1/9/2013 11:27:00 AM Editorial New county supervisors
must mind the money
Courtesy the Daily Courier
On Monday, Yavapai County saw something it never has seen before. That's when a new Board of Supervisors took to the dais - with five members instead of three. The panel has comprised three members since Arizona's statehood.
Board veterans Chip Davis and Tom Thurman were joined by newcomers Craig Brown, Jack Smith and Rowle Simmons. Brown and Smith are new to local government, although Brown has considerable experience in California, including a stint as Los Angeles County administrator. Simmons, a long-time local businessman served three terms as mayor of Prescott.
During the campaign season, the rookies and veterans alike had the opportunity to speak to us and to voters about their goals and visions for Yavapai County. Every one of the candidates listed economic developments as a major goal and hinted at ways to bring more jobs to the area, from the expansion of agricultural opportunities to the hiring of a county economic development coordinator.
But most of all, the supervisors are the custodians of the county's bank account, charged by law with levying taxes and paying the bills for the more than 210,000 citizens they represent. In fact, of the more than 66 specific duties listed in the Arizona Revised Statutes, the most watched issues nearly always have to do with money, how it is raised and how it is spent.
Simmons, who has been down this street before, was alone among the candidates we interviewed who spoke to the issue of county spending, saying that he believes the county has been well run under his predecessors but that a sharp eye on spending, including the manner in which the county pays for a new jail in Prescott, is always warranted.
The previous panel left a number of issues on the table for this five-member board to take up. Among them is the task of paying for the new jail, along with the sticky issue of the widening of Williamson Valley Road.
Monday's agenda, while fairly light, gave the newcomers their first taste of spending taxpayer money.
It will be interesting to watch the dynamic of this group as their interaction develops. Out of the three dozen candidates who chose to vie for the panel early last year, these are the men we elected.
We wish them all the wisdom and patience the job requires.