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PV council, 'home rule' election is March 10

The Prescott Valley Town Council Thursday voted to set elections March 10 for voters to choose a mayor and two council members, and set limits on town spending over the next four fiscal years.

The council voted 6-0 to set a mail-only primary election for March 10 and a possible runoff May 19. Councilman Bob Edwards did not attend the meeting.

One council seat will be open because Mary Baker, an appointee, announced she will not run to hold onto her seat. Mayor Harvey Skoog and Councilman Harold Wise have said they plan to seek additional four-year terms.

The council campaign started Nov. 3 with would-be candidates picking up nomination papers at the Town Clerk's office on the second floor of the Civic Center. Candidates must gather between 257 and 515 signatures from qualified voters by 5 p.m. Dec. 10 to appear on the ballot, according to Town Clerk Diane Russell.

The 2007 council election drew a high turnout of 56.6, according to a memo to the council from Russell. Town officials credit the mail-only election - as opposed to polling places - for higher turnout.

Council members Thursday also voted to schedule an election March 10 on the so-called "home rule option."

The Arizona Constitution allows cities and towns to submit the option, known formally as an alternative expenditure limitation, to the voters, according to a staff report to the council. Voters previously passed the option in 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997, 2001 and 2005.

Voter approval of the option March 10 would apply to the next four fiscal years, beginning in 2009-2010 on July 1.

Town staff estimated voter approval would limit town spending to about $63.2 million in 2009-2010, about $64.1 million in 2010-2011, $60.1 million in 2011-2112 and about $73.5 million in 2012-2013.

If voters reject the measure, state-imposed restrictions would apply, and the spending would be lower. Management Services Director Bill Kauppi estimated spending of $45.3 million in 2009-2010, about $48.6 million in 2010-2011, $51 million in 2011-2012 and about $57.4 million in 2012-2013.

Kauppi indicated that he based estimates in part on population projections that the state Department of Economic Security releases. Population projections are 40,131 people in 2009-2010, 41,914 in 2010-2011, 43,663 in 2011-2012 and 45,382 in 2012-2013.

Kauppi said voters never rejected the home rule option, responding to a question from Councilwoman Mary Baker.

The council members approved putting home rule to the vote after conducting a public hearing in which no members of the public spoke out.

In other actions, the council:

• Routinely approved a trio of ordinances to comply with a state employer sanctions law that cracks down on hiring illegal immigrants. The ordinances apply to business licenses, contracting with the town and economic development incentives.

• Issued certificates of appreciation for five years of employment to Dorothy Haitoff, Mark Kramer and Russell.

• Presented a Mayor Recognition Award to Steve Rutherford for his contributions to economic development.

• Approved an ordinance that rezones 230 acres from residential to industrial on both sides of Valley Road between the Big Sky Industrial Park and the sewer plant. The Fain Signature Group and Fain Land and Cattle Co. applied for the rezone because the family businesses want to expand industrial development.

• OK'd a request from Viewpoint Investors LLC to rezone 5.2 acres for a future mini-storage business south of the Viewpoint subdivision and north of Highway 89A.

• Extended the appointments of Ellen Babbitt and Joe Huot on the Planning and Zoning Commission through Oct. 31, 2011.

• Approved the final development plan for Yavapai Bottle Gas for a propane filling center and on-site storage of trucks and empty tanks at 623 S. Bennett Drive.

• Met behind closed doors to discuss the Big Chino Water Ranch pipeline project.

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