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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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8/6/2014 11:50:00 AM
Cottonwood anchors Verde Valley economic growth

Yvonne Gonzalez
Staff Reporter

The Verde Valley is seeing more signs of positive economic growth, as sales tax collections were up this fiscal year in Cottonwood, Camp Verde and Clarkdale.

Jerome saw a slight dip, at less than 1 percent lower than sales tax collected during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

At almost 9 percent, the city of Cottonwood showed the biggest improvement for the year. Rudy Rodriguez, administrative services general manager, said the city plans to encourage "managed" growth in the community.

"The success that the City has accomplished in Old Town has helped the community become a place to visit in the Verde Valley," Rodriguez said. "We plan to use this success as a base from which to build upon and expand throughout the rest of the community."

Construction dollars drove the improvement for the year, showing an 82-percent increase. Rodriguez said numbers were low in that area to start, but "more permits are being pulled than in the past" for home construction and remodels.

"The construction sector is showing improvement as the economy improves," he said.

Real estate, rental and leasing tax revenue went up by more than 16 percent, which Rodriguez said is positive sign for retail growth.

"This tells us that buildings and facilities that may have been vacant are being leased or for residential as well as commercial," he said. "This may translate to additional revenues from restaurant and bar transactions as well as hopefully future construction as people and businesses move from leasing (or) rental to ownership."

Accommodation tax revenue went up, partially influencing the $50,000 bump in restaurant and bar spending.

"Our accommodations sector has an effect on the restaurant and bar sector with more visitors visiting Cottonwood," Rodriguez said.

Retail trade improved as well, though only by about 4.7 percent. Modest gains were also seen in manufacturing, finance and insurance, and manufacturing. The only negative year-to-year comparisons were recorded in communication and utilities and wholesale trade.

Camp Verde improved by about 2 percent in 2013-2014 compared to the previous fiscal year. Though Clarkdale shows a decline of more than 20 percent, this is almost entirely due to an unusual boost in construction spending the previous year.

The town of Jerome came in at roughly the same tax revenue year over year, at less than a percent less.

Follow the reporter on Twitter @ymgonzal and Instagram @VerdeValleyNews

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Article comment by: Cottonwood is very expensive city

@ fact check:

On a per capita and current budget basis, Cottonwood is one of the most expensive cities in the state to run.

At least that's the way it's currently being run. Wasn't always this way.

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

The reason that their are only two types of businesses in Cottonwood (realty and retail) is because your government is fickle and changes its mind every two years. In order to make a stable agriculture or manufacturing business a person needs well defined laws that will remain constant for thirty years or more.

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2014
Article comment by: two cents

When the water is gone, we all have to leave. It's almost gone, the writing is on the wall.
just my two cents worth, but it is the honest and inevitable truth.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: Fact Check

According to Clarkdale final budget figures for FY 2014 and FY 2015, the sales tax revenue figures in the accompanying chart are correct. This means that the Town of Clarkdale sales tax revenue dropped $222,279 or a little over 20% in 2013-2014.

Somehow, slipping this fact onto the end of the second to the last paragraph doesn't seem Kosher. Some readers might think Cottonwood's Old Town expansion was more of a siphon than an anchor unless they knew Clarkdale's 2011 - 2012 sales tax revenues were around $778,000.

In any event, I couldn't help noticing the huge difference between Clarkdale and Cottonwood's 2014 - 2015 budgets. Does it really take that much more to run Cottonwood? Citizens of Clarkdale might be wise to find out why before they make the same decisions.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: THE $64,851,828.00 QUESTION WHAT WILL THE CITY's NEXT TAX/RATE HIKES BE?

This isn't New York but the size of the city budget is. Every month someone opens their Cottonwood Municipal water bill and they probably don’t realize they're paying debt service on the city utility’s whopping $47,895,663 million revenue bond debt for the next 25 years (until 2039) without vote or regulatory supervision for "mortgages" of 3 water company takeovers and a $20 recreation center in a city of about 11,800 population. All of Cottonwood’s public debt was approved only by the city council without voter approval or state regulation. In its Fiscal Year 2014-2015 budget, the city council has approved an additional $16,956,265 in bond debt to build a new Water Reclamation Plant and a Communications Center. Together FY’s 2014-2015 city bond debt secured by water and wastewater utility bill customers will add up to a WHOPPING $64,851,828.00 in debt, the size of a state.

The city will hold a public meeting at city hall on Tues. Aug. 12th at 6 p.m. to announce the city's plans to issue a bond and announce their next tax or rate hikes.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: Or Not Live Here

If poverty is so widespread, and we have so many impoverished families of one parent, why do these people stay? Most probably rent and are therefore quite mobile. Just move for better work, less taxes etc.

I get tired of hearing how Cottonwood is so bad because we are so poor. I am beginning to think that it is a news paper selling point and not reality. I don't see naked kids on the streets for lack of clothes. I do see homeless, but they are here by choice.

Water bills are just a fact of life throughout the West. Perhaps we should be seeing our glass as half full instead of always negating everything the little government does, every little thing to do with the bigger County government.
We have great weather, some work, and a much higher quality of life than in a big city somewhere else. As to the government here, I don't see it as bad, just needs to be watched like any other government entity.
There is only one perfect Eden to live, and that is the place you mentally decide it to be, whether the Bronx or Cottonwood.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: @ gobble gobble, rather a property tax perhaps?

Is that what we hear you saying?

Or no taxes and skip any police or fire departments as well as water and sewer maybe?

Your mud hut in the Verde '3rd world' Valley awaits you.

How about the part where sales taxes spread the cost's around to the passers through and save citizens proper from paying that portion?

Thoughts? Unless you are headed down to pickup a packet to run for elected office your words of advice ring a bit hollow.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sales taxes are regressive meaning taxes take a much bigger percentage out of a poor person's paycheck than out of a rich person's paycheck. Cottonwood is one of the FEW CITIES IN ARIZONA charging 3% food tax and 3% on the poorest of the poorest families. The city has a large number of single mothers with children struggling from paycheck to paycheck. But they continue to stick it the poor people who pay for their bloated salaries, which were increased the same time the water rates jumped 67% outside city limits and 30% inside city limits. Only the impoverished barely scraping by have to decide, on a daily basis, which not to buy, their food, water or medication?

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

Tax collection and economic growth are not synonymous.

Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Article comment by: People supporting government

A big shout-out to all the good people of Cottonwood and surrounding areas who so generously feed us these big sales tax revenue numbers that support the ever-growing, ever more expensive Cottonwood city government.

We are now raking in well over $1 million a month in sales taxes, and we know this is a sacrifice for many of you.

We know Cottonwood is a census-designated poverty area, and many of you have a tough time making ends meet every month. But you dutifully pay us 3% of your rent every month. You pay us tax on food and 3% of everything else you buy.

We realize this means some of you can't buy shoes for your kids, but you still pay us our tax so we can very generously pay our city employees.

This enables us to pay even middle managers well north of 6 figures a year. Plus we get the permanent lifetime pensions guaranteed by the taxpayer that most of you do not have access to. You may live paycheck to paycheck but we sure don't!

So thanks for sacrificing so much to keep our big expensive government propped up, fat, and happy!

Posted: Tuesday, August 5, 2014
Article comment by: Where are Sedona's Stats?

I thought Sedona was included as being part of the VV too. I hope it is being marketed that way.

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