Learning from their peers: Camp Verde council, staff prepare for conference

“A town cannot just bribe people to live here.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->--Brad Gordon, council member

“A town cannot just bribe people to live here.”<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->--Brad Gordon, council member

CAMP VERDE - A municipality's challenges are not necessarily unique.

"But the opportunity to come up with solutions may be," Town Manager Russ Martin says.

Martin, Economic Development Director Steve Ayers and six of the Town's seven council members will attend the 2014 League of Arizona Cities and Towns (LACT) conference this week in Phoenix.

Linking each of the state's 90 incorporated municipalities, LACT represents the interests of cities and towns at the state Legislature, provides information on municipal issues, creates skill-sharpening workshops and develops networking opportunities.

Martin says he hopes to come back from the annual conference with "new strategies, new ideas for dealing with the problems we deal with, ideas that bring us a whole new level of enlightenment."

Town managers, economic development directors and council members will attend workshops today, Thursday and Friday to learn about timely issues such as pension reform, veteran's affairs and transportation. Conversations will also deal with the best practices for international economic development strategies and regional trade partnerships.

Some of the LACT workshops the council can choose from include National Incident Management System (NIMS) Training for Elected Officials, Ideas that Work in Cities and Towns, I-11 Corridor/Canamex: International Trade and Economic Development, Intergovernmental Agreements (IGAs): Did We Really Agree To Do That? and Rural Economic Development Tools and Programs.

Mayor Charlie German says the annual conference is "a good opportunity to talk casually with other councils and other mayors, to find out how they get certain things accomplished." For the town manager, it is an opportunity to become "better prepared for issues that come up."

"At some level, the role of the manager is to present alternatives to ideas," Martin says. "To know where the alternatives might lead is critical. It's one thing to be passionate about things. But it's another to understand what the true outcomes would be, given the structure, community and the resources in Camp Verde."

Though council member Brad Gordon did not attend LACT last year, he hopes to attend workshops "that fit our community."

"That would be of great interest," the council member says. "Anything that might help us with our situation. We're looking for ways to bring people here. A town cannot just bribe people to live here."

-- Follow Bill Helm on Twitter @BillHelm42 and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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