Sun, Nov. 17

Impact fees long overdue for Camp Verde

Let's hope the string breaks on this impact fee yo-yo in Camp Verde.

In 2002, the Camp Verde Town Council followed the lead of many other Arizona municipalities and enacted an impact fee ordinance.

Such development fees have become popular tools for fast-growing cities and towns to keep pace with the infrastructure needs of their communities. Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Sedona and Yavapai County are among those municipalities that have subscribed to the philosophy that growth should pay for growth.

Voters, through referendum, subsequently repealed Camp Verde's 2002 ordinance. According to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, this is the only time a town's voters have overturned a council decision to enact such fees.

This past week, the yo-yo took another spin, this time again in favor of impact fees. In a 6-1 vote, the council approved an ordinance that imposes a fee between $2,400 and $2,900 on new residential dwellings. By comparison, the impact fee for a single-family home exceeds $5,000 in the majority of Arizona municipalities, according to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.

Already, the council's decision has been met with the threat of recall. Henry Shill vowed to take out referendum petitions to repeal the ordinance. Shill said the Town supplies "very little service" to the residents except for law enforcement and the library.

Interestingly, for years the Camp Verde Marshal's Office was located in a mish-mash of manufactured housing units. Criminals in the county jail had it better than police did at work in Camp Verde. Only recently, the department moved into new headquarters, which was an old church that proved to be a structural nightmare for the workers who had to renovate it.

As for the library, those folks are bursting at the seams. The slump block structure was built in 1974. It has less than 5,000 square feet for a facility that has more than 35,000 items. Staging community programs at the library is like playing a game of musical chairs. Even the convenience of a book-drop area has been sacrificed because of the space crunch at the library.

C'mon Mr. Shill. Look around. In bringing up the marshal's office and library, you just made a great argument in support of impact fees for Camp Verde.

Our advice to Camp Verdeans faced with the choice of signing such referendum petitions. Please pass on the offer.

Your council has done something that Camp Verde needed years ago.

Your council has done the right thing ... again.

And if you need any more evidence, go visit your local library.

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