Is it doomed or will the Yavapai-Apache Nation sign the proposed intergovernmental agreement recently passed by the Town of Camp Verde Council?
Last Wednesday, Nation Chairman Vincent Randall reiterated his earlier stance on the matter.
“As far as we’re concerned the IGA is a dead issue. We can go back to the table if they care to continue the talks. We feel what the negotiators agreed upon was not what the town presented to us. We feel we can’t agree to that agreement,” he said.
The council passed its acceptable version of the IGA Aug. 23 giving the Nation 30 days in which to respond. According to Town Clerk Debbie Barber, the Nation had until 5 p.m. on Friday to respond.
The IGA came about following a directive from the town council in early March to develop an agreement using a team approach of negotiators from both the Town and the Nation. The movement toward an IGA was an attempt to avoid litigation with the Nation over what was perceived by town officials to be an illegal mining operation without a use permit on residentially zoned land owned by the Nation along Arizona 260 near Old Highway 279 in town limits. The two governments hoped to reach a compromise that would address issues such as the conditions necessary for a use permit and the Nation’s planned area development plans. At the time, the Nation maintained the mining was incidental to its intended reclamation of the property for tribal housing, commercial and agricultural use, and as such, was not subject to the town’s current mining ordinance. The Nation had earlier applied for the use permit, however, which was denied by the town. They later came back indicating a permit was not necessary.
The IGA also contains issues relating to taxing and zoning matters if the Nation seeks trust status for the land, removing the property from the town’s jurisdiction. In-lieu fees, including receipt by the town of 50-percent sales tax for any non-Indian business operations on the property, was addressed in the IGA.
Randall stressed that the Nation would prefer re-entering negotiations in order to avoid litigation with the town. Without the Nation’s signature on the IGA, the town appears to have no choice but enforce its zoning regulations, which could very well lead to a law suit.
“We feel a lawsuit would only hurt both sides — (it would) cause hard feelings, and we’re willing to come back to the table if they come back in good faith,” Randall went on to say.
Randall indicated that he has heard from no one from the town on the IGA matter since it was delivered. Nation Attorney General Helen Avalos could not be reached for comment on how the Nation will respond if by either remaining silent or sending a letter.
“We’ve been trying to cooperate with the town of Camp Verde from day one in the best of good faith to be a good neighbor and I think we started with the Planning and Zoning and would be willing to work something out that will benefit the town of Camp Verde and ourselves,” Randall added.
Three of the seven town council members apparently did not favor the current IGA either. Three voted against it — Tony Gioia, Brenda Hauser and Jackie Baker.
Hauser later said, “I just didn’t feel it was in the town’s best interest.”
Baker comment, “I voted against it because some of the process troubled me. Part of the attachments included a (revised) mining ordinance, which after listening to public input, appeared to require additional work.”
Gioia said, “I felt practically everything in it was in the best interest of the Yavapai Sand and Rock, and not the entire community.”
Randall would not disclose what is disagreeable in the document, indicating he prefers to maintain the confidentiality required of the negotiations.