The filing deadline has come and gone, leaving Chino Valley's 5,775 registered voters a single candidate for the upcoming mayoral election, and four names to choose from for the three council seats that open in 2013.
Incumbent Mayor Chris Marley was the only candidate to file an election packet for office of mayor by the Dec. 12 deadline. Marley took office after defeating Jim Bunker in May of 2011.
Three council openings will be created when the four-year terms of Linda Hatch, Vice Mayor Carl Tenney, and Dean Echols expire this year. Only Hatch is seeking re-election. Pat McKee, Corey Mendoza and Don Wojcik will join her on the March primary ballot.
In the 20 months that Marley has held office, he said revenue and expenses are clearly the biggest hurdles the town faces.
"Getting our finances right side up is the most pressing issue," said Marley. He added that the council is trying to clear some long standing disputes so upcoming councils will be able to focus on present issues.
Marley said other issues such as water concerns, protection of the aquifer, and infrastructure are important, but "finances are the biggest wolf at the door. If we can get the finances right side up and begin some intelligent growth, we'll be in good shape."
Pushing for what he refers to as "intelligent growth," Marley hopes term number two will allow him to usher some new industry into Chino Valley, possibly into the proposed Old Home Manor industrial park.
"Old Home Manor is a clean slate, you don't have right-of-way issues or any of the other entanglements. Everything can get so convoluted in the town," Marley said. "If we can get some light manufacturing out at Old Home Manor, along with some decent paying jobs, that would be one of the greatest things for our town's economy."
Acknowledging the reputation Chino Valley has of being unfriendly to the business community, Marley says tackling the financial issue with a tax increase is an unfortunate reality.
"If we can get jobs, we won't need to raise taxes," said Marley. "First of all, we have to stop the downward descent. Then, not only flatten out, but also gain some altitude by putting some money in the bank. My long-term goal is to become more business friendly and more citizen friendly, but my short-term goal is to keep from crashing."
The primary election will take place on March 12, followed by the general election on May 21, 2013.
For more information on voter registration deadlines and the upcoming election call 928-636-2646 or visit www.chinoaz.net.