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10/29/2012 9:54:00 AM
Council lauds 'home rule'

Ken Hedler
Special to the Tribune


The concept of local control as exemplified in "home rule" drew praise from the Town Council Thursday.

The issue comes down to whom Prescott Valley voters trust to manage their budget, Councilwoman Patty Lasker said while criticizing the performance of state officials.

Home rule gives the town government staff more flexibility to prepare their budgets and spend money over a four-year period.

The town government first approved home rule in 1981, and voters have favored home rule every four years since 1985.

Home rule will go before the voters next March, and the council took the first step Thursday evening by conducting a public hearing on home rule. No members of the public spoke Thursday, but they will have another opportunity this coming Thursday to air their views on the issue in a second public hearing that the council will conduct.

Council members quizzed Management Services Director Bill Kauppi, who presented a PowerPoint talk on home rule, also known as the alternative local expenditure limitation option.

Management Services staff estimated spending that exceeds $49 million in fiscal year 2013-2014, which begins next July 1. Estimated spending would exceed $71.3 million in 2016-17, the final fiscal year in the four-year cycle.

If home rule were to fail at the polls, the state-imposed restrictions would limit spending to about $43.3 million in 2013-14. The state would limit spending during 2016-17 to $46.4 million.

"This topic just pertains to budgeting," Kauppi said. He added he submitted the figures to the Auditor General's office.

Kauppi's staff has done an excellent job managing the budget, Mayor Harvey Skoog said.

Councilman Michael Whiting said, "I support that local control concept."

On a lighter note, Vice Mayor Don Tjiema, a pastor, advised Kauppi to change the number for the estimate of capital improvements for 2014-15: $6,666,000.

Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye said she wanted to congratulate Prescott Valley residents for always voting in favor of home rule.

Literature on home rule will be enclosed in utility bills, Kauppi said.

"It has nothing to do with taxes," Kauppi told the council.

The council also honored the longest-serving town employee, Lynn Newton, for marking 30 years with the town. She started in October 1982 at the town clerk's office - then located on Yavapai Drive - and has worked in the library and magistrate court and now for community development.

In other actions, the council:

• Extended the terms of Planning and Zoning commissioners Bill Johnstone and Charles Musarra to Oct. 31, 2015.

• Introduced an ordinance amendment to simplify the sign code. It covers wall-mounted signs, directional signs, highway/freeway interchanges, grand

openings and other matters.

• OK'd the final development plan for the SunGate Villa and View Point senior apartment complexes near the Civic Center. WESCAP, the Phoenix-based developer, requested more one-bedroom units and fewer two-bedroom units.

• Conducted an executive session, with Police Chief Bill Fessler attending, to discuss security for the council chambers.

• Met in an executive session as the board of the StoneRidge Community Facilities District to discuss bond refinancing.


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