Carol Anderson ends 25 years as elected official on Dec. 31

Carol Anderson is ending 25 years of service as an elected official by stepping down Dec.

31 from a position she has held for four years: Mohave County supervisor for District 1.

Those four years have been marked by both accomplishments and failures, joys and frustrations.

She has clashed with her two peers, Buster Johnson and Jim Zaborsky, on their support for natural gas-fired power plants and private prisons and on other issues, often casting the sole "no" vote.

"I would have appreciated being part of the majority vote," Anderson said.

"I did not mind being the minority vote and speaking out or representing the other side of the issues."

Anderson, 58, decided in January not to seek another term, stating at the time that she and her husband, Stuart, planned to buy a ranch in New Mexico and spend more time with their grandchildren.

Her replacement, Kingman real estate agent Pete Byers, is scheduled to be sworn in on Jan.

2.

During a recent interview, she looked back on four years of a mixed record.

She cited numerous accomplishments - as well as disappointments.

"I think one of my biggest accomplishments is the planning effort that we have started in the Arizona Strip, which involves Utah as well as Arizona," Anderson said.

She regards the effort as significant because the Strip is a diverse area "geographically, culturally (and) economically, where there are a lot of independent people.

To get them to agree to do some regional planning is a very positive step."

Another major accomplishment was improving the relationships between officials from the city of Kingman and the county, Anderson said.

She served on the City Council for 12 years before getting elected supervisor in 1996, including stints as mayor from 1984-86 and 1988-96.

"Many things that one government entity does affects another government entity," she said.

She cited how the county divvies up federal Community Development Block Grant funds, which must be used to for programs or services benefiting low- and moderate-income people.

Anderson, who initially opposed a quarter-percent sales tax for financing county buildings, also cited the board's passage of the tax in August 1999 as another major accomplishment during her tenure.

The tax, which went into effect Jan.

1, is expected to raise $125.9 million over its 20-year lifespan.

"I was opposed to it until I got some protections on the expenditures, that it had to follow a specific plan," she said.

Anderson and the other supervisors also considered raising the sales and property taxes to increase county revenues for the current fiscal year.

However, they did not reach an agreement on how an increase in the sales taxes should be spent.

The county's financial plight is one of the biggest failures of the board for the past four years, Anderson said.

"Overall, this board did not develop a plan to match the revenues to the expenses," she said.

One drain on the county's coffers is continuing funding of $1.6 million a year of the sheriff's override, a secondary property tax that was approved by the voters in 1990 and expired in 1998.

The county's General Fund is absorbing the lost revenues, Chief Financial Officer Duc Ma said.

The override had been used for paying for additional deputies and vehicles.

"It was a really good program, but we continued to fund it through the General Fund without the revenue to match it," Anderson said.

The county supervisors also encountered a major blow in 1997, when former public fiduciary Michael Daw was convicted of stealing about $900,000 from clients of his office, according to Anderson.

Daw drew a 10-year prison sentence.

Anderson acknowledged that perhaps the biggest failure of the board was the inability of its members to work together, "the combinations of the different agendas and personalities."

Board members clashed frequently in meetings, culminating Dec.

4 when Zaborsky chastised Johnson for getting too personally involved with SARA Park near Lake Havasu City, for Johnson's leadership style and for numerous actions the District III supervisor has taken over the past four years.

Johnson, the only board member to seek another term and to get re-elected, responded by reading an 11-page diatribe attacking Zaborsky, who represents District II, and, to a lesser extent, Anderson.

The feuding may have been less had the voters decided in March 1999 to return to five members, Anderson said.

She regards voter defeat of the measure as another major failure of her term in part because supervisors are barred under state open-meetings laws from talking to each others and their staffs except during meetings.

"If we had done that, I think we could have progressed to a better team," she said.

"The team players could have talked on a one-to-one basis and to better understand their issues."

While she has had combative relationships with Johnson and Zaborsky, Anderson said she has had a good working relationship with interim County Manager Dick Skalicky.

Skalicky has served in that capacity after County Manager Paul McIntosh left in February to take a similar job in Hernando County, Fla.

McIntosh did not like to answer "detail-oriented questions," Anderson said.

"Dick tries to find the answers."

Anderson said she has enjoyed working with the public "and make things happen in their communities."

She has no desire to run again for public office, but plans to continue serving on the state Commerce and Economic Development Commission and the Resources Advisory Board of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

And while looking for a ranch, her immediate goal is to remodel her home in Kingman.

"That house is going to take us three years.

I'm going to learn carpentry skills because we want to do the work ourselves."