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Camp Verde sports complex marks spending record

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According to Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin, Town Council’s approval of the largest expenditure in the town’s history will come at no additional cost to residents. On Nov. 16, Town Council unanimously approved up to $7 million in bond funding for construction of the Camp Verde Sports Complex.

The motion did not require a vote from the public, as the funding did not stipulate raising and pledging property tax. Instead, the funding is a pledge of future excise [sales] tax.

“These are public municipal bonds, like federal savings bonds, and can be bought by the general public but [are usually purchased] by mutual funds, 401(k)s, etc.,” Martin said. “This is a pledge of future excise tax that is already part of our revenues. We use it for Camp Verde Marshal’s Office loan, library loan, streets yard loan and equipment loans no differently.”

In January 2015, towncouncil approved a 0.65 percent sales tax increase with the express purpose of raising funds for capital improvement projects, including the then-unnamed sports complex. The town purchased the land for the park for $2.1 million a decade ago. The 110-acre sports complex park will occupy land east of State Route 260 on McCracken Lane adjacent to the Verde Ranger Station.Community Park

It is designed to include up to six baseball fields, two football- soccer fields, up to eight pickleball courts, multiuse space and a community center. According to Martin, the $7 million bond funding will fund the entire infrastructure — sewer, restrooms, waterlines, parking lots and lighted ball fields — for “an eight-plex sports field in the shape of two cloverleafs,” but the entire scope of the complex could be upward of $12 million, full funding for which might come from grant funds.

The mortgage payment will come to approximately $350,000 annually. That figure is more than half the $600,000 brought in each year via the 0.65 percent sales tax increase from 2015 and comprises approximately 3 percent of the town’s annual budget of around $11 million.

The bond funding was approved with an emergency clause — one that Martin said “is simply to process interest rates so that they don’t change after a time frame, usually 30 to 60 days, when the bonds go to sale .... It is a standard clause to keep interest rates from changing during the process of the sales of those bonds.” Martin said the town has prioritized the sports complex now because it “has been almost since incorporation nearly top priority.”

Despite this, the town was not able to move on its development until proper funding and financing were available. Other necessary projects, such as sewer improvements, will not be funded the same way as the sports complex.

“We will apply for funding through the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona for sewer soon that will have lower than market rates because that is a sewer project borrowing from a fund set up for these types of proj- ects,” Martin said.

Now that financing is in place for the development of the sports complex, the town plans to move quickly. Martin said the town is “working to get it operational by spring [or] summer of 2019 with groundbreaking probably in February 2018.”

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