Bien-Willner: The Town of Paradise Valley is in a league of our own

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Over the summer, our Town Council is on “recess” and not scheduled for regular public meetings. This is because we prefer to do the public’s business when most of our citizens are in town and able to follow what is going on and participate, if they choose.

Jerry Bien-Willner

We don’t stop working hard to advance the interests of our great town, though. We continue to stay updated and involved in town matters. And, every summer, there is also a unique and fruitful opportunity to meet with other leaders from cities and towns from around the state of Arizona.

This August, I traveled to Tucson, joined by our town manager, town attorney, and a council delegation, to attend the League of Arizona Cities and Towns annual conference. It has always been important to me to represent our town at regional venues and events over the past five years, and that will continue to be so.

Here’s why: Our participation in regional and statewide groups --- like the Maricopa Association of Governments and the league --- provides key opportunities to learn about the issues important to other communities, and to share with others our history, goals, and concerns, and to act as a springboard for collaboration with other communities with mutual interests.

--- Jerry Bien-Willner, Paradise Valley mayor

This year was no exception, as the town continues to build and gain from our relationships with other cities and towns, and with leaders from the state and federal level.

Every year, the League’s “Resolutions Committee” meets to vote on proposals supported by cities and towns that will become the subjects of further study, or for action by the League in front of the state legislature or other arenas.

The Resolutions Committee is made up of one representative from every locality, typically the mayor. I was thrilled to represent the Town of Paradise Valley both this year and last year. Of particular importance to our town this year was very robust discussion and vote by the committee to focus on combating the adverse impacts of short-term rentals.

This included a terrific dialogue about short-term rentals after the main session with a group of concerned mayors and many leaders from the Arizona legislature, including Sen. President Fann. I was glad to be able to share our experiences in the town with short-term rentals, including the frustration felt by residents who have suffered because of “party houses.”

I explained how the town has taken substantial efforts --- many of which I was proud to lead --- to prevent unreasonable noise, unruly gatherings, obstructions from street parking, and other nuisance activities from bad actors, but that we would benefit from more leeway and help from the state to allow us to be responsive to the needs and desires of our community in this area.

Many of my peers echoed these sentiments, and I’m very glad to report that these pleas appear to have resonated with leaders from the state level, with indications that more reform from the state may be on the way in the near future. I will keep working toward that goal.

--- Jerry Bien-Willner, Paradise Valley mayor

It was also great to hear from both of our U.S. Senators and Gov. Ducey, who provided their perspectives and interesting remarks to the group. Our senior staff members had a chance to meet with their counterparts, and all of us had the benefit of attending educational sessions on topics of importance to Arizona cities and towns --- including governance best practices, pension funding, water rights, and other relevant topics.

In short, it’s important for the town to stay involved in and have a steady and strong voice in regional groups --- especially given that we are a small town with a relatively small budget.

Building positive and productive relationships with other communities and leaders for the benefit of our town will continue to be a commitment and focus of mine. I appreciate the honor to serve as your mayor, and we look forward to resuming our public meetings on Sept. 12.

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

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