Star Valley Voters Elect New Town Council


While the name change to Star Valley created the most "buzz" during the campaign, Star Valley voters also overwhelmingly approved the other question on the ballot -- authorizing the town to acquire a public utility.

Councilor Chuck Heron explained why the measure, approved by over 80 percent of the voters, was necessary.


Newly elected Star Valley council members include Bill Rappaport, Del Newland, Art Lloyd, Mary Ann Kotelnicki, Chuck Heron, Randy White and Bill Heath.

"The Town of Diamond Star is faced with a severe shortage of water to facilitate fire flow (water and water pressure available to the Diamond Star Fire Department for fire fighting)," he said. "The ballot issue at least permits the Town to purchase or acquire wells and to install pipeline with hydrants to help alleviate this shortage.

"By doing this, we can lower insurance rates for our citizens and have a fire flow rating that is more friendly to future business or manufacturing endeavors within our Town limits.

"We do not intend, at this time or in the foreseeable future, to go into the business of supplying water for domestic use," Heron said.

New council elected

A new town council was also elected to replace the original council appointed by the Gila County Board of Supervisors. The seven members of the council who ran unopposed are Bill Heath, Chuck Heron, Mary Ann Kotelnicki, Art Lloyd, Del Newland, Bill Rappaport and (current Vice Mayor) Randy White. All were county appointees except Newland and Rappaport.

After the results were announced Heron called for a new era of cooperation between the towns of Payson and Star Valley.

"It is absolutely time to heal," he said. "We've got to have both factions lay down the arms and get together and figure out how we make the top of this hill work."

Mayor Ronnie O. McDaniel and Councilor Ted Pettet, both appointed to the first council by the board of supervisors, chose not to run. McDaniel, a retired judge, made good on a pledge he made after the first council meeting.

"You never say never, but I'm 99 and three-quarters percent sure I won't run," he said. "Retirement is too good."

The new council will select a mayor and vice mayor from among its members.

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