Mayor Valenzuela makes ‘state of the town’ address, offers vision of Superior

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Superior Mayor Jayme Valenzuela

Superior Mayor Jayme Valenzuela last week addressed the council and residents in attendance at the Jan. 16 meeting, offering his vision of the town.

Quoting former President Bill Clinton, Valenzuela said, “‘There is nothing wrong with American that cannot be cured by what is right with America.’ I like that quote because it speaks truly to me about Superior. There is nothing wrong with Superior that cannot be cured by what is right with Superior.”

The town government, he said, has improved “by implementing strategies to save money and improve services. We have become more efficient in regards to our Town Hall by meeting in the auditorium for the council meetings. We are doing better with accounts payable and all of the quarterly reports for 2013 for payroll have been completed and fines for previous quarters paid.”

Sewer bills, he said, are being sent more timely, deposits are being made daily and the utility billing is being kept current. The three largest utility accounts, Resolution, Omya and Superior School District have been billed for July through December.

Staff too, he said, are becoming more efficient. Two clerks in the office are now Public Notaries and they are working to reconcile the town’s bank accounts. A financial statement for the council should be forthcoming.

The Public Works Department, he said, is also working more efficiently.

“We have a Supervisor that will stay,” Valenzuela said. “He has a good crew (two people) and now a mechanic. Direction is given to the crew every day on items to be accomplished. Daily tasks are organized, streets are being cleaned, we are selling scrap metal to buy tools, vehicles are being evaluated. Some are already back on line as the mechanic evaluates a vehicle, and then does what he can like an oil change, minor repairs, battery, water pump/alternator, etc, to get the vehicle back in operation. We will also auction some vehicles in the near future.”

Valenzuela also announced that one of the town employees from sewer and sanitation, Andy Arriola, was named Employee of the Year by Rural Arizona Water Association.

The library, too, has been a “constant and valuable resource made available to our public for use thanks to Josie Campos and staff,” Valenzuela said.

“The Police Department,” Valenzuela said, “is a work in progress.”

The town radios are woking better for the officers now that the batteries have been replaced. Vehicles are being maintained on a scheduled program. New vests and gear are in the works. The Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Armory went through and checked all weapons at the Superior Police Department and organized the system of evidence and the storing of evidence. The department will check to see what cases have been closed and evidence returned to the original owners. The Interim Police Chief Edward McNeill is helping the department prepare for a new chief.

The town has eight candidates for the police chief’s position. “Oral Boards will be on the 24th of January,” Valenzuela said. He explained that the board is made up of law enforcement officers. Different questions and extensive backgrounds will be conducted on the top three or four candidates, and then the Council will interview those candidates. “I hope to have the Town Council appoint a Chief at the March 6th meeting, maybe,” Valenzuela said.

A new firefighter/paramedic has been hired to replace James Gray, who recently retired. He said the town is currently reviewing the fire truck and will decide whether it needs to be replaced or can be fixed.

“In regards to the future of our town,” Valenzuela continued, “I would like to say a quote from Proverbs 29:18. ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ I believe that is true for our town because we have all wondered what was going to happen to our town and different people want different things. I am here today to tell you the vision I have for our town and it is a simple one: it is to promote the economic development of Superior by conserving, building, preserving and strengthening our resources in many different ways. Superior has a value in our distinctive and historic features along with our visually beautiful landscapes and plentiful natural mining resources. We are already working towards this development by promoting the conservation and rebuilding some of the historical buildings along with improving our trails and making our environment more accessible to tourism.

“In regards to our natural mining resources, well the copper is there and is one of the biggest deposits in the world. What we do and how we manage the value it has towards our town of Superior needs to be a shared vision and that vision again is simple, getting Superior back on its feet economically without forever damaging and changing our beautiful surroundings. In this respect I would like to quote Robert A. Heinlein, an influential author, “A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” We are a mining town and we cannot ignore that and we can take pride in that. There is no doubt that mining played an invaluable part in the development of Superior, however we cannot ignore the part it played in the downfall of our town as well. I think we all need to take an accurate view of the part mining played in our history and see all the pros and cons and take that information into the future where we can continue to be a mining town but with a common vision of protecting our environment and investing in the long lasting sustainability of our town.

“Superior’s future looks promising with the expansion of the US 60 to four lanes, a new 10 pump Circle K, the completion of the Magma Hotel, the opening of the Medical Clinic and DeMarco’s Pizza on the US 60 and more stores opening on Main Street and of course the copper mine. In order to continue the economic development for Superior we will also develop a committee to explore possible Annexation in order to provide more revenue for Superior and look into new plans for housing and development. We will also be discussing the subject of sales tax and the Arboretum and securing a revenue stream for Superior. It is my hope our town can form a solid partnership with our neighboring towns and county government because we share similar situations. We can develop and promote a plan that utilizes our distinctive resources and creates more opportunities for economic growth and quality employment opportunities along with increasing our tourism draw to the rest of the state in our Copper Corridor.

“Our Town of Superior is just that, our town. We all are important parts of our community and through our ability to share the same common goal of getting Superior back on its feet economically without forever damaging and changing our beautiful surroundings we can accomplish it. I look out onto this audience and see so many familiar faces and new ones too. Something brought us here, whether generations ago or recently, the beauty and possibilities of this town brought us here. I thank you for your time, concern and input along the way along with many other concerned citizens, volunteers, businesses, groups, organizations and employees whether full or part time along with my fellow council members. And special thanks to Margaret Gaston who helped pull it all together.

“I live in Superior and I enjoy the beauty and memories of the sights as we all do. I am proud of this town and the inhabitants because we are a community that, when we choose, can band together and create great change and improvement working towards a common vision. As I said in the beginning, there is nothing wrong with Superior that cannot be cured with what is right with Superior.”

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