From a recreation standpoint, the town is gearing up for its Fourth of July celebration. It is being held at the town’s community center from 4-8 p.m. There will be rides and activities for the children, along with free swimming at the Aquatics Center. We will have a live band, a beer garden and, currently, we are scheduled to have fireworks at dusk (approximately 9 p.m.). The last couple of years have been cancelled because of the fire danger, but we’re hopeful this year will prove different.
In May, the Chino Grinder wrapped up its off-road race, stretching across 100 miles for the longest event. This was the Grinder’s sixth year with more than 450 riders. The Grinder is getting a reputation as a difficult and challenging off-road race for the few tough enough to give it a try.
The Chino Valley Equestrian Association is busy with its activities at Old Home Manor. The town has a long-term lease with the equestrian group and supports its activities. The organization has been around for a little over three years and has really grown in the number of activities it offers for horse enthusiasts on 80 acres off of east Perkinsville Road.
The Chino Valley Mud Run is only a month out and then we gear up for our Annual Territorial Days, celebrating Chino Valley as the first Territorial Capital during the Labor Day weekend.
We’ve recently wrapped up both our budget and our special election. Although neither of our ballot measures passed in our special election, we don’t consider them failures. We specifically went to our voters to ask them about funding a road maintenance program because the amount of feedback we had received in our community outreach efforts regarding the condition of our roads warranted that we ask our citizens to participate in the solution. Overwhelmingly, we were told they don’t support a property tax to fund a road maintenance program. Our goal was to hear from our citizens, and we did.
We don’t have a solution for our road maintenance. With 153 miles of roads and less than $1 million in Highway User Funds for our roads program, it is impossible to keep up. Although we felt the maintenance plan was reasonable and fairly cost-effective, the amount of misinformation and lack of participation in our public meetings to learn the facts eventually became too much to overcome. Social media proved to be an obstacle that was difficult to stay on top of, and conversations in that venue were mainly non-factual and sometimes off topic and personal. I’m not sure how many people use social media as their news source, but if our election is any indication, it was probably more than we gave credit.
As for the other ballot measure having to do with purchasing water companies, that result was disappointing, too. It was obvious from our community outreach that many people in Chino Valley do not understand water and believe the town sold its water rights to the City of Prescott.
Although the town never sold its water rights and is not an assured water provider, the community seemed to think that the mere purchase of other water companies would lead to unfettered growth, which is simply not possible based on our water portfolio. The outcome will mainly hurt in our ability to expand from an economic development standpoint – making development more challenging, causing the town to come up with even more creative solutions for infrastructure in strategic areas.
One thing I’ve learned from this election and all the conversations I’ve had with the community is there is a deep distrust of government at all levels. Plus, we seem to be more on the rise of takers and not givers. Many people seemed to think we will come up with solutions by ourselves, but we are all a part of a community and the solutions should be agreed-upon by our constituents, not just by elected officials and town staff.
The sense of community and feeling an obligation to your community has diminished. Although at some level this is disappointing, I am heartened by the many good people I have met who came to our community meetings with an open mind and a sense of duty. All is not lost! QCBN
By Darryl Croft
Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft is in his second year as mayor and previously was a council member.