Camp Verde Town Council Q&A: Joe Butner
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?
Both the Mayor and Town Council members have a fiduciary duty, that is a duty of the highest trust and responsibility in the eyes of the law, in dealing with Camp Verde’s tax dollars. Tax dollars must be more carefully appropriated than they have been. The Town of Camp Verde debt to revenue ratio under the budget just approved increased from approximately 34 percent to approximately 52 percent. That is too high and likely will affect the Town’s S&P bond rating in a negative way driving it below its current A- rating. The almost 7 million dollars being spent on the new park is the project that tipped it over the edge. The park is a good addition to our community, but the elimination of equestrian facilities and a rodeo arena that could have hosted many events, including a rodeo, that would have drawn many visitors to Camp Verde and substantially added to tax revenues, was irresponsible and inattentive to the needs and desires of the community. The Town Council must pay attention to the principle that when tax dollars are spent on out of the ordinary projects or acquisitions there must be an exceptional improvement in the quality of life and services delivered, and tax revenues returned whenever possible. Never allow a pandering to special interests.
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?
The Town of Camp Verde has dropped the ball in regard to the Cornfest (which will not take place this year) and almost failed its citizens in regard to the Pecan and Wine Festival and Fort Verde Days. The Town had delegated the responsibility of putting on these events to Camp Verde Promotions, a group of concerned citizens that has worked very hard to promote Camp Verde with minimal support from the Town. The Town cannot merely delegate this responsibility to someone else. The Town must step-up and shoulder primary responsibility for each of these important events and assist these volunteers and concerned citizens in whatever way is necessary to make sure that these signature events for our Town take place, which incidentally help support businesses in Camp Verde and thereby increase tax revenues.
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.
I have previously stated, and it remains true, that Camp Verde has sold itself short for many years. Now is the time to get over it. We have the best climate in Arizona. The Verde River runs right through the middle of our town and also provides historic irrigation rights for farms in the center of Town. Camp Verde is horse country and, therefore, Cowboy country. We must now promote what a wonderful place Camp Verde is to live and raise your children. We must also promote and support what a great place Camp Verde is to do business. We must make sure that when we do these things we preserve the small town atmosphere and wide open spaces by controlling density and temporary residences. The need for affordable housing must be balanced with the desire to retain what our General Plan describes as our “historic, western/rural character.” We are not a bedroom community, but rather a vibrant, historic, western and rural community that is poised to experience the greatest economic boom it has had in generations. Let’s manage it and enjoy it for the benefit of our current citizens and those to come.