, which is good and fine and dandy, tends to really have the people’s investment stall or not keep pace with the rest of the market.

“This situation will still work in the town core, too.

“My point of it is that people are helpin’ themselves right out of the gate, and we’re just getting ’em started, and otherwise they fly on their own.

And they make money on their own, and they do well on their own.

“So in five years, they could step up and buy another house, ’cause they’ve not made $5,000 — they might have made $40,000 or $50,000.

“What bothers me is the mindset of everybody that has to have new. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a new home until I built it, and I was 45 years old when I did it.

“We’re tellin’ people that we need to recycle, but our society is throwin’ away everything. We have to build new homes, we have to have new cars. Everything’s gotta be new, new, new.

“I don’t want these folks to have to be hooked onto some government agency — we want ‘em to fly on their own and be successful on their own.”

2. “Let me first address the [Yavapai-Apache] Nation — it’s a tough question.

“From time to time we do discuss some infrastructure things with them.
“They donate funds to our educational and our economic concerns, such as the high school programs and social events. They’re very, very generous people.

“Yet I feel they’re a separate nation, and this may be a barrier between us because of their past years of their oppression.

“And I feel strongly that we still need to earn their trust. I don’t believe we have it. I truly don’t believe we have it.

“So, I want to get over these hurdles. It goes pretty deep. We have not been a trustworthy society with them for a long time, and I think a lot of the elders still feel that way.

“And I really hate going to the Yavapai-Apaches with our hand out — I’m at the end of my rope with that. I’d like to go take somethin’ to them. We tried to, and we do from time to time, but it’s minuscule compared to what they do for us.

“And I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like a good neighbor when I do that. To be interested in your neighbor, you should get to know ’em, and with all the functions I’ve been at, I still don’t feel I do.

“We do work with our other municipalities — I just went to a meeting with the new mayor of Cottonwood.

“I think the biggest nut I’d like to crack is I’d love to see our neighbors sit down with us and tell us what they think. I think our channels of communication are open and they’re getting better.”

The happy screams of kids on spinning rides; the smell of fried onions, popcorn and lemonade; the cheers of people yelling for an eight-second ride at the rodeo and the calls of the auctioneer in the livestock ring are gone, but the happy memories remain of the 41st annual Verde Valley Fair.
More than 40,000 men, women and children of all ages, many in strollers, walked through the gate and enjoyed the five days of the fair with its flashing lights, fair foods, games, exhibits, animals and smiling faces, despite the high winds.

Nearly everyone in the Verde Valley looks forward to the first week in May. The fair is the premier event of the year.

While some enjoyed the rides, others walked around the exhibits seeing who won purple, blue, red or white ribbons for their animals, artwork,
homecrafts, photography, canned items, flowers and baked goods.

“It was a great fair. Everyone seemed to have a good time,” Linda Harrison, fair manager, said.

Some of the top winners in the barns were Tyler Johnson with his Grand Champion Market Steer. The Vaughn Law Offices bought the 1,300-pound steer for $6,825.

“I bought the steer for two reasons. I have nine children to feed and we’ll certainly use it. Most importantly, I’ve come to know Tyler [Johnson] and I wanted him to see the best result for the hard efforts he put in. I also knew whatever we paid for the steer, the money would be used responsibly,” Justin Vaughn said.

Winning Grand Champion Market Swine was Shayna Sterrett. Her 270-pound pig sold for $3,915 to the Cowboy Shop.

Gianina San Giovanni won Grand Champion Market Lamb and it sold to Climate Control for $2,234.

Nic SanGiovanni won Grand Champion Meat Goat. Larry Green Chevrolet bought San Giovanni’s goat for $810.

Reserve Champion winners were Eric Banuelos with his market steer, Anthony Ramos with his market swine and Cheyene Robinson with her market lamb.

“It was another great Youth Livestock Auction. The businesses and local families really come out and support the kids of the Verde Valley,” Harrison said.

