Camp Verde Mayor Q&A: Jackie Baker
Question: As you consider both the short term and the long term, what is the most responsible way for council to be caretakers of the community’s tax dollars?
Whether short- or long-term planning, we must begin with solid fiscal responsibility. Budget as carefully as our citizens are required to do in their personal lives. Plan carefully for long term needs so that additional taxes are not required. Complete long term plans as we can afford them, one at a time if necessary; avoid the necessity of new loans. Reduce our debt ratio ASAP.
Question: With the cancellation of Cornfest, please explain the importance of Pecan and Wine Festival, as well as Fort Verde Days, and what you believe the town’s responsibility is in keeping those events alive?
Ft. Verde Days celebration has, for many years and for many in the town, been thought of as our annual homecoming and that feeling makes clear its importance to all. The Pecan & Wine Festival has surely become an event that so many people around our state, and even other states, plan to annually attend. Our burgeoning, award-winning wine industry and our delicious pecans have grown our number of tourists and loyal fans. As a town we can assist in marketing, location properties for these events, and line item budgeting for these events each year in our Economic Development budget.
Camp Verde is a historic and an old west town right at the intersection of state and interstate highways; we are the absolute center of it all! Economic development is a given once the highway improvement construction is completed and investors move forward with their plans. Our citizens want to maintain our country western look and way of life, i.e., horses, rodeos, roping. In addition, we have 18 miles of our precious Verde River within our town limits and also the priceless Verde Valley Archaeology Center, Ft. Verde State Historic Park and the Yavapai Apache Cultural Center.
In our Verde Valley we are fortunate, also, to have several national parks for citizens and tourists.
Question: For some, Camp Verde is a community on the verge of significantly growing its economy. For others, Camp Verde is a bedroom community and needs to stay that way. Please explain your desire for Camp Verde’s future.
Our economic development goals include small retail shops that will serve locals and tourists alike; also one or two “big box” stores near the highway intersection. We currently have a retail strategy company doing research for these goals. But, we plan on our Main Street remaining the small “mom & pop” retail and service stores if possible. Although that is rare, these days, for start-up investment, there is much that our town can do to support and promote these goals.