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Tue, Sept. 17

Verde Partnership seeks bylaws approval Thursday

PRESCOTT - The Verde River Basin Partnership will conduct its second meeting of 2007 on Thursday, with an attempt to resolve an impasse related to the removal of members.

The meeting is 2 p.m. Thursday at the Prescott Public Library, 215 E. Goodwin St. It's open to the public.

The members will consider adopting partnership bylaws. At the partnership's first 2007 meeting in July, one part of the proposed bylaws prompted considerable discussion.

Some members objected to the section titled "Removal of Members" that states, "Members whose actions and/or statements demonstrate positions contrary to the goals and purposes of the Partnership may be removed from the membership rolls by approval of two-thirds of the voting members" attending a meeting with a quorum.

Other members supported that section, however.

The partnership also is struggling to gather enough money to work on its mission outlined in the federal legislation that created it.

Verde Valley municipalities have contributed $25,000, according to Clarkdale mayor and partnership coordinating committee chair Doug Von Gausig.

Prescott-area municipalities have refused to join the partnership, accusing its membership of a lack of locally elected members.

Prescott mayor-elect Jack Wilson, who is vice chair of communications for the partnership, said this week that he will try to get Prescott-area governments to reconsider their positions once he takes office next month.

On Thursday, members will consider asking non-governmental members to provide money or in-kind services to help the group.

Sen. John McCain sponsored the Congressional language that created the partnership, in an effort to foster cooperation on water management issues and conduct studies. President Bush signed the legislation back in November 2005. McCain formally asked the Bush administration to include $618,000 in its budget request for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, but that didn't happen.

Yavapai County Supervisor Chip Davis has sent a letter to McCain that asks him to try again. It also asks McCain to sponsor legislation that would include an appropriation for the Verde Partnership, as he and Sen. Jon Kyl did for the Sierra Vista Sub-watershed.

The partnership hopes to gather at least $85,000 to install an aquifer storage monitoring network this fall. Such a network would help ongoing efforts to better understand the Verde Watershed's geology, which could help local officials manage its groundwater and surface water resources.

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