Camp Verde Town Council Q&A: Robin Whatley
QUESTION: As you consider both the short term and the long term, what is the most responsible way for council to be caretakers of the community’s tax dollars?
As a taxpayer and patron of local businesses that collect city sales tax, I am aware that the monies spent by the town should always be for the community’s benefit.
Every year, during budget time, the council has numerous meetings that are open to the public. First, we hear from our department heads who outline what they would like to see in the budget. The department heads are well aware that the council will be looking at and questioning their requests. We, also, meet with our financial director and manager to get their thoughts on department requests. Then we determine, in public meetings, what moneys need to be spent on services for our citizens in the upcoming fiscal year. During all these meetings the council is hoping that the public will attend and give their input.
We need to be fiscally responsible in the short term in order to be prepared for possible downturns that could occur in the long term. Long term planning is crucial for our town to purchase and maintain amenities to benefit the citizens. By planning ahead we have been able to build a library, develop parks, maintain roads, invest in infrastructure along Hwy 260, etc.
It is vital that short term and long term planning occur simultaneously to ensure that immediate needs are met, at the same time having an eye on what’s ahead in the future of Camp Verde.
QUESTION: With the cancellation of Cornfest, please explain the importance of Pecan and Wine Festival, as well as Fort Verde Days, and what you believe the Town’s responsibility is in keeping those events alive?
I have always been an avid supporter of our special events, as a council member and as a volunteer. These events define who we are as a community and are a time for us to celebrate our heritage.
Fort Verde Days is vital to the essence of Camp Verde and why we are here. I believe Fort Verde Days is sacrosanct and must continue regardless of the circumstances.
Wine and Pecan Festival has been a great success in years past and I am certain will remain so in the future. Again, I am a proponent of this festival, particularly as viticulture in Camp Verde continues to grow.
The town has and continues to support these events by streamlining insurance, availability of town property, electricity, etc.
However, I believe the time has come to invest in these events financially. Any way that the town can help to keep these events going while continuing to be responsible stewards of the taxpayers money I am all for it.
QUESTION: For some, Camp Verde is a community on the verge of significantly growing its economy. For others, Camp Verde is a bedroom community and needs to stay that way. Please explain your desire for Camp Verde’s future.
I completely understand the concerns of citizens who moved here for the quiet lifestyle that Camp Verde offers, as well as those who want to grow Camp Verde.
I believe we can have the best of both worlds.
The development on 260 is the key. As we move infrastructure out on 260 we are developing a business corridor that big box stores or future manufacturing development can develop, which will generate tax dollars that the town can use to better the services that are provided to the citizens. At the same time we can protect our main street and town site for local mom and pop businesses and keep our city center.