LeMarr: take the time & get Paradise Valley single-hauler done

One of the great honors of my life was serving as the mayor of Paradise Valley.

Scott LeMarr

And, during my tenure one of my proudest accomplishments was the unanimous approval to revitalize the moribund Mountain Shadows site.

It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was probably the most difficult land use entitlement case any of us on that town council did go through, or could ever go through.

There was substantial opposition. Because of it, or in spite of it perhaps, we took our time. We listened to the public. We didn’t give up.

I bring this up now because while community trash service isn’t Mountain Shadows I think we can learn from its process and result. First, let’s be honest about the way Paradise Valley handles its garbage disposal.

Libertarians may love it but it is an outlier. The vast majority of communities in Arizona and around the country have a competitive bid process to select a single provider because of benefits associated with cost and quality of life.

That doesn’t mean Paradise Valley has to be like other communities in this regard. But there’s nothing wrong with considering it either. Like is happening now.

I don’t feel that strongly one way or another about the plan. But I do feel strongly that since we are debating the approach let’s use the energy, passion, effort and options to strike a policy that well serve the community.

I know we can get there.

Compromise is not a dirty word, especially if it leads to a good new policy supported by even a supermajority of our council. I think that’s a good goal on any significant “lifestyle” changes in town.

Shortchanging the public with a rushed hearing on Jan. 25 makes little sense.

This was largely presented and discussed over the holidays and the town’s website has even struggled to present sufficient information. It doesn’t matter to me if the plan is approved or rejected. The process is being rushed. Furthermore, it looks like it will be a close voter, either way.

Can’t we do better?

Can’t we aim higher with a collaborative plan that achieves much of the benefits of a single-hauler system while still maintaining some choice among providers too?

I think this is achievable, especially because I know many of the talented people involved in all facets of the discussion.

Once upon a time many said Mountain Shadows would never be approved. It was too complicated. Too divisive. Yet, we worked though it, with a deliberate, thoughtful approach.

I hope our town council will take this approach now. We don’t need to snatch defeat from the jaws of a compromise victory. And, we don’t need to kick the garbage can down the road as too many councils before have done.

Now is the time and this is how our town will best be served rather than see one side or the other win (another) closely contested issue that leaves too many upset rather than bringing people together for our common good.

Editor’s note: Mr. LeMarr is a resident of the Town of Paradise Valley and former mayor of the community

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