This year’s auction brought in more than $290,000. The top five buyers were Climate Control, Salt River Materials Group-Phoenix Cement, Rocky Construction, Larry Green Chevrolet and the Cowboy Shop, according Karen Stearle, fair public relations director.

Other winners included Katie Radosevic, who won Senior Showmanship Caprine, Best of Show Angora Goat, Small Stock Senior Round Robin, Best Overall Educational Exhibit and Outstanding Public Speaking.

Marc Buy won Best of Show Rabbit. Cheyenne Robinson also took home the Large Stock Round Robin buckle. Raven Sauders was the winner of Poultry Best of Show. Rate of Gain winner was Tanner Rezzonico.

Best of Show awards went to Andrew Collins for his pigeon, Jenna Jones for her calf, Tony Garcia for his waterfowl, Summer Davis for her pygmy goat, Elizabeth Skornik with her breeding sheep, Seth Terry with his breeding swine, Laura Chandler-Lockett with her breeding beef, Victor Augilar with his dairy cattle and Josh Wheeler with his dairy goat.

Animal entries weren’t the only big winners. Children from all over the valley participated in the school art program. Each child was awarded a ribbon for their efforts.

Other winners include:
Best of Class – Floriculture: Tall bearded iris, Marge Larson.
Best of Class – Potted plants: Kaki Rowland.
Best of Show – Quick breads: Barbara Chavez.
Best of Show – Cakes [chocolate cake]: Doris Jenkins.
Best of Show – Canned sauce [sloppy joe sauce]: Phillip Kyle.
Best of Show – Cookies [chocolate chip]: Nicole Scranton.
Best of Class – Canned fruit juice [tomato juice]: Phillip Kyle.
Blue Ribbon – Bed-sized quilt: Raven Saunders.
Blue Ribbon – Christmas decoration [ornament]: Daniel Gillis.
Blue Ribbon – Jewelry: Lynda Pierce.
Best of Class – Digital photography: Susan Hallesy.
Best of Show – Fine arts ceramics: Wayne St. John.
Best of Show – Fiber arts [rug]: Linda Dettman.
Winner of the Crazy Eddie Award – Fine arts: Ron Saylars.

Although this year’s fair is now just a great memory and things are being put away, swept and wrapped up, Future Farmers of America and 4-H members are already planning for the 42nd Verde Valley Fair. It’s only a few days less than one year away.

“We’ll be back and so will the fun,” Stearle said.

For further information, call the fair office at 634-3

The Camp Verde Town Council voted unanimously April 25 to approve an intergovernmental agreement with the Camp Verde Sanitary District.

The IGA formalizes the initial understandings reached between the town and the district over the last few months, with the town pledging to pay the district about $3.4 million in the form of yearly payments of $135,000.
For its part, the district promises to set itself on the road to dissolution, asking its members to turn over its treatment facilities, all other property and day-to-day operations to the town.
The district promises to hold an election to fulfill those conditions in November 2008.

“I’m very pleased,” CVSD Board President Rob Witt said. “It’s a good document — good for town, good for the district, and it gives them a measure of comfort, I believe. It was not too much for them to ask to have a measure of control based on the amount of investment they’re making.”
While the town is waiting for this to happen, the district would also provide treated wastewater effluent to the town at no charge to
irrigate town parks. The district would also lease 15 acres of developable land to the town for its equipment yard.

Witt said the town currently pays about $48,000 a year for a 5-acre lot, but that the district’s lot — three times the size — would only cost the town $100 a year.

Although the district has yet to formally respond to or resolve two bid protests on its yet-to-be-built wastewater treatment plant, Witt is confident the project can still break ground in mid-June.
“It’s not anything I’m concerned about,” Witt said.

According to Witt, one protester, CNB Excavating, of California, made no mistakes in its bid documents, but its argument as to why it should win the contract of more than $8 million doesn’t merit its price, around $400,000 more than the winning bidder, Fann Environmental, of Prescott.

The other protester is Highland Engineering, of Phoenix.

“Highland has an argument that they’re the lowest bidder, but they don’t have an argument to be the lowest responsible bidder, because they screwed up the bid documents so badly,” Witt said.

