Verde Valley leaders reflect on the year that was and what lies ahead in 2018

Reflecting back, looking forward

From left, Thomas Thurman, Randy Garrison, Steve Gesell, Doug Bartosh

From left, Thomas Thurman, Randy Garrison, Steve Gesell, Doug Bartosh

District 2 County Supervisor Thomas Thurman

Yavapai County Supervisor Chairman Thomas Thurman shared five takeaways from 2017.

Supervisor Thurman, District 2, represents communities that include Beaver Creek; Camp Verde; Cherry; Cornville; Lake Montezuma; McGuireville; Page Springs; and Rimrock

Supervisor Thurman’s takeaways from 2017

  1. Started the Development of the Yavapai County Verde River Master Plan

  2. Served as Chairman of the Yavapai County Board for 2017

  3. Goodwin Fire and Flood that followed

  4. State Route 260 continued construction

  5. Built trails in Rimrock alongside our adult probationers

  6. Yavapai County was rated the No. 1 county in the state for being well run and fiscally sound

  7. Was able to supplement ADOT with over $600,000 to complete State Route 260

What Supervisor Thurman is looking forward to in 2018

  1. Working with National Park Service and Coconino County to complete Rimrock Road from Montezuma Well to State Route 179

  2. Being able to continue to fund the jail through the current system instead of property taxes

  3. Furthering construction of Black Canyon Trail

  4. Helping with our freeway system to Phoenix with ADOT

  5. Engineering on Beaverhead Flat Road extending to State Route 260

District 3 County Supervisor Randy Garrison

Garrison’s takeaways from 2017

Yavapai County Verde River Master Plan: This year, along with a grant from the National Park Service and financial support from The Friends of the Verde River, Yavapai County has taken the leadership in moving forward with a Master Plan that will expand the work done by Cottonwood, Clarkdale, and Camp Verde in bringing resources and signage along the entire stretch of the Verde River as it works throughout the Verde Valley.

Beaverhead Flat Extension: From creating a concept to building consensus with our City, Town, and Indian Nation communities, we made the commitment this year to start designing a connector that extends the Beaverhead Flat Road from the Cornville Road to Highway 260. This new road has been highlighted as a priority in the latest ADOT Transportation study, and our Board stepped up and put the financial resources behind the concept so that we can move forward and determine the impact and benefits, along with a route, to make this vision a reality.

Clark Memorial Library: This year, when the Town of Clarkdale determined that managing and supporting the Community Library was not going to be possible within their current budget, the County stepped in and worked the Town Management to secure funding and support to keep this valuable resource available for the residents. This is another excellent example of partnerships and serving the public.

Sycamore Canyon Road: This year, as part of a multi-year project, the County was finally able to update and pave the road leading from the Town of Clarkdale to Coconino National Forest land through Sycamore Canyon. These improvement have made it much safer for those who either want to access the Verde River or make their way into the National Forest or Sedona and the upper Verde Valley.

As Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski says, this year has been like a firehose to the face. From the time of being elected into office in September 2016 until now, getting to know the job, the people, and the County has been exciting and exhausting. But that being said, I just can’t say enough for the people I work with. Everyone at the County has been extremely helpful, and works very hard to serve the public with efficiency and enthusiasm.

What Garrison is looking forward to in 2018

This new year I will be serving the Board of Supervisors as Vice-Chair, and look forward to working with the new Chairman Rowle Simmons. Past-Chair Tom Thurman did an amazing job handling all the fires and flooding Yavapai suffered this year, all while being a diligent representative for his District and the entire County. Our entire Board continues to be respectful and work hard to maintain an efficient and fiscally responsible County, and I am very proud to be serving with each and every one of them.

Passing the continuation of the existing ¼ cent Yavapai Jail District sales tax. This extension will enable our Jail District to continue to service our jail population in an efficient and cost effective manner. Besides housing our District provides Behavioral health treatment, physical health treatment, education, Early Disposition Court, Pre-trial release and diversion programs, as well as a Veterans Court. This also takes the burden of providing duplicate services away from the rest of the Towns and Cities in Yavapai County, which would only increase the associated costs at the most local level.

Working with our Legislature and ADOT to continue funding, as well as bring new sources of support for our local transportation issues. We have a beautiful County, and sharing all of our abundant resources brings with it an increase in visitors and stress. We must continue to work on maintaining our roads, while making honest movement forward with creating new routes and pathways. We cannot continue to expect someone else to solve our problems, and with a stronger commitment through partnerships I believe we will see real progress.

I continue to look forward to more opportunities in economic development and the support our education system provides. We, the Verde Valley and entire County, have a huge demand for trained workforce and the housing needed for this support. With stronger commitments for partnership between Yavapai College, VACTE, and our local High Schools I believe we can begin to see better training and increased job skills that will ultimately improve our quality of life and overall health of our local businesses and the economy.

Growth and awareness will continue to be a focus working my way through this new year. I have gained a tremendous amount of respect and appreciation for my colleagues, both within the County and all the Towns and Cities we work with, as well as the other elected officials from our neighboring Counties, State and Federal offices. While this job demands a lot of time working with my constituents, it also affords me the ability to promote the needs of my District and the entire County when working on Legislation that ultimately affects our State and Country. I look forward to learning, and will continue to share my voice and attention for local concerns.

Garrison’s New Year’s Resolution

“Hike more, eat better, and spend more time with my family and friends.”

Cottonwood City Manager Doug Bartosh

Bartosh’s takeaways from 2017

  1. I have enjoyed working with the new city council. Some good questions, good direction and they really have the best interests of Cottonwood at heart.

  2. We have great citizens and I think that is what makes Cottonwood really special. They step up when needed and no one is treated as a stranger.

  3. We have a great city staff who also have the best interests of our citizens at heart and they always meet the challenges.

  4. You cannot live under the shadow of those who relish negativity- there are way too many positive things professionally and personally.

  5. I found out that my wife and family still love me when I turned 64. (Like the Beatle’s song)

What Bartosh is looking forward to in 2018

  1. I think the Verde Valley as a hidden treasure is no longer hidden. People want to be a part of this area and we need to plan accordingly.

  2. Water conservation and reuse is the key to our future.

  3. Be patient, but finish the reconstruction of Mingus Avenue.

  4. The city needs to get our offices out of Old Town to encourage more business growth and to centralize services.

  5. It has been a great ride in Cottonwood and it is time to plan for succession.

Bartosh’s New Year’s Resolution

“Love more, worry less and enjoy life!”

Cottonwood Police Chief Steven Gesell

Gesell’s takeaways from 2017

1) Much can be accomplished when we seek to truly seek to understand one another.

2) We’re very fortunate to live in a community that cares about the greater good.

3) Civility is alive and well in the Verde Valley.

4) Facts and logic typically prevail when important decisions need to be made.

5) The Verde Valley wine industry has a more significant economic impact than many realize (43 of 56 million statewide).

What Gesell is looking forward to in 2018

1) Cottonwood continuing to move beyond the great recession.

2) Building a stronger, more vibrant city.

3) Working together to protect and improve our quality of life.

Gesell’s New Year’s Resolution

“Get back into running and complete a half marathon.”

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