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Four candidates throw hat in ring for empty Cottonwood council seat

COTTONWOOD – Four candidates have submitted their applications to fill the vacant seat on Cottonwood City Council.

The seat was left open by former vice mayor Kyla Allen who had to step down because of family reasons and change of address.

Cottonwood City Council will interview candidates Thursday, March 7 at 5:30 at Cottonwood Council Chambers in Old Town.

Here are the four candidates:

Michael Cosentino

Cosentino is a 20-year resident of Cottonwood and former reporter for the Verde Independent and Red Rock News.

In his cover letter, Cosentino said his experience as a reporter taught him how various governing bodies work in the community.

Cosentino was also a Mingus Union High School teacher and Verde Valley Senior Center events coordinator and Yavapai College adjunct professor.

Joyce Gonzalez

Joyce Gonzalez is a nine-year resident of Cottonwood and realtor with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate BloomTree Realty.

In her cover letter, Gonzalez said she interested in being a larger part of the community and helping “facilitate conversations between the people of Cottonwood and those that make the final decision.”

Gonzalez is on the board of directors for the Professional Women’s Group of Northern Arizona. She also owned a salon in Old Town from 2011 to 2015.

“I often hear people complain and I always think to myself you can’t complain if you don’t get involved and try to make a difference,” she wrote in her cover letter. “

Al Hilberger

Al Hilberger is an eight-year resident of Cottonwood with more than 50 years of construction, real estate and management experience.

He also previously served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

“I am a common sense, no-nonsense person that really cares about the City of Cottonwood and its future, as well as doing what is right for residents. I am extremely proud of all of the friends I have made over the years with no enemies.”

In his letter, Hilberger noted that he would like to see a consolidated city hall.

“I would like to see a new city hall that would combine all departments that are now in separate locations, and sell all the vacant buildings to help offset the cost,” he said.

Jackie Nairn

Jackie Nairn is a four-year resident of Cottonwood.

She has also twice-run for city council. She trailed just a few votes behind Michael Mathews in the last election.

“I have been attending council meetings regularly for most of the last 2-3 years so I am aware of the issues facing the city,” she wrote in a cover letter.

Nairn currently works as a community manager at Highland Square Apartments. She is also on the board of Verde Valley Homeless Coalition.

“I have been involved with helping develop the cold-weather overnight center and the day drop-in center.”

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