Q&A Diane Joens: Candidate, Yavapai County Supervisor District 3
Question 1: What level of service should Yavapai County provide to urbanized non-incorporated communities such as Verde Village and the Village of Oak Creek? Is it the responsibility of the county to provide urbanized services to such areas?
Joens: We must better connect our incorporated cities and towns that provide essential services with our urbanized unincorporated communities that provide their business and patronage.
To minimize property and other taxes, Yavapai County is unable to provide urban services like sidewalks, street landscaping, swimming pools and other amenities found in incorporated areas. County public services include community health, the courts, law enforcement, and general services, such as long-term care and regional roads. Half of the county's general fund is currently used for essential law enforcement services and court operations. The county also budgets for the assessor, school superintendent, treasurer, and other elected offices.
I am the only candidate for supervisor with inside experience on how county government works. I will explore transit solutions that connect the entire Verde Valley. In addition, I will research grants and public-private partnerships for funding that improves the quality of our traffic system.
Question 2: Does the oft-heard claim of a Prescott-Verde Valley divide exist with Yavapai County Government? How can Yavapai County better serve the Verde Valley?
Joens: Many residents of the Verde Valley indicate that they have historically felt underserved as part of their experience of an urbanizing Yavapai County. I learned firsthand working for Supervisor Chip Davis about how to strongly advocate for Verde Valley services -- and I will be right there explaining our contribution to the county budget and expect appropriate services for taxes paid. The makeup of the board of supervisors has changed. I now see a board that works together to provide county services, and is respectful of each district's needs. The supervisors are making every effort to accommodate all of those needs within budget constraints. I believe creating positive working relationships is the best way to move in positive directions. That's how I will advocate for the services needed by all residents of the county. And yes, I'll strongly advocate -- even fight -- for the services needed by Sedona and the Verde Valley.
Question 3: What are the growth challenges/opportunities in the Verde Valley and how can the county do a better job of weighing environmental and water concerns about growth with the rights of property owners to develop their property?
Joens: The key to managing development in Yavapai County includes mechanisms that best conserve environmental and water resources, while respecting private property rights. When possible, development and urbanization should take place within municipalities, because counties cannot own water and wastewater utilities directly on behalf of their residents; those services are provided through special taxing districts.
Lot splits and small scale developments require private wells and septic tanks. Counties have minimal ability to mandate the conservation measures that enable Cottonwood to pump a third less water from the aquifer. Conservation measures include alternate outside watering days, repair of leaky pipes, and multi-tiered rate structures, and have a positive impact on the Verde River. I intend to work with county development to ensure the highest legal standards of conservation, and to promote education that encourages voluntary conservation. I will also advocate at the state legislative level for greater county access to conservation measures.Age: 64
Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: 43 (30 Verde Valley)
Occupation: Mayor, City of Cottonwood
Education: Yavapai College, University of Arizona two-year leadership program, Project CENTRL (Center for Rural Leadership), Fellow at Flinn Brown Civic Leadership Academy, Certified to administer FmHA/Rural Development and HUD housing programs through the S.T.A.R. , Extensively trained and certified by state of Arizona to administer public assistance programs. , Certificates of training in fair housing and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Elective and Advisory Experience: Worked for the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors, as aide to District 3 Supervisor A.G. "Chip" Davis. Thirteen years of service on the Cottonwood City Council, including nine years as Mayor. Ten years of service on the Yavapai County Water Advisory Committee (including one year as co-chair). Chair of city's Alternate Firemen's Pension and Benefit Trust and Chair of Public Safety Personnel Board.
Verde Front and Leadership Council, Chairman of Stewards of Public Lands , Founder of the Verde Valley SciTech Festival , Northern Arizona Council of Governments (NACOG) Regional Council , Greater Arizona Mayors' Association (including one year as chair) , League of Cities and Towns Resolution Subcommittee, Founding member, MATForce Steering Committee
League of Women Voters, Served on Steering Committee for the Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Voter Engagement Project , Board Member of the Cottonwood Economic Development Council, Board Member Sedona Village Business Association, Member, Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce , Past Vice President Verde Watershed Association , VFW Post 7400 Auxiliary and American Legion Auxiliary, Past Treasurer, Friends of the Verde River Greenway, Past Board Member, Verde River Valley Nature Organization, Children's conservation programs, including Water Literacy for Kindergarteners, Cottonwood Kids Conserve and Mingus Union High School's conservation videos, Summer Luau, Let's Move program, VVMC Fit Kids Steering Committee, and Kids at Hope, Cottonwood Youth Advisory Commission.
Instrumental in creating the Riverfront Community Garden, Community Orchard, and Riverfront Dog Park with citizen groups, Lead on a team that fundraised $26,000 for the Jordan Maynard home built by Homes for our Troops. Member Verde Valley Military Service Park Committee and served on the team that brought the Vietnam Traveling Wall to Cottonwood. Assisted VFW in getting a bus for their Color Guard, Verde Valley Senior Center: Eight years specifically on the Mayors' March a Mile for Meals and I also was appointed and serve on the Governor's Council on Aging.