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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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11/1/2012 9:58:00 PM
Council sets town elections for March 12
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The Town Council voted unanimously Thursday to call for an election on March 12 for the mayor and three council seats.

In a separate action, the council voted 7-0 to call for an election on the same day for the voters to decide whether to extend "home rule" for an additional four years. Home rule gives town officials more flexibility in preparing budgets over a four-year period, beginning in this case with the 2013-14 fiscal year starting next July 1.

"As you know, we are just beginning our election season," Town Clerk Diane Russell said at the start of the special meeting, which lasted about 10 minutes.

Russell said after the meeting that the list of potential candidates grew to seven as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

The mayor's seat has four prospective candidates: incumbent Harvey Skoog and challengers Lisa Imburgia (who ran against Skoog in 2009), Louie Lizza and Stephen Marshall. Mayors serve four years and are elected separately from the other council members.

Council appointees Don Tjiema and Michael Whiting have taken out papers, as has Matt Zurcher. Councilwoman Patty Lasker announced earlier this week that she would not seek election for another four-year term, meaning the council will have at least one new member in June.

Whoever is elected to Tjiema's seat will be elected to a four-year term. However, whoever is elected to Whiting's seat will be elected for two years, Russell said earlier this week. The council appointed Tjiema, a former Planning and Zoning commissioner, in 2011; and Whiting, also a member of the P&Z commission, this year.

The council and mayor candidates could face a runoff May 21 if candidates for one or more seats do not receive a majority of the votes for the respective seats.

Prospective candidates for mayor and the three council seats have until 5 p.m. Dec. 12 to submit signatures from registered voters.

Besides electing the mayor and council members, voters in Prescott Valley will decide the fates of propositions 422 (home rule) and 423 (the General Plan 2025 update), Russell said.

Responding to a question from Tjiema, the vice mayor, Russell said turnout for council elections barely exceeded 17 percent before the town in 2000 adopted mail-in ballots, in which voters drop ballots in mailboxes instead of going to polling booths.

Voter turnout peaked at nearly 57 percent during a special election in 2000, according to a report that Russell prepared for the council. However, turnout dropped to its lowest level since then with 28.8 percent in the primary election in March 2011.

The council also conducted its second - and final - public hearing on home rule Thursday, but no members of the public spoke out. Prescott Valley voters have approved home rule every four years since 1985.

Communities that reject home rule face state-imposed restrictions on spending, town officials have stated.

"We have very intelligent voters in our community," Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye said. "They have always voted for home rule."

Whiting said, "We like to have control of our own destiny. If we did not adopt home rule, that would put us at a disadvantage."

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Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Article comment by: GRUNDO OBSERVES Now Thats Not Too Hard now is it ?

This is the most foolish idea ever. Giving more money beyond the budget to the town to spend. Then, who has to pay the money back? GEE...I guess it will be ....(drumroll)... THE TOWN TAXPAYERS ! Yes!... you!, you vast herd of simpletons..YOU! will shoulder the burden but guess who will get the benefits? Yup! right on, the Cowboy/Developer/possibly Politician Mafia! Lift thy heads from the Grits, The Biskits N Gravey,the fast food slop and have a few cups of Joe and THINK !( if thats still possible)

Posted: Saturday, November 03, 2012
Article comment by: Chuck Bordenave

I wish, I was physically able to run and carry out the duties. I'd like to see a couple of the mayor candidates run for council so that there is a chance, the 4 open positions can go to people, that want working people get the representation they deserve.

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2012
Article comment by: Sparky..! Sez Yes, be good n we'll give ya milk & cookies

"We have very intelligent voters in our community," Councilwoman Lora Lee Nye said. "They have always voted for home rule."
Oh My GOSH! LORA LEE you are spooning it on with a coal shovel! You actually say voters are intelligent because they give you lot a book of endorsed blank checks? So you all can buy stupid statues, rusty leaky buildings and Lord knows whatever else comes drifting through the heads of the Landowner Developers Fan Club Elders. Honey, its time to hang up yer spurs. Ain't ya got enough yet? You are starting to sound foolish at times.

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