Several members of the audience let out a unified “wow” as Phoenix Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee Foothills told of his recent efforts to make small business startup almost instantaneous.

“In the city of Phoenix, you turn in your plans, you walk out with a permit, that day, and you start your operations that day. That day,” DiCiccio said.

At the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce public policy meeting last Friday, several members seemed impressed with the efforts by DiCiccio to help small and local businesses.

DiCiccio mentioned in his speech to chamber members that it generally requires “about a six- to eight-month process” for anyone to open a business.

Alongside councilman Tom Simplot, DiCiccio has recently put forth much of his energy to change city policies on this issue.

The councilman also claimed that this once lengthy process “is now being done in less than 24 hours” and also touched briefly on the progress made with the Internet as a tool.

“You push a button and submit plans, push another button to get a permit, pay for it then and there, then have your operations occur instantaneously,” DiCiccio said.

Chamber member Charles Thompson is pleased with DiCiccio’s efforts and appreciates that the councilman is “streamlining” the process for small businesses. Thompson feels that the approval process is far too lengthy.

“Small business owners are going in the hole while trying to start the gun,” Thompson said while energetically commenting on the setback that small businesses face with lengthy approval regulations.

Although the councilman focused mainly on his successes with the streamlined process for business approvals, he also touched on hot issues both locally and nationally.

Members of the audience seemed particularly interested in hearing about the hot-button issue affecting Ahwatukee Foothills, with the controversial extension of the Loop 202 South Mountain Freeway. DiCiccio’s speech was cut short due to time, but he was sure to provide a small update.

Alongside his update regarding local Ahwatukee issues, DiCiccio was sure to comment more broadly on his optimism for the future of Phoenix as a whole, and promised again to make Phoenix an inviting and thriving city.

“I’m the most ecstatic person I’ve ever been,” DiCiccio said. “We’re about 30 to 40 percent of the way there.”

DiCiccio admitted that there is definitely still work ahead for Phoenix as a whole. Despite the necessity for much more work, the councilman did remark on the unity within the local Arizona government.

“The City Council and city of Phoenix are probably more unified than I have ever seen before,” DiCiccio said.

Additionally, the councilman also mentioned that he, the mayor, and several others “all get along great.”

These reassuring words came just before the councilman mentioned what a horrendous journey the past two years have been. Overall, the speech that DiCiccio provided for the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce was a mixture of information and updates that were seemingly intended to reassure local community residents of the progress made at the city-wide level.

Douglas Harkey, a member of the chamber, felt enlightened by the speech, and appreciated the councilman’s “casual” approach.

“To be apprised of some of his conservative successes was pretty cool. I enjoyed it,” Harkey said. As a means of both informing and updating, the councilman was able to provide local Ahwatukee businessmen and women with a better understanding of changes that are currently in motion.

Emily Nichols is a sophomore in The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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