Paradise Valley candidates say little change to be sought at Town Hall

TPV Election Art -- Muni Building

Voters will go to the Paradise Valley polls Tuesday, Aug. 30 to elect three members to town council while also electing a mayor.

Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins, who is running unopposed, is seeking re-election while four council candidates are seeking one of three seats. Paradise Valley council candidates are: Scott Moore, Julie Pace, Mark Stanton and Daran Wastchak.

To be elected at the primary, candidates must receive a majority of the total valid ballots cast. The town’s races will be consolidated with the county, state and federal races appearing on the same ballot and this year the municipality will not be holding an all-mail election, according to Town Clerk Duncan Miller.

In partnership with Cullum Homes and Rose, Moser & Allyn Public and Online Relations, the Town of Paradise Valley Independent is hosting a town council candidate forum at The Village at Mountain Shadows from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 11.

The forum will be moderated by North Valley News Editor Terrance Thornton and will feature opening statements, a debate of local topics that matter and an opportunity for audience involvement.

This week’s question-and-answer installment asks council candidates what needs to change at the Town of Paradise Valley to improve municipal operations and the quality of life for prospective constituents.

This is what they had to say:

Daran Wastchak

•What needs to improve at Town Hall and how would you make that improvement if elected?

Daran Wastchak

Daran Wastchak

Paradise Valley Town Hall has worked hard the past several years at increasing transparency and communications with residents.  This includes live streaming council and Planning Commission meetings (and posting the videos on the town website for viewing at any time) and also hosting “Community Conversations” about issues important to the town such as the new Ritz-Carlton project, storm water management, and hillside development. Town Hall must continue these great efforts and look for even more ways to improve communications with residents and improve citizen participation in the decision making process.

How will that improvement play a role in the future prosperity of the Town of Paradise Valley and serve the residents you seek to represent?

Greater communications, transparency, and citizen participation ensures that policy decisions made by the town council truly reflect the preferences and desires of our residents. As a member of the Planning Commission, it has been far easier to make decisions about development in the town when we have heard from residents, and it is important to residents to know that they have been listened to and given a fair hearing on their concerns. The Town of Paradise Valley has grown and prospered over the past 55 years because town leaders have honored our basic traditions of low density, open space, public safety, and limited government.  Continuing to honor and respect these traditions and listen carefully to what our residents say is most important to them will ensure a bright and prosperous future for the Town of Paradise Valley.

Mark Stanton

•What needs to improve at Town Hall and how would you make that improvement if elected?

Mark Stanton

Mark Stanton

In the year and a half I have served as councilman, I have been very impressed by the people who serve the public at Town Hall. Paradise Valley Town Hall is a very well-managed operation with a dedicated and professional staff, committed to the well-being of our community. Our Town Manager, Kevin Burke, has done an outstanding job leading the staff and increased efficiencies at the town, which has led to positive reforms and discussions on important topics like storm water retention and mitigation. The town council has charged the leadership at Paradise Valley Town Hall with the mission to look at new ideas and best practices with an on-going commitment to customer service.

Of course, there is always room for improvement. We should strive to do better at the municipal level and continue to work in a transparent, efficient manner. Overall, I’m quite proud of how our Town Hall operates and I look forward to continuing the solid foundation we’ve built over the past year and a half.

How will that improvement play a role in the future prosperity of the Town of Paradise Valley and serve the residents you seek to represent?

Instead of focusing on critiques, I think it is most productive to focus on action. I believe we are doing good work for the residents of Paradise Valley to maintain our outstanding quality of life and implement new public safety initiatives to keep families safe. Our focus on keeping the public involved on zoning decisions and developments, like the Ritz-Carlton, are a huge part of making sure we keep the unique community feel we experience every day in Paradise Valley.

The future prosperity of Paradise Valley is anchored in hiring and retaining the most skilled and professional staff, training them effectively and efficiently, focusing on customer service and looking to improved quality. Looking for improvements throughout the organization is good business practice and consistent with the expectations of our community and its residents. Town Hall is in business to serve the public and help enhance and protect our quality of life.

Julie Pace

•What needs to improve at Town Hall and how would you make that improvement if elected?

Julie Pace

Julie Pace

There are several steps I will take at Town Hall to improve our quality of life. First, I will work to protect the mountains.  Second, I will foster resident involvement in our town’s processes. Third, I will work on my high priority of security for our residents. Fourth, I will bring my legal experience in employment, benefits, and government contracting to benefit the town.

