Mayor Spotlight: Mayor Gail Barney, Town of Queen Creek

Name, title & city/town:
Mayor Gail Barney of Queen Creek
Year elected to office: 2010
Years served as mayor: 4
Hometown: Queen Creek, AZ

Town of Queen Creek
Incorporated: 1989
Population: 26,361
Elevation: 1,400 ft.
County: Maricopa/Pinal
Area within Limits: 26 sq. mi.

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
As a long-time farming family in Queen Creek, my family has been involved with the community for generations, however not at the local government level. When a development project came along that impacted our family farm, I realized that I could make a big difference in the community by getting involved. Now, I am proud of the way the community has grown over the years.

What are the biggest challenges facing your city today?
The biggest challenge we are facing today is ensuring that we have enough resources for infrastructure. We are building a community from scratch, and still have two-thirds of our infrastructure needed to serve our build-out population of about 95,000. With the legislative changes to the collection of development impact fees over the past few years, our ability to have growth pay for growth have been hampered, shifting much of the cost of that needed infrastructure to existing residents.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
Queen Creek is well positioned to be a major factor in the region's overall growth and development with its proximity to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport, the city of Mesa and town of Gilbert, as well as straddling both Maricopa and Pinal counties. There has been much interest in the investment in our town center, well ahead of what we had anticipated. This allows us to make progress towards meeting our community's needs and interests in local shopping and entertainment. There is also a strong interest in the unique equestrian and agritainment-style events and activities that are offered in Queen Creek throughout the year.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
During the Great Recession, when all cities and towns were impacted with reduced budgets, we were able to maintain a high level of service for our residents and customers, even with a reduced staff and extremely restricted resources. Queen Creek even saw an increase to our credit rating - one of only nine communities in the nation! I credit this to having such great, dedicated employees and a town council that worked together to make tough decisions.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
The League is important, especially to smaller towns like ours, because they are a great resource. Having their representation at the State Legislature ensures that cities' and towns' interests are being heard. They alert us to draft legislation that impacts local control and revenue, making it possible for us to strategically use our resources to make the biggest impact at the legislature. The League also provides training that is directly applicable to the work we do, both for elected officials and staff. They often act as an information sharing hub by providing model ordinances and guidance.

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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