ANNUAL MEETING HIGHLIGHTS
JANUARY 12, 2023
Call to Order: President John Wichert called the meeting to order at 9:00am.
Roll Call: Secretary Mary Pope confirmed a quorum of 14 member organizations present along with 3 alternates. No additional guests from the public were present.
President John Wichert welcomed attendees with thanks to Camille Cox for the strong foundation of the organization and her assistance with his orientation. He also expressed appreciation for her continued service to the Big Park Council (BPC). He then recognized Colleen Hinds, VP as representing the future of a younger organization, and acknowledged Mary Pope and Patty Reski for the countless hours devoted to the organization, experience, and wisdom. He further expressed appreciation to David Gill as a fount of information, wisdom, and continuity of service within the community as well as for his time spent orienting the new officers on planning & zoning. John then thanked all committee chairs, liaisons, representatives, and alternates for their service. He expressed a concern that additional volunteers would be needed to do the many jobs that Camille had assumed during her tenure. He noted that more young volunteers are needed as well as an outreach program to raise awareness of BPC within the community.
The meeting agenda was approved by acclamation on a motion by Dave Norton seconded by Paul Sullivan.
President’s Report: John Wichert began the annual appointment of Committee Chairs by noting that the chair of Planning & Zoning (P&Z) has yet to be filled with conversations currently taking place. He expressed the need for an interim chair and Bob Marriott offered to serve. John then listed the current P&Z committee members and the Council agreed that the list should be confirmed after the new Chair is appointed. P&Z is a standing committee and as such, its members are appointed by its Chair and approved by the Council. He then affirmed the appointment of Duane Thompson as the P&Z APS subcommittee chair and listed other committee chairs for 2023 as:
Art in the Roundabouts – Rolf Funk & Steve Fiedler
Emergency Preparedness – Gwen Hanna & Mary Pope
Community Plan – Camille Cox
Dark-Sky – Dave Norton & Curt Schneider
There were no objections to the appointments of these committee chairs and all were approved by acclamation. As Dark-Sky is also a standing committee its committee members will be confirmed at the February meeting.
John then confirmed his appointment of Paul Sullivan, USFS liaison and Steve Fiedler VVTPO liaison. He commended Paul on his long tenure as USFS liaison and at Paul’s request, asked if anyone was interested in replacing him, to call or email. Both liaisons were approved by the Council by acclamation.
An Audit Committee is appointed each year in January with John calling for volunteers and noting that this is a short-term assignment, reviewing the prior Year’s financial paperwork. One of the committee members must be an Executive Board (EB) member, and Colleen Hinds volunteered. The two additional members will be Dave Norton and Neil Pope. Colleen will set up a meeting.
John then presented the schedule of EB and Council meetings for 2023 as:
Executive Board at 3pm: Jan 3, 31, Feb 28, Apr 4, May 2, 30, Jul 4, Aug 1, Sept 5, Oct 3, 31, Dec 5
Big Park Council at 9am: Jan 12, Feb 9, Mar 9, Apr 13, May 11, Jun 8, Jul 13, Aug 10, Sep 14, Oct 12, Nov 9, Dec 14
He noted that the July 4th EB meeting will likely be changed. There were no objections, and the schedule was approved by acclamation. All meetings are open to the public. Contact Bigparkcouncil.firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
Secretary’s Report: Mary Pope asked if there were any adjustments to the draft council minutes from December 8th meeting and hearing none, Bob Marriott moved, Carolyn Fisher seconded, that the minutes be accepted as written. Motion passed unanimously.
Mary reported that changes to the BPC officers were filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission as required. She then noted that there were no changes to member organizations and welcomed Dottie Milliken as a returning alternate for Las Piedras and Pat Robles as the new representative for CR Ranch. Pat replaces Ty deJong who will continue as an alternate. Pat hails from Oxford, Ohio and has degrees in urban planning as well as environmental sciences and natural area preservation as well as extensive business experience. She and her husband, Martin, moved to the Village in 2021. Pine Valley has also adjusted its alternates with Steve Fiedler stepping up and Lenore Hemingway and Phil Cox stepping down. Mary expressed appreciation to Lenore and Phil who have served the Council on many committees over the years, and who continue to do so.
Treasurer’s Report: Patty Reski noted that December had minimal expenses and the bank account was comfortable at $5200, up from year-end 2021 mostly because there were no in-person meetings, nor a need for professional technology support. She noted that all records are ready for audit as soon as the committee would like.
New Business: John Wichert informed the Council that well over 100 responses have already been received for the Broadband survey that BPC is assisting with. He noted that the survey closes tomorrow, and that Tom Binnings would be reporting the results to the Council at the regular meeting February 9th. There was much discussion regarding the importance of this survey and the need for representatives to circulate it within their communities to increase the number and locations of responses; especially along Verde Valley School Rd., a problematic internet “dead zone.” Mary Pope agreed to contact Tom Binnings to see if the deadline could be extended by a week and if so, will include a reminder in the meeting highlights. UPDATE: Broadband Survey deadline has been extended to Friday, January 20th.
John asked the Council members to consider working on two new task forces to be created at the February meeting: 1. IT/Website support/revamp and 2. Recruitment of new, younger council members and citizen participants. This task force would also consider possible additional member organization classifications to expand the Council’s base and community representation.
He then introduced Mary Pope to do the annual Refresher Training and New Member Orientation. Her presentation covered the History of the BPC, its purpose and structure governing documents, roles, responsibilities, and indemnification as well as the agreed Code of Conduct inclusive of procedures for conflict of interest and dispute resolution. Click HERE to download the presentation.
Planning & Zoning: John Wichert read David Gill’s report noting that the only matter potentially before the committee at this time is the Use Permit request by the Verde Valley School. The public meeting scheduled for last night had been deferred. No further information is available at this time.
Dark-Sky: Dave Norton noted that the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) annual report has been completed in both PDF and web-based versions. A sign acknowledging the Dark-Sky designation of Big Park/VOC is available, but there is currently nowhere with permission to hang it. The Committee has been invited to work with Jeremy Dye of the Yavapai County Development office on updating the county Dark-Sky ordinance. The committee is also working on a printed door-hanger to explain what “Dark-Sky” is and what is required to comply. During discussion, Bob Marriott mentioned that the Emergency Preparedness (EPPiC) committee is also struggling with methods to reach the three types of residents 1. Short term rentals, 2. Seasonal residents and 3. Full time residents. The first two are challenging. He suggested that the two committees work together on outreach solutions. Colleen Hinds noted that the proposed task force to encourage more participation in the BPC, could also help. It was also noted that there are numerous funding possibilities for community-wide postcard mailings such as APS.
VVTPO – Steve Fiedler submitted a written report of his meeting with ADOT which was read to the Council:
1. 179 and Cortez on SE corner, Team Fishel will be installing fiber optic to the View Motel. Excavation, boring on that corner. If they find a 4-inch PVC in ground, then they can pull fiber optic from Jack’s Canyon Rd. to View Motel. If a 4-inch pipe isn’t in the ground, then more extensive work will need to be done. Work to start week of Jan 16th.
2. Vista Village mall might be installing a right turn lane into mall off 179. This isn’t a done deal, possibly could end up back in court. Otherwise, design, planning and installation will proceed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:28am.