For its sewer project to go forward, Witt said the district would need its attorney to issue a document saying it faced no pending litigation — something he felt sure the district would secure.

According to Witt, neither protester would serve their best interests by suing the district, as any legal questions to such a suit could open either protester up to a multi-million-dollar lawsuit by the district for damages incurred for any delay of the project.

Under the IGA with Camp Verde, town employees will begin taking over operation of wastewater treatment, but first would take over accounting and billing duties of the district, starting in January.
The town will have to hire new staff, including a certified operator to accomplish that last goal.

Of additional benefit to the district is a promise by the town to provide $240,000 in state highway funds for the repaving costs associated with the expansion of the sewer system.

The town will continue its yearly pledged payments of $135,000 after taking over the district

What we have here is a failure to communicate.

Camp Verde Unified School District Superintendent Jeff Van Handel and his governing board thought they had a great idea — take over the 7-acre Butler Park, which sits smack up against CVUSD property and will soon be in need of much renovation. In return, the district would give 10 acres of parkland near the Verde River in the Simonton Ranch development.

Camp Verde Town Manager Bill Lee said that in retrospect, he didn’t see a clear advantage for the town.

“The way I looked at it is we get a little bigger park, but there were more advantages for the school district,” Lee said.

The 10-acre site is land the school district has rights to going back to pre-Simonton days.

Developer Scott Simonton, who said he is a booster for public schools, said he felt he had given the town many commitments: reducing the density of Simonton Ranch almost by half, donating land for a new library, committing to pay for the widening of Finnie Flat Road and committing at least $1 million toward completing the sewer system.

For Simonton, agreeing to a high- density elementary school in what he plans to be a retirement age-oriented community didn’t really make sense and was one concession too many.

Van Handel said that a park in Simonton Ranch would potentially connect to adjacent parklands and trails, including a possible environmental museum. So Van Handel saw a park as a win-win-win situation, for the district, the town and Simonton.

After talking with Lee and laying out the advantages he saw for all parties, Van Handel asked Lee to take the temperature of the Town Council on the idea in an executive session.

Van Handel said he had hoped that Lee would be able to list the contemplated land swap as a vague agenda item, drawing little public attention, allowing the council to hear from Lee and Lee to get back to Van Handel, before a full public discussion of the pros and cons.

But Lee said that what Van Handel had envisioned wasn’t possible under state open meeting laws.

With Van Handel out of town on the night of the March 21 Town Council meeting, and with a conflicted relationship between Mayor Tony Gioia and Lee added to the mix, Gioia and Lee apparently had a limited pre-council discussion of the agenda, the agenda item, stood little chance of bringing about a hoped-for meeting of the minds.

Simonton came up from Phoenix, saying he was unaware of the idea or that it was on the agenda until an hour before the meeting. He asked that the item be tabled, after saying he had no desire to have anything to do with the dissolution of Butler Park.

Gioia asked how the item came to be on the agenda and if there were any representatives from the district present.

Lee said Van Handel had asked for the agenda item, and gave no indication that he knew anything more about it.

The item was unanimously taken off the agenda.

Lee said that the tabling of the private discussion of the land swap probably told Van Handel all he needed to know: the council wasn’t interested.

According to Lee, Camp Verde would do better to focus on larger community parks, rather than smaller neighborhood parks anyway.

Van Handel said if the town has no interest in the land swap, he is prepared to move ahead with a school plan for the 10 acres within Simonton Ranch.

Van Handel also said he is willing to discuss a lower-density high school on the site that would offer classrooms and possibly computers for use by Simonton Ranch residents, in an effort to make the school an amenity for those residents, rather than an albatross.

Simonton meets with Van Handel on Wednesday, April 4, and said he was withholding any comments until after the meeting

When it comes to the streets of Camp Verde, “accepted” is not “approved,” and thereby hangs a tale.

For at least the last three months, the Camp Verde Town Council has been repeatedly considering accepting the streets of the Verde Cliffs subdivision in the Cliffs development just north of downtown.

