Doug Hulse seeks seat on Cottonwood City Council Q&A
• Age: 70
• Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: Fourth generation Arizonan; 20 years in Verde Valley
• Professional (and military) history: Vietnam era Veteran, served in United States Coast Guard; 23 years in law enforcement; Educator.
• Education: Flagstaff High School graduate; NAU graduate earned a B.S. in Police Science and Administration, B.S. in Elementary Education, M.A. in Elementary Education.
• Elective and Advisory Experience: No previous political experience. Extensive advisory experience in various positions in law enforcement in Arvada, CO. Some examples are Design Review Board, Fostering Better Community Board, Crime Free Multifamily Housing and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. I was a Field Training Officer and was in charge of the Community Policing program. In Cottonwood, I have served on the Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Commission (an advisory commission to city council) for seventeen years, last fourteen of those years as chairman. I am a member of the Trails Master Plan Committee. I also served on various other advisory committees, including budget committees, Thunder Valley Rally Committee, and as a representative of Cottonwood at the Verde Valley Forum.
• Civic Affiliations: Past President of Telegraph Hill Optimist Club and member of B.P.O.E. in Arvada, Co. Member of Cottonwood B.P.O.E., American Legion, ARRL, Verde Valley Veterans Service Park, church member all my life and am an Ordained Deacon at Clarkdale Baptist Church.
Question 1: How would you characterize the operations of Cottonwood’s city government? What are the city’s strengths and what are its most noticeable weaknesses?
Generally, I would characterize the city’s operations as friendly and efficient. Employees are courteous when providing city services and they deal with concerns promptly.
Strengths are that the city has remained a full service city, even through the recession. It has helped neighboring towns (and continues to help) provide essential services they cannot fully fund and has never asked for even a pat on the back. It has made budget cuts every year during the recession and is proposing cuts again this year even if it passes the proposed sales tax increase. The city always has a balanced budget.
The most notable weakness I see is in communication between departments and with the general public. I also see reasons for that and would hope to be able to address them. Every organization has room for improvement but my focus is to build on the positives that we have rather than criticizing the city I love and serve.
Question 2: The Cottonwood City Council has voted to increase the municipal sales tax levy by .5 percent. Do you support this tax increase? Why or Why Not? If you do not support it, what areas of the budget do you believe are the best choices for spending reduction, and why?
Yes, I do support the sales tax increase.
You can only cut so much for so long and then at some point you have to catch up or reduce services. The eight-plus year recession reportedly ended in 2015 but revenues have just begun to reach the pre-recession level. We cannot wait another five or ten years to rebuild the reserve fund, catch up on deferred infrastructure maintenance and equipment replacement, or to fund the state mandated pension fund liabilities that were not created by the city and could not, therefore, have been planned for by the city. Unless one’s purpose is simply to be critical of the city, it is important to investigate what the money was spent on and what the expenditure accomplished before judging it to be a “spending spree.”
Question 3: What is your present/past involvement/participation with the City of Cottonwood and how does that experience best qualify you to serve the citizens of Cottonwood?
I have spent most of my life in some type of community service. I was a catalyst in bringing the voter approved Recreation Center to the city on time and under budget. For 17 years I have listened to and understood the residents’ desires and the needs of staff to provide the kinds of parks, recreation, and events that the people have requested. I have acquired broad knowledge and understanding during these years.
I have worked with two city managers, three mayors, and five different council groups and am not beholden to anyone. I am retired and have no business that would benefit from my council position. I have no plans to run for higher office. I want to see a united Verde Valley with communities supporting one another. I stand to gain nothing personally except the satisfaction of giving back to a terrific community and improving a great quality of life.