Meet Oro Valley Candidates - The Explorer: News

Meet Oro Valley Candidates

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Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012 4:00 am | Updated: 8:55 am, Wed Feb 15, 2012.

Brendan Burns, 33

Occupation: Attorney, Major in the US Army Reserves

Years in Oro Valley: 2

About yourself:

Brendan is an attorney, Major in the Army Reserves, and father of three young children.  

He attended the University of Notre Dame and majored in Government and International  Relations with a concentration in the Hesburgh Program in Public Service.  He graduated from Notre Dame, Cum Laude, in 2001 with an honors designation in his major.

Brendan was enrolled in Army ROTC while at Notre Dame and received his commission in 2001 as a Second Lieutenant.  The Army granted Brendan an educational delay to attend law school at the University of Arizona. He graduated law school early, Magna Cum Laude, in December 2003.

Brendan served on active duty from 2004-2008 in the Army JAG Corps.  He was stationed for 3 years at Fort Leonard Wood and spent his last year at Fort Bragg.  Brendan continues to serve as a Major in the Army Reserves and is the Senior Defense Counsel for Arizona.

Brendan currently works for a local law firm as a civil defense attorney.  He defends municipalities, professionals (doctors in medical malpractice), businesses, and individuals.

Brendan and his wife, Allison, have been married for 9 years and have three children, Alexa, Ryan, and Connor.  Alexa attends school at Painted Sky Elementary.  

Why are you running for Town Council?

I am running for Town Council in order to achieve Oro Valley’s vision of becoming a “Community of Excellence.” I share Mayor Hiremath’s vision of Oro Valley becoming the epicenter of arts, culture, and fine dining for Southern Arizona; a place where residents from Marana, Saddlebrook, and Tucson come to experience our cultural offerings and spend money in our local businesses.

The main obstacles to achieving our vision are the decline in revenue from the current recession and a lack of critical mass needed to attract upscale growth. Critical mass can be achieved by population growth or by increased spending in Oro Valley’s businesses.  I believe it is critical to Oro Valley’s success to implement a strategy of smart strategic growth coupled with attracting young professional families in order to improve schools, grow businesses, and increase our tax base. Younger families tend to spend more money locally then retirees per capita.  Professionals also increase the demand for cultural services and upscale businesses. Once upscale businesses and cultural centers are built, residents from Southern Arizona will visit Oro Valley and spend money in our town.  This will allow our businesses to prosper while providing much needed funding to balance our budget.

What can you provide that other candidates can’t?

I provide a unique and critical perspective as an attorney, parent of young children, and dedicated public servant.  I bring a young professional’s perspective that will allow the town to develop programs aimed at attracting professional families while also increasing support for our senior citizens and retirees through recreational activities, outdoor spaces, and government programs that allow seniors to maintain their independence.  Oro Valley must continue to attract high-tech employers such as Ventana and Sanofi. We need to increase our competitive edge over other locations by offering great schools and a high quality of life to their employees.  I will work with high-tech employers to ensure that Oro Valley continues to attract new high-tech jobs.

As a lawyer, I understand the legislative process and will work tirelessly to implement the actions necessary to achieve the Council’s intent.  I pledge to perform the necessary due diligence and provide transparency to the citizens so that we can all make informed and intelligent decisions about Oro Valley’s future.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.

I rate the current council as 8 out of 10.  While I believe that the council is sincerely acting with Oro Valley’s best interests in mind when they vote, I am concerned that the council lacks an overall vision of what they want Oro Valley’s future to be.  The greatest threat facing Oro Valley is haphazard development that is not consistent with the vision of making Oro Valley a “Community of Excellence”.  A Japanese proverb warns “vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”  I fear that the council is making decisions without an established plan in place to develop Oro Valley as an upscale community with numerous recreational and cultural opportunities.  Only after you have a vision, and an established plan to reach your vision, can you effectively govern Oro Valley.  I would like to see the council more clearly articulate their vision for Oro Valley and how their decisions help Oro Valley obtain its goals.

