The mayor was 12 years old. The director of the Economic Development Department was just 11.
And if they had the power, Maricopa would have a welcome sign on the north end of town.
The Mock City Council meeting Saturday saw Maricopa teens and preteens going through the actions of a real city government. Coming from eight schools, the students filled the seats of council, department directors, project designers, city attorney, city manager and city clerk.
The event was part of the Councilmember on the Corner series produced by Councilmember Henry Wade. He said it was a five-week process, with student holding an election to decide the councilmembers.
Wade said the exercise was meant “to bring the young folks into the fold and to understand what happens behind the scenes here with their government. We’re hopeful that this will encourage them to get actively engaged, actively involved as they grow older.”
The discussion of the mock meeting was a proposal for a monument sign to welcome visitors to town. After a brief work session with a presentation on the proposal by the pseudo economic development director and public works director, there was a “regular” in which actual community members spoke for and against the project.
Council and the city attorney, too, grilled the department heads about cost ($100,000-$250,000), location and energy source for an LED aspect to a monument sign. Ultimately, Mayor Deanna Lemorin of Legacy Traditional and her six-member council unanimously approved the project.
Lemorin also read a proclamation declaring May 19 Student Day in Maricopa. Speaking to the mock council, real Vice Mayor Peg Chapados said she would like to bring the monument sign proposal to the real council in the future.
“I like Maricopa because it’s very small and tight-knit and because of that we can do things like this,” said 15-year-old Kadin Pulliam of Desert Vista High School who served as a councilmember.
Judge Lyle Riggs, the real city magistrate and justice of the peace, also invited the students to participate in Teen Court, which tries real cases.
Wade praised the dedication of the students who were part of the Mock City Council meeting. “They’ve got the ball and they’re ready to run with it when it comes time to do so.”