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Cottonwood, Camp Verde mayors meet to layout their goals for 2018

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At the outset of the year, Camp Verde Mayor Charlie German and Cottonwood Mayor Timothy Elinski are thinking priorities. With the economy hopefully on an extended upswing, growth and infrastructure are top on the mayors’ minds.

Housing developments, new businesses and renovations are commencing in both municipalities in concert with extensive evaluations and improvements of roads, resource services and facilities.

During its first meeting of the year, Wednesday, Jan. 3, Camp Verde Town Council approved the final R1-Planned Area Development rezoning for Silverado at Simonton Ranch, a 55-plus community of 585 lots intended for 1,300- to 1,800-square-foot manufactured homes.

The 172-plus acre property sits west of the Bashas’ shopping center. “They’re hoping about five years to build that out,” German said, adding that the price point of Silverado’s homes — publicized by developer CFT Ventures at around $140,000 — will likely mean fast sales. “I think they will probably build out in three years.”

German said he will be keeping a close eye on the cost of land leases. At Silverado, property owners will not own the land on which their homes sit.

As a result, monthly mortgage payments will be less because the home price is reduced, but the owner will pay an additional fee for the land lease.

CFT Ventures has not announced what the cost of land leases will be or how quickly the rate will rise.

“I, for one, am watching that and making sure [the price] doesn’t get out of hand,” German said, but added that the town will not attempt to intervene on Silverado owners’ behalf as long as the developer is keeping land lease prices fair.

According to German, ground could be broken on the sub-development as early as midsummer. In the interim, he added, the prospect of a major new housing commu- nity has spurred interest from other potential developers attracted to Camp Verde’s quickly expanding commercial corridors along State Route 260 and Finnie Flat Road.

The Northern Arizona Healthcare Camp Verde Campus, open since 2016 with extended hours and a variety of available services including same-day primary care, has been a boon to the town, German said, as many residents express healthcare access as a priority. While Camp Verde is anticipating a new influx of residents, it is also anticipating expanded commercial development.

Ongoing analysis via Retail Strategies, which the town has contracted with to explore potential retail possibilities, will play a key role. “We’re working with [them],” German said.

“Infill is what we’re looking at. What we recognize is that there’s going to be a flurry of activity along 260 [and] Finnie Flat.”

Cottonwood is looking at ways in which city facilities can operate more smoothly while also opening up commercial space in Old Town. Through a potential part- nership with NAH, Elinski hopes to relocate city hall to the currently vacant Rough Cut building on Main Street.

The building, owned by NAH, sits just up from Riverfront Park and the yet-to-be-completed Riverfront Wastewater Treatment Facility. “I think it can happen. I think everything’s in place,” Elinski said, adding that such a move will require creativity and political unity. “Right now, we’re in the fact-finding stage. We’re all willing to look at it; there are creative ways to make it happen.”

Elinski lamented the current state of the city’s administrative facilities, saying, “We’re not just occupying them, we’re occupying them inefficiently. There are only two people in city hall .... [Facilities] are spread throughout town, making it confusing to know where to pay your water bill, apply for a building permit or sit down with the mayor or city manager.”

Moreover, Elinski said he believes, “the community benefit of having a partnership with NAH is meaningful.”

Water issues are major concern for both mayors: While Elinski has been a supporter of the Riverfront Water Reclamation Facility since its initial planning, he feels the project has suffered major setbacks. German, meanwhile, remains committed to the hitherto elusive goal of acquiring Camp Verde Water System, a family-owned company.

“We’re behind schedule and there were some, in my mind, negligent mistakes that were made,”

Elinski said of the approximately $17 million reclamation facility, which will not have its own injection well but likely pump treated water to a well near Cottonwood Kids Park. “Overall, though, the facility is beautiful,” he said. “It will put us on the map for being progressive leaders in how we use our reclaimed water .... I certainly don’t want to disparage the people who worked so hard on this.”

German added that he intends to talk with Elinski and other Cottonwood staff about proceeding with plans to acquire the water company.

“We want to move forward with [the acquisition] of the water company,” German said.

According to German, there are numerous challenges to purchasing the water company, primary among them finding a way to fund the acquisition and meeting minds on an agreeable price. Regardless, he said, “It just seems natural that we need to have that.”

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