Traditionally, the first day of the New Year is set aside for football, food and family. Sometime during the course of that day's festivities, the brave among us make resolutions. Last week, the Northwest EXPLORER asked public officials in the Northwest to share their resolutions for 2003. While multiple phone calls were made to all members of the cities' councils, school district boards, fire districts and police chiefs, not all officials returned the calls, so their resolutions could not be included. Below are the responses the EXPLORER received, some edited for space and clarity.
In 2003, your public officials resolve:
Mike Prout, Amphitheater governing board:
"…to focus on building the K-8 school we need and how to do what the School Facilities Board cannot do for us."
Nancy Young Wright, Amphitheater governing board:
"…to continue to communicate with the legislature to help them understand the needs of our public schools. I want to work with county and Oro Valley officials on our planning issues, to work for cooperation on the (school) board and I would like to return to my practice of visiting schools in the district."
Patricia Clymer, Amphitheater governing board:
"…to work with parents, teachers and administrators in lobbying our state legislature to help them understand the financial needs of our school district (and) to keep pictures of students from our school district in front of me at the board meetings as a constant reminder of why I am serving in this position."
Vicki Balentine, Amphitheater Public Schools superintendent:
"…to develop relationships and understanding in the community that education has to be a priority to allow for planning for our long-term needs. The support we get (from the state legislature) is so uneven that we are always just reacting to them. I want to develop ways we can plan strategically for the long term and make kids - not the bottom line - be the priority."
Louise Martorelli, Golder Ranch Fire District boardmember:
"…to hone what few skills I have as far as the fire department goes. I am going to a state meeting and taking a class on hazardous materials training. I resolved to be more informed and to learn what needs are in the community."
Dennis Murphy, Golder Ranch Fire District boardmember:
"…to try to lower the tax rate for the Golder Ranch Fire District. The other resolutions would be to continue improvements on our equipment that we've been doing and a long range resolution would be to try to find a piece of property to replace station 110."
John Fink, Golder Ranch Fire District chief:
"…to work toward getting the Oro Valley fire issue settled. It is hard when a city is served by two fire departments, so I would like to see that resolved. Of course I have a vested interest, but whatever way it goes, I would like to work for it to be settled so we are all able to move forward."
Paul Loomis, Oro Valley mayor:
"…to bring a comprehensive and well-thought-out General Plan to the voters for their approval in 2003; to continue to work to bring alternate water sources to Oro Valley as quickly as we can; to make sure that the major road projects scheduled for 2003 are undertaken and completed on time and with minimal disruption to our citizens; to be a careful watchdog over public funds, particularly during these challenging economic times; to join with our elected state representatives to watch out for the best interests of Oro Valley, as well as other towns and cities throughout Arizona; and to brag frequently about our wonderful, involved citizens, our dedicated and hard-working staff and (our) great town."
Bart Rochman, Oro Valley councilmember:
"…to continue to represent my constituents to the best of my ability basing my decisions on the benefits to the majority of the residents of Oro Valley (and to) continue to be available to listen to varying points of view."
Werner Wolff, Oro Valley councilmember:
"…to work on the financial health of our town and to keep our town financially healthy in light of cuts from the state and feds."
Paula Abbott, Oro Valley councilmember:
"…to continue to work for the people of Oro Valley and improve their quality of life; to work harder to bring in high-tech jobs for our well-educated residents; to support the Amphitheater (Public Schools) in (its) effort to identify a future middle school site for the children of Oro Valley; to identify funding options to develop our park site."
Danny Sharp, Oro Valley police chief:
"…to engage the entire community in the citizen corps (of the) Homeland Security Initiative. We have a lot of people that want to get involved and the trick is providing opportunities. We need to do that this coming year because we're combating apathy. I think if we don't take advantage of the momentum we've have (since 9-11), we'll lose it. And I'd like to keep working to try to deal with our economic issues, making Oro Valley a safe and attractive place for people to live and work."
Dick Johnson, Oro Valley vice mayor:
"…to maintain long-term perspective in decision making for the town, to identify open space and the mechanism for securing it, to develop the retail businesses (in Oro Valley) necessary for the financial stability of the town and to improve communication between the town and citizens."
Chuck Sweet, Oro Valley town manager:
"…to provide the administrative leadership necessary to enhance the quality of life in Oro Valley and make the appropriate professional decisions to ensure Oro Valley's long-term economic viability to (be able to continue to) provide municipal services."
Jeff Piechura, chief of Northwest Fire District:
"…to continue to work in ever greater cooperation with other entities - fire districts, related agencies and municipalities."
Wade McLean, Marana Unified School District superintendent:
"…to create an environment that will assist teachers to be able to focus on teaching children. I want to give them the necessary resources, whether financial or human resources support, and offer educational development opportunities and treat our teachers with dignity and respect as professionals."
Janice Mitich, MUSD governing board:
"…to try to convince the State Legislature not to slash funding for public schools. We've worked very well trying to keep the tax rate down and still be fair to the employees with salaries, but now we're getting hit by the country who said we weren't charged enough taxes and then state retirement system raised its contribution. I want to work really hard to convince the legislature not to cut us any more."
Debbie Schmich, MUSD governing board:
"I don't make New year's resolutions."
Bobby Sutton Jr., Marana mayor:
"…to do more of the same in these tough economic times - to take care of our employees and the citizens of Marana and to make Marana one of the most desirable places to live, work and recreate in the state of Arizona."
Tim Escobedo, Marana town councilmember:
"…to strengthen our affordable housing program so we can build more homes for those in need - first time home buyers, senior citizens and those types of people; to bring more industrial businesses into the town, so we can keep our first time home buyers working within the town; to strengthen the Marana Community Food Bank and to see our community prosper and continue growing in an organized fashion."
Carol McGorray, Marana town councilmember:
"…to do a very good job as a town councilwoman (by) handling each issue as it comes up individually."
Mike Hein , Marana town
"…to see the commencement of the implementation of all the planning that has taken place over the last year or two …seeing significant progress in habitat conservation planning, seeing development of some of the major park sites, both in Continental Ranch and the northern part of the community."