Rural and urban Arizona working together

August 30, 2012

The League of Arizona Cities and Towns’ annual conference concludes today in Scottsdale. As KJZZ’s Steve Goldstein reports, the league’s president is focused on collaboration between rural and urban communities.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: The league is made up of more than ninety of the state’s municipalities, big and small. Clarkdale Mayor Doug von Gausig is the league’s current president. He says keeping larger communities aware of opportunities for cooperation can be challenging.

DOUG VON GAUSIG: Most of the ecosystem services in the state are coming from rural Arizona. When you look at Maricopa County, you can see a great deal of the water coming into Maricopa County is coming from the Verde River. That water is generated in rural Arizona. So it’s incumbent upon people in Maricopa and the populated areas of the state to take care of that rural watershed and make sure that water continues to come down.

GOLDSTEIN: Von Gausig says leaders of cities and towns across the state are doing their best to work with legislators while asserting the importance of local control.

VON GAUSIG: We need to accurately represent the culture of our community and the ethics of our particular citizens. So it’s really important for cities and towns to maintain those aspects of local control that allow us to do that.

GOLDSTEIN: Von Gausig says it’s been a plus for rural communities to have House Speaker Andy Tobin of Paulden and Senate President Steve Pierce of Prescott in leadership at the Capitol.

Steve Goldstein, KJZZ News, Phoenix.

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