Candidate Q&A: Mike Hellon, candidate for Pima County Board of Supervisors - District 1 - Tucson Local Media: Elections

Candidate Q&A: Mike Hellon, candidate for Pima County Board of Supervisors - District 1

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Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 5:00 am | Updated: 7:46 am, Sat Aug 25, 2012.

Name: Mike Hellon

Age: 70

Occupation: Tax Consultant

Where do you live? Unincorporated Pima County

How long have you lived in the area? 29 years

Short description about yourself (200 words)

Extensive record of leadership in: tax policy, politics, judicial policy and service to Pima County. Former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party; 12 year member of the Republican National Committee; Arizona campaign manager for Ronald Reagan (1980); Arizona co-chair of McCain for President (2008); former Vice-chairman of the Pima County Merit Commission; recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Service Award, presented by the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme court; small claims hearing officer for the Justice Court. .

Why are you running for the Pima County Board of Supervisors?

I am the only candidate with the kind broad background and experience necessary to effect necessary change and address effectively the major issues facing Pima County and District 1.

What are some good things taking place in Pima County?

The county has begun to reinstitute a street maintenance program, which has been badly neglected. The library system is effectively delivering a variety of services without raising the secondary tax this year. Development services is streamlining its operations and reducing regulations, although there is more yet to be done. Wastewater is finally addressing the state and federal regulatory issues it faces, but rates must be reduced when construction is completed.

What are your three top concerns with the county right now? What would your plan of action be to fix these problems?

1. Jobs/Economy: A recent study compared Maricopa and Pima Counties’ respective job growth over the past three years. Maricopa had tens of thousands of new jobs while Pima had fewer than one thousand. One of the major problems is a worldwide anti-business image projected by Pima County. I would work to have the Board of Supervisors reverse that image and aggressively declare that we will take whatever action we can and do whatever is reasonably necessary to help job-creating businesses succeed and prosper here.

2. Deteriorating streets: Street repair and maintenance is a core responsibility of county government, yet for most of the past three years, it has been completely neglected. Some of our streets have not had proper maintenance for literally decades. I organized the Save Our Streets (SOS) Coalition, which several months ago was successful in persuading the Board of Supervisors to allocate approximately $ 10 million this year and next to begin fixing some of the worst streets. There are millions of dollars in the 2012-2013 budget, which in my opinion are misallocated. I work to persuade the board once again to substantially increase the amount of money dedicated to street maintenance and repair.

3. Taxes and Spending: Too much money is being spent by the county in the wrong places. The mindset is to “not raise taxes,” when it should be to lower taxes. For example, more money than is necessary to maintain our credit rating is being held in a reserve fund. In fact, this “reserve” fund becomes a “slush” fund. I would reduce the reserve to the level necessary to maintain our credit rating and put half of the savings into lower taxes and half into street maintenance.

If you are running in the Primary Election, what makes you the best candidate to move on to win the General Election?

I have far and away the most comprehensive background and experience to do an effective job as a county supervisor. I am also the only business-friendly candidate who can actually win a general election.

What kind of new energy will you bring to a seat that’s been held by Ann Day for so many years?

I will build on Supervisor Day’s record of conscientious constituent services and will engage more actively in the policy issues that confront the citizens of Pima County, I will be assertive in striking a balance between economic development and preserving the quality of life we cherish in District 1.

What are some specific changes needed in this district?

1. Street maintenance and repair.

2. Prioritized spending of your tax money

3. Improved parks and youth sports facilities.

4. Better cooperation between the county and the local communities.

5. More transparency and accountability

If elected, how can you work to meet the needs of your district, while also keeping the needs of the entire county as a priority?

These are not mutually exclusive goals. We will prosper together as a community or we will continue to stagnate as a community. I believe that if policy objectives are properly framed and proposed, a majority of the board will work in concert to see that Pima County and realizes its full potential

What are your thoughts on the ongoing dispute between Pima County and Marana regarding wastewater rights? In your opinion, what should happen moving forward?

There are critical issues on both sides of the debate, but we can’t redo history. I believe that Marana should be given the opportunity to manage the wastewater treatment plant, but that it must reimburse the county for the full cost of the plant.

Do you feel Pima County works well with its neighbors (Tucson, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahaurita)?

Not nearly well enough. The county has displayed a tendency to interfere with the plans of its neighbors. I believe the proper role of the county is to work with and support the cities and towns as they pursue their own objectives.

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