From the utility tax increase, to the issues surrounding the town’s transit system, do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions and eventual approval?

I believe that the Town Council missed a golden opportunity to engage the citizens in a fundamental discussion on the future of Oro Valley.  Over the last few years it has become clear that Oro Valley is not growing as quickly as estimated.  The lack of growth coupled with the recession resulted in a budget shortfall that had to be addressed.  Hard decisions had to be made, and I applaud the council for making hard decisions, but I believe that some decisions were made reactively to the decreased revenues and not proactively in achieving their vision for Oro Valley. If the citizens accepted the council’s vision, and understood that hard decisions had to be made to realize that vision, I believe the budget process would have been less contentious.

Given that it makes up more than $12 million of the town’s total budget, should the council spend more time discussing police department operations, procedures and fiscal management throughout the year?

Public safety is government’s number one priority and the council should never take any action that diminishes our police force’s ability to protect Oro Valley.  The council must spend time managing the police department’s operations and budget to ensure that the highest level of safety is provided. Government can always become more efficient and streamlined and the police department is no exception. By effectively managing the police department we can ensure that our officers are properly trained, that morale is high, and that Oro Valley continues to be a safe community. The council should review the police department budget so that we can ensure that we always have adequate funds to (1) retain quality officers by providing pay raises or other benefits to increase morale, (2) provide our officers quality training, and (3) allow the department to adapt and stay ahead of developing security threats to Oro Valley.

Should the Oro Valley Library be turned over to Pima County control to save the town money? Explain.

The library should not be turned over to Pima County. The Oro Valley library provides cultural programs and activities not currently found in the Pima County library system. The independence to manage the library will be crucial as Oro Valley continues to develop into a cultural and artistic centered community.

Are you in favor of more apartment complexes being built in Oro Valley? Explain

Yes. The citizens adopted the General Plan that planned for apartment complexes in Oro Valley.  I fully support apartment complexes being built according to the General Plan and current zoning. I opposed the proposed apartment complexes at Rancho Vistoso and Commerce Loop and Ranch Vistoso and Tangerine as I believe the current designation of these parcels is a better use of the land and consistent with the citizens’ intent.  I will support the General Plan and make sure that the will of the people is respected by the council.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly? Explain your answer.

I believe that Oro Valley is business friendly.  Some people think Oro Valley is unfriendly to business because the Town does not accommodate every single businesses demand.  A government best governs when it brings all stake holders together and adopts policies that benefit the entire community.  We must continue to work with businesses to ensure our long term fiscal sustainability.  Oro Valley is dependent on increasing sales tax revenue to balance our budget and it is in our self interest to ensure businesses prosper.  As a former securities lawyer who represented fortune 500 companies, I will assist Oro Valley in continuing to foster a pro-business agenda while looking for ways to help our businesses compete by reducing unnecessary red tape and regulations.

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community? Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?

The long term survival of Oro Valley is incumbent on transforming our town into a center for culture, art, and upscale dining and shopping. I do not support a property tax in Oro Valley. At some point in the near future the residential developments will reach near capacity and the construction tax receipts will be significantly reduced. In order to balance our budget we will need additional revenues. The only way to balance our budget is to increase sales tax revenues. By focusing developments on art, culture, and upscale businesses, we can attract residents from throughout southern Arizona who will spend money in Oro Valley. This will provide increased revenue to balance our budget with the added benefit of the taxes being paid for by non Oro Valley residents. That is why I am adamant that Oro Valley must maintain its unique upscale nature. If we allow Oro Valley to become just another suburb of Tucson, we will not produce enough sales tax revenue to balance the budget. 


Bill Garner, 47

Occupation: Senior Medical Research Associate

Years in Oro Valley: 8

About yourself:

I served for four years as a Community Emergency Management Director in my former place of residence Montgomery Township, PA. I also volunteered my time as both a firefighter and an emergency medical technician for over 15 years in Pennsylvania where I grew up. I have always believed in giving back to my community, and continue to do so in Oro Valley as a past member of the Citizens Corps Council and as your current Council Member.

