Government Day No. 1
Class 38's first City Government Day took place at the Community Design Studio. Class members heard from the mayor and several of the City's charter offices.
The day began with Mayor David Ortega, and included Kelly Corsette (Communication and Public Affairs, the Treasurer's office (covered by the very knowledgeable Gina Kirklin), the Government Relations Director (Dale Wiebusch), Dan Worth from the Public Works Department, and the City Manager Jim Thompson.
Themes of the day included the city's rapidly-changing tax revenue situation (due to the introduction of the statewide flat tax and lost short-term rental revenue), discussion around short-term rental properties in Scottsdale neighborhoods (thanks for the activity, Dale Wiebusch!), and universal excitement for happy hour after class. Dan Worth's unbounded enthusiasm for paved multi-use paths and clean alleyways was another high point.
Other highlights of the day included the story of Gerbacio Noriega, the man at the center of the Scottsdale seal, and learning about just how great our city staff are, including Jim Thompson, who is poised to become the longest-serving City Manager in Scottsdale's history!
Government Day No. 2
Class 38’s second government day began with the general plan and ended with a rousing mock City Council meeting. Day chairs Ann Porter and Linda Milhaven set up the day’s agenda, which began with a wide overview of the General Plan, as presented by Taylor Reynolds, Scottsdale’s Principal Planner. We then transitioned to the Parks and Rec Master Plan with Stephanie Tippett.
We were then greeted by our current City Council members for a Q&A session. After brief introductions from each member, Class 38 turned on the heat. No softballs from this group! Seeing as how we didn’t scare away the Council, they were invited to stay for lunch and field additional questions and conversation at each respective table.
The afternoon kicked off with Erin Walsh, PIO for Capital Projects for part one of How Things Get Built. Erin walked through an understanding of what is considered a capital project, and how they are funded through the issuance of bonds. In part 2 of How Things Get Built, a panel of development professionals explained the design review process and how it moves from concept, through design review, through Council review, and then to development and construction. The process is long!
Finally, the day concluded with a mock City Council meeting. Led by Mayor Austin Grizzell, the Council heard citizen arguments for and against a zoning case for the development of a small subdivision. The citizens brought concerns about density, gated community, and even a rogue goat cemetery; on the other side, citizens voiced support for developing vacant lots to spur vitality in this specific neighborhood. Once all arguments were heard, the Council voted in favor of the project.
Having had a real-life experience with the functioning of a collaborative Council, Class 38 headed to happy hour at Pour Decisions to cheer yet another successful session.