Growing A Government Main Effort In Star Valley

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The newly incorporated town of Star Valley experienced many firsts and lots of growth in 2006.

The first major event of 2006 was the election of the town's first council in March.

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The Freegard property in Star Valley, with its landmark windmill, is the site of a commercial development that will include the new town's municipal offices. The development will be called "Windmill Village."

There were seven candidates -- Bill Heath, Chuck Heron, Mary Ann Kotelnicki, Art Lloyd, Del Newland, Bill Rappaport and Randy White -- for seven council positions, including the selection of Heron as mayor.

The town's first primary election also featured several acts and proposals including the question of whether to change the town's name from the "Town of Diamond Star" -- the name given by the Gila County Board of Supervisors, to something different.

The name "Star Valley" was selected by more than 80 percent of the vote.

The town also approved, by 70 percent of the vote, to acquire a utility, Heron said.

With a new council intact and a fresh town name, the town switched gears and sought to hire a permanent town manager to replace the interim Diane McDaniel.

After reviewing 30 applicants, the town hired Vito Tedeschi in October.

Heron said that hiring Tedeschi was the biggest boost for the town in 2006.

"With his strong financial background and his proactive approach to management, he's got the ship on course and is keeping it there," Heron said.

The town became independent from the guidance of Gila County in July and worked out a contract with the Town of Payson for law enforcement services through June 30 of this year, Heron said.

Heron said that the town had a lot of "housekeeping items" to take care of in 2006, including the establishment of business permits, building permits and inspections.

"Town clerk Sarah Luckie has put forth a lot of effort into the housekeeping items," he said.

The town also created volunteer committees such as Planning and Zoning, Street and Roads and a Board of Adjustments, Heron said.

In November, voters decided on more ballot issues. They determined that the mayor should be voted in by popular vote rather than be appointed by the council.

Voters also decided to implement staggered terms for the town council and approved a 25-year franchise agreement with Arizona Public Service.

Heron said that the town has accomplished a lot in the last year.

"We still have and will continue to have a lot on our plate," he said.

Longtime Star Valley resident Luckie said she is proud of what the town achieved in 2006.

"Star Valley has always been grassroots, and it has pulled itself up by the bootstraps," Luckie said.

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