I am currently working as a Senior Clinical Research Coordinator for a major pharmaceutical company and have more than 22 years of experience with this firm. Prior to this, I worked for 8 years as security director for a large retirement community while putting myself through college full time.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance from Temple University in Philadelphia before moving on to post-master’s work in Public Safety at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University. I am currently nationally registered as an Emergency Medical Technician. I am married and have two beautiful daughters ages 5 and 9.

Why are you running for Town Council?

I was first elected to Oro Valley Town Council in 2008 and since that time have continued to serve as a voice of the people. I would like to continue to represent the constituents of Oro Valley to provide open and transparent governance. In addition, I would like to continue to promote Oro Valley as a destination to attract additional revenues through the use of signature events. In addition, to facilitate and encourage that the Coyote Run bus service remains on firm financial stability.

What can you provide that other candidates can’t?

This can be summed up in one word; Experience. As the second most senior member of the present Town Council, I can continue to provide historical knowledge and consistent and stable leadership to our community. I have a proven track record of voting for fiscal accountability without sacrificing the quality of service the residents of Oro Valley have come to expect. I base how I vote on an evidence-based approach and want to hear all input from interested parties prior to making a final decision. The cornerstone of my approach to governance is to never forget that I represent you.

I have a voting record which is available publicly to see for yourself; if I am living up to my commitment of service to you.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.

I would rate the current council on a scale of 5. I rated the current council as being neutral due to the fact that the majority of the council members have only been in office for just about 2 years. As a result as with any job there is a learning curve that needs to be completed prior to really feeling comfortable in the job. I feel that the current Council has started to reach that level of comfort and is starting to look at bold moves for the community. Some of the most recent examples that come to mind are the expansion of the pool facility and the working with the archery community to place a world class facility in Naranja Park. As a member of Council I continue to strive for fiscal accountability and while bold ideas are great, there is always a cost associated with them. I will continue to ask questions to make sure that in the end the Town is on stable financial footing.

From the utility tax increase, to the issues surrounding the town’s transit system, do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions and eventual approval?

No, I did not agree on how the budget was handled and as a result I voted against passing the budget as presented. As a matter of fact since taking office in 2008 I have consistently voted against every budget that was presented and eventually passed. I continue to hear from the constituents of Oro Valley that the Council needs to do a better job of cutting expenses. This particular budget was passed with an additional burden of an increase to the utility sales tax. I wanted to see the budget with no tax increases and truly see areas that were being looked at for expense cuts. I presented a PowerPoint presentation that outlined cost savings for this budget that totaled 3 million dollars and it was rejected for further discussion. As stewards of the people’s money I take any tax increase or budget proposal very seriously and feel we should not be adjusting revenues to meet expenses as I believe it should be the other way around.

Should the Oro Valley Library be turned over to Pima County control to save the town money? Explain

The answer to this question is very complicated, but I will try to summarize the answer. Since the inception of the Oro Valley library there has always been a partnership with Pima County and half of the construction costs for the library were picked up by each entity. The Town of Oro Valley owns the land on which the library sits. Approximately 3 years ago while on council a library sub-committee was formed to look at the library operation in depth and come back with possible recommendations. One of those recommendations was to look at renegotiation of the inter-governmental agreement that the library has with Pima County. As part of that report it was determined that the Oro Valley taxpayer pays double for the operation of the library. To better understand this currently Oro Valley contributes a total of 2.2 million dollars through taxes to the Pima County Library District. It currently takes 1.2 million dollars to run the library each fiscal year. The current IGA has cost sharing by both Pima County and the Town of Oro Valley as split each paying $600,000. As you can see this leaves quite an excess of funds that the County is keeping for the remaining amount being distributed within the entire library district. The library is the only affiliate status facility in the entire Pima County library system and it is important to understand what exactly does that mean. As an affiliate the books that are taken out of the Oro Valley library are returned back to Oro Valley regardless as to where they are deposited within the Pima County library system. This costs a considerable amount of money to have a vehicle bring back books to the library. If the library was turned over to Pima County then the affiliate designation would go away and only books that were deposited back to the Oro Valley library would stay on the shelves at the library. However, I estimate that 90 percent of the library patrons would be returning their books back to the Oro Valley library thus eliminate the fears of losing books. The other option that currently exists is placing books on Express which requires patrons to physically drive to the facility where an Express book is located and then no matter where the book is returned it would go back to the same library where it was first checked out.

