Chino Valley voters will be tasked with filling three council seats in the March 12 primary election.
The three 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 ballot.
Get to know the candidates by reviewing the profiles below as well as attending the Chino Valley Candidates Forum at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 11, at the Chino Valley Senior Center, 1021 Butterfield Road.
The forum, which begins with a meet and greet session at 6:30 p.m., is sponsored by the Chino Valley Area Chamber of Commerce and will be moderated by the League of Women Voters.
Why are you running for the Town Council?
Linda Hatch: I have spent much of my life in public service, either through my employment or volunteer activities. I have knowledge of inner governmental workings, and can assist various departments to make necessary changes.
I believe that I have tried to make a difference for the Town of Chino Valley. I am retired and have the time to devote to the needs of the people and the town government of Chino Valley. In my current term as Council Member, I have been instrumental in getting us flood control for our town, I also saw the fruition of a solar field installed at our sewer plant to help reduce our carbon footprint and save us money. I also feel that our town is at a crossroads and with community minded planning, smart development and efficient implementation, we can develop a town together that will satisfy the majority of our citizens and carry us through the next round of growth.
Pat McKee: I believe people should serve the community in which they live whether as a volunteer or public servant. In addition, I believe there is a need for women on the Town Council. I am running for Chino Valley Town Council to work toward putting Chino Valley on a positive path to fiscal solvency and to enable sustainable growth.
Corey Mendoza: If I see an accident, I stop and do whatever I can to help. I see our town in need of help and it's my duty as a 20-plus year citizen here to step up and do what I can.
Don Wojcik, PE: My slogan is "Running for You" meaning that I am running to represent the citizens desires and not necessarily my own. As everyone is well aware, we are entering a very critical period for the Town. We must find ways to increase revenues and at the same time reduce spending without driving citizens and businesses away. I would very much like to be a part of that effort going forward because I feel that, thru my experience, I have much to offer to assist in this effort. I consider myself a representative not a politician.
Do you have previous government or administration experience?
Linda Hatch: For the past four years I have been a council member and I have an intimate knowledge of the town government's inner workings. In my tenure as the people's representative, I have always strived to have an open mind and listen to all factions within our community, and serve as a good ambassador of our town on various area committees, at various area functions, and at various area occasions. During the past four years, I have also seen to fruition the installation and operation of a solar field to power our sewer plant in order to reduce our carbon footprint, and save us money that we can use elsewhere in out struggling budget. I am also proud of the fact that I have been instrumental in the implementation of a flood control plan for our town, in order to preserve people's investment in their valuable homes and property. In addition I have also served on various committees on a local, area, and regional basis in order to give our town a seat at the table and to be fairly represented.
Pat McKee: Having worked with administrators in both private and public sectors, I believe I will be able to work effectively with the administration of the Town of Chino Valley.
Corey Mendoza: No previous government experience. As a 16-year business owner I've not only become an experienced administrator but an accountant a truck driver, mechanic, grounds keeper, even feel like a referee at times and unfortunately also the one that has to tell a man that I don't have enough work for them and lay them off.
Don Wojcik: I am currently on the Advisory Board of the Senior Center. I have over 35 years of Engineering Management and Project Management expertise in the construction industry managing projects as large as $7 million. These projects were mainly in the water, wastewater, wafer-fab and brewery industries in Texas and Arizona where we provided Process Control and Plant Automation.
Please list experience that would help you on the CV Town Council ie. community service, job experience, etc.
Linda Hatch: In addition, I have always worked while attending school so I know how to work to accomplish a goal and can handle multiple tasks at once. I have served on the Chino Valley Board of Adjustment, as a volunteer attorney working with individuals and their families to solve their problems with health care entities, as a corporate attorney working with corporations, officers, directors and employees as well as with public entities; I also worked with small and large businesses to resolve problems. I was president and member of the board of directors of the homeowners association - I was responsible for helping to manage the finances and deal with homeowner problems. I served on the Girl Scout board of directors - we dealt with providing opportunities for Girl Scouts while faced problems with funding in an economically depressed area; as a teacher in inner-city Los Angeles - I taught gang members who had been in and out of jail, and as a Peace Corps education volunteer - I worked within communities in Peru and Liberia to develop and work with educators to improve methods for teaching mathematics and science using inexpensive readily available materials.
Pat McKee: Challenges of maintaining balanced household and business budgets as a wife and mother partnering with husband in business; church council member and synod convention delegate; ran my father's business after he perished in an accident; administrative assistant in a six-doctor dental office; earned an AA degree with honors while working full time.
Corey Mendoza: The real life experiences above are what I bring with me. I believe my experience and abilities as a business owner will be an asset to Chino Valley.
Don Wojcik, PE: As previously stated, I am currently on the Senior Center Advisory Board and I also have over 35 years of management experience with budgetary control of multi-million dollar projects.
What are the top three issues on which you would focus as a council member?
Linda Hatch: Budget - the town cannot spend more than it takes in so the role of the council is to ensure that the town provides services and maintains an adequate infra-structure program while staying within the confines of a budget. I will continue to question expenditures as they come before the town council, and ask the necessary questions to fairly evaluate our options.
Development and growth - smart development without compromising the needs of the existing community. Current zoning and the master plan should be followed. Developments within the community should be encouraged to provide for "green" development including passive energy needs, solar power, and other renewable resources when possible. The impact of new development areas on current residents' needs should be carefully evaluated and discussed. Currently, I am currently the town's representative to NACOG and the NACOG economic development committee. I would like to continue to move forward in bringing opportunities through this council along with developing onsite energy sources to attract business with low cost electrical power.
