Election

Queen Creek Town Council candidates discuss roads, parks at forum

Posted 6/17/22

All four people vying for three seats on the Queen Creek Town Council participated in a forum co-sponsored by the Queen Creek Independent and the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce.

The forum took …

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Election

Queen Creek Town Council candidates discuss roads, parks at forum

Posted

All four people vying for three seats on the Queen Creek Town Council participated in a forum co-sponsored by the Queen Creek Independent and the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce.

The forum took place June 16 at the Communiversity at Queen Creek, 21740 S. Ellsworth Road.

With current Councilmember Emilena Turley not running for reelection and Councilmember Julia Wheatley running for mayor, only one incumbent, Dawn Oliphant, is running to keep her seat.

She is joined by candidates Bryan McClure, Matt McWilliams and Travis Padilla.

A look at campaign signs throughout Queen Creek showed a coalition made up of Oliphant, McClure and McWilliams has formed, as all three are campaigning together. Padilla brought up the coalition during the forum.

“I’ve seen the signs and Oliphant should say P-A-D-I-L-L-A,” the candidate joked.

While the other candidates had experience in working with town government or business groups, Padilla touted himself as an “outsider” who could bring a business owner’s perspective to council. He added that he had not experience in government.

Oliphant has been on the town council since 2010. McWilliams has served on the town’s Planning & Zoning Commission. McClure is a long-time member of the Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce.

Padilla also discussed lowering or eliminating certain taxes. Oliphant countered that during the pandemic the town had lowered the property tax levy and kept it at that rate.

The candidates were asked a variety of questions including what they believe to be the town’s priorities.

Roads were the top priority but how to go about building those roads became the issue. Padilla pushed for quick, fiscally responsible construction, while Oliphant cautioned that the roads, while necessary, must be paced in such a way that citizens aren’t met with constant construction as they go about their commutes.

McWilliams said his time in Planning & Zoning made him appreciate town staff decisions that went into building or expanding roads in a way that avoided chaos. McClure agreed with Oliphant and McWilliams.

The building of parks in Queen Creek has turned into hot button issue.

The Queen Creek Town Council voted in June to authorize the sale of the balance of a debt issue to fund park construction and expansion under fiscal terms that benefit the town. In April, the town council approved authorizing a $138 million debt issue to fund Phase 1 of the Parks Master Plan, which includes building Frontier Family Park (formerly East Park) located around the southwest corner of Ryan and Signal Butte roads, as well as the expansion of the Mansel Carter Oasis Park. The debt issue also includes funds for purchasing future park land.

Oliphant, who voted for the debt issue, said it was time to provide the large population in Queen Creek with more parks to improve quality of life. Oliphant, McWilliams and McClure used the creation of new parks to pivot to another priority or residents – keeping the town’s small-town feel.

McClure said parks help bring residents together through sports, events and other gatherings, so even as the town’s population grows a sense of neighborhood could continue to take root.

Padilla said as a father, he appreciated having more parks. But he cautioned other projects, namely roads, should come first. He added that parks can become sinkholes of funds for governments.

The primary election is Aug. 2. The general election, if needed, will be held on Nov. 8.

Queen Creek, town council, election, forum

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