CHINO VALLEY - (Editor's Note: In mid-February, The Daily Courier published Chino Valley Town Council candidates' responses to a pair of questions in an effort to gauge their positions on key issues before they head into the March 13 primary election. Here is another question and answer from Courier interviews which did not occur in the print edition because of space limitations.
The Courier afforded these candidates equal time for their answers. Mayoral candidate responses from Ray Curran, Karen Fann and Andrew Shelton are listed first, followed by the answers from council candidates Joel Baker, Gary Brogan, Gloria Moore, Myron Robison, Ron Romley and Dorothy Schmidt.)
Courier Question: What challenges does the town face in the next several years? How can Chino Valley work more effectively with Prescott and Prescott Valley to accomplish its goals?
Curran: "The biggest two issues are transit (roadways) and water. Traffic needs to flow between the tri-cities safely and we need an improved system. All three cities should get together on how to plan future growth and what they're building. I've never heard of the three mayors coming together. We've got to find ways of getting water to the people and have safe roads getting people around the town and between communities."
Fann: "The number one challenge is our growth issue. Everything ties into that. We need to amend the General Plan so we can create a map of what we envision Chino Valley for in the long range. Water and infrastructure tie into that. We must continue building on our sewer and water lines. ...In the past four years, this is the first time in Chino Valley history that we have been able to work so closely with Prescott and Prescott Valley, and Yavapai County (regarding transportation and water)."
Shelton: "We need to be more receptive and more aggressive to attracting businesses - all stores. Small business is the number one employer in the United States. ...There are a lot of problems with Highway 89 and the fact that there are no arterial roads for people to go through. ...The town should provide water and sewer lines and then put down roads. In Prescott Valley, sewer and roads came at the same time and the town exploded."
Baker: "The challenges do not change; the challenges now are what face us in the next 25 years. Regarding water, we need to provide for the people living here. We need to figure out how to alleviate congestion with transportation. We need to concern ourselves with growth as it relates to water, transportation and the economic stability of our community. ...In a perfect world, the obvious goal is cooperative regionalization between all of the political entities in our part of Arizona."
Brogan: "The largest challenge is having something to offer to commercial businesses to locate here. We need to work with these developers hand-in-hand, even if it goes as far as creating enterprise zones or offering tax relief. We need some type of incentives to appeal to these types of businesses. ...We need to work with (Prescott and Prescott Valley), but past the stage where we're their stepchild. The recent transportation study is a very positive step in the right direction."
Moore: "The biggest challenge we face with other communities brings us back to the water issue. Although a great deal has been done to protect our water rights, we must continue to be vigilant and involved in any Arizona decision governing the use and control of water. It's time for Chino Valley to take its place as an equal in dealing with growth issues involving ourselves and surrounding communities. We need to encourage a dialogue with those communities to discover the areas where mutual cooperation benefits everyone."
Robison: "Work force housing is a challenge because of the cost. Phenomenal growth has inflated the cost of homes and puts buying a home out of reach for a growing middle class of firemen, truckers and bank tellers who need to get in starter houses. We have to look at transportation beyond Chino Valley and see if we can develop a mass transit program and get the roads built (i.e.--widen Highway 89 and build Glassford Hill Road connector). ...For me, this election is about preserving and reaching a sense of community with the small-town values that we enjoy in Chino Valley."
Romley: "The most pressing thing is facing our growth and water challenges. The current council and mayor have an excellent pulse on what's going on. We need to manage growth to eliminate foreseeable problems. And we need to widen Highway 89 and get the Glassford Hill Road extension up to Chino Valley to take a lot of the traffic out of the center of town. ...We have a good relationship with Prescott and Prescott Valley right now, and we have to maintain that."
Schmidt: "Public transit is one of the major issues. We must make Highway 89 safer between here and Prescott. There are crossovers (with traffic on the highway) all the time. Getting 89 widened to four lanes, including two lanes on each side with a raised median, will make it safer for our citizens. We also need to attract more businesses into our town so we can retain our youth, and we need water (partly achieved through the town acquiring private water companies' wells that currently operate within the municipality)."
Note: For the primary election, Yavapai County officials will mail out ballots to registered voters in Chino Valley this week. Per county policy, this will be a vote-by-mail election only, without polling places.
About a month after the May 15 general election results determine the winners in this race, the mayor will serve a two-year term through June 2009 and council members will assume office for four years through June 2011.
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