Paradise Valley leaders pinpoint short- and long-term municipal priorities

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley. (File photo)

Paradise Valley Town Hall is at 6401 E. Lincoln Drive in the Town of Paradise Valley. (File photo)

As the Paradise Valley Town Council is set to emerge from its summertime slumber later this month, top officials at Town Hall say resort redevelopment is the current fiscal year focus while concerns of preparing for future financial obligations begin to loom.

Paradise Valley Town Council is set to reconvene from its annual break 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10 at Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Drive.

“Last year was all about putting a new senior staff leadership team in place and providing them with the tools necessary to effectively execute the policy directives of this current Town Council,” said Paradise Valley Mayor Michael Collins in a Sept. 3 written response to e-mailed questions.

Kevin Burke

Kevin Burke

“The next year will be more about ensuring that this new staff leadership team is productive and working aggressively and diligently toward achieving those goals and objectives that the Town Council has outlined for them.”

Paradise Valley Town Manager Kevin Burke says for this fiscal year, his office is identifying resort redevelopment and advancing the municipality’s push for a resort recognition program, supporting the advisory committee on public safety and introducing a citizen-satisfaction initiative.

“Resort development/redevelopment issues are the predominant work item at this time,” he said Aug. 31. “Ritz-Carlton and the associated residential and retail developments are being reviewed. Mountain Shadows resort hotel is being reviewed for building permits and the condo-hotel site plan requires a managerial review.”

Mr. Burke says aside from projects coming through Town Hall, council objectives are beginning to come to fruition while new administrative process are being defined.

“I am also spending a fair amount of time advancing council goals like the resort recognition program, the advisory committee on public safety, introducing a citizen satisfaction initiative, participating in selection of a consultant for our stormwater drainage studies, starting negotiations on a new sewer IGA with Scottsdale, procuring assistance with our GIS program, IT strategic Plan, and overhauling our purchasing system.”

Mr. Burke says he expects watershed studies, sewer fund allocations and the proposed Ritz-Carlton project to dominate council’s workload later this month.

Short vs. long

Mayor Collins says an initial focus for this fiscal year will be ensuring quality and efficient services for residents of Paradise Valley.

Michael Collins

Michael Collins

“This year we will concentrate on measuring our new senior staff’s performance to ensure that the residents are receiving quality and efficient services,” he explained. “This year staff and Council will work on developing organization-wide strategic plans with goals and performance metrics that accurately measure and track the quality of services being provided to town residents. We have very high expectations of our new senior staff leadership team.”

Mayor Collins agrees resort redevelopment is priority No. 1 as the Town Council returns.

“In the short term we need to complete our resort development and revitalization projects,” he said. “These projects will position us for success and a high quality of life in those neighborhoods for many years to come.”

Conversely, the financial picture of Paradise Valley remains undefined, Mayor Collins says. A big challenge facing the town: Paying down debt and future obligations.

“In the long term, you can’t provide or sustain quality services and infrastructure to town residents without the financial ability to pay for it,” he said of long-term concerns developing.

“The town is in excellent short-term financial health, but long-term pension obligations remain a cloud over our heads and we have reached the ceiling of a decade’s old expenditure level. Our Town Council will continue to pay down our long-term pension obligations with current revenues, but eventually we will need new long-term revenue sources to sustain the range and quality of services that residents demand and deserve. An increase in the town’s expenditure limitation will be necessary and the Council hopes for robust public discussion and feedback on these issues in the forthcoming council session.”

The town has a number of options to consider, Mayor Collins says.

“The council will review several options to address our long-term financial challenges, but it’s too early to tell which course of action the council will choose,” he said.

“But residents can rest assured that I will not support any increase in sales tax or a levy of a local property tax based on conditions as they exist today. I remain committed to implementing the directives of our voter-approved 2012 General Plan, which looks to resort redevelopment and its associated increases in bed and sales tax revenues as the primary long-term financial solution.”

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

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