Goodyear election: Mayoral and City Council candidates weigh in on attracting jobs, sustainability

·16 min read
Goodyear City Hall
Goodyear City Hall

Goodyear voters can soon begin weighing in on mayoral and City Council races in the Aug. 2 election.

Early ballots will go out on July 6.

Goodyear voters are deciding between Mayor Joe Pizzillo, who was appointed to the post in December after the death of Mayor Georgia Lord, and write-in challenger Carlita Cotton.

Five candidates are vying for three at-large seats on the council. They include incumbents Wally Campbell and Brannon Hampton, along with Benita Beckles, Tamara Floyd and Vicki Gillis. Councilmember Patrick Bray, who was appointed in February to fill Pizzillo's council seat after he became mayor, is not seeking election.

Those who choose to vote by mail are advised to mail their ballot by July 26 or drop it off at a ballot drop-off location or voting location by 7 p.m. Aug. 2. Search the Maricopa County Elections Department website to find a location near you.

The Arizona Republic asked each candidate to answer four questions on city issues, ranging from water use to housing affordability. Here's what they had to say.

2022 elections: Here’s who wants to be your next city council member in metro Phoenix

Mayor candidates

QUESTION: Goodyear is among the fastest-growing cities in the country at the same time the Colorado River and Lake Mead are reaching critically low water levels. What specifically must the city do to ensure sustainable growth?

Cotton: "Lake Mead, formed by the construction of the Hoover Dam in the 1930s, is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure on the Colorado River. To meet Goodyear water needs for growth for the foreseeable future, we need to look at incentives as a priority for community conservation.

My plan, in addition to what the city already has in structure, includes but is not limited to:

  • Store water underground

  • Reuse reclaimed water

  • Form new collaborative water agreements

  • Implement conservation initiatives for residents

  • Water treatment facility — create intense safety protocols."

Goodyear mayoral candidate Joe Pizzillo
Goodyear mayoral candidate Joe Pizzillo

Pizzillo: "Goodyear has always been a leader in water conservation policies especially in development standards. Goodyear’s average daily water use is 86 gallons per person compared to the metro area average use of 125 gallons, this is by design. We have ensured that our water sources are diversified so that we do not rely solely on Colorado River water in times of severe drought.

High density development also helps us use less water as does development itself. An acre of residential development uses less water than an acre of farmland. To sustain this level of growth, we must continue to hold the developers to our conservation standards and the requirements to prove they can support 100 years of water availability to their projects before we approve them.

The city must not rest on its past success and work statewide to find solutions for our future."

What do you see as the city’s two most critical challenges and how would you help solve them?

Cotton: "Food is a concern in Goodyear. I would create “Community Organic Gardens” that also teach composting. Volunteer time for healthy food choices. Promote better eating habits, improve health, plus lower food costs.

Cell phone communication is a concern in Goodyear. Regardless of which wireless phone service carrier you select. Drop calls, poor reception, unable to get service, that is the reality of cell service in the West Valley. Form a committee immediately to determine the root cause, then create a strategic plan to resolve the issue."

Pizzillo: "Aside from water, which I addressed previously, our challenges are congestion and quality development.

We see how our job growth success affects the local roads as they are becoming harder to travel. As mayor, and with the support of the entire City Council, we have authorized $125 million worth of projects over the next two years to address street projects that can immediately begin making changes to the bottlenecks throughout the city. All projects of this size and scope take time to design and construct but we will move as quickly as possible; all within our current financial means.

While the city is unable to stop the development of privately owned parcels, we are requiring higher design standards, more diversity of housing options and a broad range of businesses and industries preventing us from having “all of our eggs in one basket” as it relates to commercial development and employment."

Goodyear has seen a lot of success in attracting distribution centers and logistics, but how will you attract a more diverse employment base?

