Happy spring to all. Most municipalities are working on budgets right now and endeavoring to be as responsive to their citizens as possible in their fiscal year. The Chino Valley Town Council met recently in a retreat to discuss our priorities in the next year as well as for the next several years.
The challenges we face with our infrastructure have been much discussed – the town has five different water companies within our corporate boundaries, and our wastewater treatment plant was just built in the last decade. Lack of infrastructure in some key commercial areas has made robust economic development growth complicated and, in some cases, impossible. However, this dynamic won’t change by itself, and the council is committed to begin incrementally working on our infrastructure shortfalls. We will need to take several approaches to begin tackling this, but our future will make it necessary.
As we continue to grow, our citizens will demand closer access to services and retail, and it will be necessary for the town to grow both its retail base and job base to sustain the community. Planning for the growth will be better than just having it happen to us.
The focus areas that developed from our Strategic Planning Retreat remain constant with what we developed last year, and they continue to be the following: Water/Water Companies; Old Home Manor Industrial Park/Jobs; Roads/Maintenance and Funding; Infrastructure and Town Utilities; Maintaining a Rural Community and a Business-Friendly Environment.
Some of the specific action items that have been identified with respect to our focus areas include the extension of sewer or water in high density areas or in commercial areas. We have an opportunity with our Business Park at Old Home Manor to offer land to potential employers. But the employers are going to want more than just raw land, and that takes money. We were fortunate with federal grants to get utilities to the lot line of our 200 acres, but we will need to prepare about a half-dozen sites so they are ready for future employers and we can build momentum from there. Our Utility Committee members will develop a scope they consider reasonable and will bring it forward to our council for consideration of costs and level of improvements.
The town has recently hired an economic development project manager, and this person will help us create a strategic plan for our business park and identify the types of businesses or industries that might be a good fit for our community. But the business park must be ready to accept them.
As you might recall from a previous article, the town has proposed a Roads Maintenance Program to be funded by a property tax. Should this initiative pass with the voters on May 21, our road infrastructure should begin to improve, enhancing economic development and helping to maintain property values. Thus, it hits another of our focus areas and also continues to emphasize town infrastructure.
The town has many demands for development, much like our surrounding communities. We will continue to try and maintain the rural lifestyle, providing one-acre lots as much as possible, but the pressures are ever-present and difficult to accommodate. The more infrastructure we have for water, sewer and roads, helps any growth to be more responsible and less impactful upon our neighbors. We are transitioning from five-acre parcels to somewhat smaller lot, and impact on our neighbors becomes more prevalent.
Investment in infrastructure by this council will one day be considered forward-thinking and responsible. We have some work in front of us! QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft is in his second year as mayor and previously was a council member.