Mayor Spotlight

Name, title & city/town: Chuck Turner, Mayor, Town of Gila Bend
Year elected to office: 1992 (Councilmember); 1995-1996 (Vice Mayor); 1996-2003 (Mayor); 2003-2011 (Councilmember); 2011-2014 (Vice Mayor); 2014-Present (Mayor)
Years served as Mayor: 9

Town of Gila Bend
Incorporated: 1962
Population: 1,960
Elevation: 737 ft.
County: Maricopa
Area within Limits: 64 sq. mi.

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
Having moved to Gila Bend as a youngster in 1969, and, having made the decision to make this my home and raise my family here, I felt an obligation to bring solutions to the table and not sit idly by. As a career firefighter and elected official, service to community has always driven me.

What are the biggest challenges facing your town today?
Being somewhat of a bedroom community of the West Valley, we have had a great deal of difficulty bringing in affordable housing. We suffered with trying to determine for many years, of how to conquer what we called "The Chicken or the Egg Syndrome." Would housing drive industry or would industry drive housing? We have had great success with securing industry, but, due to the close proximity of outside communities, housing has not progressed as we would like.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
We have embraced the opportunity to take advantage of what we have an abundance of, "Sunshine". As per our Community Profile, Gila Bend has developed itself into the self- proclaimed "Solar Capital of the World." We, as a community, have embraced solar power as a primary industry. We have turned 71 square miles into the Solar Capital of the State of Arizona. The Town of Gila Bend has, through the adoption of our "Solar Field Overlay Zone," over 350 megawatts of locally generated solar electricity with the capacity to power 57,000 homes and we continue to grow this. We've adopted a streamlined solar permitting process which was faster and cheaper than any other permitting agency in the industry. We reduced the normal permitting time frame of a nearly two year process, to four to six weeks. Obviously, I am very proud of the process and the success that we have achieved.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
I take great pride, that in my tenure as both a mayor and town councilman for over the past 22 years, the fact that our town has been able to sustain through poor economies and allow our drive and vision to keep us pushing forward as a community. We've been able to continually make forward progress and keep ourselves a viable contributor to our county and state.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
Coming from and speaking on behalf of a small town, the League provides the small communities, which may lack the financial resources, to be on a much more level playing field developmental wise, with the rest of the cities and towns within the state. The League is the "Ultimate Consulting Mechanism" for Gila Bend. They provide to us the resources that as a small town, we might never be able to afford on our own. This is good for us and ultimately, good for the state of Arizona!

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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