Cotton: "Research has shown that industries like light manufacturing, food processing, or tourism tend to drive income growth more than non-tradable goods and services like restaurants or household services. Therefore, I would model the collaboration that Arizona State University (ASU) president Mike Crow has done with the city of Tempe to promote growth for the city of Goodyear. The next ASU college campus should be built in Goodyear; the main colleges would focus on engineering and the W.P. Carey for the business school. This model has already been tested. It works great. This business model would help to attract outside investors, more Fortune 500 companies, in addition to international investors. Not only would this stimulate growth, but it would also provide needed services for the City of Goodyear and offer more opportunities to residents."

Pizzillo: "We actually have a very diverse employment base — not every large building is a distribution center. We lead Arizona in the data center industry in addition to the internet fulfillment centers, advanced manufacturing facilities, distribution centers and logistics hubs.

These industries provide the diversity that we look for along with a tax diversity that benefits our residents through level property tax rates while we improve public safety services and public infrastructure. Goodyear has been recognized for its strong workforce and all these companies are providing what we needed so desperately, daytime population. Goodyear is seeing a resurgence in retail and restaurant development in the area around the new Civic Square as a result.

As mayor, my focus is on quality of life and bringing entertainment/dining to Goodyear. My belief is that we can bring rooftops, retail and jobs all in simultaneously while maintaining the high quality of our city."

Do you support more apartments in Goodyear to help address housing affordability concerns? How do you balance this with some residents’ concerns over apartments?

Cotton: "I would like to create a tiny home community in Goodyear. In addition to the container-style houses, I would look into rezoning some of the commercial area into residential. Finally, I would restructure apartment-style design, offering more amenities creating micro-communities within the community."

Pizzillo: "A common misconception is that apartments equal affordable housing. The average rents in Goodyear are $1,700-2,100 per month.

The City Council has insisted that all multifamily developments meet our high design standards. Many of the developments that you see being built have been zoned multifamily for years and are now under construction. Multifamily zoning provides density, “affordability” and often serves as buffer between freeways, industrial developments and traditional single-family homes.

Honestly, the current housing market is demanding multifamily as a lifestyle choice which is why we see so many diverse options. As one of our councilmembers says, “these aren’t the apartment complexes from the 70’s and 80’s.”

In addition to high design standards, Goodyear has been ensuring that public safety service growth matches that of all residential growth. Locally, we have not experienced any drop in residential property values, nor have we experienced an increase in crime rates."

Goodyear City Council candidates

QUESTION: Goodyear is among the fastest-growing cities in the country at the same time the Colorado River and Lake Mead are reaching critical water levels. What specifically must the city do to ensure sustainable growth?

Benita Beckles runs for Goodyear City Council.
Benita Beckles runs for Goodyear City Council.

Beckles:  "As the city of Goodyear continues to grow, it must stay mindful of its responsibility to manage its water resources. The city must continue to monitor the situation. Goodyear follows the Arizona Groundwater Management Act from the 1980s. It says approved new developments must have 100-year groundwater supply. Goodyear actively stores about 7,000 acre-feet of water underground for future use, each year. In addition, the city recently added a new surface water facility. Thus, the city has the ability to produce over 25 million gallons of water each day. The city typically uses 10 million gallons. The city also has an active Water Conservation Committee which provides recommendations to the city and its residents."

Goodyear City Council Candidate Wally Campbell
Goodyear City Council Candidate Wally Campbell

Campbell: "Leaders of Goodyear have strived to grow in a smart, strategic, and sustainable fashion. We want growth to be thoughtful and result in a city that people desire to live, work, and play. We have focused much of our time on smart water solutions that meet the unique and specific needs of Goodyear. We began a robust water conservation program several years ago on the recommendation of the citizen-driven Water Conservation Committee. Goodyear has a diversified water portfolio which is a model to West Valley cities.  An example of this was the partnership between Goodyear and SRP. This project allows Goodyear to provide reliable long-term water services to residents. When we plan for residential growth, developers must prove they have a 100-year water supply for their project before the council will approve their development. Goodyear’s average daily usage is 82 gallons per capita, which is considerably lower than other cities."

