The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has elected a new chairman. Chairman Clint Hickman will talk about his plans in his new role.
Christina Estes: Coming up next on "Arizona Horizon," we'll talk with the new chair of the Maricopa County board of supervisors. We'll visit with a Hollywood creative designer in town for a pop culture technology exhibit. And hear from the author of a book that sheds light on a mostly unknown American Indian tribe. Those stories next on "Arizona Horizon."
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Christina Estes: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon," I'm Christina Estes in for Ted Simons. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas testified today against a bill that she says will take away some of her power. The bill's sponsor, Senator Jeff Dials, says it's designed to clarify the duties of the board and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Douglas says it takes away her oversight of board employees. The panel approved the bill and it now heads to the full senate. The Maricopa county board of supervisors recently elected a new chairman. Clint Hickman is the new supervisor's chair, and joins us to talk about his plans in his new role. Thanks for coming in.
Clint Hickman: Good evening.
Christina Estes: You're one month in with this big title. How's it going?
Clint Hickman: It feels just like every big title should feel. The chairmanship rotates through all of us once a year so it's a good time for me to lead the county.
Christina Estes: You have said that you want to focus on economic development. What do you mean?
Clint Hickman: Right. Well, I think I was born here, and I've been involved in having a small business and growing larger and one of the things that I feel needs to happen with our county, government purchases a lot of equipment, government does a lot of projects, infrastructure, buildings, and I'm trying to make sure that the local businesses that have been here for quite a long time, maybe small businesses even when it comes to customer service, have the ability to come into the county, take a look, work with our procurement services, and see if they can actually grow by selling to county, state, federal government. That's one thing. The other thing is as I've been a part of business, when you talk about rules, regulations; it's been part of our business to be on the other side on the political side and seeing and taking a look at these regulations, is it truly enough regulation? Is it way too much? And it's been very helpful with that bringing my skills to the table and trying to help Arizona businesses grow and compete here in the state.
Christina Estes: Speaking of regulations, I think it was just yesterday that the air quality rules were revised?
Clint Hickman: Revised is the key term. After a lot of meetings with different stakeholders, big businesses, small businesses, S.R.P. and Intel participated. We're now kind of going towards a thing to basically streamline our air quality rules and also make it a little bit easier for larger manufacturing businesses that talk about regulation to come in, do things a little bit differently and give them the ability to compete and maybe even put down some stakes here and start growing.
Christina Estes: How does that impact the actual air quality at all?
Clint Hickman: I don't think it impacts the air quality. It's our job as government officials to make sure that the air is clean and breathable and that's another great thing to see where these rules come from and to help business in that regard. So basically, basically putting down the manual for air quality and letting everybody understand it and get their permitting done before they start breaking ground and knowing what the rules are here.
Christina Estes: You've also said that you want to work with the county's industrial development authority. Explain first what that is and when you say you want to work more, what does that mean?
Clint Hickman: It's a group of people that the county's assigned to take a look at different things and help businesses grow here. So the idea consists of stakeholders that help us as a board identify different funds available and it basically self-perpetuates through mortgages and things and offers the ability to say like first responders or teachers to get a little bit of a break on their mortgage and again, best thing in the world to do is own your own home here, it gets you rooted but that's all sorts of things. They also have the ability to take a look at programs that we use within the county and again, just use their skills in order to find out what's effective and then let them grow and prosper.
Christina Estes: So you're responsible for improving things in the county but you do have an eye at the state capitol with the legislature in session because state budget cuts have affected Maricopa County as well as other counties across the state so that's going to be important for you I'm guessing?
Clint Hickman: In my chairman's address I talked about some issues that we currently have. We are all very cognizant, all five board members and all of the agency heads that we are a subdivision of state government and what has been occurring over the last several years is if not just straight out sweeps of county accounts, they do what we call cost shifts. So currently, the county is paying for portions of the department of revenue's budget, the state hospital's budget, now state juvenile corrections' budget. So my year is basically telling some of the new legislators that always thought that was a pot to reach in and grab is to basically say that was not always done. At this point since the economy went south in 2008, it's now the running total about $260 million and last year we were affected by about $228 million. The economy has changed a little bit and let's take a look at it, especially I was president of the C.S.A., the County Supervisors Association, I got to visit every one of the counties, all 15 of them, talk to their people and quite often, the other supervisors are talking about funds being swept, paying for the department of public safety but meanwhile, we have crumbling highways and roads, especially in the rural counties. So...
Christina Estes: It sounds like you have a busy next few months. We should check in with you and see how things go during the legislative session.
Clint Hickman: I would love it. I answer my phone all the time so just give me a call.
Christina Estes: Thank you so much. Appreciate you coming in.
Clint Hickman: Thank you, I appreciate it.
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Clint Hickman:Maricopa County Chairman