Kyla Allen seeks seat on Cottonwood City Council Q&A
• Age: 57
• Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: 32 years in the incorporated City of Cottonwood
• Professional (and military) history: Most pertinent are my service to the Library and Police Detectives Unit for the City of Anaheim, and my 23+ years of service to the City of Cottonwood.
• Education: Yavapai College Management Certification, past Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification, and graduate of the Verde Valley Leadership Program Class III.
• Elective and Advisory Experience: I have served 23 months as a council member with the City of Cottonwood, with the last five months serving as the Vice Mayor. I also serve on the Northern Arizona Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging which advocates and coordinates services for seniors 60 years and older and for family caregivers, and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns Public Safety Military Affairs and Courts Policy Committee (PSMCP) which helps develop legislative policy on those topics.
• Civic Affiliations: I participate as the Vice President of the Northern Arizona Professional Women’s Group (will be President in 2019), Secretary of the Verde Valley Leadership Program Board of Directors, member of the Cottonwood Chamber of Commerce, and Local First Arizona, as well as a member of the Verde Valley Military Service Park Committee.
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?
Strengths include a proactive support of our community--The city is one of a few agencies that did not lay-off employees during the recession, were able to stimulate our fragile economy by investing in properties and construction within the City and, under the City’s stewardship, businesses felt confident to move into Old Town, making it a tourist destination. The City also ranks high in its regionalism, cooperation and support to other agencies and communities.
Weakness –The city can improve promoting itself, publicizing the good work they do, and also combat misinformation (for example, the current Mingus Avenue project is administered by ADOT which the city has no control over), the city can be more proactive in its approach to citizen engagement, i.e., though the city has been very transparent about the current water concerns, it may have been more beneficial to provide water forums when water issue was first rectified.
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 believe are the best choices for spending reduction, and why?
I support a .5 percent tax increase (which equals 50¢ more on every $100 purchase) in order to continue to provide the services our citizens demand; rebuild the reserves and improve our infrastructure. Not only has this tax not increased in nearly 10-years, the City is one of the few communities in Yavapai County that does not have a district, property, or other special tax to assist with municipal expenses (i.e. Fire District Tax, Utility Tax, etc.) On 3-percent sales tax, the City provides more services than most other agencies, such as an airport, water and wastewater utilities, library, recreation center, pools & parks, regional communication (dispatch) center, youth center and transit system. However the City has come to the point that if citizens continue to want services at their current or expanded levels, an increase in the revenue stream is essential.
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 served the city for 23+ years in positions such as dispatcher, fire department admin, police chief’s assistant, and Assistant to the City Manager before retiring in 2015. I also volunteered on countless boards, committees and events such as Verde River Days and road clean-up opportunities, president for the Verde Valley Humane Society, secretary for the emerging winery consortium and secretary for the MATForce Steering Committee and as an employee I secured more than $700,000 in grant funding for the city fire and police departments.
Being current vice mayor, a past employee, and a long-time resident (who has raised a large family in Cottonwood) provides me with a unique perspective as well as a broad historic knowledge of the city. This experience and knowledge enables me to integrate several points of view into my decision making process, to come to the best, most practical and citizen positive result.