Clarkdale Town Council Q&A: Ben Kramer
Question 1: Clarkdale will hire a new town manager in 2019. What experience and attributes are most important for the person selected to fill this position? Should Clarkdale continue a tradition that is at least 30 years old of filling the town manager’s position from existing staff, or is it time for a new person not presently affiliated with Clarkdale Town Hall to assume the manager’s job?
We have been blessed with the knowledge, investment and intuition we have found with Town Manager Mabery. It will be hard to replace someone who has been a positive force for sustainable positive growth. I think the ability to find creative solutions has been a great asset and I hope to find similar qualities in our new Town Manager.
As far as the question of internal and external candidates. I think the best policy is to bring in great outside candidates and have them compete for the position with our amazing internal candidates. We have several strong leaders in the town and I am sure they will show well in the coming processes. Their natural advantage will be tested by the highly qualified applicants recruited from outside the area. I hope to weigh experience, education, and attitude and then really look toward best fit for the future of the town and community.
Question 2: What should be the future priorities of the Verde River @ Clarkdale Initiative project, and how should they be paid for? How has the Town of Clarkdale benefitted from the Verde River @ Clarkdale Initiative?
We have seen incredible enthusiasm in the multiple uses of the Verde River and I believe the initiative has worked well to cooperate with multiple agencies and jurisdictions to create a thriving river use community. Clarkdale has tried to make the river access points operate almost as enterprise funds and has used grants and partnerships to do much of the work. I think the ideal funding for river projects will be driven by river related commerce. Clarkdale has seen a boost in local tourism, nationwide recognition, and recreation for both locals and visitors. I think Clarkdale is proud to be an active driver for the “String of Pearls” along the Verde River.
Question 3: The next big infrastructure/water management project for Clarkdale will be developing and implementing a plan for sustainable use of the town’s reclaimed water. What do you believe should be the priority water resource management practices for Clarkdale? What are the best uses for the town’s reclaimed water? Why?
I think the sustainability aspect of water conservation is aimed at maintaining the ability for very long term use and at keeping the Verde River flowing. Tiered rate structures allow people to pay according to their use and educating the community on best practices helps to reduce waste. Building allows for growth but community development in Clarkdale takes great efforts to encourage growth at a rate which the Town can sustain.
Reclaimed water is an exciting development across the southwest. I think we will see more use in the coming years and I hope it will mean we can see more green vegetation in our communities, all fed by water which has been cleaned and reused. By making use of newer technologies, like water polishing, we may be able to recharge our groundwater stores, benefiting both our local ecology and our community.