Then the item mysteriously vanished after the Feb. 7 council meeting when the specter of litigation raised its head over the issue.

As recently as last week, Mayor Tony Gioia was under the impression that the streets had not been accepted, while Town Manager Bill Lee said they were.

“It’s just plain crazy,” Verde Cliffs resident John Stephens said. “Originally, I went downtown and they said, ‘no,’ the streets had not been accepted, then they said they had. A couple of weeks ago, Marvin Buckel [the town’s street inspector] told me the year warranty on the streets is up in June of this year.”

In a letter to contractor Joe Contadino dated Feb. 22, Town Attorney Bill Sims said when the streets were accepted on Nov. 29 of last year, the
warranty period began.

Apparently, when the town approves the final plat, or plan, for a development, it accepts title, or ownership, of the streets.

The town can then “approve” the streets, or not, once they are built.

Sims said that the town had two additional protections to rely upon.

First, the town can make a developer post a bond and draw money from that bond if it does not approve of how streets are built.

Second, the town can refuse to issue permits for the entire development if, after a few houses are built, it does not approve of the streets.

Gioia said he thought those protections were insufficient.

“It seems ridiculous to me because it seems like the only way we can stop from accepting streets before they’re even built is to not accept the plat,” Gioia said. “Before the town takes on the responsibility of maintenance, I for one would like to make sure that everything is in top order, not starting from some need for repair.”

Sims said that this problem stems in part from outdated and imprecise sections of town code that were pasted in wholesale from county ordinances during incorporation 20 years ago.

“This has been on the radar screen,” Sims said, “and Joe Contadino really brought it home.”

The question of who approves streets that have been accepted in the planning stage is still open.

Gioia said that after all the confusion over “accept” and “approve,” he thinks council needs to have a hand in approval of improvements once they are built.

Stephens, the Verde Cliffs resident, said he and Buckel would be walking the subdivision together this week to assess the quality of the streets.

Of even more concern to Stephens is what he sees as a dangerous lack of parking enforcement in Verde Cliffs.

According to Stephens, the town accepted the subdivision with the most minimally acceptable width of 24 feet, and that allows no room for on-street parking.

“The other day two pickups were parked opposite each other,” Stephens said. “A school bus might get through, but not the fire department, and an emergency wagon cannot get through.”

So nevermind the cracks in the streets — if residents need an ambulance and their neighbors have blocked the street, not only the residents, but the town of Camp Verde may be in deep trouble at that point.

Tony Gioia defeated Mitch Dickinson by 250 votes to retain his seat as mayor of Camp Verde.

Gioia won with 1,370 votes to Dickinson’s 1,120, according to the Yavapai County Elections Department.

All results are unofficial until certified by the county.

With three open Town Council seats, Greg Elmer won outright with 1,506 votes.

The two remaining seats must be filled by a runoff in the general election on Tuesday, May 15.

Four candidates remain to fill two open seats: Harry Duke [1,223 votes], Councilwoman Jackie Baker [1,053 votes], Norma Garrison [1,033 votes] and Councilman Mike Parry [804 votes].

Impact fees, also known as development fees, won an overwhelming victory, 1,567 votes to 843 votes.

The fees could take effect as early as Thursday, March 22, depending on when the Town Council canvasses, or accepts, the vote.

Online Poll

Have you ever considered being a foster parent?

Verde Valley Weather

Cottonwood United States Clear (night), 58 °F
Current Conditions
Sunrise: 5:39 am   |   Sunset: 7:12 pm
20%     7.0 mph     29.563 bar
Forecast
Sun Low: 39 °F High: 76 °F
Mon Low: 41 °F High: 82 °F
Tue Low: 49 °F High: 84 °F
Wed Low: 52 °F High: 85 °F
Thu Low: 50 °F High: 88 °F
Fri Low: 54 °F High: 90 °F
Sat Low: 58 °F High: 84 °F
Sun Low: 53 °F High: 75 °F
Mon Low: 49 °F High: 73 °F
Tue Low: 49 °F High: 72 °F