As directed by the Camp Verde Town Council last week, town officials responded to the Yavapai-Apache Nation about its intergovernmental agreement concerns.
The town has been negotiating with the Nation for more than four months in an attempt to come up with a mutually satisfactory IGA that would address issues directly related to the Nation's illegal sand-and-gravel mining operation. In order to avoid litigation and because of varying legal opinions of the operation located near Arizona 260 and Old Highway 279, the town council voted to enter into negotiations in March. The intent of the IGA was to address terms of an acceptable use permit until the Nation turns the property into tribal housing, agricultural and commercial use, and in-lieu fees the town could expect if the Nation is successful in obtaining trust status for the land, removing it from the town's jurisdiction.
Following a rejection of the town's version of the IGA by Yavapai-Apache Chairman Vincent Randall at Wednesday's council meeting, Vice Mayor Brenda Hauser explained the town's position in the hand-delivered correspondence.
Randall told the council last week, that although the Nation would not accept the IGA as is, he believed it was not what was negotiated but hoped negotiations could continue. He suggested a mediator be hired. He also complained that the town had released the document prematurely to its citizens and the media.
Hauser's letter states: "The Town Council has made repeated assurances to our citizens that once the town council had arrived at a substantive town proposed that the town would make that information available for public review and comment."
The letter plainly spells out the fact that this IGA is the town's final version.
The letter specifies that it would take at least five affirmative votes of the council to "ensure all elements of an agreement can be passed; and that this version, as discussed by the negotiating team with the Nation's team, is the only probability of obtaining the necessary votes. Under the IGA, one of the elements is a change in the general plan, which is the portion of the IGA requiring five of seven council votes. The IGA cannot be signed without all elements in place."
The letter goes on state, "We believe the town's proposal provides a framework for a long-term solution to these issues and will lead to a partnership between the Nation and town which will greatly benefit both our communities."
Randall did not divulge what portion of the IGA is unacceptable.