Profile: City council candidate Bridger Kimball

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InMaricopa: Who are you?

Kimball: Named for a plucky mountain man and explorer, George “Bridger,” I was born in Mesa, Arizona. I spent the first years of my life absorbing the hardscrabble devotion and commitment necessary to run a horse ranch in the far East Valley. My parents — a law enforcement officer and dental hygienist — instilled in me a blue collar, community-first mentality. After graduating with honors, and following a family tradition (my grandfather was a fighter and test pilot killed in action, and three uncles served in our armed forces during WWII and Korea), I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. My stint as a U.S. Marine only deepened and honed my devotion and allegiance to country, family, and community. A potential career Marine, my military service ended early and abruptly when the Corps medically retired me. Multiple surgeries could not fully repair non-combat injuries I sustained serving as an infantry squad machine gunner. Although the Corps did not want to lose me and placed me in alternate occupational specialties of small arms instructor and legal chief in the regimental office at Camp Pendleton, Calif., my injuries were beyond the high physical tolerances required of every Marine. They prevented me from continuing my military career. 

Almost immediately after honorable medical discharge, I entered the world of retail sales and management. Starting as a stock boy at a Mesa indoor shooting range and gun store, it did not take long for the store’s owner to recognize my innate leadership abilities and exceptional organizational skills. I rapidly earned my way up the management chain and today enjoy the position of general manager. Within a year of becoming GM, I took this store from the brink of obscurity to what it is today: a multi-million dollar retail and training operation. Under my direction and guidance, Caswell’s (d.b.a. Rangemasters, Inc./Urban Firearms Institute) is internationally acclaimed and is Arizona’s premier indoor shooting range, firearms store, and the largest firearms training academy in the state.

In 2003, I found “my community” in Maricopa, Arizona. After careful study and countless hours of research I bought and moved into his first starter home in Maricopa. Hence, I became one of the first to risk significant financial investment and commitment in what was at the time still a fledgling dream for a city of the future. 

Since then I have grown and prospered with the community. Today, I live in my dream home in this dream community. Still, this is not enough. Energetic, articulate, thoughtful and bursting with foresight, I have a vision for building a better, more prosperous and safer future for Maricopa today. This cannot be done alone. I need your help as a community partner. I want to hear from and engage you then become your voice on the Maricopa City Council. I am not a politician and never will be. Still, I can be your representative for positive development, economic growth and progressive safety initiatives in a town we have all grown to love.

InMaricopa: Why are you the best candidate?

Kimball: I am running for a seat on the Maricopa City Council because I, too, live in this city and I, too, wish to have a higher quality of life for myself as well as all other citizens of this community. My strong business background and fiscally responsible decision-making skills are just what this city needs in its push towards greatness. Teamwork, personal responsibility, and accountability are just a few qualities that I will maintain while serving our community and I will never falter. Three very important issues that are burdening our city at the present time are the high utility rates, lack of accountability in our public safety department and the overwhelming urge to spend “tax payer” money without ever researching the positive gain or the negative effect that said spending will do to our city.

InMaricopa: What are the three most important issues facing your Maricopa area constituents and what would you do to address each?

Kimball: Utilities: The current council has passed a “resolution” fighting the rate increase from Global Water. My question would be: why did they wait until the eleventh hour to pass said resolution? Action should have been taken months prior to the Arizona Corporation Commission coming out to our city. Why did the council not know that the Corporation Commission was coming? Why did it take citizens to bring them out here when it should have been on the shoulders of our elected officials that were voted in to office to protect us as well as make decisions based upon the greater good of the community? I, for one, would have taken the proper initiative to not only meet with Global Water to discuss their decision to ask for an increase, but also would have written/presented a resolution long before it came to having a community forum with the Corporation Commission.

City Hall: Our public safety department is strongly lacking personal responsibility from the appointed leaders, which has led to not only lawsuits and lowered morale, but also talks of officers that the city paid to train leaving the department to seek more “fruitful” opportunities where they can excel in their particular field. Why do we need a director of public safety? Originally there were police and fire chiefs and those positions were eliminated to save money, and the public safety umbrella was created and headed up by a director. Since that took place, we have hired both a police chief and a fire chief. The police department has currently five lieutenants in administrative positions. Traditionally, this is far too many and is taking a large chunk of the public-safety budget to employ. By eliminating three of those positions, along with the director position, the city would free up roughly $425,000 that could be used for the hiring of additional patrol officers.

Our city needs separate police and fire leaving the chiefs of those departments ultimately responsible and accountable for their individual departments. This will not only improve the quality of our public services but also remove politics from public safety and ultimately improve the morale of the officers and firefighters. Whether or not the “chiefs” are competent or not really makes no difference when they still have two additional supervisors at the present time to report to. If we want our department to succeed and our officers to stay we need to not only boost morale, but also stand behind the officers/firefighters who are on the front lines day in and day out. As a councilmember, I will make it one of my top priorities to have insight into the operations of our public safety department. For far too long has our council been blindfolded and kept in the dark about what is actually going on within that division of the city. Whether it has been by choice or just ignorance really doesn’t make a difference. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.

Fiscal responsibility is also lacking in our current city government. It seems as though we spend, spend, spend, with no end in sight. Is thought being put into these votes before an “aye” vote is spoken? In these crucial times in the economy, the city also takes a bit of a hit with housing permits down as well as sales tax revenue decreasing amongst a lot of other things; we need to think conservatively and make plans for the future. As an elected official, one must not be closed minded and set on spending taxpayer money without taking the proper steps to gather all of the information pertaining to the possible adverse effects that said spending might have. I run a business and have to make these decisions every day. I take every step to make sure that all expenditures are well justified and will improve not only the revenue for the company, but also are in the best interest of my employees as well as dedicated customers. These decisions are not at all taken lightly nor are they considered to be easy ones to make but I shoulder that burden day in and day out and feel that I possess the commitment and foresight to make these decisions for our city.

High on my list of priorities would be to take a very close look at the city management’s record of service with the city and to take an even closer look at possible options for change. There is only speculation as to some disturbing rumors floating around City Hall, which must be addressed or put to rest immediately. How many lawsuits and potential lawsuits is it going to take for our elected officials to wake up and take action? I will not sit around and let misconduct take place right under my nose for the sake of not “rocking the boat.”

Business and the economy: Small business is what keeps a city like ours thriving and we must work with and try to help out the small businesses that have already made a home for themselves in Maricopa. We must start to work with the Chamber of Commerce and find creative ways to keep them afloat in these tough economic times. Things such as sign code, tax breaks, and lower utility rates are just the tip of the iceberg on things that the city can do to help these businesses thrive and grow. Focus for bringing larger companies to our city is also key. We need to find and bring in some larger companies that will generate not only employment for our citizens but also bring in extra tax revenue. We have some very talented individuals on our current city staff; together I am positive that we can come up with some enticing tax incentives for these businesses. We also need to take advantage of the impact fee study and figure on trying to lower our current rates to match or at least be in competition with our neighboring cities. Currently, we have nearly the highest impact fees in the state of Arizona, which is most certainly hindering our ability to bring in large businesses.
 

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