Letter: Verde Connect a $50 million debt for local taxpayers
Years ago, as per the Verde Valley Master Transportation Plan 2016, two modest rural routes were suggested: extending West Middle Verde over the Verde River or paving Forest Route 119A.
The goal was to expressly improve the safety of West Middle Verde and emergency responders, directly benefiting West Middle Verde neighborhoods.
But, after engineers took a closer look at the extreme terrain obstacles, they determined both those suggestions would be excessively expensive. No other options to address this safety issue were pursued.
This failure to apply creativity and cost-consciousness may end up indebting all Verde Valley taxpayers over $50 million, because a new Dr. Frankenstein reincarnated as Verde Connect saw an opportunity to stitch those two dead road pieces together to create a monster high-traffic by-pass that no one wants or asked for, but will be pressured to be indebted to pay.
Alarmingly, during his July 24, 2019 County presentation to the Camp Verde Town Council, Supervisor Thom Thurman, watched by Supervisor Randy Garrison, gravely intoned that Yavapai County and the State of Arizona are in abysmal financial straits, and thus the County Supervisors are lobbying to hike property taxes to pay looming debts accrued by, in Thurman’ opinion, irresponsibly under-funded pension plans, irresponsible state legislators’ out-of-control fiscal practices, plus tens of millions needed for proposed County jail and Court physical plant improvements.
Amazingly, Thurman finished his baleful 100s of millions, even billions of mounting debt report with a cheerful declaration of not cost-cutting, but rather his enthusiastic support of expensive Verde Connect, hypocritically supporting piling on even more tax burdens.
If not stopped, Verde Connect will require over $50 million to be fully-funded - higher taxes and ‘bonds’ for some mysterious benefit presumably only the County Supervisors are able to see.