TUSAYAN, Ariz. - Pete Shearer, interim mayor for the newly incorporated town of Tusayan, said that a park for local children is one of his top priorities now that much of the organizational work for the community has been established. He said that work on a Tusayan school site has been an important matter for the Tusayan Town Council. Shearer said he and Council member Clarinda Vail recently met with Forest Service (FS) officials on a number of topics important to the community.
"The FS is in the process of cleaning out silt from several dirt tanks in close proximity to Tusayan and the school may be able to obtain great fill dirt for the park and field projects. We will continue to work with School and FS officials to move this project forward quickly. The school has some funds available for hauling, clearing, grading, and compaction, but we are hoping to have many volunteers to keep the costs down considerably," Shearer said. "Wouldn't it be great to have a real town park? I drove through a housing area the other day and counted 10 little kids on their bikes and trikes riding in the street within a stone's throw of the proposed park site. The town park is obviously number one on my priority list and if we all work together, we can make this happen amazingly fast."
Council members also recently appointed a town clerk to handle administrative duties for the town.
"I would like to thank Teresa Weigel for volunteering her services to Tusayan to serve as our new Town Clerk," Shearer said. "This position will require many hours of hard work and we all appreciate her community spirit very much. A very special thanks goes out from Clarinda and myself, as we have been doing the job that Teresa now has so graciously offered to take on. We plan to use the office at the Red Feather Lodge, directly across from the Tusayan Cafe, for the town clerk's office. We will post hours when she will be available to the public. We are hoping it will be for several hours on two different days."
Following a number of meetings to help form the new town government, Shearer said council members now have the ability to work on what he called "wish list" items.
"It has been a very busy eight weeks since we first became incorporated. We have accomplished much in the way of setting up the basics of a new town government. In the coming months we are hoping to begin work on the many wish-list items that drove the incorporation effort. We should begin receiving tax revenues by September and that will help tremendously. It is hard to run a town with no funds," Shearer said.
The next meeting, he added, will be held in the evening hours in the hopes that more residents will attend the meetings. The session is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. June 9 at the Grand Canyon Best Western Squire Inn.
"We are having the meeting in the evening in order to make it more accessible to all," Shearer said. "At this meeting we will be providing information on the tax structure and the model city tax code as proposed in our 2010/2011 budget. The new taxes will begin July 1st and so it is very important for the entire community to come together to share information and ideas and to have questions answered. We hope to see many of you at the June 9th meeting. My e-mail address is email@example.com if you have questions or concerns which you would like to share. In the coming months we all hope to become more accessible as our work load in setting up the basics of a new town government lightens. We are hoping to hold a town hall meeting as part of our Housing Needs Assessment Study and that will give the community the opportunity to share your vision with the Town Council as well."
Council members are continuing to work toward city services in the community as well. Tusayan officials are expected to take control of a number of services July 1.
"We must provide police protection and community development services. Councilwoman Ann Wren has met with Coconino County Sheriff Bill Pribble and has been successful in negotiating a much better rate. Many thanks to Ann for all her hard work," Shearer said. "We have been in contact with Bill Towler and have a proposal from the county for community development services. Vice-Mayor Greg Bryan is working on a second proposal from the city of Williams. Eventually we hope to have our own police and community development services, but given the short period of time we have, we must move quickly to provide services required by Arizona Revised Statutes."
Shearer said affordable housing has also been discussed during recent meetings.
"We discussed the housing needs for the community and will continue to explore the best path to creating affordable housing for the Tusayan residents," he said. "We are working on a housing needs assessment RFP (request for proposals). This is the first step in determining the best solution. Affordable housing is a close second, right behind a town park, on my priority list."