Water supply - This is a real issue whether residents are served by exempt wells, private water companies, CVID or City of Prescott Water. Most immediately, the town should continue to work on purchasing the section served by Prescott water and private water companies to establish city-wide water systems. Long range, when the
economy rebounds, we should evaluate the possibility of replenishment of the water supply and the encouragement of "gray water" systems and rainwater capture.
Pat McKee: Balancing the budget to prevent Chino Valley from going into bankruptcy is a top issue and challenge for the Town Council. Public Works/Water and Sewer is another area of concern, and, of course, Public Safety is always an important issue. These 3 are not the only areas of concern since many areas of concern are frequently intertwined.
Corey Mendoza: I would like the town to provide us with parks and recreation, senior facilities, curbs and sidewalks etc. These items are on my list, but by no means in the top three, we have got to create revenue first. We need to get our infrastructure under control. This will allow us to attract business. This is not easy, it includes water, sewer, and financing issues. We need to attract businesses that will bring revenue and jobs to Chino Valley. We need to make it easier for small businesses to come to Chino Valley so we can keep our revenue local.
Don Wojcik, PE: Increase revenues with new businesses (i.e. Fry's, Wal-Mart, Burger King and small Mom & Pop boutiques), reduce spending to prevent budget deficits and continue making improvements to the towns infrastructure so we are ready to accommodate new businesses when they inquire.
What is your overall impression of the CV at this time?
Linda Hatch: Chino Valley is a wonderful place to live and do business, but at times it can present some very frustrating and conflicting issues, which must be decided ultimately by the council, with the input from the community. Chino Valley is a very diverse community with farms, ranches and "ranchettes" as well as single family homes, retirees and young folks, and throw in a mix of small businesses and larger businesses. Basically, it is these people and businesses which constitute the "Town of Chino Valley" and each person and/or family has its own set of priorities. For some it is a pool enclosure for year round swimming, for others it is a new road or bringing water to an area in order to foster further development. Each staff person or employee sees a particular program as a priority. Sometimes the priorities and funding for a project conflicts with other proposed projects. The challenge here is to make sure that we balance and follow the priorities the community wants and that we thoroughly investigate any of these ideas before voting to fund them. Ultimately though, I have been honored to represent such a diverse set of individuals and groups, because at the end of the day, we are the best examples of ourselves and have the best interests of the town at heart. I have assisted with the formation of a Senior Foundation to help our town's crown jewels when we were forced to close our Senior Center on Fridays, depriving them of vitally needed warm lunches. I have also supported another grass roots effort by a dedicated group of volunteers to operate our transit system, to provide needed transportation to citizens in our community in need of a ride to go places in our town and region. I also suggested the migration to an independent non-profit so they could continue to operate, and because of this they are looking to expand the services to provide a better more comprehensive system to our fine community. These are just two examples of the point I am trying to make, that I have seen our town represent and be the best in all of us, we band together to solve problems, make the most of what we have available, and reach out and care for each other in ways that cannot be seen in other communities. It is these attributes that I am most proud of representing when I go to regional and area activities.
Pat McKee: Chino Valley is a growing community with many services geared to serve and aid its citizens in many capacities ~ from the library with its many educational programs and dedicated volunteers, to the Senior Center, to the Aquatic Center, to available Public Transportation. Foreclosures are down and homes are selling again. The economy is on the rise. With proper leadership and guidance, Chino Valley can become the town we all envision - smaller than Prescott, but vibrant, maintaining its friendly country atmosphere.
Corey Mendoza: I believe some poor management locally as well as a poor nationwide economy has our town against a wall.
Don Wojcik, PE: It is a beautiful little Town blessed with wonderful climate and scenery. It is currently, like so many other Towns and Municipalities, financially strapped. It needs to grow at a prudent rate to assure its longevity and financial health.
Linda Hatch: The mayor and council are not only a decision-making entity; they must also take the lead and respond to changes in the economy, our environment, and our community. A forward looking mayor and council are imperative to achieve success for all of us, since we are all interconnected. They must act as ambassadors to the people and communities outside the Town of Chino Valley, but must listen very carefully to the residents and the business owners in our town and be ready to react to those needs quickly and efficiently within their bounds. There are two specific programs which exist because of my work with the public and staff. One of those is the substantial monthly savings generated by the solar panels at the sewer plant. The panels were received by the town as donations and/or grant money and cost the town almost nothing. That monthly savings should help the town balance the budget. The town also now has a flood control program funded by money paid to the flood control district and from town in kind contributions. This means improvements are moving forward at no additional cost to property owners. These are major accomplishments for all of us in this fine, unique and inventive town.
Pat McKee: I am an ordinary citizen believing fresh ideas are necessary for the improvement of our community. Being retired allows me the opportunity to devote as much time as it takes to do the necessary research, studying and attending meetings to be as well informed as possible.
Corey Mendoza: It's not too late. I've lived in the area for 43 years, my wife and I have traveled coast-to-coast, border-to-border. This is where we choose to call home. Chino Valley has everything we need to be a great rural community, it just needs a healthy balance of commercial to go along with our residential way of life. If you agree with my view of Chino Valley, then do your part and vote.
Don Wojcik, PE: If elected I would consider it a great privilege and honor to serve as a representative for the citizens of this Town. My phone would always be on and welcoming input from the citizens of Chino Valley especially when critical issues are being decided by the Council. Also I believe that the citizens need to become more actively involved it their Town.