Uncertain future as Hayden loses Town Manager Russ Martin | SteamboatToday.com

Uncertain future as Hayden loses Town Manager Russ Martin

Jack Weinstein

Russ Martin accepted the town manager position with Camp Verde, Ariz., and starts Aug. 9. After Martin leaves, Hayden is likely to go without a town manager until after the November election.

— With Town Manager Russ Martin leaving, what's next for Hayden?

"I think that overall, Hayden couldn't have picked a better person to do the job that he did," said resident Bryan Strickland, who worked with Martin as a member of the Home Rule Charter Commission. "I would only hope that they find somebody to fill his shoes."

That might not happen right away.

Martin, who became Hay­den's third full-time town manager in March 2004, is concluding his tenure at the end of the month. He accepted the town manager position with Camp Verde, Ariz., and starts Aug. 9.

Mayor Lorraine Johnson said the town likely would go without a town manager for the immediate future because if there is turnover on the Town Council after the November election, council members will be working with Martin's replacement and should have a say in the choice.

Johnson and council members Chuck Grobe, Jim Haskins, Tim Redmond and Tom Rog­alski are up for re-election in November.

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But Johnson said council members could accelerate their decision to hire a new town manager if they all return. She said more information would be available at tonight's Town Council meeting.

In the time between town managers, Johnson said the town staff would take care of Hayden's daily operations.

"If a major issue came up, the Town Council as a whole would come in and deal with whatever department that issue's in," she said. "But day to day, we have very capable employees working for us to do that."

Sitting in the conference room at Hayden Town Hall on Wednesday, Martin spoke with trepidation and excitement.

He spoke about having to leave Hayden, a place he and his wife, Ann, have called home for more than six years. It's the community where his 7-year-old son, Michael, grew up and his 5-year-old daughter, McKenna, was born.

He spoke of accomplishments that include leveraging nearly $4 million in grant funding for town projects, continuing the improvements to water and sewer infrastructure, completing Dry Creek Park and the Hayden Police Department station, rebuilding Poplar Street and the town becoming a home rule municipality. And he's pleased with the creation of a planning and zoning process that put a tax and revenue structure in place and treats everyone fairly.

And he spoke of the opportunity as town manager awaiting him in Camp Verde, Ariz.

"In my interview here, I said I'd like to take the community to the next level," Martin said. "I think I've done that here, and I want to do that in Camp Verde. Hayden has given me that opportunity."

He's excited about the opportunity to work in a bigger community — Camp Verde has nearly 11,000 residents and is 86 miles north of Phoenix — that presents different opportunities for economic development. He's excited to use his planning background.

And as is the case in Hayden, he's excited to be near resort communities.

Although Martin is leaving for Camp Verde, a place he'd like to see his children finish school, Hayden might not have seen the last of him.

"This is a great place to be," he said. "… We won't get too far away without wanting to come back here. We've liked it here, generally liked living here. We've established roots. It's hard to uproot."

Council to consider dispensary ordinance

The Hayden Town Council will consider a first reading tonight of an ordinance that would prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries.

At the July 1 meeting, Town Council members asked Martin to draft a prohibition ordinance after members of the community spoke out against dispensaries at that meeting and one in May.

Because the ordinance would be a revision to the town's land-use code, a public hearing before Hayden's Planning Commission would be required at its next meeting Aug. 12.

The Town Council will hold a public hearing and second reading for the ordinance Aug. 19.

The regular meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. today at Hayden Town Hall, 178 W. Jefferson Ave. with staff and council member reports starting at 7 p.m.

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