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Supervisor Candidates: Q&A with Tom Thurman of Mayer
Tom Thurman (VVN photo by Jon Pelletier)
7/21/2012 2:28:00 PM
By Philip Wright
Tom Thurman was elected to the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors in 2005, and he is completing his second term in that office. The 1973 graduate of Prescott High School is seeking his third term as a supervisor.
Thurman has been the chairman of the Board of Supervisors twice. A graduate of the Western Electric Trade School, he has been a residential and commercial contractor for 26 years. Thurman has been married for 33 years and has two children.
Before being elected to the board of supervisors, Thurman served on the governing boards of several public and private organizations including the Public Service Retirement System, Correction Officers' Retirement Board and the Northern Arizona Council of Governments.
Question: Have you identified some of the commonalities as well as the differences between the two sides of this district, and, if so, what are they?
Answer: What a lot of people don't understand is that there was no way the Verde Valley had enough people for two stand-alone supervisors. So with the redistricting either 20,000 people from Prescott Valley had to be with the Verde or 20,000 would be from the Dewey/Mayer area. It was my opinion that Camp Verde and the surrounding communities had much more in common with Dewey/Mayer than Prescott Valley. Now the only difference is a distance between. I live in the Mayer area and yet I was appreciated for my abilities and problem solving capabilities in Congress, Wilhoit, Bagdad, etc. and they were an hour and a half drive away. We are stronger together than apart.
Question: How do you propose to build a dialogue between the Prescott area and Verde areas of the new District 2?
Answer: My past record other than what hearsay says, if you look at the stats, has been pro Verde Valley, like the improvements of Hwy 260, the new courthouse, bringing the Board Health building in Cottonwood, Trail work etc. My knowledge of the inter-workings of the Prescott and Prescott Valley areas is invaluable when working with them for the betterment of our county citizens. Like the jail, we have many employees that drive from the Prescott Valley, Dewey area to work and other businesses that folks drive from the Verde to western Yavapai. These areas that are now together as being "like kind," and I have the ability and contacts at the local level and at the state level for a hands-on improvement and keeping our taxes low as possible. In fact, last year we were the only county to actually lower property taxes by 10 percent in the state, and yet we have $20 million plus in our rainy day fund."
Question: The State of Arizona has a law, which if enacted by a unanimous vote of the county supervisors would allow for the denial of a subdivision if the developer could not prove they have a 100-year assured water supply. Would you favor its enactment in Yavapai County? Why or why not?
Answer: As a private successful businessman most of my life, I am concerned that we may be losing some of our Constitutional powers and one of those is private property rights. You can't tell someone who bought a piece of property they can't build. That would be a "taking," and the courts would make the taxpayers of Yavapai County pick up the reduction of property value. This would be impossible to pay for and at this time it is illegal for the supervisors to deny a subdivision for the lack of water. I go back, let someone subdivide with Cluster housing, a water company, sewer and reduce the amount of homes that would happen compared to lot splits, we have a much better control on the environmental concerns.
Question: For the last decade, road funds in Yavapai County have been split three ways. District 3 has kept its share to improve roads in the Verde Valley. But for the last few years a sizable portion of the road funds available to District 2 have been going to pay for the Williamson Valley Road project in District 1. How would you divvy up the road money now that there are five districts?
Answer: The road project out Williamson Valley Road was stopped by me when I saw the economy start declining. At one time it looked like the main growth area in the county was out that way. I am not opposed to helping other districts if the need is paramount. Like I voted to lend ADOT the money to accelerate the Hwy 260 project from the end of their five year plan, to the next year plan. This is how we are working with our road department now, setting up a pool of funding and prioritizing those needs in our five-year plan. Those plans are also fluid enough as things change, like a dirt street now needing paving due to more housing or an air pollution situation, we move them up. It has been tough on me in the existing District 2 since I had the majority of county roads and only one-third of the funding. This change will be a good thing for all."
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