Plans for 2014 leave few gaps in a full calendar of activities, events and policy considerations, promising an exciting year ahead for the City of Prescott. Front and center is the 150th anniversary of Prescott, the Sesquicentennial, which will be recognized with events throughout the year and celebrated May 30 to June 1.
The kick-off to the Sesquicentennial will begin the evening of May 30 with a ceremony and proclamation at the Courthouse Plaza. There will be a downtown western village featuring living history displays, family-friendly rides, attractions and food vendors. The collective support and participation by everyone in Prescott and the surrounding areas will make this anniversary event a tremendous success in the same way the Centennial was last year. Please visit www.visit-prescott.com for updates and opportunities to volunteer and support the Sesquicentennial. The entire schedule of activities will be announced at the end of January.
The City will also soon be launching the long-awaited Channel 15 on the cable tier. The channel will feature upcoming community events, weather forecasts and promote the essential elements of what makes Prescott the premier destination for visitors, residents and businesses. Once developed and fully operational, this channel will be a one-stop shop for information for anyone wanting to learn about the best of what Prescott has to offer.
On the business front, there are a few critical policy issues facing the City in 2014.
The City is in the process of reviewing its development fees and making necessary adjustments to them to comply with a change to state law that passed in 2011. The law created a more complex framework required to set and collect development fees, tying them more specifically to an existing and future direct benefit to the payers of the fee.
There will be a public meeting at City Hall on Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. to discuss potential development fee changes and a final report will be issued in April. The City Council is planning to consider final approval of changes in May. If you would like more information about this process, please visit www.cityofprescott.net and click on the Development Impact Fee Process tab on the right side of the main page.
The City of Prescott and Yavapai County also recently approved an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) that stipulates funding, ownership, operation and maintenance of roads in an effort to restore a project to widen the southern portion of State Route 89. The widening project was removed from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s five-year plan due to budget reductions.
Approximately 20,000 cars travel this stretch of road every day, so the completion of this infrastructure project in the long term is critical to remove congestion and enhance economic productivity. A strong commitment of local resources through this IGA might help bring the project back into the five-year plan.
Finally, the City will be preparing for the Dec. 31, 2015, reduction of the current one-cent sales tax that funds open space and streets to a ¾-cent tax. The tax was approved by voters in 2000 and at its current rate, provides approximately $13 million annually for streets and open space projects. Although the reduction of the tax is two years away, the City must begin to plan for the impact of reduced resources available to fund projects and adjust plans for capital investment accordingly. QCBN
For more information about these or other City of Prescott topics, please feel free to contact me at 928-777-1362.
Pete Wertheim is the Communications and Public Affairs Manager for the
City of Prescott.