January 9, 2019 – PHOENIX – Bill Gates, the newly-elected Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, says county government is making a difference on pressing regional issues such as water, environmental health, and growth and can do even more in the coming year. At the annual “Passing of the Gavel” ceremony, Gates laid out a vision for smart government that uses technology, big data, and process improvement to connect people to a better future.
“We are the nation’s fastest-growing county, adding 200 residents per day, and there is no reason why we can’t also be its most forward-thinking,” Gates said. He highlighted several examples of Maricopa County innovating to provide better service to residents:
- Process improvement that achieved $1.5 million dollars in projected savings and freed capacity in 2018
- Connected vehicle technology that allows cars to talk to traffic signals to reduce accidents
- Adaptive reuse of an old county jail, reducing taxpayer costs and allowing reorganization that moves county permitting departments into one shared space
- A partnership between Animal Care and Control and the Humane Society that provides comprehensive, real-time data about lost and found pets through an interactive map
- Partnership with NRG on Chilled Water Loop pumping 40,000 tons of chilled water to cool off downtown Phoenix buildings
“In 2019, I want us to build on these successes so we reuse what we have, reorganize in ways that lead to better customer service, and rethink our processes in ways that save money and better utilize our county talent,” said Gates. Among his goals for 2019:
- Update plans for unincorporated areas of Maricopa County
- Combine permitting departments and streamline processes so 80% of first reviews of permit plans and applications are completed in 20 business days or less
- Allow for faster implementation and adoption of 5G connectivity
- Put more of the county’s “big data” to practical use
- Find ways to divert storm water back into the landscape for reuse
- Improve efficiency of flood control dams to shrink flood plains and enable development
- Continue removal of invasive salt cedar from the Gila River to reduce risk of flooding
- Work to expand incentive programs for residents to replace wood-burning fireplaces and gas-burning lawnmowers with cleaner-burning ones
- Improve environmental health through added shade and solar on county-owned land, improved water conservation, and preservation of open space
- Make information easier to find for residents through a redesigned website
“These are incredible times with advances in technology and augmented intelligence that can make government work better,” Gates said. “I will push our county employees to utilize these advancements while still being fiscally responsible of taxpayer dollars.”
Mr. Gates has served on the Board of Supervisors, representing District 3, since 2017. Before that, he represented District 3 on the Phoenix City Council. He was elected Chairman unanimously today by his colleagues and takes over for Steve Chucri.
You can watch Chairman Gates’ entire speech, read the full transcript, or learn more about his priorities on the District 3 website at Maricopa.gov/District3.