Councilman Wayne Ecton believes Scottsdale faces challenges. A mid-size city bordering a major metropolitan area like Phoenix presents situations smaller municipalities don’t face.
Ecton hopes to gain ideas on how to meet those challenges when he meets officials of other mid-sized cities across the nation as a new member of a National League of Cities policy group.
Ecton was appointed to the First Tier Suburbs Council, a group comprised of officials from cities with populations of 50,000 or more located just outside a major metro city.
"My major focus is quality of life for Scottsdale, being adjacent to a major city like Phoenix, and how we can adapt to that . . . because they’re on our border and have a major impact on our quality of life," Ecton said.
Ecton said discussing public safety is one of his priorities. "When you have a four-lane highway that surrounds your city, and people have more access into your city, it tends to increase the crime level," he said.
Ecton said he plans to discuss code enforcement and his goal of adding more officers and a helicopter unit to the police department. He also hopes to share ideas and receive input from other officials on developing Scottsdale’s arts programs while in close proximity to a large city with a major arts community.
The committee includes city officials coming together "to talk about the unique challenges and opportunities of being part of an inner-ring suburb," said the league’s deputy executive director, Christine Becker.
Ecton attended National League of Cities bi-annual conferences in 2003, in Memphis, Tenn., and Washington, D.C. At the March 2004 conference in Washington, Ecton participated in a program about First Tier Suburbs, a newly-created group bridging the gap between small communities and large cities.
"This is a whole new program that they’re developing, and they asked for volunteers to be on their policy committee," he said.
The council exists to share ideas, discuss organizational issues in city government, and talk about common interests affecting communities the size of Scottsdale, Becker said. The 12- to 14-member council will meet in July in Boston and again at the league’s annual meeting in November, Ecton said. Ecton is also a member of the league’s Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Policy and Advocacy Committee.