Elected leaders of Paradise Valley discuss municipal focus of 2016

A view of an entryway into the Town of Paradise Valley along Tatum Boulevard. (File photo)

A view of an entryway into the Town of Paradise Valley along Tatum Boulevard. (File photo)

As elected leaders in the Town of Paradise Valley look to establish goals for calendar year 2016, members of the local governing board say new resort development and redevelopment, public safety projects and better communication between municipality and resident will dominate Town Hall conversation in the new year.

Paradise Valley Town Council members interviewed agree on major points of focus for calendar year 2016 while one absolute endeavor remains clear: The maintaining of limited government and increased transparency.

Two members of Paradise Valley Town Council outlined their focus for calendar year 2016 for the Town of Paradise Valley Independent newspaper, what they believe is the most pressing issue facing the municipality and what their constituents can expect from their leadership on the local dais.

Paul Dembow

Paradise Valley Vice Mayor Paul Dembow says his main focal point initially in calendar year 2016 is resort development and the development agreement that will help ensure continued community prosperity.

Paul Dembow

Paul Dembow

“Without question, getting the Five Star/Ritz Carlton deal right is the most pressing issue the council will face in 2016,” he pointed out in a Jan. 6 written response to e-mailed questions.

“The density of the project and the revenues from the project are both critical, if we get either of those wrong, the town will be saddled with the effects forever. The current density proposed on 99 acres is almost identical to that of The Camelback Inn, The Andaz (former Cottonwoods), Mountain Shadows (when fully constructed), Sanctuary and the Scottsdale Plaza Resort all put together in one single location.”

The sheer magnitude of the Ritz-Carlton project forces the resort development project to the top of the list of priorities for Vice Mayor Dembow, he says.

“These five resorts are spread out all over our town and over a land mass that is more than two and a half times the size of the Five Star property,” he said. “I’m considering the impact of all of that density in one small area and what that will do to traffic in our town near the resort and to the roads that pass through our town. Also, the resort revenue replacement plan needs to be ‘right’ so we have sustainable revenues to replace the resorts that are not going to be built on the property.”

Vice Mayor Dembow outlined three points of focus he will have in 2016, which are:

  • Finalizing the Ritz-Cartlon development agreement with Five Star Development;
  • The construction of the public safety communications tower;
  • Ensuring the full implementation of new police technology equipment and software.

Serving at the pleasure of residents is something Vice Mayor Dembow aims to continue in calendar year 2016, he says.

“I was elected to represent our residents, so I need to hear from them and actively reach out to them,” he explained.

“I serve at their pleasure and know the best way to keep residents satisfied with my performance is to understand what residents want, and to keep the communications open so residents understand and engage in the issues facing council.”

Constituents can expect more of the same from Vice Mayor Dembow in 2016, he contends.

“Open honest leadership, with one ear on the train track to hear what’s coming,” he said. “Always with a smile and positive mental attitude. I firmly believe that some times the only choice you have is a choice in attitude, so make the choice to be positive. I will always be agreeable, even if we disagree.”

Jerry Bien-Willner

Paradise Valley Councilman Jerry Bien-Willner says his main goal for calendar year 2016 will be to maintain the character of the close-knit, affluent community.

Jerry Bien-Willner

Jerry Bien-Willner

“Maintaining the status and character of our great town is always a primary concern, and will continue to be an important issue in 2016,” he said in a Jan. 6 written response to e-mailed questions.

“I hope to continue to work on behalf of our residents with my fellow members of Council and with town staff to make our town government as responsive, open and effective as possible, while working within our ‘limited government’ model.”

Councilman Bien-Willner contends quality of life is a commodity he and his fellow residents want to see managed in the new year.

“I will be focused on working to maintain our high quality of life in Paradise Valley, which includes concentrating on land use and zoning, as well as public safety,” he said. “I have heard from many residents throughout the year, and based upon those communications I believe that preserving the Town’s unique character and continuing to improve the Town’s outreach efforts and openness are important issues.”

An open and transparent Paradise Valley municipal government is one Councilman Bien-Willner aims to ensure in 2016, he says.

“I will continue to do the best job I can for our Town and its residents, and I will remain available for comments, questions and concerns — it is an honor and a privilege to serve,” he said.

North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at 623-445-2774 or at tthornton@newszap.com

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