CLIFTON — A community is its people, and there are few as important to its function as its members of local government.
In the lead-up to the 2020 election year, the Copper Era will be featuring elected officials from throughout Greenlee County and asking them about their communities.
We spoke with Ray West, owner of Ray’s A Vintage Clifton on Chase Creek Street and member of the Clifton Town Council.
COPPER ERA: What issue or issues do you see as most pressing in the community?
WEST: The most pressing issue facing Clifton is the rehabilitation of our wastewater plant and collection system. We have made considerable progress, though many challenges remain. A second but equally serious issue is the need for new housing or the rehab of existing housing inventory.
COPPER ERA: What are your feelings on cooperation between local communities?
WEST: Adjacent local communities (Duncan) should foster as much cooperation as is practical, e.g., supporting each other’s events and trying to present a unified voice on state issues. There are, however, numerous areas where geographic proximity is offset by economic drivers, population diversity, and growth outlooks and goals.
COPPER ERA: What major challenges do you see facing the community, and how would you address it?
WEST: The biggest challenge facing Clifton is infrastructure, not just the wastewater issue but also streets, sidewalks and pedestrian lighting. All this requires the long-term view and creative funding sources.
COPPER ERA: What positive changes are you hoping to achieve in our community, and how do you plan to make said changes?
WEST: Clifton is, in general, a very open, caring community that needs to remember its roots yet embrace all who live, work or visit. Everyone has something to contribute. There doesn’t need to be a lot of change in Clifton, but we must actively harness the opportunity for growth.
COPPER ERA: What is the reason you decided to participate in local government?
WEST: I moved to Clifton because I love it. I love the setting, the people, the climate, the historical presence. It’s not perfect, but it feels right. I got involved in local government to contribute what I could. All government struggles; local government struggles most. It needs everyone’s positive input.