2018 recap from Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Randy Garrison
1 2018 was a productive year for Yavapai County, and the Verde Valley in particular. Transportation is always an item of concern, and this year Supervisor Thurman and myself were successful in being awarded almost $30 million in State and Federal grants specifically allocated to safety and access improvements to our Verde Valley transportation corridors. While $30 million may not sound like much in the bigger picture, when you compare that to the $7 million to $8 million we collect countywide in our Regional Road Tax for an entire year, the value to our Valley is impactful. And that is just this year, with more projects and opportunities looking into the near future. As you saw with the Highway 260 improvements, roads take an unbelievable amount of time to plan and build, so we are always pushing for more resources so that as time moves forward so are our communities and citizens.
2 You always hear the phrase “It takes an Act of Congress,” well as we learned this year, there is a whole lot of truth to those words. The County, specifically Supervisors Thurman and Davis, worked for over a decade to put together a land swap between the Coconino National Forest and Yavapai County. This trade would allow the County to turn over control of land that has significant value to the National Forest and add land to our County Park system, specifically Windmill Park in Cornville. The Community of Cornville would benefit, but so would our regional trail system and the residents and tourists who use these trails and lands regularly. I became involved late this summer, and was given the opportunity to testify to Congress in Washington D.C. Our presentation was successful in that Congressman Gosar’s bill was given a green light by both Houses of Congress. Now we are just waiting for everyone to come back to work in January and hopefully put this 12-year-old process to bed. While these challenges are often thought of as being simple or a “no brainer”, I have learned that the Government works at its own pace, no matter how much or how little common sense is required.
3 There is just so much more that has happened this year, and not always things we get to shout about or see on a headline. One of those accomplishments was our distracted driving ban, which has now become successful enough that many other counties and cities throughout Arizona have adopted this ordinance. Our Legislature has been watching as well, and now plans on discussing this as a State-wide policy, showing that sometimes you must start small to accomplish big things. Another win was lowering Yavapai County property taxes for a fourth year in a row. Nothing these days is cheaper, but by putting our goals and resources at the front of every conversation, we have been able to improve the outlook of our employees and departments, while also protecting those we serve. And finally, I have to give some appreciation to our Citizens for renewing our Jail Tax for another 20-year period. While nobody wants to pay more in tax, the value we received back on this shared investment far outweighs the personal cost. Our communities understood the many benefits that our Jail District provided, and overwhelming supported our request. Once again, helping to keep private property taxes low while maintaining high quality programs for which Yavapai County has become known.
4 Supervisor Thurman and I directly represent just 2/5ths of Yavapai County, but through diligence and planning, we look forward to taking those resources available and making sure the Verde Valley is provided a strong and balanced future. 2019 is going to be a great year, and I look forward to working with all our communities as everyone steps up to accept the challenges and opportunities that a new year brings. As they say, “when one door closes, another opens.”