The seven candidates for the Diamond Star Town Council are running unopposed to replace the council appointed by the Gila County Board of Supervisors. They were, however, invited to introduce themselves in this section. The following chose to do so.
William "Bill" Heath
My wife and I moved to Star Valley from Queen Creek in August 2003. We were in Queen Creek for over 24 years. During that time, Queen Creek incorporated and built a town. I was involved on several boards and committees, culminating in my serving on the Queen Creek Town Council for four years.
For Diamond Star the number one issue is the exporting of Star Valley's water out of Star Valley. Although water is a very convoluted issue in Arizona, we must explore and use any and all measures that we can to save Star Valley's water for the citizens of Diamond Star.
As a resident homeowner living in Diamond Star/Star Valley, the quality of our families' lives is of utmost importance to me. Commercial business is necessary for the economic solvency of Star Valley, but it should be friendly to the residents and enhance the quality of all our lives. I've worked on many committees and the town council of Queen Creek to achieve just that, and it can be done in Star Valley also.
From conversations with residents, I've learned that they wish this town to remain a low density, rural community. That can be done through careful planning.
Light clean industry and low water usage businesses should be emphasized, and they should remain along the Highway 260 corridor. We also need to maximize opportunities for tourist dollars to help our tax base.
Most of the roads in our Town are private easements. That said, I hope we can find a way to help our citizens control the speed and dust that is generated from these private easements.
Diamond Star Fire District is in place providing EMT and fire protection services. Police protection can be provided via a contract with the Gila County Sheriff's Department.
Finally, we are beginning the steps to try and acquire National Forest land for parks and open space for the Town.
I retired to the Payson area 15 years ago after having been a part-time resident for 11 years. My background includes 30 years of international management for major corporations such as Motorola, Siemens and SGS Thompson.
I spent nearly three years as chairman of the Citizens Coalition in the fight to protect the water and the lifestyles of the residents of Star Valley, Dealer's Choice, Diamond Point Shadows and Lion Springs when the water on the forest north of these subdivisions was threatened by drilling projects that could have a disastrous effect on many domestic wells.
I believe the residents of these areas live here because they cherish the type of lifestyle offered by rural areas. Now, the communities above are incorporated as the town of Diamond Star.
When asked to present myself to the Gila County Board of Supervisors as a potential candidate for the interim town council, I offered only one statement: "In the new town, I hope that the term ‘PC' will take on new meaning -- it will mean ‘People Count.' Our primary responsibility as a town council is to listen and follow the will of the people.
Water is still the main issue because the lack of it, for any reason, will have a negative impact on lives and property. It is my goal to see that the lifestyles of our rural area remain as envisioned by the residents and are not changed by a few who would sacrifice the area for monetary gain.
Mary Ann Kotelnicki
I am a retired school teacher and I have lived in Star Valley 11 years.
Water is what brought us to the place where we are today. I feel we now have a voice in our government and we are independent. We speak here in Star Valley as one voice and in unity with some in Payson concerning the water issue.
We will have our growing pains but together we will be successful. I plan to listen to the folks, to work for and with them. Their concerns and suggestions will be my concerns.
Star Valley folks have accomplished quite a lot and I thank them for all their support. I will do my best to achieve the best future for Star Valley.
I am running for council to continue the work of setting up our infrastructure, and to make sure that our water issues are resolved for the good of our community. We have just begun to make significant progress in the basic building blocks of our new town's government, in spite of the constant harassment from outside sources.
I will pledge myself to continue that work, keep our town's character as it has been, and not allow us to follow a path that will lead to any large government bureaucracy. We are fiercely independent people and I believe we moved here for that reason.
As many of you know, I moved here to retire, but our current circumstances changed all that.
I was the executive director of a Fortune 500 company and have years of experience running a major medical/dental corporation. I have served as president of the Diamond Star Water Coalition from its inception, I am the vice president of the Knolls Home Owners Association, and a permanent member of the American Dental Association.
In 1991, I relocated with my family and joined my brother and built Phil White Ford in Star Valley. I feel my past experiences in corporate, public and private business, along with my service to my church and community, give me good background experiences to serve on the Diamond Star Town Council.
Learning this summer of the importance of the water in Star Valley, I volunteered to oversee the carrying of petitions to incorporate. This allowed me many visits with the good people of Star Valley to hear their views. I came away with these very strong feelings:
1. The people of Star Valley don't want a lot of changes and more government.
2. They do want their water protected.
3. They want Star Valley to remain a rural bedroom community with the same freedoms they have always had: to have animals, enjoy the quiet of country living, and to have gardens and lawns.
4. They believe that incorporation was a way to be heard and to protect their way of life from outside developers with private money-making agendas.
Water in our town is the biggest issue to be addressed at this time. It is the number-one item on my agenda. I plan to continue doing everything that is legal, honest and moral to keep Star Valley's water in Star Valley. When it may be needed to develop a water department, I will make sure that private residential wells are left in the full control of the owners for use on their property without any threat of meters. A town water system would only serve subdivisions and people needing municipal water.
I encourage support of our new town. Read any petitions that you are asked to sign. Use your inner conscience to decide if a group is bringing undue contention or peace. Come to our monthly town hall meetings. They are open for your views and discussions.
Editor's note: Also on the ballot for the Diamond Star Town Council are Art Lloyd and Delbert E. Newland.
Voter registration information and election dates are the same as Payson.