Freshmen members of Paradise Valley Town Council talk priorities

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

Paradise Valley Town Council will welcome two freshman members this January as Scott Moore and Julie Pace won their election bids at the August 2016 primary election.

The Town of Paradise Valley Independent asked both incoming members of council what priorities they will have as calendar year 2017 rapidly approaches.

This is what they had to say:

Julie Pace

•What is your No. 1 priority for the Town of Paradise Valley as we move into calendar year 2017?

Julie Pace

Preserving our town’s quality of life and heritage and ensuring public safety and police support are high priorities for me, and I am excited to serve as a new council member to tackle issues and thank everyone for their support. I have been actively involved in preserving the character of McDonald Drive when the bicycle consultants had proposed removing the center turn lane and impacting the landscaped medians on McDonald with no notice sent to those neighbors. We need good pedestrian connections and to address bicycle uses appropriately.

That includes distinguishing between long distance bicycling versus casual, local use and determining solutions to address safety and the numerous complaints about bicyclists not following the laws and jeopardizing themselves, residents and visitors. Also, it is crucial that we preserve our mountain vistas, including iconic Camelback Mountain. SaveCamelback.org is committed to preserving Camelback just like our revered Sen. Barry Goldwater did in his time.

And, we need to effectively incorporate an increased engineering role to ensure safety and to effectively address drainage to ensure our high quality of life for so many in our town. We must continue the police department’s beneficial communications campaign about security tips and information to protect residents. Residents are part of the equation to make neighborhoods safe.

•Is there anything you would like to see the town accomplish in the new year?

There are many items to accomplish, but one item that could improve the beautification of our town is to adopt design standards for mountain and stone screening around the many ugly and naked utility boxes existing in visible locations throughout our town. There are no reasons for such eyesores and our town is a tourist gem for many who come here from throughout the country and the world. We can do better and set the standards for utility companies to incorporate in our town.

I have advocated for the town to have regular meetings with the utility companies to address this item, as well as coordinating infrastructure and repairs to the streets so we do not replace a new street only to see that the various utility companies failed to coordinate on timing and missed their project deadlines, resulting in utility companies destroying sections of a brand new street because they missed the deadline to put in their respective cabling, wiring, or lines before the street was under repair.

And, we need to be talking with the utility companies about their new proposal to take rights of way. We can build a better partnership with the utility companies to accomplish these and additional goals to improve the quality of life in our town.

•What are some things coming down the pike our readers should know about?

Our town is a beautiful and special place and we are all excited to celebrate the new resorts that will be opening soon including Andaz, Mountain Shadows and the Ritz-Carlton, while enjoying our current gorgeous resorts and restaurants that are also undergoing improvements and are such a special part of the vibrant tapestry of our town. Some items we will be addressing include:

1)  the town’s alarm monitoring system and its effectiveness for our community;

2)  the deficient cell phone coverage that is adversely impacting our residents;

3)  the new police communications tower that will be operable in the summer;

4)  finding a streamlined and fair solution to the exorbitant and unfair Phoenix sewer charges that impact 900 residents;

5)  monitoring finances and expenses and continuing to pay down the pension liability to save millions in interest expenses;

6)  development of a welcome package that educates new residents about security, dark sky, permitting process, and tips from the town;

7)  new better visibility street signs are going up and was funded by federal dollars;

8)  building stronger relationships with our Legislature and Governor Ducey to preserve our yown’s qualify of life, as we are a beacon for the state by doing many things right, including keeping costs low, utilizing volunteers, preserving open space and scenic mountain vistas and serving as a unique gem for visitors; and

9) working with stakeholders at the Legislature and throughout the state to address the proposal to change construction sales tax to a point of sale transaction, as opposed to the location to where the construction occurs, to ensure an equitable solution so the town continues with the historic status quo of receiving approximately $3 million a year in tax revenue and monitoring that a windfall does not occur for others trying to grab these tax revenues.

Working together we will build an even stronger sense of community and increase communications with and participation of our residents to ensure the heritage of our town.

Scott Moore

•What is your No. 1 priority for the Town of Paradise Valley as we move into calendar year 2017?

I’m committed to working with the incoming council in keeping public safety its No. 1 priority. We have hired additional officers, implemented technology to improve our communications and continue to invest in additional infrastructure.

Scott Moore

Protecting and preserving Paradise Valley’s exceptional quality of life and its unique residential character is so important to everyone.

The extraordinary mountains that encompass our large residential lots and our quality resort developments makes this one of the finest places to live. Protecting our mountains and ensuring responsible development and public safety is a high priority.

As I finish out my role as a Planning Commissioner, many of the quality of life issues we have been tasked by the last council to work on are close to being presented back to the council. Visually significant corridors, pedestrian and bicycle connectivity and pathways, cell phone coverage and updates to the Hillside Code are just a few examples of what the council will be working on this next calendar year.

I find it exciting and a unique opportunity to be able to see them through first as a Planning Commissioner and now working with my fellow council Members. I look forward to the public giving input at these upcoming meetings

•Is there anything you would like to see the town accomplish in the new year?

Thanks to our voters passing Proposition 499 that allows for a permanent adjustment to the expenditure base, we can use these revenues to pay for police services, quality of life projects, sewer projects, roadway maintenance and other associated capital improvement projects.

The town also faces an $18 million unfunded public safety pension liability. Recent legislation has fixed the pension structure moving forward, but the town will continue to be assessed 8 percent each year until the outstanding balance is paid. Our council’s continued intent to accelerate the pay down of the town’s public safety pension liabilities will save the residents over $11 million in interest alone.

•What are some things coming down the pike our readers should know about?

It’s an exciting time for our town with the recent remodeling, ongoing development and opening of some amazing resorts! I have been visiting our resorts and I’m very excited to see what’s coming.

We are committed to finding solutions to our poor cell phone coverage. Because of the community’s geography and land-use patterns, traditional macro cell sites are limited within town limits. Sloping hillsides and mountains create challenges to the quality of cell phone coverage and how that service can be improved.

SB 1350 has gut the ability for local municipalities to regulate short-term vacation rentals outside of commercially zoned resort or hotel establishments within city and town limits.

Senate Bill 1350, sponsored by Arizona Senate Majority Whip Debbie Lesko (R), goes into effect at the end of calendar year 2016 and restricts local cities and towns from being able to regulate or restrict the use of vacation rentals or short-term rentals within municipal boundaries.

The town is working to bring these rentals into compliance with town laws that are consistent with the new state statute. Noise and once again public safety are a priority.

I look forward to meeting with the entire incoming council to find solutions to these issues and many other agenda items coming this year. We will be having a council retreat after the first of the year and plan to hit the ground running. I’m all about protecting our quality of life. I’m excited both working with the council and the town staff.

And I’m most excited hearing from and working with all of you, our town residents.

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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