If the library were to be turned over to Pima County the library hours of operation would be increased. Currently the library is closed on Sundays and if picked up by the County the library would be open on Sundays. This issue has been studied and as a result I believe the Town of Oro Valley should be negotiating with Pima County to get a better cost recovery for the operation of the library.  I believe that absolutely all of the programming and nuances of the library can be renegotiated into a new contract to protect Oro Valley library’s character, if we work to that end.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly? Explain your answer.

I believe the Town of Oro Valley has reached out to the business community and as a result I feel that the sense I get is that we are business friendly.  Recently the Town has allowed the use of a-frames in front of a store to assist with visibility and foot traffic. The Town has partnered with the business community by the use of the Business Navigator, a web site that features local Oro Valley businesses. The Town has recently introduced a program called OV Dollars that allow merchants to accept gift cards as a means to maintain the shop local concept. The Council continues to foster the good will towards business by the accelerated approval of the Basis charter school, a need identified by the high tech companies found in Oro Valley. The Council has adopted new sign code standards as well as streamlined the development review process that a new business needs to go through. Most recently the Council voted to change the way the Town collects impact fees to help with new developments starting up in Oro Valley. As you can see from just a few recent examples the Council has taken a proactive approach to assisting the business community.

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community? Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?

With the current economic down turn it makes predicting future growth not only in just Oro Valley but across the United States very difficult. I believe that Oro Valley has the mix of amenities that make it a draw for not only people who wish to relocate but also for commercial development opportunities. The Town recently increased its planning annexation boundary to Orange Grove Road to the South in an effort to be able to continue the growth of the Town in a stable but cautious way. The Town several years ago looked to the North just touching the border of Pinal County to establish a master planned area called Arroyo Grande. While Arroyo Grande is currently on hold with the State land department the Town looks to a bright future when this parcel is finally developed. The most recent US census numbers place the Town’s population at 41.011 which was far fewer numbers of people then the Town of Oro Valley predicted would be here several years ago.

I believe we need to spend more time on the strategic plan. We need to as a Town explore growth in a manner that is consistent with the General Plan as well as continuously soliciting feedback from our stakeholders as to how the Town is managing its growth. I believe we need to do a better job of setting goals for the Town and need to establish clear measurable objectives for plans that go out 5, 10 and 15 years so that we have a framework from which to work from to make good sound policy decisions. If we are to continue to use the phrase “A Community of Excellence” then we need to qualify to not only our stakeholders but to those on Council that clear benchmarks need to be established that are measurable to known standards that will clearly fast track Oro Valley as a leader in Southern Arizona. 

 


Mark Napier, 49

Occupation:  Associate Director: UA Parking & Transportation Services.

Years in Oro Valley:18

About yourself:

I have been an Oro Valley resident for about 18 years.  My wife, Marlene, and I have been married for almost 29 years.  Together we have four adult children.  I retired after 28 years in law enforcement, spending many of my last years in senior command positions.  I am currently the Associate Director of Parking & Transportation Services at the University of Arizona.  I am a highly skilled and experienced public administrator.  I hold a B.S. Degree from Park University and a Masters Degree from Boston University.  I love Oro Valley and would be proud to serve as a member of Council.

Why are you running for Town Council?

I am running for Town Council because I honesty love our community.  I raised my family in Oro Valley.  I care deeply about the future of our community.  I see profound challenges on the horizon for our community.  Facing these challenges will require experience, education and competency.  I bring those traits to the table.  We will not benefit from heated rhetoric, divisiveness, acrimony and negativity.  I will be a positive voice for our community.  I have dedicated my life to public service.  Serving our community as your Council Member is something I am passionate about and is a logical extension of my lifetime commitment to public service.  We are at a critical juncture for the community.  We need competent, experienced, effective leadership to ensure our community remains a great place to live. 

