Thomas

Age: 77

Years in Cave Creek: 22

Years in Arizona: 22

Education: BA geology, University of Rochester, NY, MAT Geology Education Binghamton University of the State University of New York 

Job: Retired Department chairman, Briarcliff High School, Briarcliff Manor, New York; active science education author

Have you ever served in public office, and if so, when and where? Yes, 15 years on the Cave Creek Town Council. 

Name your biggest accomplishment while involved in town government that you took the lead on and why that issue is important. I encouraged and approved the 31 miles of trails in Cave Creek and the rezoning of four large land preservation areas. These contribute to our unique desert rural lifestyle and increase the value of our properties. I helped convince the town manager, an excellent choice, to apply for the position.

Why are you running for council again? What is left for you to do specifically? I was encouraged to run by the mayor and town manager. It has been my pleasure to contribute to Cave Creek’s quality of life and managed growth. When service became politically difficult, unlike most others, I ran again. My knowledge of the past will help guide us into a better future.

Name three recommended changes that would improve town government. (1) Increase communication with Cave Creek citizens about our goals and current projects. (2) Encourage conservation policies to extend our potable water supplies. (3) Continue the sound financial management that has allowed us to provide enhanced fire protection, emergency services and more secure water supplies.

How would you assess the town’s handling of growth, and what are your top priorities for future growth? Staff and the council have worked with developers who meet our requirements to do even more to preserve and enhance the Western, desert, rural lifestyle of Cave Creek. We cannot stop development of private properties, but we have a strong record helping developers fit into the goals of our community.

How would you manage the town’s new and growing fire and medical services? Our recent advancements in fire and medical services are a result of policies set by the town council and carried through by staff. We have established greatly improved services and protocols that we will monitor and enhance to our present and future needs.

Do you think Cave Creek should be spending more to support museums, arts and culture in the community? Why or why not? My proposal to increase community grants was unanimously approved by fellow council members. As our financial resources have grown, we are able to give more support to the organizations that serve the community. But those contributions need to be targeted to meet community objectives.

How can the town address concerns about both the quality and quantity of water available to Cave Creek and Desert Hills system users? The Phoenix interconnect will dramatically increase our water security. Conservation by customers, especially outside the home, can extend our limited allocations. I support our efforts to bank water for the future, and I support selling the Desert Hills water company as soon as we can to preserve our own allocations.

Is town government sufficiently transparent? Those who take the time to observe our proceedings will see a council that makes deliberations and decisions in full public view. Sunshine laws are effective in preventing “back room” decisions. Closed executive sessions are strictly limited to a few sensitive matters such as legal defense strategies.