Letter: No to Northern Connector

Editor:

On Sept. 7, 2016, the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors spent $302,214 to study a new Northern Connector Road between Williamson Valley Road and Chino Valley which is estimated to cost $13 million.

Already, $302,214 of your tax dollars has been spent toward a $13 million road that is not needed. And that is just the beginning.

There are other demonstrated needs where our tax money should spent. Considering the need for maintenance of existing roads, the need for a new jail and other unfunded projects, $13 million for an unneeded road is irresponsible.

The 2016 State Highway User Revenue Fund collections from Yavapai County increased 4.4 percent over 2015. Since FY 2009, more than $6.8 million was diverted from Yavapai County roadways to fund state government operations. Our county roads are in dire need of maintenance for emergencies and daily commutes.

Sheriff Mascher and the Supervisors have stated many current law enforcement positions are unfilled. And that a new jail is needed. Which they propose funding by extending and increasing our current sales taxes or increasing property taxes. “If the tax is not continued in 2019, we will go into deficit spending in a year,” Supervisor Craig Brown said. Board Chair Tom Thurman said,“If we decide we’re not going to the voters again, we’ll need to raise the property tax. If they understand (the situation), we might change the hearts and minds of the voters,”

Well Supervisors, I DO NOT understand the situation because the $302,214 you already voted to spend and the $13 million you may vote to spend does NOT pay for our current needs. It will not pay for new deputies; it will not increase the salary of current law enforcement personnel. The millions of dollars of new spending you are considering will not pay to maintain current roads as required by first responders. It will not pay for a much needed criminal jail system.

Considering the needs of the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department, the need for a Criminal Justice Center in Prescott, and the need for maintenance of current roads and numerous other projects which are not currently be funded, this new expenditure is irresponsible.

Supervisor Craig Brown publicly stated, “When the Doce Fire forced residents along Williamson Valley Road to evacuate in 2013, the single route south toward Prescott or north toward Seligman quickly grew crowded. The “lookie-loos” who came to watch or photograph the fire and evacuation efforts didn’t help those desperate to save their animals, belongings and lives.“

There are nine roads north of Outer Loop Road that lead from WVRoad to major highways. During the fire, residents were smart enough to use those roads and no lives or structures were lost. Plus wouldn’t a connector route bring more “lookie-loos” to WVRoad? There are three fire departments and one satellite sheriff’s office on the Outer Loop. Why not use tax money to fund them year around if safety is an issue? Brown’s reasoning does not add up to $13 million. Which should lead tax payers to ask, “What is the real reason for proposing this connector road?”

Mr. Brown said a new $13 million connector would save “wear and tear” on the current connector, Outer Loop Road. Funds could be better used to maintain this road rather than adding yet another road to be maintained.

Kathy Lopez

President of the Morgan Ranch Park Association