What can you provide that other candidates can’t?

Simply put; I bring to the table extensive experience in public administration that is not matched by any other candidate.  Importantly, I am committed to listening to all Oro Valley citizens in an unbiased manner to ensure we move forward in a positive and collaborative way.  My only special interest is the community.  I have managed multi-million dollar budgets, both capital and operational.  I have served as a Commissioner on the Planning and Zoning Commission, and understand land use issues.  I have extensive experience in the senior management of police departments and can apply appropriate scrutiny to the operation of our police department. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley?  Explain your answer.

I would rate the current performance of Council as an eight.  I believe the two incumbents who are running should be more adept at rating their performance than I am.  I see no positive value in looking in the rearview mirror to rate the past performance of Council.  I am running to provide positive future leadership to the Council.

From the utility tax increase, to the issues surrounding the town’s transit system, do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions and eventual approval?

Our Town, like many municipalities, is facing unprecedented budgetary challenges.  Facing those challenges is not easy and the process is sure to cause some angst.  In general, I believe the Council made the decisions that had to be made with the input of the community and an eye toward the future.

Are you in favor of more apartment complexes being built in Oro Valley?  Explain

A healthy mix of housing options is necessary for Oro Valley to remain a vibrant community and for it to attract younger professionals.  Currently, apartments are underrepresented in the mix of available housing in our community.  There are areas already zoned for multi-family dwellings that should be developed prior to exploring rezoning of other parcels.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly?  Explain your answer.

I think we have made strides toward erasing the image of Oro Valley being unfriendly to business.  Being friendly to business cannot, and should not, mean saying yes to every development or automatically changing the rules for those who do not want to follow our code.  At the same time, we have to remain flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and remain receptive to new opportunities.  This requires leadership, experience and vision.

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community?  Is the Town headed in the right direction?  Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?

I am an advocate of sensible and sustainable growth.  Growth for the sake of growth is a mistake.  Equally, the desire to stand in the way of all growth is also a mistake.  With effective leadership, you can have positive growth that is both sensible and sustainable.  Time does need to be spent on the strategic planning process, with the input of our citizens to chart effectively the course of growth.  The strategic plan does need to be refreshed.

 


Fred Narcaroti, 39

Occupation: Office Manager for Ninyo & Moore

Years in Oro Valley: 8 years in Oro Valley, 34 years total in Tucson.

About yourself:

I believe in cooperation amongst all parties concerned and would like to play an integral part of the future of our community. I love the Tucson Metropolitan area and definitely love the Town of Oro Valley. This is a great place to raise a family and I can’t ever see myself moving from here. 

Why are you running for Town Council?

Being involved in the community in some capacity to me is a very important aspect of adding value and giving back.  

What can you provide that other candidates cant?

The things that my education and experience bring to Town Council would be to further diversify the council and allow us to make informed decisions for the future. I have been a resident of the metropolitan area since 1978 and have seen many changes.  Combined with my background in environmental science and professional experience in public works projects I would assist fellow councilmembers with future growth.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.

The responsibilities of the council are diverse and they are faced with numerous challenges. Decisions by the council should be reflected upon with historic data evaluated to determine their level of success. By understanding decisions and reviewing the actual impact of decisions allows councils to move forward with the Town’s best interests.

Do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions, and eventual approval?

There are always tough decisions to be made as a councilmember, especially budgetary. All stakeholder views within Oro Valley need to be considered while looking  towards future opportunities while reviewing historic data. 

Should the Oro Valley Library be turned over to Pima County control to save the town money? Explain.

The operations of the Oro Valley Library are a discussion for the current Town Council and will likely be completed prior to the next council’ s tenure.

