Editorial: The math doesn’t add up with city watchdogs’ newest gripe about Cottonwood

The latest social media buzz from the Cottonwood city government watchdogs has to do with the number of people employed by the city.

The claim by the city watchdogs is that Cottonwood employs 56 people for every 1000 local residents.

That has a lot of people at City Hall scratching their heads.

“I don’t know where they came up with that,” said City Manager Doug Bartosh. “That number is goofy.”

Some basic math shows the claim to be far from accurate. According to Bartosh, the city has 209 full-time equivalent employees on the payroll.

To come up with a 56-per-1000 ratio based on 209 employees, Cottonwood would have a population of 3,732 people, which was exactly what we had in about 1968.

But at the current city population of roughly 12,000, that ratio drops to 17.4 employees for every 1000 local residents.

It’s even lower when you consider the “service population” of Cottonwood. Toss in Verde Village and Verde Santa Fe, and Cottonwood’s service population expands to about 30,000 people. That lowers the ratio to about 7 employees for every 1,000 people.

At the other extreme, even if you count the city’s approximately 150 part-time employees and combine them with the 209 FTE employees, the math then only adds up to 30 city employees per 1000 residents.

Still a far cry from 56-per-1000.

As the city’s budget guru, Rudy Rodriguez, explains, “This comparison, like many others that are made to discredit our community, are not apples-to-apples comparisons and blatantly unfair. In the Verde Valley, there are no communities to fairly compare to since not all have water or fire departments, or pools, or Recreation Center, or libraries or airports.”

As for how the city watchdogs came up with the 56-employees-per-1000-residents ratio, the best guess is that they divided the city’s total population, which fluctuates between 11,500 and 12,000 depending on the source, by the number of full-time equivalent city employees (209). That gives you 56, but it does not give you the proper ratio per 1000 residents. Anyone who paid attention during sixth-grade math class and learned the ratio principles of cross multiply and divide easily understand that.

So, yes, the city watchdogs have a leg to stand on when it comes to being angry at the government.

In this case, they have a legitimate beef with the public school system that taught them math.

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MichaelMathews 1 year, 8 months ago

Doug Bartosh is correct. I received this information from another source and made the same mistake in calculating the number in trying to confirm it. It is embarrassing and inexcusable to be sure. I put it out as a fact and that is on me. My apologies.  The positive outcomes are that we got the leaderships attention. The other grievances are not refuted, unless there is a plan to roll those out slowly. And that the Verde News is the mouthpiece of certain elements of city leadership and not the citizens of Cottonwood. Still it shows that the employee to population ratio is more than three time that of Prescott Valley and Gilbert AZ just for two examples. The only service Verde Santa Fe and Verde Village receive is water. They don’t receive street maintenance, sewer, police, fire or anything besides water. Water at a much higher rate than they were paying before the city takeover of their water companies. Only the city benefits by having these people, who cannot vote or even have a seat on a committee, pay for your recreation center and water company takeover bonds. Kinda the same “goofy” math on that one. Once again I acknowledge and apologize for letting that slip by. I will work diligently in the future to avoid anything like that again.

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