Glendale City Council incumbents seeking reelection on Aug. 2 weighed in on issues from housing affordability to water management.
Jamie Aldama in downtown Glendale's Ocotillo District, Lauren Tolmachoff in north Glendale's Cholla District and Bart Turner in central Glendale's Barrel District are running unopposed.
Early ballots will be mailed out July 6. Those who choose to vote by mail are advised to mail their ballot by July 26 or drop it off at a ballot drop-off location or voting location by 7 p.m. Aug. 2. Search the Maricopa County Elections Department website to find a location near you.
The Arizona Republic asked candidates to answer four questions on issues in Glendale. Here's what they had to say.
Changes in Glendale
When did you join Glendale City Council, and what is the biggest change you’ve seen in Glendale since then?
Aldama: "I was elected in 2014. I'm honored to serve the City of Glendale. City Finances has been the most significant change since 2014. The city now has a positive fund balance and year after year a balanced budget that support public safety and our residents."
Tolmachoff: "I was elected to my first term in 2014, and at that time, the city’s financial outlook was bleak. I am proud of the progress that we have made, however even during times of economic growth, I am steadfast in my belief that it is imperative that we make fiscally responsible decisions and exercise restraint on spending."
Turner: "I was elected to City Council in November 2014. At that time, Glendale was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Now, thanks to some prudent financial decisions and a booming national and local economy, city finances are solid and we have been able to begin investing back into our streets, parks, and public safety."
2 key issues
What are the top two issues facing Glendale, and what is your plan for fixing them?
Aldama: " Homeless and city finances are two significant issues. Both of which are very complex and difficult to resolve. I’ll continue to work with our staff and, more importantly, our non profit partners such as CASS to reduce homelessness in our community. We need to be fiscally responsible and keep a watchful eye on our annual budget and the economy."
Tolmachoff: "The number one issue, in my opinion, is approval of the Prop. 400 extension. Educating residents on the importance of funding for transportation infrastructure, especially with the explosive growth that we are experiencing, is critical.
"The second issue is responsibly managing the finances of the city in order to focus on providing infrastructure, services and amenities that have a direct impact on our residents. I will continue to challenge excessive spending."
Turner: "One important issue is for the City Council to control the urge to overspend simply because we have the money available. I will continue to critically analyze all major spending proposals and continue to find ways to save the taxpayer’s money.
"Another major issue is protecting and enhancing the quality of life Glendale residents enjoy. Now that we have money to work with, we need to be renewing our parks, landscaping our right-of-ways, repairing and maintaining city buildings, and making sure we have enough manpower and the latest technology available to our police and fire departments."
What are you doing to ensure Glendale manages its water responsibly as development rapidly expands?
Aldama: "The city has very knowledgeable staff who monitor reservoirs level in the state. We continue to invest in water infrastructure to ensure water services are available for years to come."
Tolmachoff: "Our water services leadership and staff have done an excellent job in diversifying the city’s water supply. We continue to invest in critical water infrastructure, and I recently requested that staff update the city’s water-saving incentives."
Turner: "Glendale has been paying close attention to our water supply for many years. We have a diverse water portfolio comprised of well water, Salt River Project water, Central Arizona Project water, our own reclaimed water, plus several years' worth of water stored in our underground aquifers. Additionally, Glendale is a leader in water conservation and has several conservation programs available to our residents and businesses. I will continue to push that we carefully consider the water implications in every economic development decision we make."
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Bringing quality jobs is a priority for the city. As the city welcomes more employers and employees, how will you ensure affordable housing is available?
Aldama: "The real-estate market is very volatile and is cause for some of the affordable housing issues. I'll continue to work with developers who can use state and federal incentives that encourage additional affordable housing. Recently I worked with city staff and developers to build two affordable housing projects in the Ocotillo District."
Tolmachoff: "This is a very complicated issue. We are working with several developers that specialize in affordable housing, however, in a free market, supply and demand have an incredible impact on price. I do support any government program that includes oversight in price-fixing or rent control."
Turner: "The current high cost of housing is largely a function of supply and demand. As the short housing supply in Glendale and our surrounding West Valley cities rebounds from the COVID-created material and labor shortages, I anticipate home prices and rents will return closer to historic norms. Additionally, Glendale welcomes affordable workforce housing projects in our community as do other West Valley cities. We also have several very successful housing assistance programs to help bridge families through hard times."
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Glendale election: Q&A with City Council candidates