Are you in favor of more apartment complexes being built in Oro Valley? Explain

Each development project presented to the Town needs to be reviewed on a case by case basis. These projects must be reviewed to determine if they coincide with the Towns General Plan and zoning requirements. Im interested in building a community that continues to be the leader in the region and all projects are developed to that standard.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly? Explain your answer.

The business owners of Oro Valley represent a voice within our community just as every resident of the Town. Since we continue to be the premier location in southern Arizona for living, we need to address the concerns of all our community members. Business conditions are ever changing and I will be an accessible and open member of the community, I will be open to hearing the constraints of the current and potential business owners in Oro Valley. 

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community? Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?

Our Town will be faced with numerous requests for future commercial and residential growth. Part of this growth will be due to the fact that our Town is not only headed in the right direction, but will continue to be a leader of communities in Arizona. If the conditions are right and favorable, I will explore and understand all stakeholder views and make an informed decision at that time for that particular project.


Steve Solomon, 59

Occupation:  Councilman, Consultant, Builder (semi-retired)

Years in Oro Valley:18

About yourself:

I moved to Tucson to attend the U of A in 1970. With a graduate degree in Astrophysics, I taught college classes, and was a Program Manager supporting the Air Force Space Division’s Advance Projects and Long Range Planning.  I formed and operated Canada Vistas, a small business specializing in responsible development and building in Oro Valley during which time I preserved and donated the 13-acre Honey Bee Village Archaeological Preserve .  I have served on many Town volunteer committees, and was appointed to the Town Council in June 2010.

Why are you running for Town Council?

Since taking office in June 2010 along with the new Town Council, we have positively and proactively worked together for the benefit of our Town and its citizens. I wish to continue the forward-moving direction and successes of this Council.

What can you provide that other candidates can’t?

I have a solid track record of many positive accomplishments since my appointment to the Council in 2010.  I have more than 16 years experience running a small business in Oro Valley. During that time I acquired real-life expertise in quality and responsible Oro Valley development and land use issues, which is a major part of many Council decisions. 

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.

“9” Since May 2010 the new Council has balanced the budget without compromising Town services, ensured our high standard of public safety, fully funded our roads, obtained sustainable funding for Coyote Run, enacted new positive development standards and processes, started a comprehensive economic development program, and worked to attract new businesses and jobs to Oro Valley.

Do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions, and eventual approval?

Yes.  In spite of inheriting a $2.6 Million deficit, during a several month open public budget process, we produced a stable balanced budget through a combination of cuts, improved efficiencies, innovations and a very small utility tax increase ($5 per home a month.) Other than sales tax, the Utility tax is the only Oro Valley tax. Our Coyote Run ADA & Senior transportation service was in jeopardy when State funding was cut. I initiated an agreement with the RTA that provides sustainable funding for this critical Town owned and operated service, ensuring its future while lowering costs.

Should the Oro Valley Library be turned over to Pima County control to save the town money? Explain.

As a Life Time Charter Member of our Library I believe its future is of the utmost importance. Our current intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the County ends this year and will be under review by the Council and public. I am confident that when the facts and citizen desires are considered we will find a solution that protects the integrity of our Library.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly? Explain your answer. 

Oro Valley has had a reputation of being business unfriendly. The new Council has worked diligently to reach out to our business community to achieve a fair balance between community and business needs. Our approval of temporary “A” frame signs has greatly helped our businesses increase sales. These Oro Valley businesses provide local services, jobs and tax revenues that pay for 47% of our Town’s operating expenses.

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community? Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?

The new Council has implemented several major processes to ensure proper future growth.  These include the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Ordinance, an improved process of public input and review of new developments, and new comprehensive Development and Architectural Standards. These will ensure that future growth and development are responsible and meet our community values.  I believe our strategic plan needs a thorough review and update.


Mike Zinkin, 66

Occupation: Retired after 30 years as an Air Traffic Controller and an Air Traffic Supervisor

Years in Oro Valley:14

About yourself:

I like to keep my mind and body busy while trying to provide assistance to my community. Since moving to Oro Valley, after retirement, I have been active in both my neighborhood HOA and Community HOA.  I have continued my avocation of sports officiating (over 40 years), been a Town volunteer serving on the Development Review Board, the Board of Adjustment, and a member of the Steam Pump Ranch Task Force. 

