News Roundup: Board of supervisors to ask governor to return funds

VERDE VALLEY - When the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors meet 9 a.m. Wednesday in Cottonwood, they will consider asking the governor to return funding that they believe was taken from counties in order to balance state books.

Governor to be asked to restore county funding

Chairman Jack Smith will be asked to authorize a letter to be sent to Governor Doug Ducey on behalf of the County Supervisors Association (CSA) and Arizona's fifteen counties seeking restoration of funds.

"We are asking the governor to eliminate a couple issues," said Phil Bourdon, Yavapai County administrator. "Eliminate the county's payment to the state-operated Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections - - that's a big hit for us - - and full restoration of Highway User Revenue Funds (HURF) that have been diverted from the counties."

County supervisors have voiced their frustration over the years with the state legislature mandating county funds be used to cover state shortfalls, which Bourdon feels have since been restored.

"We are trying to work with the legislature on these two priorities. We like to focus on these two issues first rather than all the others we've been subject to over the years," Bourdon said.

Cornville Trail System may get boost

Supervisors will also consider approving a $28,571 USDA Forest Service grant agreement between Yavapai County and the Coconino National Forest Service to reimburse RAC project funds. The funds are for infrastructure improvements and trailhead access to the Cornville Trail System.

In April 2012, the forest service announced plans for a multi-use trail extending from the Zalesky Road trailhead to Beaverhead Flat Road east of Cornville. According the forest service, the boundaries extend north to Cornville Road and the junction of I-17 and Forest Road 618, east to Forest Road 618, south to the Verde River and Highway 260 in Camp Verde and west to the community of Cornville.

Crime pays for the county

The county's FY2017 budget may be nearly half-a million dollars fatter thanks to seizures from certain criminal activity (such as drug trafficking) under the Attorney Anti-Racketeering Fund (AARF).

According to state statue, "any prosecution and investigation costs, including attorney fees, recovered for the county as a result of enforcement of civil and criminal statutes pertaining to any offense included in the definition of racketeering...shall be deposited in a (AARF) fund."

The board is expected to approve the transfer of $475,473 from AARF into another fund entitled the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO)-Partners Against Narcotics Trafficking (PANT) fund.

RICO seizures have made headlines this year due to lawsuits filed by organizations as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union and Goldwater Institute. They argue that in a RICO forfeiture, it is possible for the government to take someone's property without being convicting or even charged with a crime, and that those not involved with the crime may have their property seized, as well.

-- Tom Tracey

Cottonwood Planning and Zoning Commission to meet Monday

COTTONWOOD - The Planning and Zoning Commission will meet Monday at 6 p.m. at 826 N. Main St. to discuss design considerations for Black Bear Diner, McDonalds, and LaMain Development.

The Commission will review requests for design approvals for the exterior remodel of the former Sizzler - soon to be Black Bear Diner - located at 1041 S. SR260, and for McDonalds, located 1129 S. SR260.

The Commission will consider a zone change and design review for two parcels from Light Commercial to Planned Area Development for the proposed mixed-use of commercial/residential units for the LaMain Development in Old Town, located at 920 N. Main St. and 925 N. Cactus St. The Commission may vote to convene in executive session to obtain legal advice regarding the scope of its review of the project at this stage in the process.

-- Jennifer Kucich

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