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Sat, Jan. 18

Talk of the Town: Mayor files second 100-day report

We've all been busy since my first 100-day report to you, the citizens of Prescott. In this second report, I cover the most important happenings since the first account.

In my first report, I talked about engaging the citizens of Prescott through the formation of the Prescott 2050 Visioning committee. That committee is off to a fast start on several fronts.

We distributed a survey in utility bills, and you have returned more than 1,400 completed surveys! They contained great ideas and valuable feedback. Several people have thanked us for asking for their opinions.

Working groups have formed in several areas, including Downtown Planning, Transportation, Economic Development and Ambiance. We will be publishing an online newsletter to keep everyone informed of our progress. We have set a date of December 2008 for recommendations. I am excited with the quality of the volunteers and the progress to date.

We have launched the "Looking Forward" speaker series, in partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott College, Yavapai College and the City of Prescott. Our first speaker was Ed Fox, vice president and chief sustainability officer at APS, who discussed their visioning process. Next was Bob Hazlett of the Maricopa Association of Governments, who focused on transportation challenges. Grady Gammage Jr., noted lawyer and land planning expert, was our third speaker. He discussed the newly released report "Megapolitans - Arizona's Sun Corridor." Our next speaker will be Lori Singleton, manager of Sustainability Initiatives at SRP. She will speak at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 26, at the Prescott College Crossroads Center. She will discuss sustainability planning and initiatives at SRP. Visit http://prescott2050.org/ to find out more about what the Prescott 2050 Visioning committee is doing or to volunteer.

The City Council continues to work on the tough policy issues we identified at the January City Council Retreat, including our No. 1 priority - the development of an Unsewered Areas Policy. We had several work sessions on this issue including two public workshops and a special meeting with Antelope Hills residents. This continues to be a tough issue to bring to a conclusion.

For the past two months, the mayors of the tri-cities, with their town and city managers, have been negotiating to develop a plan for a single pipeline to import water from the Big Chino Subbasin. We also are holding discussions with representatives from Salt River Project and with Herb Guenther, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, to develop a plan to monitor water levels in the Big Chino Subbasin and to develop a mitigation strategy.

The Prescott Capital Needs Committee is a dedicated group of 20 citizen volunteers that reviewed our highest priority capital needs. They presented their recommendations to the City Council on Tuesday. The council members now must decide if we will accept or modify their recommendation and if we want to include a bond issue for voter approval on the November ballot.

We are operating in economically challenging times. That was quite evident as the City Council worked on next fiscal year's budget. We have continuing needs but less revenue than expected. The City Council is looking at options on how to meet this challenge. On May 22, in an all-day council budget workshop, we wrestled with revenue shortfalls and the large expenditure demands we will need to meet in the near future.

Mesa Airlines has announced it will no longer serve the Prescott area. The city continues to work with the Department of Transportation to secure another airline for Prescott. I also am in contact with Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl to stress to them how important air service is to Prescott. Balancing that, we had regional cooperation in bringing a new carrier, Horizon Air, offering round-trip flights to Los Angeles starting on Sept. 8.

As ceremonial head of the city, I have the pleasure of participating in many events. These have included a Shalom service, a Memorial Day ceremony at Citizen's Cemetery, several ribbon cuttings at new businesses and a three-mile bike Ride to Work with the Mayor.

We continue to conduct town halls at locations across Prescott. These provide the pulse of the community, and the question-and-answer portions provide insight on the concerns of our citizens. Please call Patti Crouse at 777-1380 when your organization would like to host a town hall meeting.

I look forward to the next 100 days and my next report to the citizens of Prescott!

Jack D. Wilson is mayor of Prescott.

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