Following Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin’s performance evaluation, which took place in executive session of the Town Council Sept. 6, Martin discussed the noteworthy accomplishments of his seven-year tenure.
When Martin took on the role of town manager, he came up with a list of goals he wanted the town to see effected. Now, that list is nearly exhausted.
“Except for a couple, we’ve accomplished them all, in spades,” Martin said, adding that he revisited his original list in preparation for the recent performance review. “To look at that list is really rewarding.”
Among his accomplishments in concert with town staff, Martin listed a few principal projects: The Arizona Department of Transportation State Route 260 improvement project, the new 17,000-square-foot Camp Verde Community Library and the completion of the town’s General Plan.
“It was one of those moments when I was trying to reflect and prepare [for my evaluation], I thought, ‘260 is a big flippin’ deal,’” Martin said. “Professionally, in my career, that’s always something I’ll be proud of.”
Martin also lauded Camp Verde Town Council and town staff for getting the Camp Verde Sports Complex off the ground.
“This spring we should be building the pads,” Martin said, adding that the bidding process may begin as early as this fall, with ground broken on construction as early as next spring. “It’s happened because we’ve had some pretty good councils. I’m fortunate to have a good one now.”
Other accomplishments Martin listed are as follows:
A voter-approved sanitary district transformation
The sidewalk project along Finnie Flat Road
The roundabout project at State Route 260 and Industrial Drive
An increased focus on appropriate economic development
An increased focus on the river
A more positive regional perception of Camp Verde
Additionally, Martin cited “smaller things behind the scenes that save residents money,” including professionalizing the town’s contracts and improving risk management practices to “cover the town’s liability so we don’t lose what we’ve developed.”
According to Martin, the town is “trying to prepare in every way to economically develop the town” in accordance with input from the community.
Martin admitted that at least two goals have not been met: To date, the town has been unable to acquire the Camp Verde Water System and it has yet to develop a comprehensive marketing plan for downtown.
The former effort is stalled while the latter, Martin said, is in the beginning stages of being developed by Camp Verde Economic Development Specialist Sebra Choe.
Martin listed improving transportation infrastructure as neither a complete win nor a fail. Instead, he said that the town “wants to do better in our streets [but] there’s just not enough resources in transportation right now.”
Regardless of limited funds, the town is in its second year of a five-year street resurfacing plan conducted in seven geographic zones.
“We should be able to cover every street in town by [the project’s end],” Martin said, adding that he wants residents to know that the town has not forgotten their streets: “If they know we’ll get to their street in two or three years, I think it might be easier to be patient.”
Prior to Martin’s hiring as town manager, Town Council had not entered into contract negotiations with the town manager. The reason, according to Martin, was the high turnover rate: Before Martin, the longest serving town manager was employed under five years.
After seven years at the helm, Martin now hopes to have a contract in hand in the next couple months.
“There’s not a hurry on it, but it’s a good thing and a good professional relationship to work on,” Martin said, adding that he and his family, which includes two teenage children, are fully vested in the community.
“I’m glad that I’ve been able to work here seven years. We like living here .... I don’t picture myself elsewhere.”