Mayor Spotlight

Name, title & city/town:
Steven Holt, Mayor, town of Gila Bend
Year elected to office: 2013
Served on Town Council for past 20 years with two terms as vice mayor
Hometown: Gila Bend, Arizona

Town of Gila Bend
Incorporated: 1962
Population: 1,922
Elevation: 737 ft.
County: Maricopa
Area within Limits: 21 sq. mi.

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
The town of Gila Bend is my hometown. I have lived here for 58 years and my family came to this area for work just after WWII. My friends and family are here in Gila Bend and I feel a very strong sense of responsibility to try and help the community in any way that I can.

What are the biggest challenges facing your town today?
Gila Bend has always been a crossroads community since it was first established as a Stage Stop on the Butterfield Trail. In those days, when almost all travel to California came through the town, Gila Bend thrived. There were gas stations, motels and diners from one end of the Main Street to the other. As freeways were established and the core of the town partially bypassed, the number of businesses decreased and employment opportunities became very limited. The biggest challenge I see is bringing housing and amenities to town, while continuing our success in economic development that can provide sustainable jobs. In addition to nearly $2 billion in economic development in the Gila Bend area, we have also made great strides in infrastructure improvements with nearly $29 million completed in road work and replacing the aging water and sewer infrastructure in Town. However, there remains a major shortage of housing, with no homes for sale or rent. The majority of our best and brightest workers in Gila Bend now live in Buckeye and Maricopa and commute to Gila Bend to work because of the lack of housing available here. This has to improve and my goal is to do everything I can to help.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
Gila Bend is full of opportunity. Being at the intersection of I-8, SR 85, and SR 238 has created opportunity simply by virtue of geographic proximity to the Phoenix, Tucson, Mexican, and Southern California markets. Proactively, we also have identified 11 pillars of economic development including being the solar capital of the nation, utility scale balanced portfolio energy generation, sustainability-based industries, transportation hub centric businesses, military supply chain, and quality affordable housing development. Our team is working on bringing transmission to California, which if successful, will bolster utility scale generation to levels at least 10-20 times of what we have already accomplished. This will be a major economic boom to the regional and state economy and we welcome partners in our efforts.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
We have assembled a great management team that is making things happen! In October of 2008, the town faced a bleak financial outlook. The town was in dire need of a vision, specifically to reinvent itself from a generally unfavorable perception by those within and outside of the community. Since 2008, we have: created a vision of economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and brand recognition as a solar capital; installed nearly $29 million in public infrastructure; experienced nearly $2 billion in economic development with thousands of jobs created; established the Care1st Resource Center which provides 24 human social services; have had zero control or material audit deficiencies; and have had a surplus each of the past four fiscal years. We also have recently completed a streetscape master plan for our main thoroughfare through town, Pima Street, which will be a major beautification project for our town beginning this fiscal year.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
As the premier advocate and lobbyist of cities and towns in Arizona, the League continues to be a strong advocate for local government issues. With over 80% of the state's citizens living in cities and towns, the League's work is critical to ensuring that the needs and wants of the vast majority of citizens are adequately represented and those rights protected.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

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