Cottonwood City Council Election Q&A: Kyla Allen
Cottonwood has had three city managers in the past 30 years and all were promoted from within. Has Cottonwood’s program of succession training served the city well? Should the city continue that course with the selection of its new city manager? Or is it time for a new, outside set of eyes be brought in to manage the city? Why?
The last two managers were key to bringing the city to that next level in our development. That being said, it is my hope the City will advertise throughout the state for the position while also allowing individuals from within the organization to apply.
An “outside set of eyes” comes with advantages and disadvantages. Our previous managers were demonstrably invested in our city, had historic knowledge of what has/hasn’t worked in a myriad of issues and were well known and trusted by our community members.
New individuals, though not having those advantages, may have a vision not considered by current staff and can be the very people to take us to that next level, whatever that may be. However, that trust will take time to build and I admit, I am concerned about individuals coming from outside, interested only in using the city as a stepping stone to larger organizations.
With housing development back up and running in Cottonwood, what is your philosophy on development standards and the city’s role in regulating growth?
Cottonwood has been fortunate to have an excellent Planning and Zoning Commission to review development projects in detail. They have a firm grasp on the capacities our city can manage as well as the type of development standards required to best meet those needs and I have great trust in that groups work. I personally hope we are able to attract more affordable housing development within our community, and that is a challenge I believe most Verde Valley communities are facing.
Regulating growth is quite a tight-wire act. It is necessary to consider the services the city has the capacity to provide, along with prospective natural resource needs and availability, while at the same time respecting the vision a property owner may have for developing their own property, and it is the city’s job to come to the best compromise that is beneficial to both.
How would you rate Cottonwood’s success with economic development? What kind of commercial development is appropriate for Cottonwood and where should it be located, and why? What is the role of the city council in the economic development of the city?
In past years our economic development has been successful as we have attracted/retained businesses such as Home Depot, Walmart and Larry Green Chevrolet; built up and supported our Old Town area; have a highly successful medical industry, many great mom & pop shops, and have attracted other distributors and on-line businesses such as LaserLyte. Business locations are not influenced by the city with the exception of having to meet zoning requirements but of course, in-fill is desired.
Finally, though Council’s role is to create policy and not insert itself in management duties, it is important we show we are unified in most topics, and have a cohesive vision of the city’s direction.
This gives confidence to businesses interested in locating here, provides them with the knowledge we understand their success is critical to the city’s success and they are important and will be supported by the Council where possible.