City/Town Born: Elmont, NY
Significant Other and Children: Wife and two adult children
Education: BS Astronomy, Masters (all PHD work completed) Astrophysics
Job History: College Science & Math Teacher, Scientific support USAF Space Division, Real Estate Development, Home Builder
Volunteer Experience: Various Oro Valley Committees, Guest Instructor Oro Valley Planning Institute, Council Member
How long have you lived in Oro Valley, and why did you move here?
I have lived and owned a small business in Oro Valley for 25 years. My wife and I moved here to raise our children in a safe and beautiful community.
What do you appreciate about the community?
Its safety, friendliness and small-town feel where neighbors know and care about each other.
Why are you running for another term of office?
I am running for re-election because the residents of Oro Valley deserve a councilperson who represents their wants and needs, who will advocate for transparency and who will carry out their vision for the community. I believe all residents have the right to be heard and represented; that's what I was elected to do in 2016 and that is what I will continue to do.
Why should residents vote for you?
I have a proven track record of leading our Town, solving complex problems and preparing for the future. As a strong advocate for the Oro Valley Police Department, I have always ensured that OVPD has had the proper funding to keep Oro Valleythe safest town in Arizona. I championed efforts forming the successful Oro Valley Dial-A-Ride program, and put in place policies that ensure the Town’s growth is done in a smart and responsible manner to protect our beautiful open space and preserve our native vegetation. I have the proven experience to help lead our Town through our current difficult and uncertain times.
What goals do you hope to accomplish during your second term?
Help our residents and businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19. As a long time Oro Valley small business owner, I know what businesses need to help them recover and thrive through this difficult time so that they can continue providing the community with our needed services, employment opportunities and revenue. I will continue our town’s financial success through conservative spending while ensuring Oro Valley remains the safest town and provides the best services in Arizona. I will work to improve our community center and golf and preserve the closed Vistoso Golf course as open and recreational space for our community.
What are Oro Valley’s greatest strengths and how would you maintain them?
Our greatest strength is being the safest town in Arizona, which is why most residents choose to live here. As a strong advocate for the Oro Valley Police Department, I have always ensured that OVPD has had the proper funding to keep Oro Valley the safest Town in Arizona, including funds necessary for hiring needed additional officers earlier this year. This along with my insistence on the selection of a very highly qualified internal police chief has allowed our continued outstanding safety during the COVID-19 crisis and into the future.
What are Oro Valley’s weaknesses and how would you alter and/or improve them?
A vibrant community is a growing community. A healthy town is one where its residents have access to local restaurants, shops, entertainment and employment jobs. This is both convenient and generates the sales taxes that fund our town services. Oro Valley is nearly built out and effectively land locked greatly limiting new business, services, jobs and opportunities. Stagnation is a real possibility and not a pleasant one. Fortunately, this can be alleviated by well thought out annexations of developed and undeveloped areas on our Town’s boundaries that will result in new businesses and net positive increases in sales tax revenues.
If reelected, what steps would you take to maintain or improve the town’s financial position?
Upon first taking office, our town was faced with a $3 million shortfall due to the great recession. I supported efforts to control spending and balanced the budget while maintaining the town’s quality services. During my time on council I helped guide the town to financial success with $ 2 million-plus annual surpluses, the growth of the town’s contingency account to over $17 million and an AAA credit rating.
I will continue our conservative approach to spending within our means and maximizing the services provided for the minimum amount of dollars. The vast majority of funding for Oro Valley’s public services is through local sales taxes. To avoid unwanted new taxes, we must ensure that our sales tax base continues to grow to provide the excellent services our residents expect. This can be accomplished by expanding our retail sales base through development of new businesses, expansion of existing businesses and annexation to the South to bring into Oro Valley the large retail center at Oracle and Ina roads.
What do you believe the role of the General Plan is in relation to the work of the town council, and when (if ever) should it be amended?