Why are you running for Town Council?

I believe there needs to be a more balanced approach on the Council in governing the affairs of Oro Valley.   I do not think the Citizens of Oro Valley currently have enough say in guiding the Town in which they live.  For example, desires were placed ahead of needs when the Utility Tax was increased without first attempting to find areas of unnecessary spending within the budget.  I will provide the balance and voice the Citizens need.

What can you provide that the other candidates can’t?

I have a wealth of experience and training in the Town functions.  As mentioned above, I have served on two Town Boards, and a Town Task Force, attended the Citizen Planning Institute, and had League of Cities and Towns training. I am very familiar with the Oro Valley Zoning Codes, the General Plan, and the Town’s Strategic Implementation Program. I have worked with the Police Chief establishing a resolution allowing for Police protection on private streets. I can work under pressure and can meet deadlines. I understand the budget process thoroughly.   I have already established a working relationship with the Town’s staff  and can “hit the ground running.”

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.

 I would give them a 4.  The Council has not yet diminished services in the Town, which is good.  However, the Council has not exercised prudent fiscal responsibility nor have they made all their decisions with the welfare of the Citizens paramount in their thinking.  I believe that the majority of the Council does an excellent job of meeting the desires of the Special Interests at the expense of the interest of the Citizens.

Do you agree with how the current Town Council managed the 2011-2012 budget discussions, and eventual approval?

 If the Council had mandated that the Town Managers/Directors separated their wants from their needs, there would not have been a need for doubling the Utility Tax.  Councilman Garner gave a comprehensive 20 page presentation showing many ways in which the budget could have been trimmed, only to be chastised by the Mayor.  There were Study Sessions that should not have been cancelled.  Creating a budget during a recession is difficult, because you have to tell your Department Heads to do more with less. A better approach would be a “zero based” budget and mandate that all Department Heads justify every penny they request.  The Council should then adjudicate between those requests.  Currently there remains a multitude of areas where the Town expenses could be significantly reduced.

Should the Oro Valley Library be turned over to Pima County control to save the town money? Explain 

The library costs the Town about $600,000.  This is in addition to the over $2 million the county receives in Library District revenues from your property tax bill.  The dilemma is that the Citizens have rated the service provided by the library as being the highest of any department in the Town. (Even higher than the Police Dept.)  Until a more equitable Intergovernmental Agreement can be negotiated with Pima County, we can still afford to supplement the Library, if we eliminate all unneeded expenditures from the budget. If the time came when we had cut all unneeded expenses, and we still needed to cut more money to balance the budget, then we would have to take a hard look at how services would be affected if we turned the Library over to Pima County.  I would mandate that the Citizens be involved in making this decision.

When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly, or business friendly? Explain 

The current Council has done everything to assist business in these difficult economic times.  They have moved the citizen Development Board to the initial stage of the development process, and have amended the sign code to allow for more permissive signage.  If business still needs additional relief from our codes, it might be possible to provide further relief by temporarily suspending portions of our Codes that they advise are a hindrance.  Having said that, there is nothing wrong with Oro Valley Codes, as they have provided the environment that has made Oro Valley the community in which we chose to live.  The economy is what is unfriendly to business, not Oro Valley. Until the economy improves, we should listen to the business community and do all that is necessary to assist them without lowering our standards.

What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in the Oro Valley community?  Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan? 

Until the economy improves, I do not foresee a lot of additional growth anywhere, including Oro Valley.  What we need to do is maintain our standards, because those high standards are a significant reason most people moved to Oro Valley.  I do not want to see Tangerine Road look like Speedway Blvd. for the sake of a quick buck.  The Strategic Implementation Plan, and its companion document, the General Plan, have been written and ratified by the voters.  We need to follow the guidelines set forth in those documents.

 


 

 

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