Mayor, council set 2019 goals

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Peoria Times Staff Writer

Mayor Cathy Carlat

Mesquite Councilmember
Bridget Binsbacher

Willow Councilmember
Jon Edwards

Palo Verde Councilmember,
Vice Mayor Michael Finn

Acacia Councilmember,
Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Hunt

Pine Councilmember
Carlo Leone

Ironwood Councilmember
Bill Patena

Mayor Cathy Carlat
Peoria was recently ranked the No. 1 City to Live in Arizona by Money Magazine. As we approach the new year, I remain dedicated to upholding Peoria’s unsurpassed standard of living.
City Council and I are working alongside staff to improve the Peoria experience and we’re excited to advance Peoria’s Livability Initiative, addressing five important categories: Efficient Transportation; Arts, Culture, and Recreation; Economic Competiveness; Healthy Neighborhoods and Smart Growth; and Superior Public Services.
For Peoria, it’s all about connectivity, commerce, and exceptional services.
We want our residents to have access to a variety of transportation services. I am excited that we’ll be introducing a Peoria circulator that will link our growing community to people, places, and regional route connections. 
We also want our residents to have access to outstanding and usable public gathering spaces. It is these spaces — like parks and music/entertainment venues, where families and friends can enjoy the shared benefits of our unique environment. I’m excited that Paloma Park will be coming on board as an amenity that will enhance the rich spirit of community in our fastest-growing area.       
I remain focused on the employment and placemaking opportunities that exist and will continue to position key areas throughout our city for economic success.
Peoria has welcomed many new businesses and we continue to add support for their success. P83 and the Vistancia Commercial Core are drawing increased interest from prospective employers, while Old Town Peoria is undergoing an incredible transformation. Most notably, the opening of the Maricopa Medical Facility in the coming year will bring key jobs and important health services, while the increased pedestrian activity will shine a light on our treasured historic district.
The city of Peoria is a remarkable community. As we continue to grow, I am committed to forward-thinking leadership that enhances the environment that Peoria residents have grown to love.

 

Mesquite Councilmember Bridget Binsbacher
As a city representative, it is my greatest pride — being able to connect with my community both as a reliable source of information and as an active and engaged listener. However, I must do more than simply listen; I must act as an agent of change. I strive to create solutions for the topics my constituents are talking about.
To affect real change, we must together, hand in hand, shape our collective future.
In the coming year, I look forward to continuing to hold town hall meetings and events that allow me to stay connected. I encourage all residents to stay up to date with what is happening in their community. My weekly newsletter and e-alerts help me to share the what, when and how of Peoria and the Mesquite District.
Based on the feedback of my constituents, I have prioritized several key initiatives for the upcoming year. Doing Business in Peoria is an initiative that was inspired by the input of Peoria business owners. As a result of this engagement, the city developed a business outreach effort giving new, changing and growing businesses an at-a-glance resource to encourage their success.
In addition, I will continue to support policy and procedural changes that improve how we welcome and serve businesses in Peoria. I will push to attract a mixed-use project in the Vistancia Commercial Corridor that will bring quality jobs, opportunity, connectivity and placemaking experiences.
Along with my fellow councilmembers, I am working to bring a circulator to Peoria. This concept is an affordable, flexible and immediate solution to meet public transportation needs beyond our existing bus routes.
Other points of emphasis for the upcoming year include sustainability, public safety, traffic management and quality of life.
What are your priorities for the upcoming year? Reach out and let me know; I am here to serve — I can be reached at bridget.binsbacher@peoriaaz.gov via email.
Stay connected; it’s what makes Peoria a great place to live.

Willow Councilmember Jon Edwards
The recent growth throughout Peoria brought us exceptionally positive changes. As a member of the Valley Metro Board of Directors, I keep close watch on transportation opportunities. By now you probably have noticed buses running along 83rd Avenue in recent months.
The new Route 83, running between Arrowhead Towne Center and Van Buren Street, has been widely popular, far more so than we projected. Students, shoppers, tourists, and many others now depend on the scheduled service that runs seven days a week. This spring we will launch a local circulator bus that will connect at the north end of the new Route 83, travel up 83rd Avenue, west on Happy Valley Road, south on Lake Pleasant Parkway, and then back to the Bell Road area. This first-class public transportation opportunity connects the entire city from north to south. First-class cities offer first-class transportation.
Redistricting happens each time a census shows adequate growth in population. The new Peoria district alignment is in place beginning with 2019. The Willow District now expands to include the neighborhoods north of Hatfield Road between 75th and 67th avenues, as well as the Fletcher Heights neighborhood south of Lake Pleasant Parkway, and the Camino A Lago neighborhood where Sunset Heights Elementary and the library are located. More information is available at https://www.peoriaaz.gov/government/mayor-and-city.../redistricting.
The new year gives us a fresh outlook. I have committed to improved communication with more constituents. Keep an eye open as I share information about budget priorities, our relationship with local schools, parks maintenance and development, road construction and more. If you would like to receive information from me via Willow E-News, Instagram, or Facebook, email me for details; www.peoriaaz.gov/willow.
 

