Cottonwood withholds support <br>for Camp Verde annexation<br>City council wants more information

Not sold on the idea of sharing a border with Camp Verde, the Cottonwood City Council withheld its support of a proposed annexation.

For the moment, anyway.

Camp Verde is seeking an annexation of State Trust land along Arizona 260 adjacent to the Steve Coury dealership. Town Manager John Roberts said the purpose of the move is the acquisition of the main well of Camp Verde Water System.

Cottonwood Council member Joan Cerny said she sees that as only an excuse.

"I think they're out to grab what they can grab," she said.

Before any annexation plans move forward, the State Selection Board must approve them. Because the board meets only once or twice a year, Camp Verde wants to get its information in order for the meeting at the end of this month.

Earlier, Roberts met with Cottonwood Mayor Ruben Jauregui and City Manager Brian Mickelsen to discuss the issue. Jauregui said he does not feel that he can support the plan as it is currently proposed.

The council opposed the State Trust parcel being included in the annexation. Cottonwood had also been eyeing the land for as a possible wastewater treatment plant location.

In a letter to Roberts, Mickelsen stated there needed to be more discussion between both communities before either tried to annex the State Trust land.

Cottonwood Council member Michael Warren, very much opposed to the proposition, raised the issue of hypocrisy on the part of the Camp Verde council. He reminded his own council that Camp Verde had insisted on a one-mile buffer between city limits back when Cottonwood was annexing land along 260.

"I thought we had a gentlemen's agreement," he said.

Since then, however, Camp Verde has elected a different council.

"I'm not sure it's as practical to have a corridor of county property there," Roberts said. He added that it would be simple to agree to have open space between the municipalities. "It might be easier to maintain a buffer within a town boundary," he said.

Camp Verde would like Cottonwood's support to show the State Trust board there is no community discord. The Cottonwood council still wants to see more long-range details.

Camp Verde is negotiating a consolidation of the Camp Verde Sanitary District. Having water and sewer service available could open up the stretch of land to residential and commercial development.

The state land areas could be designated for mixed use.

Landowners in the proposed annexation area such as Steve Coury have been informed of the town's design.

Warren said Camp Verde's claim that it needs to access the land to get control over the water system well was not valid.

"The wells don't have to be in the city limits," he said.

Only Randy Lowe, alone among the Cottonwood council members, did not express opposition. Roberts said he is interested in working with Cottonwood and having further discussions.

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