Tamara Floyd runs for Goodyear City Council.
Tamara Floyd runs for Goodyear City Council.

Floyd: "A) Everyone must work together to conserve water now including HOA’s. Create a shortage management plan to reduce water usage by 20%.

B) Check for leaks and utilize “Rain Sensors” which are provided by the city of Goodyear at no cost to residents."

Vicki Gillis runs for Goodyear City Council.
Vicki Gillis runs for Goodyear City Council.

Gillis: "The city has indicated that Goodyear is in good shape thanks to our water reserves, but I'm a believer in making long-term plans when it comes to water. Goodyear is growing rapidly, but keeping things in perspective, we’re still around 100,000 people out of 7.7 million people in Arizona, so steps we take won't amount to much unless they are mimicked by the rest of the state. We can affect the demand side by conserving water and figuring out how to recapture as much water as possible, etc. But the cities must, as a matter of law, rely on the states (Nevada, California, Colorado, Arizona, etc.) and the federal government to resolve supply issues. I would be active, as a council member, in urging our state and federal officials to hurry such a resolution along, because time is not on our side, and growth will continue to come our way.​​​​​​"

Goodyear City Council Candidate Brannon Hampton
Goodyear City Council Candidate Brannon Hampton

Hampton: "The city currently has a water plan outlined on our city website. We are working on increasing our portfolio, looking for alternative sources of water and educating our citizens on conservation efforts. These efforts will continue as our population grows."

What do you see as the city’s two most critical challenges and how would you help solve them?

Beckles: "I believe the two most critical challenges facing the city at this time are:

  1. continuing its growth responsibly;

  2. being able to attract quality restaurants/retail and businesses that offer living wages.

We do not know what the future holds. However, I can help by being proactive and on the lookout for opportunities for the city and offering my previous leadership and city government experience. Also, obtaining resident feedback through various methods is critical. I am a retired Air Force officer, retiring as a colonel, with experience managing a $ 25 million budget and oversight of civil engineering, security police, fire, human resources, cargo, transportation, supply, logistics, information systems, food services and recreation. In addition, I worked for the city of Detroit, during its turbulent times and the city of Phoenix in their water department."

Campbell: "Our greatest challenge is also our greatest opportunity. The city of Goodyear is only 13% built out, which means there is a lot of growth that will continue to occur. Quality jobs, retail, restaurants, and entertainment is the top priority for residents and staff. Our economic development team is working hard to bring those quality restaurants and entertainment to our city which is a priority of our residents.

Another critical challenge is smart growth. As I mentioned before, planning where development will occur is a challenge as our city is only 13% built out. Ensuring the proper infrastructure is in place before development occurs is a challenge."

Floyd: "A) Affordable Housing: Create incentives, subsidized/workforce housing, rent control.

B) Infrastructure: Public transportation, traffic lights, road construction, light rail."

Gillis: "We need to manage our growth so that it happens responsibly and in a way that reinforces our quality of life, not haphazardly in such a way that it erodes it.  So if there will be apartments, will they be zoned appropriately and kept in the right areas?  And will we ensure that there aren’t so many that it overcrowds the roads and infrastructure in that area? I want to see additional retail, food, and entertainment options so we can socialize without having to leave Goodyear to do it. And can we attract quality employers so our citizens can not only live and play in Goodyear, but work here too? The second challenge every city is facing right now is ensuring our public safety is scaled up and has the tools it needs to keep up with the growth. That means ensuring fire and police have the tools they need."

Hampton: "Infrastructure: The city is growing rapidly and we need to keep pace as best as we can with the growth.  This would include streets, water, fire department, police and parks.

Quality of Life: Maintaining our quality of life in Goodyear is important as well. This will include being prudent with the budget. This will allow us to implement the infrastructure and service needs required."

Goodyear has seen a lot of success in attracting distribution centers and logistics, but how will you attract a more diverse employment base?

Beckles: "I believe that Goodyear has started in that direction by working with an investor that is building and offering office space for organizations/businesses to be able to move right in. This effort can be a start to attracting businesses. From there it could be a matter of marketing to businesses that Goodyear is a great place for their business."

