Clarkdale Town Council Q&A: Round 3 -- Eileen Sydow
Question 1: In recent years, Clarkdale has closed its municipal pool. The community library is now a joint venture with Yavapai County. Most recently, the town council voted to co-locate its municipal court, and share its magistrate, with the Verde Valley Justice Court. Have these decisions been in the best interests of the community? Do you support these decisions? Are Clarkdale residents receiving less in return for their tax investment in Clarkdale municipal government than they have received in past years?
The community library joining the Yavapai library system and moving the Clarkdale Magistrate Court are definitely in the best interests of the Clarkdale town community. By combining resources, both the library and the court are expanding services while operating in a more cost-effective manner. I support these decisions.
Many Clarkdale residents that I spoke to said the loss of the municipal pool, was a significant loss to the Clarkdale community. Residents stated they understood why the pool closed (age and repair issues) but feel that the pool was an important local recreation activity. Residents also stated that they would be interested in the town providing other recreational areas for children and adults to enjoy.
Of the Clarkdale residents I spoke to in several areas of town, I did not hear, or had the impression, that residents felt they were getting less in return for the taxes they pay.
Question2 : In recent years, the Clarkdale and Jerome police departments discussed sharing personnel and responsibilities to ensure both communities had 24-hour patrol service? Should this be something the two towns pursue? Are there other shared services/personnel opportunities that Clarkdale should pursue with Jerome and/or Cottonwood? Please give examples.
The Town of Clarkdale, with more than its share of non-taxable land, should be open to opportunities to share personnel and services with neighboring communities. This should logically be entered into only after a careful evaluation of costs verses benefits. The citizens of Clarkdale should always be the winners in such evaluations.
The sharing of municipal services such as police and fire departments along with ambulance services is an effective way of integrating services in small towns and provides an increase of comprehensive safety and emergency care to town residents. Therefore, I think it is an excellent idea to pursue the possibility of combining the police services of Clarkdale and Jerome.
As I have previously stated, Clarkdale residents miss the municipal pool, and are looking for cost effective recreation for themselves and their families. Clarkdale residents who have pursued a family Cottonwood recreation center membership, have found it to be prohibitively expensive.
An opportunity that could be explored, is to share services with the Cottonwood Recreation Center. By offering resident verses non- resident memberships to the residents of Clarkdale and Jerome, the Recreation Center could increase memberships and revenue, and the Clarkdale and Jerome residents would have a less expensive opportunity for the recreational activities for themselves and their families. I see this idea as a win win situation.
Question 3: Unlike some other municipalities in the Verde Valley, Clarkdale levies a property tax for municipal operations. Do you envision Clarkdale ever having an economy in which sales tax would be sufficient and the town would not require a property tax? What does Clarkdale need to do to elevate its economic profile as it relates to sales tax generation?
The cost of operating a town has to be borne by one form of tax/fee or another. Because Clarkdale does not currently have a large retail or commercial presence, it does not seem feasible that a sales tax would currently generate enough revenue to replace a property tax. While Cottonwood may be able to cover its revenue through a sales tax because of its large retail and commercial presence, it may take some time before Clarkdale can do the same.
This is why I am a strong supporter of smart economic development that produces tax revenue and good paying jobs.
To increase the economic profile of Clarkdale, the Town Council should ensure that its comprehensive plan focuses on preserving as much land along major transportation highways as properties for commercial and industrial development in the future.