Bien-Willner: A focused renewed, a look forward at Paradise Valley Town Hall

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The nights are cooling down, and the days are not quite as long.

Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newsmedia)

Some of us have celebrated the summer here, while many of us have sought cooler climates or ventured to special places near and far with family or friends. School has started.

And, after activity at Town Hall in June, July and August by our hardworking staff and important engagement from your Town Council over the summer, we are back in session, on our regular schedule, and moving forward.

Last week at our first official, regular meeting back --- we held two limited public meetings over the summer, one to help address a roadway question related to the Five Star development projects, the other to successfully amend our ordinances to allow for construction of important cell phone infrastructure.

I gave public remarks outlining some goals and objectives for the next few months. I wanted to share some of those remarks with you so that you know about some of our latest plans.

We have a lot to look forward to this term.

In furtherance of our top and unwavering priorities of public safety, excellent quality of life in our exceptional residential community, limited, accountable, and open government that does not require a property tax to balance budgets and provide quality services, and maintaining beneficial relationships with our resorts, schools, religious institutions and neighboring communities, last year we established some excellent goals and objectives.

As I reported to you at the end of last term, I am so pleased we have already accomplished many of the goals we set. For this term, in addition to our regular “operational” activities, some of our goals that are in progress or we will start working on will include:

  • Continuing to Support the Preservation of our Mountains and Natural Open Spaces (An update on some of these efforts was recently published in the Independent; more exciting news on this soon).
  • Working with our professional staff to continuously improve the town’s communications to citizens and stakeholders, and fostering opportunities for meaningful citizen and stakeholder input and engagement.
  • Exploring the development of a voluntary Resident “Mediation Program” to assist neighbors in resolving issues cooperatively.
  • Continued Enhancement of our Town’s Volunteer Board Procedures and Training.
  • Examining the Council’s rules and policies to ensure we keep current with best practices.
  • The formalization of the town’s Legislative Recognition Program, to continue to show appreciation to those lawmakers at the regional, state, and federal level who support the town’s values and objectives.

In addition to these council-approved agenda topics that have carried over from last term, I asked the council for support on a few other fronts that are relatively modest in time commitment and resource commitment, but that I believe are very important and impactful:

  1. I have asked our schools and community members to refer to us young people who have made positive contributions in our town. This includes academics, athletics, civic service and other “good deeds.” It is a great honor for me to turn over the duty of leading the Town Council in the pledge of allegiance to these amazing young community members at our public meetings so that the council and the public can recognize them for their achievements.
  2. Also, with the council’s support, I will be looking to focus on enhancing safety, as well as communication, relationships and the sense of community by hosting a periodic forum with the public and private schools in our town. We all recognize the importance of education and community, and I feel that we can do even more to help create meaningful connections among the schools, the town, and our community members.
  3. Last, but certainly not least, the town’s hard-working and excellent professional staff achieve so much for us all. But, to stay on top we must always continue to push ourselves and foster excellence. This is why we will be finding new ways to both enhance and recognize customer service, innovation, and cost savings in our town government.

I have spoken with Town Manager Jill Keimach about this, and we agree that there is positive opportunity in these areas, and I know the council agrees that these measures will be an important ingredient for the Town’s continued success and excellence. Stay tuned.

Thanks for the privilege of serving as your Mayor, and here’s to making this the best year yet for the Town of Paradise Valley!

As always, I can be reached at jbienwillner@paradisevalleyaz.gov.

Editor’s note: Mr. Bien-Willner is mayor of the Town of Paradise Valley

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