Cottonwood City Council Election Q&A: Michael Mathews

Michael Mathews

Michael Mathews

Cottonwood has had three city managers in the past 30 years and all were promoted from within. Has Cottonwood’s program of succession training served the city well? Should the city continue that course with the selection of its new city manager? Or is it time for a new, outside set of eyes be brought in to manage the city? Why?

I did not know the previous two managers, but everybody I have spoken with about Brian Mickelsen had the greatest respect for him as city manager. A real leader.

The majority of council members have determined we need to conduct an unbiased, nationwide search and I agree with them. We need to recruit from outside the city ranks and put an end to the culture of cronyism we are experiencing.

The latest, most egregious example of this was council member Allen being selected to sit on council and then shortly after being seated, she motioned and voted to give her ex-boss, the current city manager, a large retroactive pay raise along with more than doubling his severance package with a quorum of only four council members present. At best this was unethical and it has to end. The citizens, staff, and employees are demanding it.

With housing development back up and running in Cottonwood, what is your philosophy on development standards and the city’s role in regulating growth?

Economically you grow or you die. Growth and development are inevitable in a thriving community. At full build out Cottonwood will have 20,000 residents unless more land is annexed. However, this will take many years to achieve.

We must plan our growth to achieve sustainable development that balances community well-being, economic vitality, and environmental protection needs.

Some of our newest developments are making great improvements in energy conservation, but water is the greatest concern and this precious resource needs to be the first priority in any development plan.

How would you rate Cottonwood’s success with economic development? What kind of commercial development is appropriate for Cottonwood and where should it be located, and why? What is the role of the city council in the economic development of the city?

It’s mixed although we have had great success in Old Town. Those entrepreneurs who have taken the risk to be some of the first to come in when the economy was at its worst deserve recognition for its revitalization.

The rest of Cottonwood is lagging far behind as evidenced by so many empty retail storefronts. The obvious area for commercial development is the 260 corridor.

Any other location would channel too much commercial traffic through town and add to the already horrible traffic problem we have on our main roads, particularly the 260 & 89A intersection.

City council should work with the development services department to encourage streamlining of the process.

I have heard from many businesses and developers that the city places too many unreasonable hurdles in the way and that discourages economic development.

We should not compromise on our standards, but we should make the process more user friendly.

Above all, city council should provide guidance to city staff based on what their constituents’ concerns are regarding economic development.

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