This is a 10-year high-level plan describing our residents’ long-term vision of our town and what they consider our most important attributes. It also recognizes that special circumstances and changing times may necessitate amendments to this plan. It is the council’s responsibility to consider proposed amendments and if they comply with the intent of the plan and benefit our community. A major deciding factor for any amendment is that it has the support of the neighbors and residents.
How would you foster economic development and job growth within the community, and what kind of jobs do you think Oro Valley needs?
Companies that are looking at potential new and or expanded facilities consider several factors in their choice of location. A prime consideration is will they be able to attract new and existing employees to the location. These employees want a desirable and safe place for themselves and their families to live, work and play. Oro Valley must continue to offer this “desirability”. We must continue to have well planned development with open spaces, different housing choices, a wide range of local services, restaurants, entertainment and recreational opportunities (such as our parks and community center and golf). We need to continue to be the safest town in Arizona, which is of utmost importance to current and future new employees/residents.
We need to ensure that Oro Valley is business friendly, particularly compared to other communities competing for these businesses. New businesses are very concerned with the time required to open their new business in a new location. We have started to, and need to, continue to streamline the necessary reviews and approvals required while still maintaining our Town’s high standards and neighbor participation.
How do you plan to involve residents in the decision making process in the town?
Oro Valley prides itself on having a large number of active and involved residents that are involved in the decision-making process. These include our many citizen boards and commissions such as our planning and zoning commission and historic preservation commission. Oro Valley also has a robust neighbor and public input process for new developments, rezonings, annexations and other issues affecting our town. I would continue these successful processes. Additionally, I would continue to push for limiting council executive sessions that are closed to the public and instead hold discussions in open transparent public Council meetings. Executive sessions that are closed to the public and the content not disclosed should only be held when absolutely necessary for specific legal and personnel reasons.
Please give your thoughts on the proposed plans to turn the former Vistoso golf course into a permanent public space.
Open spaces and recreational spaces are very important to our community, as evidenced by resident responses in our recent parks and recreation survey. I have been actively working for a solution for the closed Vistoso Golf Course property that supports the community desires by preserving the land as recreational and open space. I led the council discussion on the various possibilities to preserve Vistoso through public private partnerships and utilizing available grants. I will continue to use my prior preservation experience when I worked with the town, Pima County, Tohono O'odham Nation, and our community to create and donate the Honeybee Village Archaeology Preserve. By working together we can achieve a similar preservation of the 208 acre Vistoso Golf course including its open space, paved walking paths, restroom facilities and archeological features to be enjoyed by our community.
What are the next steps the town should take as it approaches build-out?
There is prime State Trust land adjacent to Oro Valley on Thornydale and Tangerine Roads. It is a certainty that this land will be developed and it will impact Oro Valley and our residents. It makes sense for Oro Valley to regulate this development and to receive the tax benefits for our residents. Oro Valley should revisit the possibility of annexing this land into our town. This land would provide room for Oro Valley to grow and receive sales taxes generated by this area including ongoing sales taxes from the retail businesses that will open in this area.
What are your thoughts on current redevelopment plans of the Oro Valley Marketplace?
I fully support the transformation of the Oro Valley Marketplace into a thriving retail and entertainment town center. This is the ideal location for this project; adjacent to Oracle and Tangerine Roads and isolated from existing residential areas. The new local owners of this project will be investing and spending millions of dollars in our community to build this center. Not only will this provide wonderful new local services but also the sales tax revenue to keep Oro Valley a Place of Excellence avoiding the need for new and or higher taxes.
If you received a $1 million grant for use anywhere in Oro Valley, what would you fund?
This is not a hypothetical question. Grants for $1 million or more are actually available now from the Arizona State Parks and Trails Land and Water Conservation Fund, LWCF (not to be confused with the private nonprofit “Conservation Fund”). These grants can be used to preserve the closed Vistoso Golf course as recreational and open space. The managers of the LWCF have already visited the closed Vistoso course and determined its preservation would meet their criteria for a LWCF grant. I would use this grant money to help preserve the 208 acres, paved walking path and restroom buildings for the use of our residents.