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Thu, Nov. 21

Council commits $40,000 to regional economic development entity

The">Prescott Valley Town Council voted 6-0 Thursday night to commit $40,000 to a new entity that is promoting regional economic development.

However, Councilwoman Mary Mallory requested pulling the item off the consent agenda - where council members routinely approve several items -so that the council would discuss whether to support the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership.

Mallory expressed concern about whether other local jurisdictions would contribute their fair share of money to GPREP.

A top priority of the Prescott Valley town government for years has been job creation, Town Manager Larry Tarkowski said. The proposal to commit $40,000 is based on a dollar per capita of Prescott Valley's residents.

Councilman Rick Anderson noted Chino Valley is the only other local municipality that has committed money to GPREP. He was referring to a decision of the Chino Valley Town Council in October to approve $10,817, one dollar per resident, to support GPREP.

"In the future, we don't know if it will be $1 per capita," Anderson said. "I don't know if there is a set amount."

Anderson continued, "Every municipality has agreed to get involved. We are donating more than the others because we have budgeted for it."

Tarkowski said the town's business and industrial partners "are coming to the table" to support GPREP.

He said local jurisdictions are realizing their main competition for industry is not each other but instead outside the area, such as Flagstaff.

Vice Mayor Lora Lee Nye said the ability of communities to work together will help to bring jobs here.

Mallory commented, "Regional cooperation is the only way we are going to continue to grow and prosper here."

Mayor Harvey Skoog noted Yavapai County has lost 10,000 jobs since the Great Recession while the population continues to grow.

Council members heard a presentation on GPREP Oct. 17 from Steve Rutherford, a former councilman who heads the partnership's board.

"This concept idea has been floating around for a couple of years," Rutherford told the council at that meeting.

He referred to a 39-page report that a Scottsdale company prepared for GPREP.

The report states on its first page, "The civic and business leadership within the Prescott area recognize the importance of regionalism and have come together to create the Greater Prescott Regional Economic Partnership (GPREP). Crafting the economic development strategic plan for implementation is one of the first steps to be undertaken. This plan represents a three-year blueprint to enhance job creation for the region, and includes an action plan and cluster based strategies."

The regional concept gained a boost Thursday with Mallory motioning to contribute the $40,000, and Nye seconding it. Councilman Stephen Marshall was absent.

Also during the meeting, the council re-introduced an ordinance to rezone land for the SunGate Villa Senior Community apartment complex near the Civic Center to accommodate 66 more units. The council revisited the matter because the previous ordinance did not state the developer would have to pay the town a 2 percent surcharge on monthly rentals.

The council also introduced an ordinance to enable recreational vehicle storage in C3 (commercial; minor industrial) zoning districts while also prohibiting RV and mobile home parks and other residential uses.

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