Mayoral candidates vow to cut red tape - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Mayoral candidates vow to cut red tape

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Posted: Tuesday, September 27, 2011 11:00 am | Updated: 12:14 pm, Wed Sep 28, 2011.

Though plans from Phoenix mayoral candidates Wes Gullett and Greg Stanton cover many of the same issues when it comes to streamlining operations, Gullett made a commitment Thursday to get it done on Day 1 with help from four city councilmen, including District 6 Councilman Sal DiCiccio of Ahwatukee Foothills.

Councilmen Tom Simplot, Jeff Warring, Bill Gates and DiCiccio stood behind Gullet last week at Copper Star Coffee as he released his plan to cut red tape.

"It's unacceptable that Arizona's unemployment rate is so high, it's unacceptable that families are suffering, it's unacceptable that we all know someone who is going through a tough time because they don't have a job," Gullett said. "We've got to create jobs and we've got to be laser focused on job creation. One of the ways to do that is to reduce red tape. If we reduce red tape we can create more jobs."

The group met at Copper Star Coffee because it is one business that took almost 12 months to open because of requirements from the city. Gullett hopes with his plan businesses could open in a matter of days.

Gullett's plan calls for same-day permitting; reviews from all city departments on regulations, and delete those that are unnecessary; a comment period and sunset review on all regulations; consolidating the Planning and Development Services Departments with the Economic Development Department; expanding online services; establishing a single point of contact for major development projects; updating zoning ordinances; and reducing permitting fees.

DiCiccio says he has been working on getting these changes made at the city for the past two years. Phoenix has found some small efficiencies, but DiCiccio says he is ready to see more.

"We are one vote away, one leader away, one mayor away from creating the reforms necessary at the city of Phoenix," DiCiccio said. "If you want to create jobs in the city of Phoenix, if you want to allow jobs to be created in this economy, you've got to allow business owners to operate and open their business. To open up a small business it costs $7,500 to $8,000 on the low end. It can cost close to $15,000 when they do sign permits and all the other fees that are required. This proposal, what it does is brings everything down to the hundreds, basically filing fees. It allows small business to operate and not have to wait six months."

Stanton released his plan earlier in the week to cut red tape, listed in his plan for his first 100 days in office.

Stanton's plan says to increase efficiency, Phoenix must ensure all business conducted by city boards and commissions is conducted in a fully transparent manner, and that the city continually looks for ways to minimize government waste and maximize efficiency, bringing the mission and function of the Development Services Department under the role of the Economic Development Department. The plan would streamline the process surrounding development projects by assigning a single employee to each project, provide incentives for development plans to be reviewed in a timely manner, eliminate requirements for unnecessary business licenses, modernize the permit process, and make service delivery as efficient as possible by exploring regional partnerships.

"I released my streamlining plan earlier this week, and I am glad to see Wes agrees with a lot of my proposals," Stanton said. "Creating jobs and building a strong economy for our city is my top priority. Cutting back the red tape is central to developing an economy in which businesses can thrive. It's why my plan is supported by real business leaders. The job creators in this economy who use those permits - including the Arizona Contractors Association and the Phoenix Metro Chapter of the American Institute of Architects - support me in this race."

Stanton's campaign also said that the city already does a lot of same-day permits for small and medium projects, which Stanton supports.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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