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Mon, Aug. 19

Mayor's report: Government growth

I have had a number of interesting conversations with our citizens lately regarding the role of government in our lives, with much of the dialogue focusing on size and cost of governmental operations. One of the key principles that we sometimes fail to realize is that the best way to keep government small is to ask it to do less. Much like the expanding foam we buy at the hardware store, government will grow to accommodate all of the functions that we ask it to accomplish, then (unfortunately) it keeps on growing for a bit. In fact, after a certain point, it will take on a life of its own and begin doing things we didn't ask it to (the federal government being a case in point). Virtually every service or program that a government offers comes with some type of price tag: sometimes the cost is the loss of a degree of freedom, and sometimes it is an increase in the cost of living. As we go down the buffet line of government programs and services, we must remember this basic principle: paved roads, recreational facilities, police protection, code enforcement, libraries and senior centers, even a clean environment- all of these have a price tag. As most of us know, free government money (like the tooth fairy and affordable health care) is only a myth. One doesn't need a degree in economics to figure that one out.

Before cities began springing up in the West, life was pretty simple: our roads and streets department was a pickup truck and a shovel, our parks and recreation department was a couple of baseball gloves and a dirt field, and our emergency response system was made by a company called Winchester. Folks didn't mind the lack of services because the taxes were low and for the most part the government did what governments are supposed to do (like securing our national borders and maintaining a standing military).

Fortunately, here in Chino Valley we have been able to do a pretty good job of keeping our costs of government down: in Yavapai County only the towns of Dewey-Humboldt and Camp Verde have a lower cost of government per capita, and communities like Clarkdale, Sedona, Cottonwood and Prescott have per capita costs of up to four times as much as ours.

Your Chino Valley Town Council appreciates your support and patience as we continue to work towards the goal of keeping our costs down and maintaining our small town atmosphere while providing the highest level of service possible. Together we can make it work.

Chris Marley, Mayor of Chino Valley

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