Clarkdale Town Council Q&A: Ben Kramer
• Age: 35
• Years in Arizona/Verde Valley: 35
• Professional (and military) history: City of Cottonwood Firefighter/Paramedic since 2009
• Education: University of Arizona, B.S. in Regional Development, Minor in Mathematics; Yavapai College, A.A.S. in Fire Science; Coconino Community College, A.A.S. in Paramedicine
• Elective and Advisory Experience: Clarkdale Town Council, Library Advisory Board, Community Services Commission, PSPRS Board; Cottonwood: PSPRS Board, Cottonwood Personnel Board, Cottonwood Volunteer Pension Board; Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighters Association Executive Board
• Civic Affiliations: Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighters Association; Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighter Charities; Salvation Army Cottonwood Service Extension Unit
Question 1: Given that Clarkdale will have a General Obligation Bond Election in November for Street Repairs and Improvements, do you support this bond? Why is a bond needed vs. paying for such a project through the town’s regular budget process? If approved by voters, what are the first-level priority needs for Clarkdale and why?
I support this bond and I support allowing the voters decide if this is an action plan they want to fund. By taking the bond to general election, we allow the constituency to have the final word on the bond. Clarkdale has roadways in several stages of disrepair and the comprehensive plan put together by Clarkdale’s management team is timed and scaled to actual use and needs. Recommendations have also included a funding mechanism for future upkeep and maintenance, to avoid reaching this point in the future. The road reconstruction and rehabilitation will affect every citizen who lives and drives on the public roads. The availability of funds provided by the General Obligation Bond would allow Clarkdale to buy materials and labor in bulk at a great savings and accomplish reconstruction in a three year timeline.
Question 2: With housing development back up and running in Clarkdale, please share your thoughts on development standards and philosophies on the Town’s role in regulating growth. Also please share your views on Economic Development, and the appropriate role the Town has in that process. What kind of commercial development is appropriate for Clarkdale, and what is the role of the Council/Town in those processes?
Development in Clarkdale has multiple positive effects. An economic stimulus to the Town, increased availability of high-quality homes for individuals and families, further completion of ongoing planned communities, more people able to live in our beautiful and pedestrian-friendly community and jobs for local tradesmen and contractors are just a few of the effects we can see. Clarkdale has an imaginative, dynamic Economic Development team, with a strong sense of community values and vision. The Town’s development role is two-fold, as they use zoning and master planning to guide future development in an organizational sense, and creative community development and marketing to attract healthy and vibrant commercial and industrial community partners. Commercial development that supports the well-being of the Town’s citizens and visitors should be highly sought after and Council should give staff positive direction and set clear priorities so they are able to pursue and completely vet emerging opportunities.
Question 3: What involvement have you had with the Town of Clarkdale, and/or specific town issues, in the past, and how does that experience best qualify you to serve the citizens of Clarkdale?
I grew up in Clarkdale and enjoyed the charm of this vibrant community. Spending Fourth of July and Halloween on Main Street and in the Park and summers at the pool and in the Library. I have always loved this place. I joined up to be a volunteer and serve on several boards as the town had vacancies, and enjoyed having a more active role. When the opportunity to apply for appointment to Town Council became available, I immediately was interested and applied. It has been my honor to serve as an appointed councilmember. The Council communicates well together and Clarkdale boasts an incredible staff. Of all the boards, commissions, clubs, and groups I have been able to be a board member for, Clarkdale Town Council is by far my favorite.