By Paul Dembow | Point of View
I want to thank the residents of the Town of Paradise Valley for allowing me serve on Town Council for the last 12 years.
I’m proud of my service and I know that the town is in a better place than when I started. While progress is sometimes not as visible as one would like, there have been a lot of improvements over my tenure.
When I was first elected, the documents for each meeting, pounds of paper, would be delivered to each council member’s home by staff. Now it’s electronic. If you wanted to watch a meeting your only option was to come to Town Hall. Now you can watch on your phone from wherever you are.
The Paradise Valley Municipal Court was inside Town Hall. Now it has its own building with security.
Our plan for road maintenance was fix it when it fails. We now have the highest street ratings in the Valley, and we maintain them at a lower cost.
We didn’t have a Capital Improvement Plan. Council members picked what projects they liked. It wasn’t based on a professionally managed list of our assets. Now we know what projects are coming down the line, and we can plan without politics.
With our public services money Town Council members used to pick which charities they liked, not necessarily charities that help our residents. We now have an independent committee to select the charities that best serve our town residents.
Police didn’t have computers in their cars. They would have to call in to the station with information on drivers and license plates. We now have state-of-the-art police technology in our vehicles.
Our police radios didn’t work in some parts of town. Now we have a state-of-the-art all emergency services radio tower. We had a failing alarm monitoring system that’s been replaced with a stronger system with redundancy, so it won’t go down.
A letter of gratitude in service to the Town of Paradise Valley
We were spending over $2 million dollars a year on interest alone because the Public Safety Personal Retirement System was underfunded. Now we’re paid up and can use that money for capital projects.
We have License Plate Readers that alert us when a vehicle enters our town that we should know about.
We’ve gained major traction working with the state to get the legislation to help us rein in short term rentals. We worked with the Arizona legislature and ATRA to help us have a fire services fee to cover the huge hole in our annual budget that was created when we partnered with the Phoenix Fire Department.
I have a mantra: “All of us are smarter than one of us.”
We have so many smart, successful, talented, and engaged residents who enjoy volunteering, and a “fix” or “help” is always only a phone call away. Our residents are what give us the deepest bench of any city or town when it comes to problem solving. Most significantly we have upgraded our staff to the highest level of professionals. They make this town shine.
I wish the next council all the best. You’re under great leadership with Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner at the helm.
Anna Thomasson’s persona and knowledge are a benefit and she, during her role as vice mayor, certainly has teed up the next council for success.
Scott Moore has a depth of knowledge of town code and development that has helped the council make decisions many times.
Mark Stanton’s connections to the tourist industry is a perfect fit for the one industry we have in our town.
Christine Labelle, I congratulate you! I think your fresh view will energize the next Town Council.
The Town of Paradise Valley is in great shape.
It has been my honor, thank you.
Editor’s note: Mr. Dembow is a member of Paradise Valley Town Council who has served the Town of Paradise Valley for 12 consecutive years being elected to Town Council 3 consecutive terms.