Corey Woods had much to say Wednesday about his plans for Tempe, now that he will become a member of the City Council.
But as he spoke about affordable housing, mass transit and other issues, interruptions came from a stream of congratulatory calls that kept his phone ringing — and ringing and ringing.
Woods and Joel Navarro were the top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s election and when sworn in later this summer will join the seven-member council.
Because of their relative youth — ages 29 and 40, respectively — the council will take on a far different look.
How might that change the direction of this city of 160,000 people?
“It’s hard to say until I’m actually sitting up there,” Woods said. “It probably is going to be somewhat of a different dynamic. Personally, I’m curious to see.”
Added Navarro: “I think it’s all good. It’s an exciting, dynamic, diverse council that’s going to work well with all members, old and new.
“Hopefully, we’re going to benefit from it and see some smart decisions.”
When Woods was asked about the biggest issues facing the council, he ticked off problems mostly related to neighborhoods: maintenance of alleys, graffiti, cut-through traffic and rental housing.
In doing so, Woods inadvertently underlined a fact about Tempe: Yes, the economic slowdown has taken a toll, but the city certainly is doing better than many other East Valley cities.
A recent survey showed residents’ top concern to be ugly alleyways.
“Tempe is in sound fiscal shape, and it’s been kept up very, very well,” Woods said.
The city’s tentative budget for 2008-09 totals $564.5 million, almost unchanged from the year before.
And, unlike Mesa and Gilbert, Tempe’s 1,700-employee work force has escaped layoffs, city spokeswoman Nikki Ripley said.
Navarro gave credit to his predecessors in city leadership for this not-so-harsh financial reality.
“We, as a new council, need to continue with the program, so to speak, and make some smart and better moves that will help us in the future,” he said.