Campbell: "Goodyear has attracted more than 28 manufacturing companies to locate in our city with each offering a diverse workforce. We are located on the I-10 and have the Loop 303 to our west, which is prime real estate. We market Goodyear through several targeted publications and partnerships. You can visit Developgoodyearaz.com to see available lands in Goodyear, business openings, age, and income statistics and more. We have partnered with WESTMARC and other West Valley cities to provide better workforce data that helps tell the West Valley story. It provides data to potential companies that we have a highly skilled and diverse workforce and income levels that make Goodyear attractive to build in. We have partnered with Arizona Commerce Authority and Greater Phoenix Economic Council for larger national industrial and warehouse projects. They have assisted in several business locates such as Fairlife, Ball Corporation, Sub Zero, Anderson Corporation, CornellCookson and Amazon."

Floyd: "A) Make diversity and inclusion a priority.

B) Build a culture that supports and includes a diverse population with equal opportunities."

Gillis: "Part of that success is a matter of zoning. With the new highway construction of the last ten years, a lot of the land directly adjacent to the freeways is used for those sorts of projects. But city officials do need to be more aggressive in selling Goodyear as a location for office development and higher uses other than warehouse space. As the Valley continues to expand to the west, and as the 303 fills in running north and south, Goodyear’s location will continue to appreciate as a well-placed center for commercial and retail development. And that will mean more jobs, a greater diversity of jobs, and higher-paying jobs."

Hampton: "Goodyear is already attracting employers other than distribution and logistics. We are focused on medical, aerospace, retail, and advanced manufacturing. We work with our regional partners like MAG and GPEC to attract these users. We also have a team of economic development professionals that reach out to attract these users."

Do you support more apartments in Goodyear to help address housing affordability concerns? How do you balance this with some residents’ concerns over apartments?

Beckles: "Diverse housing provides more opportunities for people to live, work and play in Goodyear. I support more apartments in Goodyear. Currently, Goodyear has built multi-family homes that represent around 13% of the housing developments in the city. Perhaps an additional, 3% of new developments could bring additional types of multi-family housing.  As the city continues to grow, we need more diverse types of housing. Most important, individuals in all stages of life have a need for housing.  It is important that we offer housing for those just starting their careers and/or cannot afford a single family; to those that do not want the responsibility of a single-family home but would love to live in Goodyear."

Campbell: "According to Home Arizona, “Arizona is facing an extreme housing shortage — at least 40,000 homes and apartments — which is driving up costs significantly and could threaten future economic development.” The current housing market is demanding multifamily and multigenerational housing and it is our responsibility to ensure our residents have affordable and safe neighborhoods to live in. This is not a unique issue to the city of Goodyear, but a regional issue that will require all cities to work towards a solution. For several years, there were no apartments being built in our city and many that are currently under construction, were approved many years ago. We need to ensure housing at all levels is being built and developed in a smart and strategic manner."

Floyd: "A) More apartments are already in the pipeline for Goodyear. We as a city should be working on affordability for housing whether apartments or single-family houses.

B) Make Goodyear where it’s a city of primarily single-family houses, townhouses, and condos."

Gillis: "As I mentioned before, we know there will be some apartment development in a city our size, but we can do a good job in ensuring they are zoned appropriately and that they aren't built in overwhelming numbers to where it puts a strain on resources or damages the overall quality of life. We can also work with developers to construct open spaces, parks, and other amenities that work to decrease the feeling of high density, and create a more luxurious sense of open space, etc."

Hampton: "I support a mix of housing throughout the city for all residents. Apartments make sense in some areas and not others but overall we welcome all types of housing options for whatever stage of life that you are in."

Reporter Maritza Dominguez covers the southwest Valley can be reached at maritza.dominguez@arizonarepublic.com or 480-271-0646. Follow her on Twitter @maritzacdom.

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Goodyear election: Q&A with mayoral and city council candidates