By Rich Vitiello
I’m not a politician and have no hidden agenda. I’m running for the office of county supervisor because I want to see a change for the better — for the short term and the long term. I believe I can bring positive change.
Government is responsible to the taxpayer, not the other way around. I don’t like wasteful spending and I make no apology for it. For the current supervisor to increase his office budget when other departments are forced to cut theirs is an unwarranted waste of taxpayer money. That’s not something I would do.
Being active in the local community, election time or not has been important to me. I’ve been a volunteer in our local police department, at the food bank, at our church and at fundraisers and other events for disabled and disadvantaged members of our community. I have almost three decades of international business experience under my belt. I’ve worked well with other people and look forward to continuing to do so.
The rift between our sheriff’s office and the board of supervisors needs to be resolved. I’ve spoken with numerous people about it. The capstone of that rift was when the Board of Supervisors terminated the ICE contract. Our county jail was built to house double the population it now has by using bonds that cost the taxpayer about $10 million a year. The ICE contract just about covered those payments. When the contract was lost, the revenue to pay for that bond didn’t come in any longer and had to be taken from other sources — meaning budget cuts to vital public services. We’ve got several more years to pay for it, so it’s not going away.
I don’t think it’s right that public safety people were put out of work and personnel can’t be hired because certain people didn’t want to negotiate with ICE. It hurts the public. That was short-sighted. There are people in the sheriff’s office who can work with our federal government to secure that contract, again if given the chance. Doing so would go a long way to solving more than budget issues. We need to bring that revenue source back. I want to see that happen.
I’ve made my positions on marijuana and support of public safety pretty clear. I’m against marijuana — any kind — and a big supporter of public safety, but not just law enforcement. There are other basic services that need to be provided by our county. I’ll work hard to do my part and make sure the taxpayer dollar is stretched.
The flood zone is a continuous and changing issue. Pinal County is over 5,300 square miles. It’s going to take a lot of cooperation of the various agencies with long term planning to resolve it. Flooding impacts our roads, building of homes and businesses, and where and how people can live. I’ve suggested the various flood control interests come together under one unified agency to evaluate and solve this issue. It’s easier said than done, but it needs to start somewhere.
I’m against tax increases — they hurt us all. When our residents are traveling out of the county to work, that means tax revenue goes with them. It also means they have to spend more time in traffic instead of being at home with their families. We need businesses to come and stay in Pinal County. Otherwise, not only do our residents leave the county for work, but tax revenue that could be generated by those businesses goes to other counties. That means the burden of funding government services is placed more and more on our homeowners.
We need to take a page or two out of our neighboring counties’ economic development playbooks. If we do it right, we’ll create a greater environment for businesses to come to Pinal County without increasing property taxes. It should be something our children are proud of.
I’m looking forward to a brighter future. I hope you are, too. I promise to work hard for you. It’s time for a change.
Rich Vitiello is a Maricopa resident and candidate for Pinal County supervisor in District 4.