Congratulations to the Cottonwood City Council and Staff on what appears in your news article today to have been a very constructive and successful planning retreat. As with any such exercise, we all seem to have a few opinions and suggestions.
First, an additional weakness: our fractured public school system in the North Verde Valley, which has led to uncoordinated curriculums and additional taxpayer cost due to duplicate administrations. Yes, the City has no direct control over our schools, but it should be taking a leadership role in the attempt to correct this outdated system that punishes our students in the name of “local control”, which is nothing more than a subterfuge by the teacher unions and administrators to protect their jobs. A well coordinated, integrated public school system providing a excellent education opportunity for employee children’s education is a big priority to companies considering our area for expansion or relocation.
Second, an additional threat: our continued drug problems. Yes, the City under the fine leadership of Doug Bartosh, has been a leader and successful in the fight against drugs in our City and entire area. But, as we read everyday, drug use continues to be a big problem that we must all keep front and center. We cannot rest on our laurels in this matter.
Third, a threat: “Growing retirement population”??? Give me a break! As a retiree, who relocated back to Cottonwood 12 years ago, I take this as a personal insult to me and the large retirement population that resides in the area. I am told that the 2010 Census states that 26 percent of the City’s population is of retirement age. From my observation, that number appears to be low, but still substantial. Does everyone need to be reminded that without this strong retired population Cottonwood and area would still be a very small, “one horse”, rural community with “extremely” limited employment opportunities. We have spurred much of growth of new home construction, medical facilities and providers, restaurants and retail businesses. Without us, no major hospital or medical practices. No Walmart Home Depot or major food stores.
We bring in our outside retirement incomes to the community while presenting no impact to our schools and minimum requirements on City Government and law enforcement. Outside of maybe low wage, part-time retail help, we pose no threat to our younger population for employment. In fact, Walmart, Home Depot, etc., would probably experience a serious labor shortage without those of us needing to supplement our meager retirement incomes. Yes, we may need emergency medical attention on occasion, but I see that as a great training exercise for those wonderful folks.
Three out of the four City Councilpersons are retired, and a fourth is of retirement age. Six out of seven of my fellow Planning & Zoning Commission Members are retirees. The same goes for almost every other City Commission. City Government would be crippled without our service and contributions. Yes, we don’t want to be called “Sun City North”, but a “threat”? We appreciate and enjoy the fact that Cottonwood is “family friendly” community, and we need to continue to support that proposition as shown by the Directives and Goals established in the Council’s Retreat.
I look forward to the success of our new Mayor and Council, and very much appreciate their valuable time and dedication to making Cottonwood a better place to live and thrive. And, we have been blessed to have a very qualified and dedicated City Staff, as well as great leadership from previous City Councils.