Editorial: Incorporation clearly best option for VOC
The Village of Oak Creek is at a crossroads.
As was recently revealed with the Hilton Hotel decision, many in VOC do not agree with the way their community is governed when it comes to growth and development issues.
And, as soon-to-be outgoing Big Park Community Council President Marc Fuller opined in the December Villager newspaper, VOC’s efforts at volunteer self-governance have become nothing more than an exercise in petty one-upsmanship.
It’s probably best that VOC leaders take a serious look at legal and binding self-governance. In other words, incorporation.
That’s certainly the preferred alternative to being the red-headed stepchild to Sedona that would come via annexation.
With incorporation, Villagers would trade growth and development decisions away from the county to locally elected leadership directly from VOC. Take your pick: Having your community governed by those who live and work in VOC vs. county supervisors from Prescott and Cottonwood.
As for the Big Park Community Council, it’s a good idea in theory, but it’s an organization with more bark than bite. The Big Park Council has no legal authority. Its decisions are advisory at best, with no legal binding. Additionally, the Big Park Council is not bound by some of the basic tenets of professional governance such as public records and open meeting laws.
The Village of Oak Creek community needs to face up to the fact that it is an urbanized community that places unrealistic expectations on a government structure designed and created for non-urbanized rural dwellers. County government was not created to provide the kind of municipal services a community such as VOC needs and deserves.
Finally, VOC residents need to take a close look around the rest of the Verde Valley. Communities such as Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Jerome are all incorporated with probably less commercial base than what exists in the VOC.
Considering the fact that VOC is one of the primary gateways to Sedona, the Village certainly has the potential to be a per-capita sales tax cash cow.
If locally-elected governance is preferable than that provided by Prescott and Cottonwood county supervisors, the VOC should choose incorporation.
If it’s preferable to have government structure with rules of operation clearly defined by Arizona law, then the VOC should strongly consider incorporation.
Finally, by acknowledging that county government is not designed to provide municipal-type urbanized services, the Village of Oak Creek has no other choice but to incorporate.
It’s the right thing to do.