We need to support our resort industry and the mountain views are a reason people visit Paradise Valley. Successful resort experiences generate revenues and result in no property tax, if coupled with limited government, fiscal accountability, and a keen eye on our town’s budget.

I will continue to foster increased resident involvement in our town’s processes, as I have done this past year when I led efforts that resulted in a large increase in resident participation.

The collaborative and facilitative approach I brought led to many resident meetings and happy hours to learn and share information and identify potential solutions. I arranged meetings with the town manager and staff, as well as increasing communication among residents with our town’s boards and commissions — the people who could make a difference regarding residents’ concerns.

I encouraged town residents to utilize their skills and experience to serve by applying for boards and commissions, and they did. We provided input on quality of life issues regarding trash pick-up, enforcing the Hillside Ordinance, maintaining low density, evaluating erosion and drainage options, coordinating utility work on the streets of our town, beautifying street corners and visual corridors, addressing unattractive utility boxes, and more. This all occurred in the past year because of my leadership.

We are fortunate that we have an accessible Town Hall to provide quality resident service. Resident involvement in partnership with the town improves results.

Third, I am a big proponent of security in our town. I strongly support the efforts of our police department and Officer Kevin Albert, with his diligent community outreach, coupled with increasing technology, as critical to ensuring the safety of residents.

I arranged for a neighborhood meeting with Officer Albert who explained affordable security tools. I founded the Nextdoor email communication system for our neighborhood to help with security alerts and exchange of information among neighbors in our community, as well as encouraging residents to sign up for Code Red.
When alarms or damage occurs, I contact the police, record license plates or take photos of perpetrators. Again, actions speak louder than words, and I have taken action to support security in our town.

How will that improvement play a role in the future prosperity of the Town of Paradise Valley and serve the residents you seek to represent?

I regularly serve as a facilitator and problem solver and will work to preserve our quality of life and prosperity by:

1. Protecting the scenic beauty and mountain vistas unique to our town;

2. maximizing resident involvement;

3. increasing the exchange of information among residents as to how our town process works and accessing information and people who are the decision-makers;

4. Enhancing transparency of information;

5. Ensuring accountability of fiscal decisions;

6. Fostering success of our resorts to avoid any property tax;

7. Encouraging security technology to protect our residents;

8. Reinforcing neighbors to be connected online through Nextdoor and Code Red to receive security alerts, tips and emergency information;

9. Moving Hillside Committee concept plan review for mountainside construction before variances are considered by the Board of Adjustment;

10. Addressing drainage and erosion;

11. Providing Council-level oversight of employment, benefits and government contracting matters.

As a lawyer who represents businesses, state and local governments in employment, benefits, OSHA and government contracting matters, I can ask questions and focus on issues reducing the town’s risk of liability and curtailing costs.

I am a collaborator and problem solver and have worked under five mayors to make a difference on municipal planning, zoning, design, and execution for more than a decade and can bring my experience and grassroots outreach to our Town to preserve our quality of life!

Scott Moore

•What needs to improve at Town Hall and how would you make that improvement if elected?

Scott Moore

Scott Moore

I believe Paradise Valley residents benefit from a well-run town government and a town council that is dedicated to protecting our quality of life. With that said, there’s always room for improvement, and I believe the best way we can improve our town’s government is by working to get more residents involved in issues important to our community. We have made great strides as a town in communicating with our residents and engaging them on key issues, but I believe more can be done to encourage residents to weigh in and provide their expertise.

As a Planning Commissioner, I have seen tremendous participation from our residents as we worked through the Ritz-Carlton. While serving as a Board of Adjustment member, there were times we would experience large turnouts of public participation. I would continue that enthusiasm and work with my fellow council members to expand our communication to our residents, and would encourage residents to make sure their voices are heard more often.

How will that improvement play a role in the future prosperity of the Town of Paradise Valley and serve the residents you seek to represent?

Our town is full of people who have an extraordinary amount of expertise and have been successful in their careers and lives. The more individuals participate in town government, the more expertise comes to the table in making sure we protect our quality of life, promote fiscal responsibility, enhance public safety and ensure responsible development.

As we work through the Quality of Life Initiatives, public participation from our residents is key in furthering our goal of maintaining and improving the Paradise Valley quality of life. The more we work with our residents to make decisions that protect our community’s interests, everyone wins and our town government will be more responsive and effective.

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