2019 was been a bright year for Chino Valley and our surrounding communities. The Town of Chino Valley has had many positive things happen last year and has endured a few challenging things.
One of our biggest endeavors in 2019 was asking our citizens for a property tax for road maintenance. We were unsuccessful in this endeavor, and will be struggling with funding for road maintenance for many years to come. Although this did not succeed at the local level, this may become a state issue and one that may be settled by our state legislators. Anyone who has traveled on the state interstate system or state highways surely recognizes that funding for the maintenance of our roads must be secured and we need a more permanent funding source. The gas tax has not been increased in more than 25 years. Additionally, the lack of a permanent funding source for Arizona Department of Public Safety needs to be resolved – the sweeping of funds to offset Public Safety Retirement shortfalls and other public safety issues is irresponsible and non-sustainable.
A positive note for the town was the re-zoning of 200 acres of the business park at Old Home Manor. A goal of our council and the previous council is to create more jobs within our community. Creating the business park, which was primarily funded through grants, will be a long-term vision for creating jobs and allowing people to live and work in the same community. The grants brought water, sewer and a road to the business park, and council recently agreed to invest some additional funding to bring natural gas to the property, signage at both entrances and create the initial lots to make them site-ready. We have hired an economic development staff person who is actively working with outside investors and other interested parties who may be interested in relocating their business headquarters to Chino Valley. The future looks bright and Chino Valley is ready to say we are “open for business” in the near future.
This next year will bring some new council members to our current slate. This will be my last term as mayor, and we have three council member seats up for re-election. To date, we have had nine people pull papers to run for council, and one for mayor. All filings for the seats need to be completed by early April 2020, with the primary being held in August. As there are so many people in the running for council, it is unlikely that any will win outright through the primary, as you need 50% support plus one vote to win outright. We have only one incumbent for a council seat. The run-off election will be in November, the same time as the national election. With our primary election in August, it will also be Home Rule, which occurs every four years. It will be important for our community to vote in Home Rule as citizens have successfully done in all the years we have been incorporated.
Next year will also bring the town’s Golden Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of incorporation. Events will be held around Territorial Days, which is Labor Day weekend. Besides a beefed-up celebration, the town is selling bumper stickers, shirts, license plates and a commemorative book. We look forward to celebrating this milestone with our citizens and the surrounding communities.
God bless you and please have a safe 2020. QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Darryl Croft is the mayor of Chino Valley.