Mayor Spotlight

Name, title & city/town:
Mayor Satish I. Hiremath, D.D.S., Town of Oro Valley, Arizona
Year elected to office: 2010
Years served as mayor: 3.5
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Town of Oro Valley
Incorporated: 1974
Population: 41,011 (2010 Census)
Elevation: 2,620 ft.
County: Pima
Area within Limits: 34.95 sq. mi.

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
In 2007, while working in my dental practice, I noticed a disturbing trend: about two patients a week told me they had lost their jobs. Seeing this hardship on local families, I felt that local government should have a more insular effect on residents. For example, local foreclosure and unemployment rates should not mirror those at the state and federal levels. We should have more control over what's happening in our communities.

What are the biggest challenges facing your city today?
Since the town of Oro Valley doesn't levy a property tax on its residents, we don't have the stable revenue source that comes with a property tax. Instead, we are heavily dependent on sales tax revenues, which can fluctuate with the economy. As such, our ongoing challenge is to develop revenue sources for positive community growth.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
Oro Valley is looking at explosive growth in sports tourism and outdoor recreation, and we're working hard to capitalize on that momentum. With the opening of the Oro Valley Aquatic Center in March 2013, we've put ourselves on the map for regional and national aquatics competitions, including the 2014 National Synchronized Swimming Championships. This brings athletes and guests to our community who stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. We've also met a growing need for archery facilities by constructing a fixed-range archery course and two walking courses at Naranja Park, and Council has just approved more than $2 million in improvements at Naranja Park, including multi-sport fields and a dog park. Our focus on sports tourism and outdoor recreation has been a great investment in the town's economic development as well as meeting the recreational needs of residents.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
I'm proud that I've had the opportunity to create deep relationships that have led to regional partnerships, benefitting not just the town of Oro Valley, but its neighboring jurisdictions as well. As our nation struggled to recover from the recession, we cities and towns sought creative ways to maintain services (and in some cases, improve) services to residents. For example, Oro Valley was able to reduce costs and improve services by partnering with the Regional Transportation Authority for local transit services, and with the city of Tucson for the delivery of Central Arizona Project water. These partnerships will continue to benefit the town for many years to come.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
I believe local government gives us the opportunity to have more control over day-to-day life in our cities and towns. As an influential lobbyist for cities and towns, the League has served an integral role in ensuring that local government remains relevant and effective. The League understands that when our cities and towns are stronger, our state is stronger.

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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