Commentary: Local taxpayers should not be stuck with bill for Camp Verde rodeo arena

Patricia George

Patricia George

I am amazed that the same people elected to the Camp Verde Town Council all ran on a platform that the town was in dire financial straits. They said the town is over spending and is out of control.

Yet, each one of the newly elected are racing to spend almost $1 million of our taxpayers’ monies for a rodeo arena. I do not get it. They want to give away over 42 acres, sewage, treated water and the rodeo group wants $250,000 before the end of the year from the town?

Give it away, not sell, not lease, not rent ... give it away? That land, including the acreage they expect to use for a rodeo is financed for how many years using taxpayers’ money? Who will maintain this arena? Taxpayers? Who will accept the liability? Taxpayers?

So what if the land is not being used. What revenue will the town receive in exchange for this wonderful gift, land, waivers of fees/permits, sewage and water, access roads, power, infrastructure?

We need parks, but a rodeo arena is a money pit the town should not have to financially support. Besides being barbaric, inhumane, and cruel, it is a financial drain on almost every community that has such events. Those who have successful facilities and events have a much bigger financial avenue of revenue and much larger populations.

We have two private facilities here in our town that have the land, so why should the taxpayers have to foot the bill for this whole thing.

The town cannot pay enough to keep law enforcement officers. The flooding issues continue to threaten homes and roads. The roads are in need of repairs on a regular basis. We do not have a transportation system in this town that is badly needed and the one the Yavapai-Apache Nation maintains is just not enough.

There are few streets with sidewalks in this town. Many areas of this town have roads that should have curbs, guard rails or walling for safety reasons, such as the areas along 7th Street. The money targeted for the rodeo would go a long ways toward fixing our roads and drainage. How can you justify a rodeo areena when we have urgent needs that should come before a rodeo?

The town does not have a recycling program and our landfills are filling up. We pay for rubbish and recycling containers and removal, but the types of recycling are extremely limited in scope. We must have some way to work to have a recycling program for all our community. This alone is a better investment than a rodeo arena.

Programs for the needy and elderly, such as Meals-On-Wheels are underfunded and needed now more than ever. I am sure the rodeo will feed the hungry in this community, right?

I protest any plans for a rodeo arena at this time. Our sports complex needs to be completed to enable kids in this community to engage in team sports and have a place to recreate. Our library and parks have taken decades and millions of dollars to even be at this stage. Neighbors’ close to the park have sued, complained, protested and delayed a park that will be an asset to all of Camp Verde.

These actions have all cost money that would have helped speed the completion of the Sports Complex. Now, with the rodeo efforts, our Sports Complex will be on the back burner, splintering the efforts of the town staff, costing more tax money from the taxpayers.

Patricia J George is a resident of Camp Verde.

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