Palo Verde Councilmember Vice Mayor Michael Finn
When I began my role as councilmember, I made a well-rounded and balanced budget my top priority. As we move into a new year, I always take the time to reflect on the past. I am happy to say that Peoria is still on a path of responsible fiscal policies that balance our spending levels with an appropriately-funded reserve.
Looking forward to the future, keeping a balanced budget in mind, I want to make sure that public safety has the tools and resources required to serve and protect our citizens. Living in a safe city, feeling secure, is a hallmark of Peoria life.
Safety is just one of many reasons why Peoria is the place to live, play and work. Money Magazine recently named the city the No.1 place to live in Arizona. Our natural beauty, cost of living, economic strength, amenities and quality of life were cited as reasons we’re in the top spot. I am proud of this ranking and I will make it a priority to keep our city’s award-winning features robust.   
In addition, I have plans for continued beautification programs in the Palo Verde District, including the painting of walls facing our arterial and collector streets and landscape improvements. These improvements will make our already beautiful district truly shine. A more recent topic on my agenda is to establish rules and regulations for the wave of electric scooters that have come to our city. I appreciate the responses and input I have received from the residents regarding this mode of transportation. We continue to study the best way to move forward and resident input will play a key role in the final decision-making process.
As I reflect on the past and look forward to the future, I feel a sense of pride. It is the residents, business, schools and employees that truly make Peoria the No. 1 place to live. I am proud to call Peoria home and humbled to serve as your representative. I welcome communication from residents regarding all topics concerning the district and city; my contact information is michael.finn@peoriaaz.gov.

Acacia Councilmember Mayor Pro Tem Vicki Hunt
I have a saying by C. S. Lewis on the wall of my home office that reads: “You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”  This pretty well defines who I am as a person and as your councilmember. I have many dreams that are also goals for 2019.  Here are a few.
Most of my goals are not “new,” but rather continuations of what I’ve been working towards since coming into office in 2002. I plan to see the continuing development of Old Town with the welcoming of thriving new businesses such as we see opening now. I will continue to encourage the arts community to thrive in our downtown, with ever-increasing musical, dramatic, and graphic arts exhibits.
I will continue to help communities come together to building active neighborhood-centric programs to make sure that our older neighborhoods provide wonderful environments in which families can thrive. These goals will include continued public safety initiatives, Neighborhood Pride events, wall-painting, street maintenance and the addition of Free Little Libraries.
I will continue to encourage our school and library projects by supporting the many Friends of the Library programs, both art and reading, that are produced at Main library in Old Town. I will push for a “maker space” that will promote STEAM projects for our young people.
I have always had an open door policy, but promise to take more advantage of electronic communications available. I will begin my City Facebook as well as continue on Instagram and LinkedIn. You can be added to my very active e-blast by calling 623-773-7328 or by emailing terri.smith@peoriaaz.gov. You will then receive notices of special events and other important activities going on in your neighborhood.
My wish for you and your family is that you have a happy and blessed 2019.  I’m so proud to be your voice in Peoria.

 

Pine Councilmember Carlo Leone
As the Pine District evolves with new homes and commercial projects, I will continue to connect developers with city staff members and residents to allow open communication and allow residents to share their thoughts and concerns. Peoria has a very dedicated staff who take great steps to assure that all current and long-range development continues to meet design and zoning standards and policies.  
Staying in touch with my constituents has always been a priority of mine and will continue that way in the New Year. I will continue to focus on building healthy neighborhoods in the Pine District, including hosting community meetings, document shredding events and family park nights. In 2019, as I always have, I will  work closely with the residents in my district to learn what is important to them.
Maintaining the streets, sidewalks and landscaping in the Pine District is a top priority of mine; it is important to maintain the beauty of Peoria.  Several of the main roads along with many residential streets in my district have received updates and improvements in 2018, and this work is scheduled to continue over the next few years.  Residents of the Pine District should feel free to reach out to my office anytime with comments, concerns, questions or ideas for how to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

 

Ironwood Councilmember Bill Patena
One of my highest priorities in the new year will be to focus on the completion of the Community Assistance Resource Center, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. Over the past several months, city staff has reached out to Peoria citizens via focus groups and online surveys to gain their opinions on the Human Service needs that they have observed in their communities. Many needs were identified, to include senior services, food insecurity, veteran support, and homelessness issues.  The Community Assistance Resource Center will provide office space and cubicles to approved nonprofit and government agencies to consult with those in need of assistance.
I feel strongly that our city of more than 172,000 residents has a great responsibility to meet the social service needs of our citizens and this center will provide these services.
As some neighborhoods in the Ironwood District reach the “25 Year” mark, I want to make sure that I am assisting residents in keeping their neighborhoods vibrant and healthy, while also maintaining their property values.  Our city departments take pride in serving the community, and they are very responsive to citizen requests for service.  I encourage residents to take note as they drive or walk through their neighborhoods, and report areas of concern to my office.  I will work with our dedicated city staff to address city related areas of concern.
Finally, of vital importance to me is to continue responding to residents in a timely manner when they reach out for assistance.  In the six years that I have served as a councilmember, this has been a top priority for me.  I always enjoy hearing from residents in the Ironwood District, and encourage them to continue to contact me at any time with questions or concerns.

 

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