CAMP VERDE - Camp Verde will have a new mayor this spring. It will also have a municipal sewer.
With a 34 percent voter participation in an all-mail election Tuesday, long-time resident Charlie German came out ahead of two-term incumbent Bob Burnside in the mayor's race. "I guess I've really stepped into the middle of it," German said.
In the unofficial count, German drew 1,031 votes, which was 55.91 percent. Burnside had 43.93 percent.
"I was feeling pretty good about [the election]," German said. "But everything was so quiet, and Bob and I both have similar views on a lot of issues."
By a similar margin, Camp Verde voters approved putting the Sanitary District in the trusteeship of the Town of Camp Verde. The members of the Sanitary District also voted to dissolve the district. Both votes advance the Town's quest to take over the sewer.
Like many supporters, Sanitary District Manager Jan Grogan was surprised at the approval. She said the district did not have a lot of meetings with the town beforehand without knowing if the work would be in vain. Now the meetings between the district and Town staff will begin in earnest. The acquisition involves seven sewer employees.
"As I understand it, everything will stay as is until July 1," she said. "Then we will start merging with the Town."
It was a big issue upon which both Mayor Burnside and German agreed.
Still, German was surprised it passed on its first introduction to the public.
"There are still so many questions," he said. "Especially if people in Verde Lakes want to come in."
Having municipal control of the sewer was seen by supporters as a key to economic development. And economic development is what German sees as the first order of business.
"We'll need to get our heads together and wrapped around the ideas presented by the economic development director and formulate that into a plan," he said. "Those are bits and pieces of what I've been thinking about as well but never put together quite like he did."
Those new ideas from Economic Director Steve Ayers include promotion of heritage sites of nature, culture and agriculture.
German said Camp Verde cannot be an island unto itself but also cannot be like other communities such as Sedona or Cottonwood as it moves forward with its own identity.
Also in the election, four candidates were uncontested for four council seats. Robin Whatley and Jackie Baker were re-elected, and Brad Gordon joins them in four-year terms. Jessie Jones, originally an appointee, was re-elected to a two-year term.
Camp Verde Municipal Election Unofficial Results Camp Verde Mayor