Mar 052014

By Naomi Hatch
Taylor Town Manager Gus Lundberg introduced the topic of economic development at a joint meeting of the two councils last week by noting that the Taylor Economic Development Committee was recently reapproved and has been meeting the last few months with Snowflake’s Economic Development Committee. The councils were later asked to consider contracting with a planner who could help them prepare for future growth.
“The priority for our communities is bring jobs,” said Snowflake Town Manager Paul Watson. “We have got to have jobs so people who live here can work here and people who want to come back can come back.”
Watson said that there are a number of things in the works, including one that everybody has heard about, potash.
“No, there’s not a potash mine opening up tomorrow, but a good possibility that in the very near future there will be potash being mined,” he said.
“I for one, see a real potential that we’re going to see significant growth in this area,” said Watson, noting that there is land and infrastructure for industry to not only exist, but to thrive.
“When we think about jobs, we have to think about planning,” said Watson. He asked council members if the area is ready for significant growth.
He noted that they must look at more than just the general plan, focusing on things such as transportation needs.
“Growth will happen with you or without you,” he said.
Watson and Lundberg have talked about this and feel that at this point, neither community has a certified planner who can deal with planning and growth, even though they both have planning and zoning administrators/building officials.
Watson said he has been referred to an individual who worked in Queen Creek, which had a lot of growing pains. He was involved in the process in Queen Creek, and they may be able to contract with him to look at both communities to see what the towns ought to be focusing on.
If both councils agree, they would move forward with him as a consultant on a contract basis.
“In my mind once he does the assessment, then he can help us evaluate what are our next steps,” said Watson.
“I’m wearing those hats right now,” said Taylor Building Official/Zoning Administrator Allen Davis. “I’m real strong in the building side, but not real strong in the planning side. For me, it would be great if I had a resource.”
Watson said that both towns planning administrators sat in on the interview.
“Growth is going to happen, but now it’s a matter of doing it the right way so we have the small town feel,” said Watson.